Friday, August 12, 2005

Family Matters

I hope everybody caught Jay Homnick's check-yourself-before-you-wreck-yourself JWR piece about the racism that still, unfortunately, remains buried only about an inch deep in America.

Now, a look around the world shows that aside from the rare righteous country like Denmark, the rest of the planet is looking out for number one, foremost, first, and last. World civilization is being held together by the English-speaking peoples, the "Anglosphere": the US, UK, and our underappreciated friends, the Australians.

But also underappreciated is that after decades of partner-changing in the geopolitical dance, the Anglosphere may finally be embracing as its own the world's largest democracy, and it's high time. President Bush recently met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and a leading American Sikh, Satjiv Chahil, gushed, "It marked a turning point in US Foreign Policy and was an acknowledgement of the potential for India to become an invaluable strategic partner of the US from a global, political, economic and social perspective."

I hope so, because Dr. Singh followed with these remarks at Oxford while on a state visit to the UK:
Every time terrorists strike anywhere all of us who believe in democracy and the rule of law must stand together and affirm our firm commitment to fight this scourge resolutely and unitedly. I sincerely hope that all of those who cherish and value open and free societies will join hands in the war against terrorism wherever it is fought. I wish the people of London well. I pray that their lives will soon return to normal and they can resume their celebrations for having been chosen the venue for the 2012 Olympics...

Today, with the balance and perspective offered by the passage of time and the benefit of hindsight, it is possible for an Indian Prime Minister to assert that India's experience with Britain had its beneficial consequences too. Our notions of the rule of law, of a Constitutional government, of a free press, of a professional civil service, of modern universities and research laboratories have all been fashioned in the crucible where an age old civilisation met the dominant Empire of the day...

It used to be said that the sun never sets on the British Empire. I am afraid we were partly responsible for sending that adage out of fashion! But, if there is one phenomenon on which the sun cannot set, it is the world of the English speaking people, in which the people of Indian origin are the single largest component.

Of all the legacies of the Raj, none is more important than the English language and the modern school system. That is, if you leave out cricket!


More on cricket some other time mebbe, but India gets it, and maybe now so will we.

Next time you're tempted to play The Ugly American on an incompetent and/or incomprehensible voice from the subcontinent, blame the outsourcing corporation if you want, but not the person on the other end. They are feeding their families, and helping a great nation and a great people rise out of their heartbreaking poverty with education, a lot of hard work and a bit of Adam Smith.

I admit it's sure tempting to be rude, because overseas service lines are the pits and the frustration is nigh-unbearable. But we should ask ourselves honestly if our tempers would be so quick if we imagined a pasty-faced Irishman on the other end. We should ask ourselves if that's how we treat family.

When I next find myself consigned to the seventh circle of international call-center hell, I'll try to be patient. And if I think of it, I'll take a minute to welcome the heavily-accented voice on the other end to the family. We Anglosphere types gotta stick together. The future of civilization depends on it.

7 comments:

S. T. Karnick said...

Tom, I concur entirely with your comments on the Anglosphere as the one, true, faithful home of classical liberalism. India is a natural partner to us, and a continuation and indeed furtherance of connections with the peoples of that nation will benefit both us and them, especially in the area of reducing religious prejudice in that nation, which will be a necessary occurrence if India is to pull itself fully into the contemporary, liberal world.

Kathy Hutchins said...

World civilization is being held together by the English-speaking peoples, the "Anglosphere": the US, UK, and our underappreciated friends, the Australians.

Whoa, Tom, where are the Canadians in your list? I hope their omission was an oversight. If you judge Canada on the basis of what flushes out of Ontario, they don't seem like sound partners in the classical liberal enterprise, it's true. But three years ago I spent several weeks driving across Canada between Winnipeg and Whitehorse, and saw and heard first-hand how little those Canadians considered Ottawa their representative in anything.

It is harder to understand them on the phone than someone from the Punjab, I agree.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Miz H, I can't think of anything nice to say about Canada. I still haven't forgiven them for Peter Jennings.

They did teach Frenchmen to do something useful, which is play hockey. So let's give 'em one for that.

Kathy Hutchins said...

I can't think of anything nice to say about Canada. I still haven't forgiven them for Peter Jennings.

Between you and Homnick, the temptation to post a long Pickwickesque account of my Northern travels is becoming very strong. Nice things one could say about Canada include Oscar Peterson and curling, and Mukluk Annie's Salmon Bake.

Tom Van Dyke said...

OK, I'm down with you on the curling, Kathy.

It's a little known TVD fact that he is descended from the Dykes of Eastport, Newfoundland. (Now just because half the town was named Dyke should not raise the specter of inbreeding; think of it as natural self-selection, if not intelligent design.)

It must be emphasized that TVD's forebears left Newfoundland well before it became part of Canada in 1949, as a result of a stolen election. He is not, repeat not, Canadian.

I think after this Iraq business calms down, we should consider running a couple tanks and A-10 Warthogs up there (and the Western Provinces) and liberate our Anglosphere brothers from Francophone oppression.

But until then, put on some Oscar Peterson and try the salmon cakes.

Hunter Baker said...

Sorry I'm not in the mix lately, guys. I've been in internet purgatory with an Indian call center lady. She was very helpful, but did not resolve the problem!

Tom Van Dyke said...

But you may have saved civilization as we know it.

Thanks.