The Language of Liberty

by Mark Steyn

In my book, the formal plugging of which I shall eschew, although it makes a fine Christmas gift, I mention en passant:

There has always been a distinction between the “English-speaking peoples” and the rest of “the West”, and at hinge moments in human history that distinction has proved critical. Continental Europe has given us plenty of nice paintings and mellifluous symphonies, French wine and Italian actresses, but, for all our fetishization of multiculturalism, you can’t help noticing that when it comes to the notion of a political West – with a sustained commitment to individual liberty and representative government — the historical record looks a lot more unicultural and indeed (given that most of these liberal democracies other than America share the same head of state) uniregal . . . The entire political class of Portugal, Spain and Greece spent their childhoods living under dictatorships. So did Jacques Chirac and Angela Merkel. We forget how rare in this world is sustained peaceful constitutional evolution, and rarer still outside the Anglosphere.

In an elegant essay for the Wall Street Journal, our friend Daniel Hannan makes a similar case, but without the Italian actresses. It’s well worth a read, especially after Barack Obama’s L’état, c’est moi routine.