Anglo-Saxon Traditions

The Anglo-Saxon political traditions are, without a shadow of a doubt, the best in the world. But their tradition of rending their garments and showily confessing their sins is, also without a doubt, the most annoying on the planet.

If Ukrainians (or anybody else, honestly) had anything like the Anglo-Saxon record of creating orderly, just and well-organized societies, we wouldn’t waste a second on self-effacement. We’d celebrate our success.

2 thoughts on “Anglo-Saxon Traditions”

  1. This may be one of those things where you have to take the bad with the good. A good political system has to have corrective mechanisms, scrutiny, oversight, etc. Of course, sometimes those mechanisms will lead to excessive self-criticism.

    I think part of it is that belief in a personal deity has declined. Without a religion to provide an outlet for the confessional impulse, well-meaning liberals who have never been within five hundred miles of George Floyd take to the street to confess that they personally bear responsibility for his death. In Christianity we confess our guilt for the death of Christ, a guy who was crucified a long time ago in a land far, far away. We don’t need to burn down a city to confess our guilt for any recent deaths.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “Anglo-Saxon political traditions are… the best in the world.
    If Ukrainians… had anything like”

    Probably not a good fit. To massively simplify, cultures use either guilt or shame to control behavior.
    Shame is social in nature and begins when knowledge of wrongdoing is known (and extends to those in close relationships with the wrongdoer.
    Guilt in internal and individual in nature and kicks in with the individual’s recognition of wrongdoing.
    Of course both are found in all cultures and non-pathological individuals but usually there’s a strong cultural bias for one or the other.
    People in shame cultures fear social stigma and those in guilt cultures fear self-loathing.
    Anglo-Saxon political traditions are those of a guilt culture (which, as Alex writes, require constant introspection to work). Shame cultures require the aspiration for respectability.

    Liked by 1 person

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