What’s ‘After America’? Britain?

Books like Paul Starobin’s After America: Narratives for the Next Golden Age brought a political fashion and scholars met on a panel at the 2014 Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty this past week to discuss the idea. It may have all started when Thomas Naylor, a retired Duke professor, with Ambassador George Kennan’s support, declared the Second Vermont Republic in 2003 to oppose the neocon government in Washington (coming back!) and the Bush-Cheney invasion of Iraq. Or when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) visualized California to be a “modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta.”

But something else has been happening in parallel. Financial Times columnist Janan Ganesh notes that British “liberal norms and institutions” have become “thicker” in the past decade.

{mosads}It does seem that somehow, between the last “Dr. Who” and the current incarnation of the Doctor, Britain has stopped being America’s conspicuous British tag along — Mick Jagger, the inconscient side kick of former President Clinton at the 2010 World Cup — and is learning to speak its own mind again with strength and clarity, like King George VI in “The King’s Speech.”

How is this happening? My guess is this: Kate Middleton, duchess of Cambridge.

The “English-speaking peoples,” as former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called us, have lived under the pleasant gaze of a benign matron these past six decades. But Britain looks now to a new era like that suggested in the third book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythic Rings trilogy, The Return of the King. Britain will likely be governed by kings now through the rising century.

And it means something to America as well. When baby George — His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge — took his first baby steps recently, it was reported on the ABC evening news, the Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

To understand this, look to the Anglosphere because in the deepest psychological terms, the Anglosphere — the union of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain and the United States — is the true package of who we are.

It might be its own civilization or an amorphous rising in historic time to a unique, still-evolving civilization ahead. We went to war with Britain in 1776. We then fought in two world wars to retrieve our cousins across the water. Then the Beatles landed and the water poured freely from old vessel to new and bonding was complete.

And our relationship with the British ancestry goes back beyond the American Revolution. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the others all came here from the same place and as Israel can claim its moment of awakening in the birth of Solomon and the rise of his Temple, so English-speaking peoples can one and all declare their first moment of awakening public consciousness to be found in the marriage (coniunctio or “sacred marriage” of origin is the phrase) of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn which brought the conception and birth of Elizabeth and the modern era.

Food for thought, as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott consorts today with Canada’s “likeminded” Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ditch the U.S. and replace us with India in the fraternity of the Anglosphere, leaving us to dangle in a shadow of our own making.

This intimate and natural relationship of English-speaking peoples will become more apparent in time, but issues of dominance will arise. And, to quote Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty: “The question is, which is to be master — that’s all.”

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at

Tags Australia Canada India Kate Middleton New Zealand Prince George Stephen Harper Tony Abbott United Kingdom
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