October 14, 2006

Alternate history--The Burgundiosphere...

Via Tim Blair, a fine letter to Mark Steyn...

I am a Brit nearing 60 living happily in the U.S.A. these past few years. I have just read America Alone. The World as I knew it has already ended....

....I live in the South in modest circumstances. Each day God sends is a joy – I catch my breath at the politeness and gentility of everyday life, and the innate goodness of the people I have the good fortune to meet every time I go to the store or fill up with gas.

It’s the same thing in Australia – whenever I have had the privilege of visiting I have been struck by how much Australia has stuck to its values and continues to do so. The complete and utter absence of bullshit is exhilarating.

And as each day passes I realize with deep sorrow how much multiculturalism has damaged, and is close to destroying, my beloved old England. As you have mentioned before, "Fings ain’t wot they used ter be".

National pride hides in the closet in England. It is the love that dare not speak its name....

I've long suspected that the Anglosphere is the new "England." And that poor England itself is too far over the edge to pull back. (I would LOVE to be proved wrong on that!) A certain mysterious and palmary quality of Englishness has been passed on to many lands, with Australia and the USA currently showing the most of it. And India being a question mark of the most fascinating sort...

An interesting thing to ponder is, how much of this "Englishness" is racial/tribal/deep-cultural—I don't quite know what term I need. And how much was contingent on history. Especially on how Britain's being an island prevented the need to create an absolutist monarchy with a large standing army ready to fight the forces of Philip II or Louis XIV. One wonders if, had Burgundy or Bavaria been islands, they might have preserved more of the pluralism of the Middle Ages. Things like parliaments, boroughs, declarations of rights, perhaps a system of slowly-evolving law with a fairly independent judiciary...Might we now be saying that those places settled by Burgundians have a special flavor of freedom, moderation and free enterprise?

One interesting oddity to me is that when I wander Catholic blogs, it is often impossible to know if I am "in" the US or Australia. [link, link] At least until somebody mentions the Archdiocese of Mudamuckla, or the scandals at Yankalilla. Then I know I'm far from Kansas...(Just kidding with the Aussie place-names. I love them. Here's a good quote.) I've never had that experience with an English Catholic blog. And recently Englishwoman Natalie Solent, who is Catholic, mentioned in an interesting post that Catholics are "frightfully dull nowadays." Wow. I can't imagine anybody in America or Australia saying that, grave though our many Catholic problems and shortcomings are....

I am the land of their fathers.
In me the virtue stays.
I will bring back my children,
After certain days.

Under their feet in the grasses
My clinging magic runs.
They shall return as strangers.
They shall remain as sons.

Over their heads in the branches
Of their new-bought, ancient trees,
I weave an incantation
And draw them to my knees.

Scent of smoke in the evening,
Smell of rain in the night�
The hours, the days and the seasons,
Order their souls aright,

Till I make plain the meaning
Of all my thousand years�
Till I fill their hearts with knowledge,
While I fill their eyes with tears.
    --Rudyard Kipling
Posted by John Weidner at October 14, 2006 11:36 AM
Weblog by John Weidner