X Close

The myth of ‘Anglo-America’ Simplistic civilisational narratives are all the rage right now — but take them with a pinch of salt

Uncle Sam and Britannia are oceans apart. Credit: Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images

Uncle Sam and Britannia are oceans apart. Credit: Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images


July 21, 2020   9 mins

Imagine a world shaped by two civilisations — a good civilisation (the Goodies) and a bad civilisation (the Baddies).

From their island home — an ancient nation of poets and heroes — the Goodies venture out into the world, spreading their values of tolerance and liberty wherever they go. With derring-do they found a mighty, but benign, empire. Eventually, it evolves into a family of free nations who, in times of trouble, still stand together to defend democracy and defeat tyranny. Huzzah!

The Baddies meanwhile are a desperate and devious lot — basically a bunch of pirates. Not even they can stand their wet, miserable homeland, so they sail off to grab territory in sunnier climes. They’re good at lying, cheating and murdering and so achieve global dominance. But apart from that, they’re rubbish — making a mess wherever they go. To this day, everything that goes wrong is their fault. Boo!

Okay, you don’t need to imagine such a world — because it’s this one, not some Tolkeinesque fantasy. Furthermore, we (by which I mean the “English-speaking peoples”) are the Goodies. However, we’re also the Baddies — because these two civilisations are in fact one and the same. Then again, neither exist, because the rival narratives — ‘Rule Britannia’ versus ‘Perfidious Albion’ — are equally absurd in their simplification of history.

Unfortunately, simplistic civilisational narratives are all the rage right now. It’s not enough to be a mere country or group of countries, these days you have to present yourself as a ‘civilisation-state’. Everyone’s at it — the Chinese, the Russians, the Indians, even the EU. As for us Brits, the Empire may be long gone, but we have the ‘Anglosphere’ instead — Britain, America and the other English-speaking nations.

The pro-Anglosphere narrative is a familiar one — built on a foundation of British Imperial propaganda plus notions of American exceptionalism. It’s been updated by historians such as Niall Ferguson and promoted by politicians such as Dan Hannan. It is of course contested — indeed detested — by many on the Left. The resulting counter-narrative — a feature of academic discourse and protest movements alike — is winning the culture wars right now.

*

One of the foremost scourges of Anglo self-satisfaction is the Indian writer Pankaj Mishra. In a rapturously-received 6,000 word essay for the London Review of Books he gives both John Bull and Uncle Sam a proper shoeing.

His jumping-off point is the Covid crisis, which he says has “blown the roof off the world, most brutally exposing Britain and the United States, these prime movers of modern civilisation”. As a result, we can now see the wider, deeper truth that’s been supposedly staring us in the face all along, which is that “the early winners of modern history now seem to be its biggest losers, with their delegitimised political systems, grotesquely distorted economies and shattered social contracts”.

The ungainly forms of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson feature heavily in Mishra’s account of current government ineptitude. However, to him, these men also personify a civilisational sickness that stretches back decades, if not centuries. Whereas happier lands have understood that “genuine public interest is different from the mere aggregation of private interests”, we’re a bunch of selfish individualists. We loudly proclaim the virtues of liberty, but “democracy does not always guarantee good government, even in its original heartlands”. Thus, in both Britain and America, the pandemic has shown up each country for what it really is — “a broken society, with a carefully dismantled state”.

There’s no denying that the comparative statistics look bad for us. Set against Germany, Japan and many other nations, “Anglo-America” (as Mishra calls it) has not had a good pandemic. And yet it’s a bit early to be drawing conclusions. We don’t know to what extent national variations in the spread of the virus — or the harm it’s done — are explained by public policy alone. All sorts of other factors are in the mix — like initial exposure to chains of global transmission, genetically-determined variations in susceptibility, differences in pre-existing immunities and plain old measurement issues. At this stage, we’re still guessing as to their relative contributions. Nor is this wretched plague over yet — some countries that had been doing relatively well have suffered recent setbacks. Given these multiple uncertainties, Covid is a fragile hook on which to hang a tale of civilisational decline.

Another key weakness is the very idea of “Anglo-America”. Obviously, the world contains a number of English-speaking nations that were once part of the British Empire. But these also include Australia and New Zealand, countries that that have been notably successful in their fight against the virus — despite the terrible handicap of their Anglo heritage.

An even bigger problem with the Anglo-America concept is that the differences between the UK and US are profound. Never mind “two nations divided by a common language”, what really divides them is what they don’t have in common. Their respective political systems, for instance, are about as unlike as any two democracies can be. The same goes for their healthcare systems, policing methods and gun laws.

In fact, among all the nations of the West, there are two fundamental categories — the USA and the rest. That’s for many reasons, but the most important is that America is alone among western countries in being a continental nation. Yes, Canada and Australia also occupy continent-spanning territories, but most of their space is uninhabited (and pretty much uninhabitable). Only in America does a population of hundreds of millions range across temperate lands from ocean to ocean. Such boundlessness is bound to effect the development of a nation, shaping a radically different set of habits, attitudes and ambitions. In good ways and bad, the US was always going to be the outlier.

By the way, this is also a major plot hole in the pro-Anglosphere narrative. America is sui generis.

*

Mishra sets Anglo-America against an even sketchier civilisational concept — a disparate group of nations which he bundles up into a kind of anti-Anglosphere. 

He’s not the first to do so. For instance, Russia has a long history of ‘Eurasianism’ — an intellectual movement, often associated with the political extremes, that sets the liberal, mercantile values of Atlantic nations such as Britain and America against what they see as the virtuous authoritarian traditionalism of the Slavic world and neighbouring lands. Contemporary Eurasianists include Aleksandr Dugin — a significant influence on Vladimir Putin. 

Then there are those who focus on the philosophical divide between the Platonic and Aristotelian traditions — the former being used to justify the top-down technocratic state, the latter a more laissez faire approach. By linking that up to the various differences between the British and Continental Enlightenments, and contrasts in religious, legal and political schools of thought, one can spin-up a tale of rival Anglo and non-Anglo cultures – but only, of course, if one ignores all the exceptions, inconsistencies and complications. 

Pankaj Mishra’s own scheme of the world (which, I should say, is not Eurasianist) starts with Otto von Bismarck and the unification of Germany. As Chancellor, Bismarck pursued a policy of building up a highly capable “social state”, which, Mishra says, became a “model for all of the world.” In the late 19th and early 20th century, the rapidly modernising Japanese learned from Germany’s example. Japan, in turn, became a model for the post-war Asian tiger economies such as South Korea and Singapore — and, eventually, China. Having rejected the “Anglo-American ideologies of unfettered markets and minimal government”, the countries thus had the strong state capacity to prevail against the pandemic, while America and Britain did not.

The leap from Bismarck to Covid is a rather ambitious one, and it misses out some rather important things in between. For instance, the American influence on Japan, South Korea and Taiwan after the Second World War and the even longer British influence on Singapore and Hong Kong. Whether for good or ill, it strikes me that these connections might be more important to the way these places turned out than the rather distant link to Imperial Germany.

Then there’s the matter of Germany and its closest continental neighbours. If there is anywhere German influence might have made a difference — when it comes to how countries coped with Covid — it is surely in the European Union, in which the institutional connections are indisputable. And yet countries such as Italy, France, Belgium and Spain have suffered about as badly as the British. If anything, these nations are even less Anglo-Saxon in their attitudes than the Germans are, but that evidently hasn’t helped them much.

Back home in Blighty, there’s no doubt that mistakes have been made. We didn’t lockdown early enough and we’ve been incredibly slow in using face coverings. But why was that? An excess of Anglo-Saxon individualism? Er, no. The timing of the lockdown followed the independent advice of a highly eminent panel of scientists. Meanwhile the policy on masks followed the guidance of the World Health Organisation.

There have been other cock-ups. Countries such as Germany, South Korea and Taiwan have shown that tracing app technology can be used to good effect. Our attempt to replicate their success was not our finest hour. On the other hand, Britain is playing a leading role in the quest for a vaccine. Furthermore, after some false starts, the UK Government has made great strides in expanding the availability of tests. The speed with which the Nightingale hospitals were created was also impressive. Of course, this extra capacity hasn’t been needed so far — testament to the fact that despite the number of cases, National Health Service capacity has not been overwhelmed. 

It’s worth reflecting on the incredible public support shown for the NHS, which isn’t just symbolic, but expressed in our willingness to comply with the strictures of lockdown. For a supposedly selfish society we’re remarkably inclined to acts of national and international solidarity. Just as mysteriously, our supposedly hollowed-out public sphere seems remarkably capable of creating and sustaining effective institutions.

Undoubtedly, there are things that, say, the Germans and Japanese do better than us. Germany’s superb technical education system, for instance; or the jaw-dropping punctuality of Japan’s trains. But narratives of non-Anglo hyper-efficiency leave out all the counter-examples. For instance, German mismanagement of infrastructure projects or the fact that the Japanese economy has been stagnant for a generation.

The idea that one can draw a line in the English Channel between the social states of Europe and East Asia on the one hand and turbo-capitalist bandit country on the other is ridiculous. The Brits maybe more market-orientated than the EU average and the tax burden a little lighter, but these are differences of degree not kind. Even America, which does have a significantly less statist society than the rest of the West, still has a vast public sector — including the armed forces that Europe is happy to rely on for its security. 

*

If there’s one thing on which the Anglo and non-Anglo worlds do diverge, it’s their 20th century history. Say what you like about the Limeys and Yanks, at least we never went the full fash. Indeed, both countries became full democracies and stayed that way. Tragically, the same cannot be said for Germany and the other social states that Mishra is so impressed by. Most of them either embraced, or were conquered by, some form of totalitarian madness.

It’s all a bit awkward for the anti-Anglo narrative. But Mishra has an answer to that: “what made the first half of the 20th century so uniquely violent”, he says, was the “scramble for territory and resources, started by British slave-owners and colonialists”.

Without wanting to deny our involvement in the crimes of the era, I would point out that we we weren’t the pioneers of European empire-building or the slave trade. The Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch were in there before us, and the French were our great rivals. But let’s not mention all those Continentals, it’ll spoil the narrative! 

Meanwhile Germany took even longer to acquire overseas colonies. However, various German states (not least Prussia) had a long record of ruthless military conquest within Europe — going all the way back to The Middle Ages and the Teutonic Knights. It seems likely this did rather more to inspire Hitler’s dreams of conquest. In fact, I’d venture that Nazis didn’t do Nazi things because of the British, but because they were Nazis.

None of this means that Britain and America don’t have a lot to be ashamed of. There’s our part in the Transatlantic slave trade; the slave economies of the southern states and the Caribbean; and what our colonists did to the Native Americans, and to lesser-known victims of imperialism like the Aboriginal Tasmanians. Furthermore, the bloodstained record of famines, massacres and racial segregation extends well into the 20th century. 

All of that has to be reckoned with and none of it is erased by the British and American contribution to the defeat of fascism. But the idea that Anglo-America somehow stands at the root of 20th century violence is a distortion, one that ignores a history of inhumanity in which every nation and civilisation is mired.

*

It also ignores the history of those who have stood up to defend human dignity — a history in which the English-speaking peoples have also played a prominent role. It is a story of progress that goes hand-in-hand with political freedom. In the World Wars and the Cold War, Britain and America didn’t just stand against the tyrants, they stood for democracy, endeavouring to introduce or restore it to liberated nations around the world.

In his essay, Pankaj Mishra downplays the importance of democracy, claiming that “social and economic well-being depends less on how political representatives are chosen and more on how adroitly the state formulates and implements policy”. And yet in acknowledging the terrible things that the Chinese government is doing right now in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, he admits that “the modern state’s biopower can enable monstrous crimes”.

Democracy, however, disables it. As a country becomes more democratic, its government may or may not become more competent, but it will almost always become more humane. Injustices, whether of the present or the past, can be openly debated and contended with. Meanwhile, free speech, transparency, the rule of law and the verdict of the ballot box serve as impediments to tyranny. Yes, there have been times when tyrants have been freely voted into office, but, tellingly, they then dismantle the democratic system so that they can’t be voted out again. They know where their interests lie and it’s not with a powerful electorate.

Even if you think Boris Johnson and Donald Trump epitomise the decline of Anglo-America, the fact remains that both men can be voted out of office. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, not so much.

So for all our failings, flailings and hypocrisy, there are things in our history we can be proud of. We may not be the goodies, but we’re not all bad either.


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

peterfranklin_

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

34 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 years ago

Mishra would appear to be just another UK/US/West hater. Academia is full of them. I just with these people would put their lifestyle where their mouths are and live for a few years without all the technology and medicine that evil white men invented.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
4 years ago

I like the idea of us atoning and apologising for our failures.

I also like the idea of us celebrating and proclaiming our successes.

I wish the left would actually do this atoning they always talk about. One day they might even atone for Rotherham.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
4 years ago

Well done Mr Franklin for this interesting polemic, that clearly exposes the hypocritical tosh that passes for historical criticism of the ‘Anglo World’.In particular your exposure of
Mishra, as nothing more than yet another, virulent anti- West shrieker, was a delight.

Perhaps he should marry Ms Gopal, the malignant Cambridge butterfly? They would get on famously. However that would be impossible, as that inestimable gift to civilisation, the Indian Caste system would get in the way, and Gopal, a Brahmin would be defiled, and probably have to self immolate.

For the past seventy five years, the triumphant Anglo World has presided over an era of peace and prosperity unparalleled since the days of Ancient Rome. We should celebrate our ‘exceptionalism’ not indulge in an orgy of self criticism. We have nothing to be ashamed of by comparative analysis with the ‘others’, or as Kipling put it so prosaically, “lesser breeds”.

opn
opn
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

One needs to be careful about quoting Recessional. After all what characterised for Kipling “lesser breeds without the Law” (an obvious Biblical allusion) was “such boastings as the Gentiles use”. The touchstone of the British Empire, according to that poem (written at its zenith to mark Queen Victoria’s Jubilee) was humility: “Lo all our pomp of yesterday is one with Nineveh and Tyre”… “still stands thine ancient sacrifice, an humble and a contrite heart”… “Lest we forget”. Perhaps, though, that is something which we do not have in common with the USA.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
4 years ago
Reply to  opn

Surely both in Recessional and White Man’s Burden, Kipling was trying to have it both ways as we might say?

opn
opn
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Am I right in thinking that Take up the White Man’s Burden was actually written about the United States

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
4 years ago
Reply to  opn

Yes, it was about their recent conquest of the Philippines, as a result of their overwhelming victory in the Spanish-American War.

D Glover
D Glover
4 years ago

‘Boris Johnson and Donald Trump epitomise the decline of Anglo-America, the fact remains that both men can be voted out of office.’

Ursula von der Leyen became President of Europe under a procedure that can only be called a stitch-up. Macron and Merkel chose her; no other candidate was put before the Euro Parliament to be confirmed. She scraped through with the narrowest possible endorsement, with no other name on the ballot.
Even Vladimir would blush.

zareermasani
zareermasani
4 years ago

Delighted to see Pankaj Mishra’s deeply unhistorical theories so thoroughly & intelligently taken apart & its internal contradictions so politely exposed.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  zareermasani

Wonder if he bothered to read this…No didn’t think so.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andrew Thompson
Paul Blakemore
Paul Blakemore
4 years ago

A most enjoyable essay, Mr Franklin, which prompts a couple of thoughts.
The Leftist notion of our ”broken” society tends to be applied to evil England; the Scots and Welsh getting an exemption from the sins of our past because they now vote a little to the left of centre rather than a little to the right (inasmuch as the left/right dichotomy has meaning these days).
As a continental nation, The United States is an empire within its own borders, like Russia, China and India, which creates a tendency towards greater authoritarianism in order to keep the nation whole. While Russia and China are truly authoritarian, the US balances its freedoms with heavily armed and sometimes violent/oppressive police and state forces (and I’m referring here to the past century rather than the current situation). It seems to me that if the EU achieves its ambition of becoming an empire it too will become more authoritarian and oppressive, prompting increased violence and inspiring an increase in nationalism (such as that seen in the former Austro-Hungarian empire in the 20th century, for example).
The Europhiles (or Eurofetishists as they have now become) constantly demand we be ‘more European’; but surely would go beserk were Boris Johnson to announce the introduction of identity cards, the arming of the police or the introduction of an inquisitorial legal system. This would doubtless be evidence of his ‘fascism’.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
4 years ago

I’ve read Mishra’s article and my god, he hangs an awful lot on a tenuous thread which in itself hangs on the simple point that the current incumbents in USA and UK seem to be somewhat incapable of dealing with the pandemic. This is for completely different reasons though. To my mind Johnson has an inability to focus on more than one thing at a time and just couldn’t get his head round the fact that we faced an on coming disaster. The US on the other hand is cursed with a politics in which everything , whether disease, guns, climate etc, is seen through the simple lens of is it un-American , does it come from ‘the swamp’ and so on. To be fair to Johnson, the UK is now doing a lot better and leading on vaccine development . The rest of Mishra’s article seems to be pretty much your standard anti- west rant while conveniently ignoring a great number of ‘inconvenient truths’ about the rest of the world, including I might say, the role of African nations and people’s in capturing the slaves and selling them to the highest bidders. A practice which continued for some time after the west dropped out of the trade and the sellers looked for new buyers and markets.

Louise Lowry
Louise Lowry
4 years ago

While I agree with a lot of what you write the idea that ‘ the UK is leading on vaccine development ‘ will not be thought globally; it’s more of a Boris type sound bite. US & UK governments are frantic to find vaccines and treatments and apps so that their mishandling of the pandemic that has caused such high death tolls in both countries can be mitigated. Vast sums of money have been handed out by UK government on Apps and test & trace system run by Serco , both that have been demonstrated not to work effectively and other contracts too all which need investigating to see who and why these lucrative contracts were given.
If you look at the Oxford vaccine and how it was tested initially on less than 10 monkeys all of which went on to develop C19 but did not go on to suffer the worst effects such as compromised lungs leading to death you might wonder why apart from money to be made, this vaccine is being pursued. Some UK scientists have suggested immunity conferred by actually contracting C19 only lasts for a few months as does immunity to the common cold, also caused by a corona virus.
Why do not the UK government
1. Arrange effective hand sanitiser against viruses to be manufactured in bulk and be made readily available for sale at sensible,affordable prices. I have not been able to buy any on line and heard it said on BBC radio the most effective ones are available not in UK.
2. Similarly why not arrange manufacture of effective masks as described by WHO and sell them at a low price. UK needs masks that reduce transmission of virus not masks to encourage us it is safe to shop!

David George
David George
4 years ago

Pankaj Mishra is not one for letting the facts get in the way of a good rant.
His bizarre portrayal of Jordan Peterson as a “fascist mystic” “romancing the noble savage” was, I thought, a low point. Apparently not.

ukncsprog
ukncsprog
4 years ago

Brilliant article. If I wanted to change anything it would be the extent to which America is differentiated from the rest of the Anglosphere. It’s just a matter of degree. It could be averred that the elections of Johnson and Trump suggest the nations are rather in step.

opn
opn
4 years ago
Reply to  ukncsprog

I see very little similarity between Mr. Trump and Mr. Johnson – except the hair. In other respects, thank you for a good article.

ukncsprog
ukncsprog
4 years ago
Reply to  opn

I was thinking of the crucial nativist element amongst those who voted for them.

D Glover
D Glover
4 years ago
Reply to  ukncsprog

Boris really isn’t a nativist. When he was mayor of London he sang the praise of his city’s diversity.
Back when he was pro-EU he wanted Turkey to be admitted. As PM he has appointed the most diverse cabinet ever seen.
Nativists may vote Tory, but that’s because they have no real choice, Nigel having gifted all his votes to lucky Boris.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
4 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

Boris Johnson (can’t bring myself to call him “Boris”) really isn’t anything. Here’s what he said about himself, describing his transparent alter ego in his semi-autobiographical fantasy of a novel, Seventy-Two Virgins:

“To a man like Roger Barlow the whole world just seemed to be a complicated joke “¦ everything was always up for grabs, capable of dispute; and religion, laws, principle, custom ““ these were nothing but sticks from the wayside to support our faltering steps.”

ukncsprog
ukncsprog
4 years ago

I know, I have little faith in Johnson. But it looks as though he wants to get Brexit done, which would be an improvement on May and Cameron.

D Glover
D Glover
4 years ago
Reply to  ukncsprog

Here is an excellent piece by Mark Steyn which explains the accidental way Boris became a brexiteer. He didn’t think he’d win; he was just storing up credit for the post-Cameron shuffle.
https://www.steynonline.com

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
4 years ago
Reply to  ukncsprog

Merely another example of his opportunism.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  ukncsprog

I have little faith in Boris Johnson but i do have *faith* in Brexit as a trigger to possible reform within the EU, especially when, as they are trying like mad to prevent right now in negotiations, the UK can adapt better to the post Covid-19 depression than I believe will be possible in Europe.

If it truly was a trade liberalisation and promotion community as one would imagine from the negotiations that are entirely couched in such language, then we wouldn’t have left.

If it were to become such at some stage in the future we would apply to rejoin. When it WAS that in the 1970s we voted 70% to remain in it.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
4 years ago

I concur, it should be Boris Johnson, KS.

ukncsprog
ukncsprog
4 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

I agree with everything you say, although on appointments, I have some suspicions that Munira Mirza and Suella Braverman may not be quite as diverse as they look. But the nativist element amongst the voters carries some real weight nowadays.

D Glover
D Glover
4 years ago
Reply to  ukncsprog

In UK, just as in the US, the native and ‘nativist’ demographic is an ageing and shrinking sector of the population.
By the middle of this century the US will be white-minority and the election of a Trump will be an impossibility.
UK too, I should think. The nativist element has nowhere to go.

T Arn
T Arn
4 years ago

I read Mishra’s article and found it odd how much he praised Communism and authoritarianism while criticising democracy. I therefore thought that it would not be difficult to pick apart his argument. However, Mr Franklin shows an incredibly ignorant and ideological worldview which is just as bad, only on the other side.

Firstly, picking apart ‘Anglo-America’ is very pedantic as it is a commonly-used way of describing the US and Britain.

Secondly, I am afraid that trying to claim that the UK has coped as well as France, Spain and Italy with the pandemic is deluded. We had far more time to react to the issue and have done very little in comparison. Yes, we have a high population density but Mr Johnson literally ignored expert advice and simplified Covid to being as bad as flu up to mid-March!

Thirdly, if Mr Franklin has ever looked at a history of welfare systems there is a clear history of ideas which delineates the US and UK from European models. Read Thomas Esping-Andersen!! Saying that the US has a large public sector because of its military strength does not equate to a strong welfare state! I really do not think the link from Bismarck to Covid is a stretch. Welfare states are notoriously difficult to dismantle once they are in a nation’s DNA.

Finally, near the end, the author praises democracy but doesn’t see the point that democracy is in a major crisis at the moment with a complete lack of transparency and accountability. It is fair to argue that democracy in India is not working. I would certainly rather live in Singapore than India.

Yes, Mishra’s article is bordering on silly at parts but Mr Franklin’s retort is embarassingly unresearched. Simply replying ‘oh look at Japan and Germany they had Fascists hehe haha’ does not mean that aspects of their contemporary welfare systems are not superior to the US and the UK.

dikkitikka
dikkitikka
4 years ago
Reply to  T Arn

Perhaps so, but it was the inherent qualities of those societies that enabled Fascism to grow as it did-authoritarianism, poverty, rampant inflation, etc.. Poor old Moseley’s boys in Britain just got a bit of a kicking.

m
m
4 years ago
Reply to  T Arn

you’re ignoring the fact that the USA has an enormous welfare state – an expenditure of ca. $1.15 trillion or 15% of govt. budget.

Unemployment pay in the US is higher than in UK, state pensions are higher than in UK, and despite propaganda to the contrary, millions of Americans get free healthcare from the US state. (Currently ca. 47% of Americans get free government healthcare).
It’s a different system and may not cover everything one would wish to cover, but there is a strong welfare state.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
4 years ago

As a lover of the great diversity all the wonderful cultures and ethnicities give our world, but also as one who has recently been saddened by the oikophobia of Westerners and the constant demonising of the West by others, I wish I could express my feelings and thoughts (and have all the great info on hand to back it up) as succinctly, humanely and with such balance as the good Mr Franklin.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago

Don’t like it Mishra? Close the door behind you please.

andy.mycock1
andy.mycock1
4 years ago

Interesting piece but i am not convinced the ‘good v bad’ lens is the best to understand the Anglo-American relationship or the wider Anglosphere. Peter, i would strongly recommend (as co-editor and author) this fine volume published on the Anglosphere earlier this year to fully explore the differing dimensions of these relationships

https://global.oup.com/acad

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago

i am not not knocking the essay it is well presented and even handed…but this sort of essay would have been close to stating the *bleedin obvious* not that many years ago in it’s even handed view of history.
The Black Lives Matter movement is just the emergent entity of the whole crazy attempt in academia to build a solely antipathetic view of Western History.
The narrative of British original sin is used to crate a crazy edifice in which Britain created an even more monsterous American society in the 1700s, which, although that society rebelled against British rule remains somehow inextrictably linked to Britain in 2020.
This is done of course because somehow our 3 people a year killed by Police (mostly these days knife murders acting crazily or in an organised way in support of an islamist world view) has to be come equivalent to a country of much greater size where around 1,000 are killed a year for the requirements of the mad post grad thesis.

We all know africans became rich and powerful by selling African slaves to European traders, that slavery existed across the world and within African societies as well.

Or rather we used to know all this..I wonder what has been taught in our schools as history the last forty years or so, because far from British misrule being hidden it seems the actual facts of history that don’t fit the thesis have been systematically omitted.

Rex Pagan
Rex Pagan
1 year ago

Interesting observation about UK and US never going full fash, unlike the continentals who did. Two responses: Importantly, France never did either, nor Netherlands nor Scandinavia, all of which, particularly the latter, are closer to socialism now than either US or UK. Secondly, although UK never went full fash, Mishra groups it with “turbocapitalist bandit” US, raising question why, with a feudal history similar to that of the continentals, it ends up more like US than the latter. Could it be because of the success and later dominance of its former colony the US? Or because of UK’s former world dominance?

Last edited 1 year ago by Rex Pagan