Monday, February 27, 2012

Scotland, England, USA: One world

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/27/12

I knew the Sixties was over when the hippies started staying home to watch Upstairs, Downstairs. In our time we are staying home again to watch Downton Abbey. It seems a lesser tale than that narrated by William F. Buckley, Jr. of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited in 1981. Another recent offering, The Tudors, today goes to our beginning: Which strong force will dominate? That of the Catholic wife, Catherine, and her daughter Mary? Or reformer Anne and her daughter, the Protestant monarch who institutionalized the modern world, Elizabeth I? These shows are longings which arise when we face uncertainty. And when we do we return to England.

When the gods fail us we warn of collapse and look for return passage. So often these past 100 years that which seems to be collapsing has been Europe. But England’s journey is its own. As Fareed Zakaria reports in The Post American World: “Niall Ferguson has argued that the British Empire is responsible for the worldwide spread of the English language, banking, the common law, Protestantism, team sports, the limited state, representative government and the idea of liberty.”

The English-speaking places and not “the West” form their own natural states and cultures whether it be called a civilization or not. It seems really a great, motley, mutated tribe which can find its collective beginnings in myth and antiquity in the reign of Earth Mother prehistory (See Robert Graves, The White Goddess).

World War II proved to us that we would at last rescue in the nick of time the English speakers, Australia and England. The portal opened and the walls between us fell then and the Beatles could thereafter pour down the plane at JFK without interference as no others outside our borders could. With Churchill and John Lennon we united with our psychic ancestor with whom we had divided at the Revolution.

John Browne, Senior Economic Consultant to Euro Pacific Capital Inc, a former advisor to Margaret Thatcher and of the old school, recently made a good recollection on Cavuto. Should England just leave the Euro zone and team up with America, asked Cavuto? It has long been moving in that direction, said Browne. In the Johnson administration he said it was suggested that the British Isles join America as four states.

Something culturally akin to that might be looked at now as Scotland desires to separate. A problem with this desire for separation and that sought by Vermont and Texas as well is, where you gonna go? Autonomy is the real issue and it is a healthy desire. But we are in our realm together and apart by degree and that is as it should be. A looser arrangement of states and regions in an Anglosphere might be considered in all of the places where we share the same language and cousins and folk tales, ritual holidays and bedtime stories for our children.

England is our old mother; an old dream of Mrs. Brown. Adele, Chef Ramsey, McCartney, Dr. Who, Frodo, Harry, Professor McGonagall, Downton Abbey and even William and Catherine, who visit occasionally and feel at home here, seem to bring us incrementally closer. Anglosphere is our natural path, the Tao of the English-speaking people, and we will get there over time whether we chose to go there or not. We are already there.

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