One of the most frustrating experiences in being right wing is when one encounters a thinker who knows what is going on yet fails to put the whole picture together. Today, that would be Daniel Hannan and his recent book Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World. Hannan, an MEP from southeast England and a charismatic alpha, is a brilliant scholar and writer. The weight and power of his words carry one back to a nobler age of English Victorian behavior and work and should not be taken for granted in their ability to impact change. In a world where the Tory party is infested and infiltrated by every form of leftist lewdness possible, Daniel Hannan could be the man who saves the Conservative Party from itself—however, it will not be through the message of this new, intriguing, powerful, and yet incoherent text.
Inventing Freedom is, in Hannan’s own words, a “story” of the journey of the development of liberty in the Anglosphere. He advocates a global restoration of these Anglosphere values by drawing Anglosphere nations closer to one another through their common culture of freedom, which they all developed and inherited from mother England. On the surface, it sounds like racialists might have a champion here, one who can help forge a more global identity amongst the English-speaking nations, for they seem to be lagging behind other European nations’ rapid return to nationalism.
Missing the Key Point
However, the beauty of the text is only skin-deep. Hannan does not merely miss the target in identifying the racial component of the Anglosphere’s development of freedom; he flatly denies the racial component, instead reveling in the “natural” civic concepts of the Anglosphere. Though his subtitle fully admits that “the English-speaking peoples” invented freedom, he flatly denies any biological component to the construction of this concept.
One of the central subthemes of Hannan’s book is to regularly remind the reader of how non-racist the Anglosphere is. Time and time again, he reminds us that the Anglosphere is a civic construct, not a racial construct. He even goes so far as to champion the cause of the Maoris of New Zealand, who were denied equality by being “placed in a separate legal category.” He also laments the “extermination” of the American Indians by the Anglo-Saxon settlers of North America, making sure to remind the reader that despite certain opportunistic capitalists who sought to expand the slave trade, it was in fact the Anglosphere, allying closely with its traditional values of egalitarianism, which inspired the abolitionists to triumph over the pro-slavery forces.
Hannan somehow denies the racialism of the great Anglosphere leaders he admires. For example, he opens his text up with the meeting between U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and English Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard the HMS Prince of Wales in 1941, construing the meeting as a type of “marriage” of the Anglosphere’s leading powers. Yet, despite Hannan’s attempt to instill us with a pride of Anglosphere egalitarianism, he ignores that PM Churchill was an ardent British nationalist and imperialist who sought to preserve the white man’s dominion over the non-white realms; Churchill ran for his reelection in 1955 on the platform “keep England white” as a reaction to the beginning of the third-world invasion.
Furthermore, Hannan conveniently ignores FDR’s blatant attempts to hinder the growing civil rights movement, his deportations of ethnic Japanese people into concentration camps, and his failure to invite any black athletes from the 1936 Olympics in Berlin to meet him.1 Hardly signs of a progressive, egalitarian couple.
At the outset of the book, in order to prove his “non-racist” sentiments, Hannan outright declares in the first chapter that the term “Anglo-Saxon” denotes “not ethnic, but cultural” identity, where that culture of course will be this idea called freedom. He later on reminds us, as he concludes the text, that no matter what happens in regards to the polyglotting of English society, we must love Anglo-Saxon values because “Anglo-Saxon values were developed in a multiracial context.”
Now, putting aside for a minute his misuse of the term “racial” when he should have used “ethnic,” one can hardly say that this understanding has been in any way universally true throughout the Anglo-Saxon world. Firstly, in the development of these values, the Welsh, Scots, and Irish did not come along willingly for the first millennium of Anglo-Saxon domination in the British Isles. They were subjugated by a powerful English aristocracy who took advantage of divided and weakened Celtic lands, imposing upon them this value-system of “liberty.” Secondly, once Anglosaxondom was exported to North America, the West Indies, Oceania, and Africa, racial equality was hardly a priority for the ruling Anglo-Celtic establishment, openly discriminatory even after most colonies achieved independence (e.g. Rhodesia, South Africa, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, etc.). If one was to take Hannan’s views at face value, one would walk away from the text thinking that Anglo-Saxons and Celts, since the time of Rome, have been actively conscious of the principles of diversity and plurality within a civic nationalism; they just never had Jews, Bangladeshis, Arabs, and Zulus to further establish their civic-nationalist thesis until the modern age.
Hannan’s view of English history is clearly a reinterpretation through libertarian/classical liberal/Whig lenses. In order to justify the supremacy of the Anglosphere’s values in an age of relativism and internationalism, Hannan must establish this point in such a manner that does not upset the established non-white order—which is that Anglo-Saxon values are great, so long as Anglo-Saxons do not exist, or at least do not hold the reins of power. (If Enoch Powell is ringing in your head, just hold on.)
Therefore, given his libertarian presupposition of a natural egalitarianism among all men so long as “freedom” exists in the society, all natural divisions and barriers between men will fall away. Hence, Hannan comes to the conclusion that even Muslims in Britain will one day succumb to tolerance and passivity, just as Christianity supposedly did post-Reformation.
From Hannan’s YouTube appearances and articles, it is obvious that, despite his courageous and gallant fight against EU statism, he avoids the Islamic question like the plague. He further submerges the truth about the Islamic question by writing that India is a natural Anglophone nation (which is functionally true), holding that we can be confident in its inclusion as a multicultural society. He writes, “India has the third-largest Muslim population on earth, yet has had remarkably few problems with jihadi extremism.” I am sure that the people of Kashmir would disagree – along with the denizens of London, which is rapidly mutating into an Islamic cultural center.
But for Hannan, as most intellectual libertarians, this issue of Islamicization is hardly a problem. For so long as liberal values can permeate throughout the Islamic world in the UK through the introduction of John Locke and Frédéric Bastiat, who cares if the original “English-speaking peoples” disappear from their ancestral lands? Britain will still be Britain, because of British ideas, not British people.
Advocating a new arrangement among Anglosphere nations, Hannan laments that previous attempts at Anglo-integration failed, thanks in part to racial issues. He grieves that “Victorian dreams of Anglosphere integration were caught up with then-current ideas of racial characteristics, and the implied exclusion of populations not of British ancestry—Quebeckers, Maoris, Africans and Afrikaners, Chinese and above all, Indians—made a common definition of nationality practically unachievable.”
It is amazing how Hannan exalts this era of Anglo superiority as a great age, only then to criticize one of the main pillars upon which it stood—white supremacy. Anglo-Saxon superiority of values could not have been established in India, Sierra Leone, or North America, without a conscious understanding by the original Anglo-Saxon settlers that, not only was their philosophy superior to the natives, but in fact they as individuals were genetically superior.
Furthermore, Hannan forgets that the societies which emerged from Anglo-Saxon colonization, such as the original Untied States, the Anglo-Caribbean, and Rhodesia, were able to implement Anglo-Saxon concepts of liberty only through white supremacy. Fundamentally, this is because of a strong Christian ethos guiding the empire; secondly, the only people capable of understanding the concepts of liberty, because they invented it, were whites. It is of course only now, after white supremacy has been broken in all of these former colonies, that the Anglo-Saxon tradition has fallen away. Naturally, Hannan fails to acknowledge this.
In rather hilarious fashion, Hannan regularly refers to the Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Normans, and the rest of the Anglophone world with the term “people.” “Our people,” “their people,” the “English people,” and so on – yet he never puts the pieces together into a holistic picture. He clearly teaches (chapter 3, “Rediscovering England”) that the Anglo-Saxon liberties originated in Germany before the Anglo-Saxon migration, and then later on became integrated when the Scots and English united in 1707 to create Great Britain. Hannan establishes this as a clear example of the great civic nature of Anglosaxondom; however, he fails to note how these values began within a Christian, homogeneous de facto ethnostate and were exported by whites and implemented in societies dominated by white, Christian communities. Notwithstanding Hannan’s aforementioned condemnation of the exclusion of non-whites in white civilization, the current failures of non-white or multicultural Anglosphere entities such as Zimbabwe, South Africa, Jamaica, and the United States prove the ancestral sentiment, that the Anglo-Saxon liberties of the British Empire were for whites only.
Only in Hannan’s very naïve, Whig world of civic nationalism could one misinterpret the principles of the Declaration of Independence, at the time it was written, to apply to all non-whites; nor could one imagine that the Magna Carta was an egalitarian document. The sheer behavior of the American Founders demonstrates a lifestyle incompatible with modern libertarianism and their civic virtues – indeed, incompatible with Hannan’s belief that the United Kingdom can exist as a nation, retaining these classical virtues, if whites do not command society.
What is amazing, though, is that despite his knowledge of contemporary Islamicization and its progressive destruction of Anglo-Saxon cultural traditions, and despite his overt declarations of loyalty to the mother goddess “Diversity,” Hannan does readily admit that Anglo-Saxon values originated in a homogeneous society.
Hannan thus dually declares that Anglo-Saxon values originated in a multiracial setting and that only the unique, homogeneous, and isolated British Isles could have produced these values; he thereby exposes, quite vividly, the chief libertarian hypocrisy. Libertarians such as Hannan and Ron Paul love the byproducts of Anglo-Saxons but reject the origins. Yet in order to be at least partially honest in their scholarly work, they are forced, albeit quietly, to admit that the principles of an organic society generated this culture of freedom. The main problem is how they inadvertently move to destroy these Anglo-Saxon byproducts by rejecting the key pillars on which Anglo-Saxon liberties have always stood: hierarchy, mono-ethnicity, and Christian supremacy. This is inevitable, because contemporary liberalism, or classical liberalism, is the concept of liberty without God. Sure, they pay lip service to a god of impersonal or limited behavior, but it is certainly not the God of the Old Testament, who routinely inserts Himself into the dealings of men, revealing to them the principles needed for the production of liberty.
Though not desiring to even consider race as a factor of the Anglosphere’s development and future sustainability, Hannan’s blindness to this subject and refusal to confront the Islamic question force one to recall Enoch Powell’s fears on the future of race relations in the UK. The racial breakdown in Britain will ultimately lead to the collapse of Hannan’s dreams: there will be no common law, liberty, or rule of law – rather, as Powell said in his infamous speech, “in 15 or 20 years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.”
Through mass immigration and Islamicization, as Powell said, there are “areas that are already undergoing the total transformation to which there is no parallel in a thousand years of English history.” This leaves us to conclude that Hannan’s very well-intentioned (though gelded) views will not save Anglosaxondom. The problem is not immigrants’ refusal to assimilate, but the sheer fact that they are not our people and we are not theirs. They have no connection with what Hannan is defending, nor do they desire it. Islam, the Koran, and Near Eastern cultural traditions will always be a superior form of social order than a liberal political and cultural system created by infidels. If Powell was a fascist (which he is anything but) and Hannan was the true democrat (which he is), then I would stand with Powell and sacrifice Hannan’s worldview, in exchange for the halting of Islamicization. Fortunately, this false dynamic does not exist, and Anglosaxondom’s cultural and legal traditions can still prevail alongside discrimination against Islamic and non-white immigration.
To his credit, Hannan does give a much fairer examination of American slavery than most American commentators would. Though he laments the Anglosphere’s involvement in slavery, he still defends the United States’ practice at the time, saying that “slavery was common to all agrarian societies. It persisted in every early civilization.” He later adds that “slavery was endemic in African and Arab societies” and that it was “no great respecter of race.” He concludes his revisionist thesis by noting that “on the eve of the American Civil War, there were three thousand black slave owners in the United States.”
What Hannan Does Correctly…Kind Of
Despite this tirade against a highly educated and well-meaning man, Hannan does clearly understand one key principle that ushered in the triumph of the Anglosphere: Protestantism. Hannan correctly contends that “Protestantism was the single biggest factor in the forging of a common British nationality out of the older English, Scottish and Welsh identities—a common nationality then transmitted to the settler colonies.” This power of a divine mission unified the British peoples, enabling Britain to become the leading challenge against Roman Catholic authority in Europe. This then led to a messianic vision of the British nation as owning a mandate to spread the Gospel and “freedom” throughout the world. The Americans would, of course, later adopt this view through “Manifest Destiny.”
Hannan attributes the expansion of Anglo-Saxon principles to the ascension of Protestantism: “Protestantism, being Bible-based, placed a unique emphasis on literacy. Self-improvement and self-education were natural corollaries of a faith that encouraged worshipers to study the Scriptures.” From here, the Protestant societies’ views of “hard work” and “money honestly acquired” as a sign of God’s favor helped to forge a Christian character within the society, affecting their existing common law traditions.
But for Hannan, Protestantism was key in “establishing the Anglosphere’s political culture.” This came through the Protestant view of “personal liberty . . . and the inviolability of private contract,” which led to a society based upon “thrift, sobriety and hard work” that manifested themselves as “active political principles.”
However, just as we had a mere glimmer of hope above, this is snuffed out via modernity yet again. Hannan somehow believes that Protestant principles can survive long beyond any spiritual allegiance that Anglosphere nations may have. Hannan recognizes the decline in church attendance and the declining role religion plays in British society, yet he does not lament this decline in religiosity. He rather argues that this “political culture” which emerged from Protestantism should be retained by Anglosphere nations, so that entrepreneurship, free trade, human rights, equality, and the common law tradition survive.
The most obscene part of this section, found in chapter 8, is when Hannan’s worldly orientation exposes itself: “[S]ocieties that laud martial valor, nobility and faith tend to be less pleasant places to live than societies that value freedom, enterprise and privacy.” Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule, but I would much rather take the “martial valor” of 1930s Germany than freedom in Haiti in any generation. Just as the “nobility and faith” of Spanish Mexico or medieval European society would be far more preferable than freedom nowadays in London, Baltimore, or India. Even the martial valor of Assad’s Syria or Saddam’s Iraq has a greater appeal than “freedom” in Bosnia, Bulgaria, or Turkey.
Hannan believes that the atheistic, secularized, deracinated society is the best society, where each individual can be king, priest, and god on earth, ruling from his castle. Much of this distain for a “noble” society arises from his hatred of the Third Reich. In many of his YouTube clips, Hannan can found exalting the individualism of the Anglosphere alliance over the “martial valor” of 1930s fascism; the fact that the UK avoided this martial spirit is evidence of the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon way of life. But the problem for Hannan is that his very worldly views have produced a liberal society, one which glories in amorality, narcissism, and materialism, producing a lifestyle and philosophy that make the Anglo-Saxon tradition impossible to sustain. Hannan would do well to remember that such liberty-loving documents as the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, the United States Constitution, and others were produced by a society enveloped in aristocracies and the martial valor of knights, courts, and ladies, all being guided by (what we would now call) religious fundamentalism and supremacy—which, again, speaks to the heart of Hannan’s problem on the issue of race.
Hannan wants the secular worldview to triumph over the product of Christianity. Only with Christianity could marshaling knights, nobles, kings, and bishops produce a worldview that understands the supremacy of law over passions – establishing and protecting a hierarchy of law and order according to ethnic customs and religious dogma. But Hannan is forced by modernity to take the middle ground, leaving him upon a foundation of sand. He cannot defend the philosophies, theologies, and figures of the white supremacist and Christian supremacist world of the Elizabethan or Victorian age that produced the triumph of the Anglosphere, yet neither can he make his point without hearkening back to a nobler age. Hannan is the perfect example here of the modern reactionary conservative, who, out of a love for Patria, cannot effectively defend it by walking the middle ground. In a growing age of religious and ideological extremism, Hannan, if not careful, will find himself and his views in the dustbin of history, because he failed to be of “martial valor, nobility and faith.”
Excellent Lessons for America to Learn
Despite my or any other white patriot’s distaste for Hannan’s civic nationalism, he does present a very good outline for the revitalization of American culture.
One of the unfortunate consequences of the American divorce from Great Britain in the American Revolution was that it was not merely a political divorce, but a cultural divorce as well. Consequently, the infant American Republic, now adrift in the global community with no strong sense of ancient heritage, having lost it upon the separation from Great Britain, needed to find for itself a new identity.
Hence, rather than accepting the principles of liberty as a positive component of a holistic culture and nation, as Great Britain was, America came to reverence the consequence rather than the source. Whereas Great Britain developed its culture of liberty through over 1,000 years of political, cultural, and religious struggle, America inherited the consequence of this intra-British “discussion” and detached it from its spiritual and biological source. Therefore, one of the best benefits which white patriots can take away from Hannan’s book is his call to Americans to rediscover their Anglo-Saxon culture.
One particular point Hannan makes is in regards to Canada. He writes, quoting Churchill, “Canada occupies a unique position in the British Empire because of its unbreakable ties with Britain and its ever-growing friendship and intimate association with the United States.” On my first journey to Canada in 2010, I was fascinated to see on many federal buildings the term “royal,” along with many British symbols and imagery on Canadian art. Amazingly, though, looking at and listening to average Canadians, one could easily confuse them with Americans.
However, this interesting synthesis of American colloquialisms with Anglo-Saxon art and symbols seems to place Canada in an interesting spot as the “bridge” between the United Kingdom and the United States. Hannan notes this intriguing relationship when he writes that if an “acceptance” of peaceful resolution between the American colonies and Westminster could have been accomplished, “the Kingdom of America might very well today form part of the Commonwealth.” Oh, how one wishes Hannan could have been correct here.
America as a stand-alone nation, detached from the Anglosphere, is a lost and confused child. It is difficult for Americans, having accomplished so much in such a little time, to compare the sublime nature of European, or even, for that matter, Asiatic culture, which is millennia older than the United States is. Even a small nation, such as the Netherlands or Korea, has cause for reverence in its ancient history and identity, given that both were nations before America was even an idea. So long as America, deracinated and detached from its Anglosphere roots, leads the Western world, we will be subjected to a childish application of classical liberalism, through a lens of Enlightenment principles, exported by the wrecking ball of Hollywood hedonism.
This is the sad truth of one of the world’s greatest powers. I am convinced that by reinterpreting American history and identity, starting at Hannan’s worldview and then advancing racially and religiously from there, we can hope to revive and save Americana.
Despite the disagreements with Hannan, I still respect the man greatly and I highly recommend his book as a read for patriots. When a white patriot reads Inventing Freedom, he will be able to easily gloss over and see the futility of Hannan’s a-racial bias, forming the conclusion that the Anglosphere’s beauty is not just linguistical, cultural, or moral, but also racial. The text should be used by Christians and white nationalists to encourage and deepen their understanding of the holistic nature of the traditional American identity and values in the context of the global Anglosphere. Inventing Freedom can help to liberate many honest Americans out of their very limited perspective, thinking they are the only worthwhile component of Western Civilization or the Anglophone world.
If Americans could only be liberated from this very strange mentality which binds them inside their shores and ignores the beauty of the rest of the West, they could come to understand that Americana does not have to lead the world, but can rather be a part of the world. Americans need to understand that they have a history and heritage beyond the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and that these ideas and identities did not emerge from a vacuum. This book is a great way to help break people of American supremacy and civic nationalism.
Though the text advocates a civic nationalist point, it nonetheless is not hard to expose the indiscretions and inconsistencies of the classical-liberal mindset which holds that all peoples can experience and sustain liberty, even though only one group has actually made it work—not to mention invent it.