The Anglosphere Institute: ‘not racist but…’

‘ The Anglosphere is not a racial, ethnic or religious concept.’
The Anglosphere Institute

Variations on ‘we’re not racist but…’ tend to give away the protestor’s underlying tendencies and the Anglosphere Institute’s variation on the theme is no different. It shows an awareness that the Anglosphere is seen, or is likely to be seen, as a racist concept… something today’s Conservatives are anxious to deny.

So what could give anyone such an impression? The institute defines the Anglosphere as an emerging branch of civilisation that embodies the values of the English speaking nations at its core: ‘individualism, rule of law, honoring contracts and covenants, and the elevation of freedom to the first rank of political and cultural values.’

I bet they’re gutted the French got to ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ first. And it’s hard to believe they count English speaking countries like Zimbabwe, say, or Nigeria, among their nations to admire. Anglospherists conveniently forget that English was spread throughout the world by conquest and brutal colonialism. In further defending itself against the racist charge, the institute claims the Anglosphere is strengthened by assimilated immigrants and cites Colin Powell; ‘the first American Secretary of State for generations to have relatives in London, owing to his Caribbean ancestry’. Jamaica is a predominately black, English speaking nation today because Europeans wiped out the indigenous population and the British imported huge numbers of slaves.

Nevertheless, the Anglosphere is an idea that’s catching on among leading Tory bloggers like Iain Dale, who I’m sure would earnestly deny the racist charge. But looking in from the outside, it’s clear the Anglosphere is there to provide pseudo-intellectual cover for the usual Tory prejudices (it’s being anti-EU too, must be quite a boon) and those signing up to it should more carefully consider why those denials of racism are so necessary.

15 thoughts on “The Anglosphere Institute: ‘not racist but…’

  1. What a pathetic waste of a blog post. Seeing as the West Indies and India are considered to be part of the Anglosphere you’d have a hard job of making the racist charge stick. Why can you not see beyond your left wing prejudiced blinkers. The English speaking nations have a lot of values which the west of the world would do well to learn from. No one is saying the same isn’t true of other countries too, but there are certain things which bind the English speaking peoples together, not least our shared history.

  2. While it’s true that the countries within the Anglosphere do have many positive values, the Anglosphere Institute has failed to identify those that have clearly emerged from an English speaking culture: the values it describes are just as likely to be present in other European cultures and elsewhere.

    Furthermore, ideas of freedom, rule of law, even individualism are more correctly described as emerging from a European tradition that includes the UK, USA and the former colonies. The English language is clearly not the common denominator.

  3. The biggest part of the Anglosphere is India. An English speaking democracy.

    Doh.

  4. The Anglosphere: two ‘node’ countries – the United Kingdom and the United States – and five ‘outliers’: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa.
    I think it’s fair to interpret Anglospherists pointing to India and West Indies as the ‘I have some black friends’ defence; a defence left all the weaker given that the Anglosphere Institute is a club for people who don’t like continental Europeans.

    Interestingly, Wikipedia gives the Anglosphere Institute as the source of the map above. Here the Anglosphere is defined as consisting of two ‘node’ countries – the United Kingdom and the United States – and five ‘outliers’: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa.

    It is based on this pamphlet: The Anglosphere Primer: part 1 which does include the ‘educated English-speaking populations of the Caribbean, Oceania, Africa and India’ but makes clear they are third class Anglospherists.

  5. You’ve completely misunderstood this concept (don’t worry, you’re not the only one).

    The idea of the “Anglosphere” is a far more complex phenomenon than simply those people that speak English. I suggest you devote some time to understanding this area fully before branding it as racist – that much favoured tool of the left!

    Incidentally, you may need to expand your horizons past Wikipedia to do this.

    Kind Regards,

    Adam Smith

  6. I have, hence my feeling the need to correct you.

    I challenge you to substantiate your claim of apparent racism with hard facts?

    You are guilty of a typical leftist crime; briefly skipping over sections of a document you are deliberately seeking to disagree with from the off and branding it as “racist”.

    I suspect the real reason for your short sighted comments is in fact “the values of English speaking nations” in itself. It must be quite enraging to have your dream of a peasant state crushed by the superior ideals (and reality) of individualism (did I ever tell you about my invisible hand?)? The absence of any real leftist counter-argument to these statements very often results in outlandish claims of racism and xenophobia – it’s very sad.

    As a side, I notice you placed my name in quotations – - I have actually been courteous enough to use my real name.

    Have a nice evening,

    Adam

  7. Interesting. Given that your name really is Adam Smith, you will indeed have to tell me about your invisible hand. I had assumed you were taking the name of a hero (I admire Adam Smith the famous economist, by the way), but I won’t apologise as you are guilty of assuming a great deal about the level of my reading around the Anglosphere Institute.

    But hey, let’s not get too ill tempered this early in our exchange!

    I have no recollection of dreaming of peasant states crushed by superior ideals and so don’t really know what you’re on about, but I’ll try to respond.

    It’s important to note that many values the institute claims for the Anglosphere are clearly European in origin, some dating back to the Ancient Greeks and many idealised by the French revolution. For example, Plato claims Socrates spurned the opportunity to escape the death sentence because his belief in the rule of law was so strong.

    So the Anglosphere Institute’s claim that ‘the English-speaking nations have not only formed a distinct branch of Western civilization for most of history, they are now becoming a distinct civilization in their own right’ simply doesn’t hold water. It is built on a myth.

    But let’s not deny that English speaking nations have contributed a great deal to western civilisation. It’s all gone into a great big melting pot along with the contributions of other western nations (and a lot of spice from other cultures).

    That Anglosphere myth, as clearly stated above, is the moral superiority of a culture the key defining feature of which is the English language. The Anglosphere Institute pamphlet we have both read is clear. Britain and the USA sit at the top, with Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa second division ‘outliers’ and the ‘educated English-speaking populations of the Caribbean, Oceania, Africa and India’ in division three.

    So an uneducated Brit is in the premiership by birthright alone, while an Indian has to work for a place in a lower league from which they can never be promoted.

  8. Hi there,

    Hope you had a nice weekend?…

    My bone of contention here is not whether you agree with the Institutes literature (that’s up to you). It’s your outrageous claim that they’re racist, something which you fail to provide adequate justification for in all your replies.

    …still waiting – support your headline!

    For someone that “admires” Adam Smith, I’m rather amazed you’re not familiar with my invisible hand?

    Adam

  9. Hi Adam
    You’ve been so quiet; I thought you’d died on me.

    With regard to the invisible hand, you need to decide if you’re commenting (albeit rather unconvincingly) in the voice of the famous economist (as you attempt here) or as someone who merely shares his name (as you do at comment seven).

    On the Anglosphere Institute, I find repeating myself tiresome and boring. Instead I’ll refer you to the replies given above, especially the comment which concludes ‘an uneducated Brit is in the premiership by birthright alone, while an Indian has to work for a place in a lower league from which they can never be promoted’.

  10. You’re right (or is that left?) – we’re going to end up flying round in circles.

    I think you’ve spectacularly missed the point and are looking for racism where none exists.

    And you probably think I’m defending the indefensible (but hopefully not a full-blown racist!)

    Let’s call it a night and agree to disagree!

    Adam

  11. Okay. You run along now. But your claim to have defended the Anglosphere Institute is rather grand.

    You have merely asserted (without the slightest attempt at substantiation) that dividing the world into various divisions et cetera isn’t racist. I don’t think that qualifies as a defence.

  12. I’ve never claimed to have defended it – you must have dreamt that?

    (Of course, I’m flattered you’ve been dreaming about me)

    At a broader level, I totally disagree that dividing nations into divisions/categories is “racist”. Following your oddball logic, I assume referring to India as “third world” or “developing” is also racist? Of course it isn’t…

    None of the literature I’ve read divides the world into categories of “moral supremacy” by race – as you argue above. It does, however, divide the world into sections depending on their adherence to Anglospheric values. Nowhere does it say they’re “third class” nor have no hope in becoming dense “Anglosphere nodes” – quite the opposite in fact.

    You’ve taken these divisions totally out of context.

    Does that make sense, or should I draw it in crayon for you?

    I suggest you re-read the literature and get back to me with what you think the Anglosphere is, I suspect your fundamental understanding of the topic is wrong, hence the racist claim.

    Also – could we view the EU in a similar “racist” way?

  13. Oh dear. While referring to a country as ‘developing’ isn’t racist, many people – especially those who work in the sector – will assume you to be racist if you refer to the ‘third world’.

    But let’s park that for a moment.

    And let’s remember that the values the Institute claims for the Anglosphere – democracy, rule of law – are not the English speaking word’s gifts to civilisation, but more easily traced back at least as far as the Ancient Greeks.

    What you call the Anglosphere is in large part a legacy of the British Empire. The empire was not democratic (one of the reasons the USA broke away), engaged in genocide (which is why Australia is predominately white) and was built on slavery (which is why the third division ‘Caribbean Anglosphere’ is predominantly black).

    You adopt the careful language of the Anglosphere Institute with its talk of dense nodes. By density, Anglospherists are referring to the level of acceptance of values they attribute to the first division mother countries.

    You suggest a country may hope to become a dense node. But Australia, for example, is a developed English speaking democracy and yet it will always be second division. Furthermore, Australia is called upon to ‘reject its “Asian identity” fallacy’. That is to more fully accept the USA and Britain’s leadership position.

    So this is a rather crude attempt at an imperialist revival and no more.

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