Daniel Hannan on Forging Anglosphere Identity

Hannan explains how the American Founding Fathers did not simply create these rights and values out of thin air, but rather they were taking on over 1000 years of Anglo-Saxon legal and cultural history of Common Law that is currently enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

By Taylor Rose l November 5, 2014

Hannan is in demand as a speaker throughout the Anglosphere

Across Europe and much of the industrialized world, in a growing reaction to globalization and socialism, many nations are beginning to question the current state of their historical identity and their future direction. With nations such as France, Greece and Hungary vibrantly moving toward nationalist and crypto-fascist identities that will begin to shape continental Europe’s future in the 21st Century, the gigantic unknown region of Western Civilization that has not yet dealt so seriously with this identity question are the Anglosphere nations, most specifically the United States.

British Conservative Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Daniel Hannan, who pens a blog for the Daily Telegraph and is the author of the bestselling book Inventing Freedom, spoke exclusively with the Selous Foundation’s SFPPR News & Analysis on the question of American identity in the Anglosphere.

Historically, the great victory of the American Revolution was the preservation of our liberties and political sovereignty. However, the unfortunate and unintentional consequence was the gradual loss of our once-British identity along with our nexus to British history that have defined our nation’s purpose and identity in the world.

Hannan points out how, for example, the “Paul Revere story is mishistory.” Revere did not shout that the “British are coming,” but rather “the Redcoats are coming.” In this small but significant historical moment, it is revealed just how powerful anti-British historical revisionism was in the early United States. Hannan states that the “whole population [of America] was British” as in “the Revolutionary era very few would have thought of Americans and the British as two different entities.”

The point being that historically, America and Britain are cousins, separated by an ocean and small cultural differences. Furthermore, it is significant, herein, that American identity should not be solely viewed in simply constitutionalist terms, but rather that America should view itself as a part of a greater family.

Hannan explains how the American Founding Fathers did not simply create these constitutional rights and values out of thin air, but rather they were taking on over 1000 years of Anglo-Saxon legal and cultural history of Common Law that is currently enshrined in the Bill of Rights. To a certain degree there is nothing unique about the U.S. Constitution, other than its longevity, as the Founders were simply “fighting for their rights as Englishmen.”

On an international scale, Hannan says that a key example of this “Anglosphere identity” that ties America to the rest of the English speaking world “is enshrined into common fights we fight,” where the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand are allied and therefore on the same side “to exalt the individual above the state.”

In terms of working to establish this Anglosphere identity on the macro-level, Hannan believes that Anglosphere nations should be gradually and voluntarily drawing closer together. He rejects the notion of any formalized integration between our nations citing his “time in the EU parliament has put me off from formalities of integration and currency unions.”

Rather than an EU style union, Hannan believes the Anglosphere should exist as “a devolved network united by values, not by authority.” The only serious formalities of integration should come though military coordination, which the Anglosphere already has as a “military component through alliances.”

From an economic perspective, Hannan wants the English-speaking nations to “strive to have a pan-Anglo free trade area” that can work with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Ideally Hannan would like to see global free trade agreements with nations, including the EU, but given the various protectionist interest groups, “it remains to be seen” whether or not this can be applied to the EU.

Translating the principles of this identity down to national politics is another matter, however. Hannan notes how “pure unadulterated libertarianism has never won an election” and that “it will only succeed as a part of a broader coalition, where we can achieve great victories in cutting government and promoting liberty.”

Hannan recommends to individuals inside the ‘liberty movements’ that it is high time they “do not spend all [their] time arguing about drugs and pornography” and instead “talk about budget cuts, welfare reform.”

Unlike continental Europe, which often has a history of tyrannical, collectivized authoritarian systems that impose the will of the state on the individual, the Anglosphere has a history of doing the exact opposite.

Hence, in a Western world where today the bulk of right-wing movements are embodying collectivist principles and synthesizing nationalism with economic socialism, Anglosphere identity will need to organically grow in a decentralized manner that is reflective of each nation’s unique historical experience. Any attempt to force an integration of Anglosphere nations will not only fail to produce greater unity, but ultimately will result in a great betrayal of Anglosphere historical values of freedom of association.

Taylor Rose is a graduate of Liberty University with a B.A. in International Relations from the Helms School of Government. Fluent in English and German he has worked and studied throughout Europe specializing in American and European politics. He is a prolific writer and author of the book Return of the Right an analysis on the revival of Conservatism in the United States and Europe. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.