Skip to comments.Hating America, Hating Humanity
Posted on 09/03/2005 7:20:12 AM PDT by Ooh-Ah
Anti-Americanism is a phenomenon which, though common and ubiquitous, is difficult to explain because it is illogical, irrational, contradictory, and mysteriously primitive. A good deal of it is parroting. And, oddly enough, a parrot has recently emerged in England which may cast light on the subject. This bird had been owned by a long-distance truck driver who emigrated, bequeathing it to a bird sanctuary. There it behaved well; but there were exceptions. In succession, a local mayor, wearing his chain of office, a police inspector, and a female vicar all visitors to the sanctuary were subjected to four-letter verbal abuse. The manager of the place eventually concluded that the parrot had been trained by its owner to abuse authority figures, and recognized them by something distinctive in their dress.
The United States, in a lawless and dangerous world where the U.N. cannot impose order in fact sometimes makes disorder worse has become a reluctant authority figure, a stepfather or foster parent to a dysfunctional and violent family. As such, it is resented and abused, all the more so since it wears the uniform of its role, the ability to project military power in overwhelming strength almost everywhere in the world. The fact that, in logic, Americas critics may be grateful to a nation which, in the past as in the present, has been essential to their liberty and well-being by resisting and overcoming totalitarianism, or suppressing threats to civil society by terrorism, makes no difference to the resentment; may even intensify it.
The people among whom anti-Americanism is most rife, who articulate it and set the tone of the venom, are the intellectuals. They ought logically to hold America in the highest regard, for none depend more completely on the freedom of speech and writing which America upholds, or would suffer more grievously if the enemies against whom America struggles were to triumph and rule or misrule the world. Indeed, many of the most violently anti-American intellectuals benefit directly and personally from Americas existence, since their books, plays, music, and other creations enjoy favor on the huge American market, and dollar royalties form a large part of their income. But it is a fact that intellectuals are fundamentally and incorrigibly antinomian. To them, authority, especially if legitimate and benign, is the enemy-in-chief, to be resisted instinctively as a threat to their freedom, even if such authority ultimately makes it possible. You might think that some of these intellectuals British, French, German for instance who have been particularly abusive of the U.S. would renounce their American royalties. But not one has done so. When I put this point to a leading author, famous alike for his American following and his anti-American views, I was sharply told: I regard such gestures as childishly quixotic.
Not only among intellectuals but among a much wider circle, anti-Americanism has a tone of outraged morality which strikes me as peculiarly perverse. It is notable among those, particularly in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia, who profess concern for the well-being of the world (as opposed to the national interest of their countries). These lovers of humanity are peculiarly anti-American. Yet what is the United States? It is, so far, the worlds only unqualified success in building on the largest possible scale a multiracial society. Every culture in the world is represented in the U.S., usually in considerable numbers. To take in the peoples of the world is not only a U.S. tradition but a current and future reality. Some of the most successful U.S. communities the Koreans, the Lebanese, the Vietnamese, and the Cubans are quite recent creations. Immigration from all over our planet is a major factor in pushing Americas population over the 300 million mark and, according to the latest projection, will raise U.S. population to 420 million by mid-century. America comes much closer to the realization of world brother-and-sisterhood than that corrupt and soulless abstraction, the United Nations. Indeed the United States is a practical and on the whole prosperous and contented celebration of the essential unity of the planet. To hate America is thus not to hate a particular nation as such, but to hate humanity. And of course it is a melancholy fact that many intellectuals do hate the human race. My definition of an intellectual is someone who thinks ideas matter more than people.
In this confused spasm of irrationality which is anti-Americanism, there is a process of personification which has currently settled on the necessarily lonely figure of George W. Bush. He is much hated among the European intelligentsia, and there are frequent calls for his prosecution as a war criminal, especially among those who took the mass atrocities of a Saddam Hussein or a Pol Pot with equanimity, not to say indifference. And the reason for this is simple, and much to Mr. Bushs credit: To an anti-American, he is the archetype, the quintessential American. He is Mr. America, America personified, even caricatured. He brings out all the envy, fear, and emotional anxiety which lies at the root of the anti-American disease. He is good-looking, upright, a Texan, a man of wealth and self-assurance. He is not by nature talkative, does not articulate abstract thoughts or concern himself with fine distinctions. He sees the world in black-and-white terms, with clear and absolute differences between good and evil, right and wrong. He worships God. He is a Ten Commandments man. He does not meet trouble halfway and is slow to anger, but when roused his anger is terrible and enduring. His personal life centers around the family, an institution European intellectuals view with unease and marked qualifications, not to say distaste. He does not dance effortlessly on the sacramental turf of the campus, or fit into the smoke-filled culture of the basement café, or find books axiomatically preferable to the saddle. Does he read poetry to relax, or study philosophy as a hobby, or worship Picasso? No. All this adds up to a terrible indictment.
Mr. Bush enables the more bigoted and inveterate anti-Americans those for whom anti-Americanism is a culture, almost a way of life to concentrate their feelings on a real-life actual hate figure. Bush is exactly what the clinical-case anti-American believes the average American is, must be, and, in the weird logic of demonology, ought to be. The Americans elected him. Well, they would, wouldnt they? He is America. Anti-Americanism and Bush hatred are part of the same paranoid emotion. But the obverse is also true. In a difficult time, Bush is Americas natural leader.
Mr. Johnsons latest book is George Washington: The Founding Father.
often judge America
based just on tourists
they encounter and
our movies and TV shows.
Hating us based on
our pop culture and
yuppies taking two weeks off
to get drunk and puke
at famous landmarks
isn't illogical or
or primitive. Most folks here
hate those same things, too!
What a fantastic piece...thanks for posting!
I love our President!
Thanks for posting this brilliant essay by one of my two favorite living historians.
With respect to the hard left, the islamofascists and the Euro-neonazis, it's obvious why they hate us. Beyond these specific groups however, I believe the explanation lies not so much in politics but psychology. In particular, the psychology of adolescents.
Well, there you have it: the reason for the unreasonable hatred of our President. It is so virulent I cast about for a reason and this guy snagged it. Nice going, Paul!
Remember the song "Everybody Needs Someone to Look Down On?"
Well, America is the logical target since ... we are the most successful. It is pure jealousy cloaked under leftist hokum. I travel around the world and get to witness firsthand the repression and insane regulations (and customs) governing other countries. Even foreigners who can't find opportunities in their own countries hate the US! A good example is my son's Swedish martial arts instructor. He complains endlessly about the repressive laws in Sweden, the social hierarchy, the lack of opportunities. He has his own business in the US and is doing well ... but always says how much better things are in Sweden than the US. e.g. "We don't have race problems in Sweden!" What I was witnessing was pure jealousy of a free society.
Sure, some Americans go overseas and embarrass themselves (and us). Also, American TV is degenerate and stupidying. And our movies as well (to quote Michael Medved, "With a 20 million dollar budget, this is all they could think of?"
So, yes, we embarrass ourselves.
But, it is jealousy, pure and simple. They defend their twisted and corrupt cultures by deflecting blame and anger at the US.
There is a quite impressive cadre of such historians and authors. The left never mentions them or their work.
I'd be willing to bet your Swedish bud avoids going near the immigrant neighborhoods of Malmo - which are basically no-go zones for the Swedish police.
I think that this is exactly right.
Don't believe that everybody hates America. It is still the shot heard round the world and the shining city on the hill for millions, maybe billions.
'Camp of the Saints' should be on everyone's reading list.
I don't doubt that the intellectual left hates us, but this aid tells me that the hatred is confined within that group rather than the world in general.
Fonda and Kerry are first and foremost anti- American,who happen to be US citizens, . They support these enemies of this country to bash this country.
Remember being born and raised in this country makes you a citizen of the USA, and not necessarily an American. -Tom
"My definition of an intellectual is someone who thinks ideas matter more than people."
I travel the world, and I can tell you that most people respect America. The people who hate us generally emanate from poor, and corrupt countries, like Pakistan, Indonesia,
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