In this vein, Joseph Epstein has probably done the world a valuable service by raising numerous controversial issues about leadership in America in his piece at the Wall Street Journal on The Late, Great American WASP.
Epstein talks about an America no longer led by WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) but rather by a mixture of persons from a presumed meritocracy of diversity. It is an analysis, however, which is cast in the contemporary American insular and provincial habit of viewing things only as "We, in America...."
We (of America) in Europe were reminded upon reading Epstein of a chat we had some years ago with an English friend, "a commoner" and employee of several Lords over the years, who served on the front lines in WWII and sang the praises of the military officers from English nobility, who he said had proven superior in wartime, because, in his words, "they knew how to lead men", under the motto that there is no substitute for experience.
Critics of Epstein in the USA seem to focus on "current" issues in vogue like the American race ramifications of his analysis, fully forgetting that the question of LEADERSHIP is the true issue, and long predates the present United States.
It was indeed the heritage of knowing and understanding how to lead men that made the American Founding Fathers so eminently successful and that paved the way for their many -- but not exclusive -- WASP successors to ultimately catapult the ever-increasing number of united American States to world leadership down the road of history, but only in the 20th century, for prior to that, the British Empire of WASPs ruled the roost, and that is where one should look for the sources of that heritage of leadership:
"The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-fifth of the world's population at the time. The empire covered more than 33,700,000 km2 (13,012,000 sq mi), almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse across the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories."What Epstein is criticizing in the USA is the loss of American understanding of the values of leadership and society that made the nation great, leadership characteristics and values that can be traced to the legacy of the British. We find written in the Abstract in Neal M. Ashkanasy, Edwin Trevor-Roberts, Louise Earnshaw, The Anglo Cluster: legacy of the British empire, Journal of World Business 37 (2002) 28-39, www.journalofworldbusiness.com:
"The Anglo Cluster comprises Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa (White sample), and the United States of America. These countries are all developed nations, predominantly English speaking, and were all once British colonies. Today, they are amongst the wealthiest countries in the world. The GLOBE results show that the Anglo Cluster is characterized by an individualistic performance orientation."That PERFORMANCE orientation of the Anglo Cluster is traced back in that article to British Protestantism.
America took over Protestant values, not unlike those in Britain, and that was one main secret to American success.
To better understand AMERICA and the countries of the Anglo Cluster, who still lead the world, it would probably be advisable for everyone to read the above article. There is more to this than just WASPs. It has to do with VALUES.
Hat tip to CaryGEE and MW.