In the political correctness ethos of our age, one of the worst crimes an academic might commit is to make a claim of civilizational exceptionalism for a particular nation – i.e. a particular group of people identified primarily by ethno-linguistic ties. Fortunately, Daniel Hannan is a politician, not an academic, and thus is free to pen a book committedto such a thesis. In Inventing Freedom, Hannan makes a bold, intricate case for the legal and political – and therefore economic – exceptionalism of the English-speaking countries, which he refers to as the “Anglosphere.” Hannan’s book is sure to raise the hackles of multiculturalists and the diversity lobby, while appealing to the nativist sentiments of someconservatives. Yet this book is no mere polemic offered up for party ideologues, such as might emerge from the pen of a Sarah Palin or Al Franken. Hannan’s work is of a much more nuanced, scholarly bent, and brings a deep historical perspective to issues of central importance to the field of constitutional political economy.
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