Tag Archives: anglosphere

Review of “America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come ,” by James Bennett and Michael Lotus

America 3.0, by James C. Bennett and Michael Lotus, is a description of the current problems facing America, the origin of those problems, and solutions for them. But it’s more than that. With only two references to President Obama in the work, America 3.0 focuses on the structural causes for the emergence of our current system of government, along with the cultural context in which those structural causes work.

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The Structural Causes

The “3.0” in the title refers to an emerging system of government, but the implication of the work is that the system of government is a funciton of the economy. Unstated, the system of government appears to be a function of the material basis for the organization of the commanding heights of the economy.

The three stages that Bennett and Lotus describe, as I understand them, are:

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    • “America 1.0.” Politically, organized around the original intent of the Constitution, with power highly distributed. This was structurally encouraged by the distributed nature of production, which was centered around many farms and small towns with a few small cities acting as trade ports. The major power source was water — rivers, rain, and the sea. While parts of the America 1.0 culture survive, America’s transition figure was Abraham Lincoln: born in a rural and isolated community, his professional life centered around doing professional work for railroads.

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    • “America 2.0.” Politically, organized around militaristic police forces, professional bureaucracy, with power highly concentrated. This was structurally encouraged by the nature of steam power and the massive economies of scale that it enables. The America 2.0 political-economic, which is visibly failing in many ways, itself was the solution to the breakdown of the America 1.0 system in the face of the initial problems created by concentration and economies of scale.

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  • “America 3.0.” An emerging political-economy system that is itself a response to economics shift, primarily (though unstated) the decrease relative importance of steam power as the ratio of GDP (as measured in pounds) to GDP (as measured in dollars) decreases through miniaturization and electronics Tom Friedman’s work The World is Flat is uncited, but this trend (“how heavy is your economy”) was, I believe, prominently noted there several years ago. The source of power is information.

The Cultural Context

What keeps America 3.0 from being simply an economic-determinist, however, is Jim Bennett’s focus on the Anglosphere, and particularly Lotus’ and Bennett’s theory of what makes English-speaking countries nearly unique in the world: the “Absolute Nuclear Family” and the Common Law. According to America 3.0, this style of family is shared between English speaking countries, and some areas of Denmark and the Netherlands where the Anglo-Saxon-Jute peoples were active fifteen centuries ago. The Common Law, a result of the eradication of Roman Law and subsequent British hostility to the re-imposition of the Roman-based Laws latter (partially as a result for how Roman Law conflicts with the Absolute Nuclear Family type), also creates a difference.

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The Absolute Nuclear Family and the Common Law acts as a superstructure, but not a superfluous one, in the Lotus-Bennett model. A transactional view of government, a focus on individual liberty, individual independence, and family mobility are all seen as effects of the Absolute Nuclear Family and the Common Law, apart from the structural causes of farm-, steam-, or information- power.

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Analysis

There’s three big questions that come to mind after reading America 3.0:

  • First, does the economic foundation of the economy actually matter?
  • Second, do the Absolute Nuclear Family and the Common Law actually matter?
  • If so, to what extents?

The standard economic-determinist answer to the important of economic foundation is “a whole lot.” This makes sense to me. We’re still a way from a scientific study of history — a cliodynamical analysis of the role of steam, say, in American history — but all-in-all I found this part of the book to be insightful and non-controversial. Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy all differed on many things, but all agreed on the importance of economies of scale, which were themselves clearly enabled by steam.

The portions about the Common Law and the Absolute Nuclear Family, though, are less clear. What is the relative impact of the Common Law against, say, the influence of Christianity, of of being an England being an island, or of north-west European weather systems, or of other things? It makes sense that the Common Law and the Absolute Nuclear Family are not entirely superfluous, but it also makes sense that other things may matter as well. How might these be discovered? Or tested?

Final Thoughts

America 3.0 is an eye opening book, for explaining the rise of the bureaucratic-military state in the United States, and also for its description of the Common Law and the Absolute Nuclear Family. The former strikes me as more explanatory than the latter, but all was interesting.

I read America 3.0 in the Nook Edition.

Imperialism and the great powers of the past

I was in an online discussion recently, and when describing the Japanese colonization of Korea I almost said “liberation.”

After thinking about it for some time, I think “liberation” would have been the right word.

As popular as it is to run down colonization and imperialism, many historical examples exist of very beneficial empires. Nial Ferguson’s “British Imperialism Revised: The costs and benefits of ‘Anglobalization” (PDF), for instance, argues that the British Empire was beneficial not just to the white dominions such as Canada, but also to more culturally alien states such as India.

I think good arguments can be made for other empires too, such as the United States, France, and Japan (at least during the years of peace). Even empires that we are glad are gone, such as the Soviet Union, managed to provide a lower-middle-class lifestyle to millions who would otherwise not have obtained that.

A few months back I overheard a podcast interview with a blogger who was obviously angered by a comparison between America and the British Empire, and who responded by saying that British imperialism was a well known evil, that many studies demonstrate that, etc. Some, like Michelle Obama, seem to be agree. However, I think a more balanced view shows that wise imperialism can be beneficial to states subjected to it.

It is a tragedy that such imperial powers barely exist anymore. And not just in terms of wasted lives and generations, but in the genocides that exist in anarchies where no civilizing, imperial power is present.

Human Rights for Muslims in the Anglosphere

US opposes Oklahoma headscarf ban,” BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3585377.stm, 31 March 2004.

Muslim girl wins dress appeal,” This is London, http://www.thisislondon.com/news/articles/16979456?source=PA, 2 March 2005.

Anglo-Saxon Freedom, French Bigotry

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A Muslim girl today won her battle to wear traditional “head-to-toe” dress in the classroom after the Court of Appeal ruled her school had acted unlawfully in barring her.

Shabina Begum, 15, accused the head teachers and governors of Denbigh High School, Luton, Beds, of denying her the “right to education and to manifest her religious beliefs”.

Lord Justice Brooke, vice president of the civil division of the Court of Appeal, called on the Department of Education to give schools more guidance on how to comply with their obligations under the Human Rights Act.
He ruled that that her school had:


# Unlawfully excluded her

# Unlawfully denied her the right to manifest her religion

# Unlawfully denied her access to suitable and appropriate education.

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The US justice department has filed a complaint on behalf of a Muslim girl who was twice sent home from school for wearing a headscarf.

The education authorities said the hijab breached the dress code of the school in Oklahoma.

But the justice department says it amounts to religious discrimination.

America has a long history of giving refuge to immigrants who “dress funny”

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Unlike some places, like No Human Rights for Muslims in France

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Update: Big Pharoah is less-than-pleased.

Update 2: Some kook with an obscure blog is a fan.

Update 3: When “liberal” “progress” is more important than liberty, freedom, or tradition. Why I am not a leftist.