Anglo-Saxon Culture


We learned some of the cultural values and principles such as freedom in the Anglosphere. It's important to understand that we live under an Anglo-Saxon culture (this doesn't mean you have to be Anglo-Saxon to understand that culture.

Christopher Dawson (a 20th century historian) described culture as an organized way of life that is based on a common tradition and conditioned by a common environment. It involves a common view of life, common standards of behavior and value. It's a spiritual community that owes its unity to common beliefs and common ways of thought. Therefore, the social way of life has been accordance with the higher laws of life, which is religion. Why did people come here...in colonial times or during industrialization or even today? It's a culture of freedom and opportunity. Sadly, over the last few decades America has been changing toward a Secular-Progressive culture. Thomas Sowell (an economist) said cultures structure a society to pass on the hard earned knowledge to the young and inexperienced to spare them the long expensive process of learning again.

One cultural principle in the Anglosphere is language and literature. Have you ever thought about our language? "That was a really hard test vs. difficult test." Is there a difference? Hard is tougher...that's an Anglo-Saxon word...difficult comes from Latin. What happened is that England had a lot of people in the mix of different people coming together - the Celtics, Angles, Saxons, Danes, Normans - new words added as more came in and formed England. Eventually the descendants of the Normans spoke English (they had come from France). The English language would be a common language of all of these groups. Words got added with each group and a new language grew that was common to all - the English language. There would be more words with English and each word created had an idea when read and it created the greatest literature. For example, the King James Bible, Shakespeare's plays, and John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, originated many of the common words we use today. This language created a common culture for the Anglosphere. The Renaissance saw some great literature in the English culture in the Elizabethan age. Cutting the roots of a people will destroy a culture. English literature - classic literature - is important to our culture. Whether we know it or not, we are part of a great language and literature tradition.

A second cultural principle is because of the English language, clarity in the law was allowed. Common law was unique. The purpose of law is to keep the peace. The rest of continental Europe took the Roman approach to law, which is that there are certain principles that are the law and if violated you were guilty until proven innocent. But common law in England said we're going to build law on case by case and would consult past cases to rule on current cases and was built on previous decisions, so wisdom of other minds was obtained. After several hundred years volumes would be written. Common law doesn't allow ruling against many previous decisions. There is protection for those accused of crimes. Instead of just one mind making all decisions, common law allows the building of case after case and therefore protects the individual. Totalitarian dictators say what law is. What if someone starts looking to change the law?

This takes us to the third principle - representative government. Today, we're seeing more delegates - people we elect to fight for money or programs for us. So, politicians run on what they can bring (money) to the voters. This created a system in which spending and debt went out of control. The Anglo-Saxons started with the king wanting more money - there was divided sovereignty though (eventually) in England - the aristocracy had the money and met the king at Runnymede and told the king they had to approve money they'd give him - brought out that we have the right to protect our life, liberty, and property from government and if a leader tries, representatives will make sure the king doesn't try to take any more money - the king had to sign this Magna Carta. A parliament was set up as a representative government as a check against the king trying to raise money. The king would want to raise money, but the Parliament would only grant the king money if it was necessary - a check on the king's power. That's suppose to be our government, but today our lawmakers are voting more money instead of checking the power of raising money. In the colonies, there was a governor appointed by the king but also representative assemblies that ran the colonies. The colonies were left alone (this was called salutary neglect). The governor worked well with the assemblies (which paid the governor's wages). This created a level of freedom since the government wasn't out of control. In America, there's more power with our government - president's use executive orders more than for what they were intended and borrowing money is unlimited. The reason the colonial assemblies produced a high level of freedom was because the colonial people were the least taxed in the world and the colonies grew with economic freedom as well.

The fourth principle is mores. Alexis de Tocqueville described a principle in the 1830s about mores. He looked at what was making America work so well. He said it's their mores that makes America work and prosperous - the value and principles of America make it work. What are these principles - marriage and family was important, courage in adversity (do you think it was easy to come here with nothing?), sacrifice for the future, entrepreneurship (most started their own farm and were self-reliant), and common sense. Tocqueville also said "America is great because America is good, but if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

The Anglo-Saxon culture has a long history of being pushed but the people stepping up for freedom.


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