by Daniel Hannan, 2013, Head of Zeus, 399p.
This book shows how the invention of freedom has been uniquely a `British', rather 'Western', development. The people of an island off the western coast of the Eurasian landmass came to believe that the state was the servant, not master, of the individual.
This revolutionary idea led to security of property and contract. These, in turn, led to industrialization and modern capitalism. For the very first time, a system developed which, overall, rewarded production over predation.
The system was transmitted worldwide by English-speakers — sometimes colonial administrators, sometimes patriotic settlers. In Philadelphia 1787, it inspired the US Constitution.
Freedom is the key to the success of the English-speaking peoples and this book implores us to hold fast to that legacy and, in our turn, to pass it intact to the next generation.
Hannan has presented an exceptionally well argued, well researched and well written account of the history of the English-speaking world.
His clear explanation of the civic rather than ethnic reality underpinning our exceptionalism reveals the true nature of our culture, and why we need to look back with pride rather than with guilt.
It could not come at a better time. Many institutions, universities and media outlets are infected with an attitude that places our nation, people and values last. It is time to recognise the extraordinary impact of the servant-state idea on the freedom, living standards and happiness of billions globally.
This book should be a "must read" for students, politicians, public servants and teachers throughout our society. Brilliantly easy to read also.