October 13, 2007
Barone on the Five Best
Michael Barone has written a column for the Wall Street Journal on the Five Best -- in this case, books on the shared heritage of Britain and America. Number four among them was The Anglosphere Challenge. He says this about it:
4. "The Anglosphere Challenge" by James C. Bennett (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).
James C. Bennett coined the term "Anglosphere" to describe countries where English is the native language or (as in India) serves as a lingua franca for the well educated. But language is not all that America, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other places have in common. Bennett argues that the peculiar island history of England produced a set of institutions that other advanced nations in Europe and Asia lacked--the common law, respect for private property, continuous representative government, a culture that nurtures civil society and entrepreneurial enterprise. It is thus no accident that the Anglosphere has excelled in innovation and economic growth and, Bennett believes, will continue to do so.
One minor correction: I din't coin the term Anglosphere; Neal Stephenson did in his novel The Diamond Age. However, in so far as I can tell,nobody else used the term in the six years between the publication of The Diamond Age and my first public use in January 2000, in Canada's National Post. Stephenson is the father of the term; I'm sort of the godfather.