Detail of Stand With Brittania poster, 1918

There are few words which are used more loosely than the word “Civilization.” What does it mean? It means a society based upon the opinion of civilians. It means that violence, the rule of warriors and despotic chiefs, the conditions of camps and warfare, of riot and tyranny, give place to parliaments where laws are made, and independent courts of justice in which over long periods those laws are maintained. That is Civilization—and in its soil grow continually freedom, comfort, and culture. When Civilization reigns, in any country, a wider and less harassed life is afforded to the masses of the people. The traditions of the past are cherished, and the inheritance bequeathed to us by former wise or valiant men becomes a rich estate to be enjoyed and used by all.
—Winston Churchill, 1938

The liberty, the unalienable, indefeasible rights of men, the honor and dignity of human nature, the grandeur and glory of the public, and the universal happiness of individuals, were never so skillfully and successfully consulted as in that most excellent monument of human art, the common law of England.
—John Adams, 1763

When I was four years old, a mob attacked our family farm. There was a back entrance, a footpath into the hills, and my mother led me there by the hand. “We’re going to play a game,” she told me. “If we have to come this way again, we must do it without making a sound.”

He sat in his dressing-gown, loading his revolver with paper-thin hands.

My father was having none of it. He had a duty to the farm workers, he said, and wasn’t going to be driven off his own land by hooligans bussed in from the city.

He was suffering, I remember, from one of those diseases that periodically afflict white men in the tropics, and he sat in his dressing-gown, loading his revolver with paper-thin hands.

This was the Peru of General Velasco, whose putsch in 1968 had thrown the country into a state of squalor from which it has only recently recovered. Having nationalized the main industries, Velasco decreed a program of land reform under which farms were broken up and given to his military cronies.

As invariably happens when governments plunder their citizens, groups of agitators decided to take the law into their own hands. It was the same story as in the Spanish Second Republic, or Allende’s Chile: The police, seeing which way the wind was blowing, were reluctant to protect property.

Knowing that no help would come from the authorities, my father and two security guards dispersed the gang with shots as they attempted to burn down the front gates. The danger passed.

Not everyone was so lucky. There were land-invasions and confiscations all over the country. The mines and fishing fleets were seized. Foreign investment fled and companies repatriated their employees. The large Anglo-Peruvian community into which I had been born all but disappeared.

Only many years later did it strike me that no one had been especially surprised. There was a weary acceptance that, in South America, property was insecure, the rule of law fragile, and civil government contingent. What you owned might at any moment be snatched away, either with or without official sanction. Regimes came and went, and constitutions were ephemeral.

At the same time it was assumed, by South Americans as well as by expatriates, that such things didn’t happen in the English-speaking world. As I grew up, attending boarding school in the United Kingdom but returning to Peru for most of my vacations, I began to wonder at the contrast.

Peru, after all, was on paper a Western country. Its civilization was Christian. Its founders had thought of themselves as children of the Enlightenment, and had been strongly committed to reason, science, democracy, and civil rights.

Yet Peru—indeed, Latin America in general—never achieved the law-based civil society that North America takes for granted. Settled at around the same time, the two great landmasses of the New World serve almost as a controlled experiment. The north was settled by English-speakers, who took with them a belief in property rights, personal liberty, and representative government. The south was settled by Iberians who replicated vast estates and quasi-feudal society of their home provinces. Despite being the poorer continent in natural resources, North America became the most desirable living-space on the planet, attracting hundreds of millions of people with the promise of freedom. South America, by contrast, remained closer to the state of nature which the great philosopher Thomas Hobbes saw as the terrifying prelude to civil government. Legitimacy was never far removed from raw physical power, whether in the form of control of the mob or control of the armed forces.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this distinction reflects a difference between the two ancestral cultures. Please don’t get me wrong. I am a convinced Hispanophile. I love Spanish literature and history, theater and music. I have spent happy times in every Ibero-American state, as well as in sixteen of Spain’s seventeen regions. I like the Hispanosphere precisely as it is.

It’s simply that, the more I have traveled there, physically and intellectually, the harder it is to sustain the idea that the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds are two manifestations of a common Western civilization.

What, after all, do we mean by Western civilization? What was Churchill driving at in his definition, quoted above? There are three irreducible elements. First, the rule of law. The government of the day doesn’t get to set the rules. Those rules exist on a higher plane, and are interpreted by independent magistrates. The law, in other words, is not an instrument of state control, but a mechanism open to any individual seeking redress.

Second, personal liberty: freedom to say what you like, to assemble in any configuration you choose with your fellow citizens, to buy and sell without hindrance, to dispose as you wish of your assets, to work for whom you please and, conversely, to hire and fire as you will.

Third, representative government. Laws should not be passed, nor taxes levied, except by elected legislators who are answerable to the rest of us.

Now ask yourself how many countries that are habitually labeled Western have consistently applied those ideals over, say, the past century. How many have an unshakeable commitment to them even today?

That question began to nag at me insistently after I was elected to the European Parliament in 1999. The E.U. is based on the premise that its twenty-seven member states share a common civilization. While their cultures might diverge at the margins, the theory goes, all sign up to the shared liberal democratic values of the West.

The reality is different. The three precepts which define Western civilization—the rule of law, democratic government, and individual liberty—are not equally valued across Europe. When they act collectively, the member states of the E.U. are quite ready to subordinate all three to political imperatives.

The rule of law is regularly set aside when it stands in the way of what Brussels élites want. To cite only the most recent example, the eurozone bailouts were patently illegal. Article 125 of the E.U. Treaty is unequivocal:

The Union shall not be liable for, or assume the commitments of, central governments, regional, local, or other public authorities, other bodies governed by public law, or public undertakings of any Member State.

This clause was no mere technicality. It was on the basis of its promise that the Germans agreed to join the euro in the first place. As Angela Merkel put it: “We have a Treaty under which there is no possibility of paying to bail out states.”

Yet, as soon as it became clear that the euro wouldn’t survive without cash transfusions, the dots and commas of the treaties were set aside. Christine Lagarde, then the French finance minister and now the Director of the IMF, boasted about what had happened: “We violated all the rules because we wanted to close ranks and really rescue the eurozone. The Treaty of Lisbon was very straightforward. No bailouts.”

“The American,” he wrote, “is the Englishman left to himself.”

To British eyes, the whole process seemed bizarre. Rules had been drawn up in the clearest language that lawyers could devise. Yet, the moment they became inconvenient, they were ignored. When the English-language press said so, though, it was mocked for its insular, Anglo-Saxon literal-mindedness. Everyone else could see that, as a Portuguese MEP put it to me, “the facts matter more than the legislation.”

Democracy, too, is regarded as a means to an end—desirable enough, but only up to a point. The European Constitution, later renamed the Lisbon Treaty, was repeatedly rejected in national referendums: by 55 percent of French voters and 62 percent of Dutch voters in 2005, and by 53 percent of Irish voters in 2008. The E.U.’s response was to swat the results aside and impose the treaty anyway. Again, to complain was simply to demonstrate that English-speakers didn’t understand Europe.

As for the idea that the individual should be as free as possible from state coercion, this is regarded as the ultimate Anglophone fetish. Whenever the E.U. extends its jurisdiction into a new field—decreeing what vitamins we can buy, how much capital banks must hold, what hours we may work, how herbal remedies are to be regulated—I ask what specific problem the new rules are needed to solve. The response is always the same: “But the old system was unregulated!” The idea that absence of regulation might be a natural state of affairs is seen as preposterous. In Continental usage, “unregulated” and “illegal” are much closer concepts than in places where lawmaking happens in English.

These places are generally lumped together, in Euro-speak, as “the Anglo-Saxon world.” The appellation is not ethnic, but cultural. When the French talk of “les anglo-saxons” or the Spanish of “los anglosajones,” they don’t mean descendants of Cerdic and Oswine and Æthelstan. They mean people who speak English and believe in small government, whether in San Francisco, Sligo, or Singapore.

It may come as a surprise to some American readers to learn that, in the eyes of many Continental European commentators, they and the British and the Australians and others form part of a continuous “Anglo-Saxon” civilization, whose chief characteristic is a commitment to free markets. American friends, in my experience, often bracket the United Kingdom with the rest of Europe, and emphasize the exceptionalism of their own story. Yet, as we shall see, very few foreigners think of them that way. Alexis de Tocqueville, who visited the United States in the early 1830s, is often quoted as a witness to that country’s uniqueness. Quoted, but evidently not widely read since, on the very first page of Democracy in America, he anticipates one of that book’s main themes, namely the idea that English-speakers carried a unique political culture with them to the New World and developed it there in ways far removed from what happened in French and Spanish America. “The American,” he wrote, “is the Englishman left to himself.”

Three times in the past hundred years, the free world has defended its values in global conflicts. In the two world wars and in the Cold War, countries that elevated the individual over the state contended against countries that did the opposite. How many nations were consistently on the side of liberty in those three conflicts? The list is a short one, but it includes most of the English-speaking democracies.

You might argue, of course, that this line-up simply reflects ethnic and linguistic kinship. Because the United Kingdom was at war, English-speakers around the world sympathized with the mother country. This is undeniably part of the explanation. I still become emotional when I recall the words spoken from his hospital bed by New Zealand’s Labor Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage, a few hours after Britain’s declaration of war on September 3, 1939: “With gratitude for the past and confidence in the future, we range ourselves without fear beside Britain. Where she goes, we go. Where she stands, we stand.”

Yet this is not the whole story. Look at the size of the war memorials outside Europe. Consider the sheer number of volunteers. During the Second World War, 215,000 men served from New Zealand, 410,000 from South Africa, 995,000 from Australia, 1,060,000 from Canada, 2,400,000 from India. The vast majority had made an individual decision to enlist.

What force pulled those young men, as it had pulled their fathers, half way around the world to fight for a country on which, in most cases, they had never set eyes? Was it simply an affinity of blood and speech? Were the two world wars nothing more than racial conflicts, larger versions of the break-up of Yugoslavia or the Hutu-Tutsi massacres?

Not according to the governments who called for volunteers, nor to the men who answered that call. Soldiers are rarely given to sentimentality but, in the diaries and letters of the men who served in uniform, we find a clear conviction that they were defending a way of life—a better way than the enemy’s. In both world wars, they believed that they were, in the slogan of the time, fighting for freedom.

Here is the radical newspaper, The West Indian, in 1915:

West Indians, most of whom are descendants of slaves, are fighting for human liberty together with the immediate sons of the Motherland.

Here is Havildar Hirram Singh writing to his family in India from the sodden trenches of northern France in the same year:

We must honor him who gives us our salt. Our dear government’s rule is very good and gracious.

Here is a Maori leader in 1918, recalling the fate of native peoples in German colonies:

We know of the Samoans, our kin. We know of the Eastern and Western natives of German Africa. We know of the extermination of the Hereros, and that is enough for us. For seventy-eight years we have been, not under the rule of the British, but taking part in the ruling of ourselves, and we know by experience that the foundations of British sovereignty are based upon the eternal principles of liberty, equity and justice.

We can easily slip into thinking that the values now prevalent in the world, the values we call Western, were somehow bound to triumph in the end. But there was nothing inevitable about their victory. Had the Second World War ended differently, liberty might have been beaten back to North America. Had the Cold War gone the other way, it could have been extirpated altogether. The triumph of the West was, in practical terms, a series of military successes by the English-speaking peoples.

It is, of course, undiplomatic to say so, which is why writers and politicians are so much more comfortable using the term “Western” than “Anglosphere.” But what do we mean by Western? During the Second World War, the designation was used to mean the countries attacking Nazi Germany from that direction. Through the long decades of the Cold War, it meant members of NATO and their allies on other continents.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new definition quickly became current. In a lecture in 1992, later turned into an essay and then a book, Samuel Huntington divided the world into broad cultural spheres. He entitled his thesis The Clash of Civilizations, and forecast (incorrectly, so far) that conflicts would increasingly take place between rather than within these spheres. Huntington looked for the origins of the West in the division between Latin and Greek branches of the Christian Church, a division which became a formal schism in 1054. The West, by this demarcation, is made up of those European nations which are predominantly Catholic or Protestant rather than Orthodox in their culture, plus the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Such a definition correlates fairly closely with Western military structures. Yet these structures, in their present form, are recent. Several countries now in NATO were, within living memory, allied to Hitler or Stalin or both. Indeed, outside the Anglophone world, the list of states with more-or-less continuous histories of representative government and freedom under the law is shorter than anyone likes to admit: Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries.

As Mark Steyn has put it, penetratingly if indelicately:

Continental Europe has given us plenty of nice paintings and agreeable symphonies, French wine and Italian actresses and whatnot, but, for all our fetishization of multiculturalism, you can’t help noticing that when it comes to the notion of a political West—one with a sustained commitment to liberty and democracy—the historical record looks a lot more unicultural and, indeed (given that most of these liberal democracies other than America share the same head of state), uniregal. The entire political class of Portugal, Spain, and Greece spent their childhoods living under dictatorships. So did Jacques Chirac and Angela Merkel. We forget how rare on this earth is peaceful constitutional evolution, and rarer still outside the Anglosphere.

Ideological borders move more swiftly than physical ones. A wave of European states embraced Western values after 1945, and another wave after 1989. But when we use “Western values” in this context, we’re being polite. What we really mean is that these countries have adopted the characteristic features of the Anglo-American political system.

Elected parliaments, habeas corpus, free contract, equality before the law, open markets, an unrestricted press, the right to proselytize for any religion, jury trials: These things are not somehow the natural condition of an advanced society. They are specific products of a political ideology developed in the language in which you are reading these words. The fact that those ideas, and that language, have become so widespread can make us lose sight of how exceptional they were in origin.

The rule of law is rarer than we sometimes realize. Oppression and arbitrary power are far more usual.

Let me make a sartorial analogy. H. G. Wells once observed that the English were unique among the nations of the world in having no national dress. He was wrong—and wrong in a telling way. The national dress of the English—a suit and tie—has ceased to seem English, because it is worn all over the planet. On formal occasions, men in most countries dress as Englishmen; the rest of the time, they dress, for the most part, as Americans, in jeans.

There are a few redoubts, of course. You occasionally see Bavarian men in leather shorts alongside women in dirndls. Some Arabs have kept their robes and headscarves. But, by and large, the Anglosphere has lost its distinctive apparel. Such was the power of the industrial revolution—which was, before anything, a revolution in textiles—that, during the twentieth century, the English-speaking peoples clothed the world in their image—and, in doing so, forgot that the global costume was really theirs.

It is natural, when we think of a country, to focus on the things that make it different rather than the things that it has exported successfully. When people are asked to name a British food, they will be likelier to say “steak-and-kidney pie” than “a sandwich.” When asked to name an English sport, they will pick cricket rather than football. And so it is with values. Asked what the identifying features of the U.K. political system are, foreigners and Britons alike will often point to the monarchy, the House of Lords, the maces and horsehair wigs and other trappings of parliamentary procedure. Asked the same question about the United States, they will talk of the exorbitant cost of campaigns, the insidious corporate donations, the vicious attack ads. In neither case are they likely to identify the truly extraordinary feature, namely that the lawmakers are answerable to everyone else, and that governments change peacefully as a result of popular votes.

The rule of law is rarer than we sometimes realize. Oppression and arbitrary power are far more usual. Man is a competitive creature, domineering and rapacious when the circumstances are right. Politically, a medieval European monarchy would not have been so very different to a modern African kleptocracy. Once people are in a position to set the rules, they tend to rig those rules in their own favor. Obedient to the promptings of their genome, they design the system so that their descendants, too, will enjoy an advantage over everyone else. Arbitrary power, hereditary status, the systematic looting of resources by the ruling caste: These things were once near-universal, and are still the norm for most human beings. The real question is not whether liberal democracy was always destined to succeed, but how it managed to get off the ground at all.

We are still experiencing the after-effects of an astonishing event. The inhabitants of a damp island at the western tip of the Eurasian landmass stumbled upon the idea that the government ought to be subject to the law, not the other way around. The rule of law created security of property and contract which, in turn, led to industrialization and modern capitalism. For the first time in the history of the species, a system grew up which, on the whole, rewarded production better than predation. That system proved to be highly adaptable. It was taken across the oceans by English-speakers, sometimes imposed by colonial administrators, sometimes carried by patriotic settlers. In the old courthouse in Philadelphia, it was distilled into its purest and most sublime form as the U.S. Constitution.

So successful was the model that almost every state in the world now copies at least its trappings. Even the most brutal dictatorships generally have things called congresses, whose nervous delegates, anticipating the wishes of the autocrat, group themselves into blocs called political parties. Even the nastiest despotisms have institutions called supreme courts which, on paper, are something other than an instrument of the regime. But meaningful political freedom—freedom under the rule of law in a representative democracy—remains an unusual phenomenon. We make a mistake when we assume that it will necessarily outlast the hegemony of the English-speaking peoples.

This is the story of freedom—which is to say, the story of the Anglosphere. I realize that this statement might strike some readers as smug, triumphalist, even racist. But it is none of those things. From the first, the Anglosphere was a civil rather than an ethnic concept: That was a large part of its strength. While a few Victorian writers tried to explain the success of the English-speaking peoples in racial terms, their arguments were controversial even at the time and are untenable today. The reason that a child of Greek parents in Melbourne is wealthier and freer than his cousin in Mytilene has nothing to do with race and everything to do with political structures.

As Marxism, anti-colonialism, and multiculturalism came into vogue, historiography altered.

Part of the problem lies with the vagueness of the terminology. “Anglosphere” is a word of recent coinage, first used in a Neal Stephenson’s 1995 science fiction novel, The Diamond Age. It spread rapidly into our political and cultural vocabulary because it described something for which a word was needed, namely the community of free English-speaking nations. The Oxford English Dictionary defines Anglosphere as “the group of countries where English is the main native language,” but the man who popularized the concept, the American writer James C. Bennett, is more exacting in his criteria:

To be part of the Anglosphere requires adherence to the fundamental customs and values that form the core of English-speaking cultures. These include individualism, the rule of law, honoring contracts and covenants, and the elevation of freedom to the first rank of political and cultural values. Nations comprising the Anglosphere share a common historical narrative in which the Magna Carta, the English and American Bills of Rights, and such Common Law principles as trial by jury, presumption of innocence, and “a man’s home is his castle” are taken for granted.

Which nations? All definitions include five core countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Almost all count Ireland (with its special circumstances). Most also take in Singapore, Hong Kong, and what’s left of Britain’s colonial archipelago (Bermuda, the Falkland Islands, and so on). Some also encompass the more democratic Caribbean states, and some embrace South Africa. The elephant—for once the metaphor seems entirely apt—is India which, if included, would constitute two-thirds of the Anglosphere’s population.

It was once uncontroversial to see the spread of liberty as being bound up with the rise of the Anglosphere. After the Reformation, many English-speakers saw the ascendancy of their civilization as providential. Theirs was the new Israel, a chosen nation, appointed by God to carry freedom across the world. The opening lines of “Rule, Britannia!” that hymn to British liberty, are so often belted out that we rarely stop to listen: “When Britain first at Heaven’s command arose from out the azure main . . . ” The same conviction, in an even more intense form, motivated the first Americans.

The religious impulse faded with the years, but the belief in destiny did not. British and American historians pointed to a series of events which had brought their ancestors ineluctably toward modernity and greatness: the establishment of the common law, Magna Carta, the Grand Remonstrance, the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, the scientific revolution, the abolition of slavery.

During the twentieth century, such flag-waving views of the past became unfashionable. As Marxism, anti-colonialism, and multiculturalism came into vogue, historiography altered. The writers who had celebrated the great political milestones of Anglo-American history were charged with having been complacent, culturally arrogant and, worst of all, anachronistic.

Their error, it was said, had lain in seeing a pattern in events that would have been invisible to participants. The patriotic historians, argued critics, had tended to see major historical crises as steps toward the apex of human civilization—a golden age which they conveniently situated in their own lifetimes.

In 1931, a Cambridge professor called Herbert Butterfield published The Whig Interpretation of History, perhaps the single most influential work of historiography ever written. Whig historians, he argued, made the mistake of seeing past events teleologically—that is, as movements towards a fixed destination. In fact, the actors in those events often had very different motives to those of their modern cheerleaders. Teleological history led writers into the folly of dividing historical figures into good guys (those who supported Whig and liberal policies, such as a wider franchise and the spread of civil rights) and bad guys (those who resisted progress). As Butterfield put it: “The study of the past with one eye upon the present is the source of all sins and sophistries in history. It is the essence of what we mean by the word ‘unhistorical.’ ”

Many of Butterfield’s criticisms hit home, and his book changed forever the way in which history was written in English. Historians began to grasp, for example, that the opponents of royal power were often, in their own eyes, not progressives but conservatives, defending what they believed to be an ancient constitution against a modernizing Court.

Yet the weaknesses of Whig history should not detract from its verities. The events which the Whig historians freighted with importance—Magna Carta, the Reformation, the Petition of Right, the Philadelphia Convention—were seen in much the same light by contemporaries. And while it may be anachronistic to label dead men as good or bad on the basis of how closely their views resemble a later generation’s, it is also impossible to write meaningful history without value judgments.

The Whig historians glimpsed important truths. Modern research tends to sustain their view that constitutional liberty has its roots in pre-Norman England. The exceptionalism which they took for granted, and from which most twentieth-century historians flinched for fear of being thought supremacist or racist, turns out to be real enough. It is even possible to discern, as they did, two enduring factions within the English-speaking peoples, one committed to the values which underpinned that exceptionalism, and one hankering after the more statist models favored in the rest of the world. To label these factions “Whig” and “Tory” is, without question, anachronistic; yet it is also an invaluable shorthand.

The categorization, after all, was not an invention of the Whig historians. It was understood by many of the key agents of the events they described. Thomas Jefferson explained it in characteristically partisan terms:

The division into Whig and Tory is founded in the nature of man; the weakly and nerveless, the rich and the corrupt, seeing more safety and accessibility in a strong executive; the healthy, firm, and virtuous, feeling confidence in their physical and moral resources, and willing to part with only so much power as is necessary for their good government; and, therefore, to retain the rest in the hands of the many, the division will substantially be into Whig and Tory.

Being a Whig, for Jefferson and his followers, didn’t simply mean a general affinity with manliness, independence, and republican virtue. It was a specific identification with an ancient English cause. One popular pamphlet published in 1775 defined the Patriots’ creed as resting on “the principles of Whigs before the Revolution [i.e. the Glorious Revolution of 1688] and at the time of it.”

If we want to understand why the Anglosphere hegemony is failing, we need look no further.

What were these principles? The pamphleteer listed them concisely. Lawmakers should be directly accountable through the ballot box; the executive should be controlled by the legislature; taxes should not be levied, nor laws passed, without popular consent; the individual should be free from arbitrary punishment or confiscation; decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people they affected; power should be dispersed; no one, not even the head of state, should be above the law; property rights should be secure; disputes arbitrated by independent magistrates; freedom of speech, religion, and assembly guaranteed.

There is a reason that supporters of these precepts, both in Britain and in America, called themselves “Patriots.” They could see something that later generations affected not to see: that the liberties they valued were largely confined to the English-speaking world; and that their domestic opponents wanted to bring their political system into line with more autocratic foreign models.

The tragedy of our age is that those domestic opponents are succeeding. Having developed and exported the most successful system of government known to the human race, the English-speaking peoples are tiptoeing away from their own creation.

Britain’s intellectual elites see Anglosphere values as an impediment to assimilation into a European polity. Their equivalents in Australia see them as a distraction from their country’s supposed Asian destiny. In the United States, especially under the present administration, Anglosphere identity is seen as a colonial hangover, the patrimony of dead white European males. In every English-speaking country, a multiculturalist establishment hangs back from teaching children that they are heirs to a unique political heritage.

Consequently, in most Anglosphere states, the “principles of the Whigs before the Revolution,” are being slowly abandoned. Laws are now regularly made without parliamentary approval, taking the form of executive decrees. Taxes are levied without popular consent, as during the bank bailouts. Power is shifting from local, provincial, or state level to national capitals, and from elected representatives to standing bureaucracies. State spending has grown to a level which earlier Anglosphere populations would have regarded as a cause for popular revolt. If we want to understand why the Anglosphere hegemony is failing, we need look no further.

The owl of Minerva, wrote Hegel, spreads its wings only with the gathering of the dusk. As the sun sets on the Anglosphere imperium, we understand with sudden clarity what it is that we stand to lose. What raised the English-speaking peoples to greatness was not a magical property in their DNA, nor a special richness in their soil, nor yet an advantage in military technology, but their political and legal institutions.

The happiness of the human race depends, more than anyone likes to admit, on the survival and success of those institutions. As a devolved network of allied nations, the Anglosphere might yet exert its benign pull on the rest of this century. Without that pull, the future looks altogether grayer and colder.

Editor’s note: This essay is drawn from the forthcoming book Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World by Daniel Hannan. Copyright © 2013 by Daniel Hannan. To be published on November 19, 2013 by Broadside, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.