THE LOST WORLD OF THE ANGLO-SAXONSLexington Green
has an interesting post "Do we really owe it all to the geography of the Norwegian fjords?
" at Chicago Boyz
that traces the culture of Anglo-American notions of political liberty to the nuclear families of the Norwegian fjords:
"Here is a whole corpus of writing about which I knew nothing. I have in the meantime obtained a copy of the translation of the Demolins book, Anglo-Saxon Superiority, To What is it Due? (1907). The beginning of it is a summary of the writing of M. de Tourville, which discusses how the Saxons came to dominate all the other invaders, Angles, Danes, Normans, because of their cultural practices, particularly nuclear families, which Tourville calls “particularist” social structure. The Saxons generated a unique type of state apparatus as a result, operating large states on a federal-type basis. For example, note this passage:
We know how, under Egbert, the Heptarchy fell under the domination of the Saxons. But the latter did not give the Angles a Saxon government, nor did they foist Saxon officials on them, for the good reason that their political development was most limited, their strength lying more in private than in public life. They never dreamt of administering conquered peoples in the fashion adopted by the Romans, and later by the Spaniards and the French. Their idea was rather — and has remained — a Federation. Thus were started by the Saxons that former United States of England. So little did they aim at constituting the model of a large empire, that their king continued to call himself simply ‘King of the Saxons of the West’. Yet he was sovereign over the whole island.
Remarkable if true. We see the Saxons at the earliest possible date showing the genius for distributed power and federal arrangements that we in the Anglosphere still have today. Unfortunately, the Demolins book, which I am halfway through, is more focused on reform in France a century ago, with the English case only as a background
Very intriguing. At the time the Demolins book was published, the troubled Third Republic was deeply split politically, socially and culturally. There was, to an extent, in France, a sense of anxiety over the might of the "Anglo-Saxon powers", rising America and reigning Great Britain and paranoia about the aforementioned power's distant Teutonic cousins in Wilhelmine Germany. On the other hand, admiration for British political institutions was not unusual among French intellectuals prior to the 20th century - Montesquieu and Voltaire being the most famous examples of that tradition.
Labels: anglo-saxons, anglosphere, britain, chicago boyz, france, history, lexington green