Monday, July 26, 2004
Why They Hate US
In the current confrontation with terrorism, the fact that America has chosen to defend itself (as it had often been compelled to do in the past) has infuriated the usual lot of totalitarian sympathizers and apologists. Lately, the most strident rhetoric directed against America comes from a mundane source. Bourgeois intellectuals and their clones have utilized a politically trendy pastime as an opportunity to spout their standard support for the authoritarian vision – Leftist politics.
There are certainly many educated and informed American citizens who are reasonably aware of their own government’s historical errors and hypocrisies. They are equally aware that some citizens at home and abroad, are quite critical of America’s current (temporary) leadership and its policies. The insight or accuracy of these criticisms bears little justification for what has now become a bizarre and pervasive hatred for everything American. Though polemics are now stated in dramatic terms, the root of this disdain ultimately stems from the rather unremarkable motivations of partisan politics. Hatred for America lies in nothing more profound than a love for the things America does not represent, totalitarianism, collectivism and imposed conformity.
The “useful idiots” among the pampered middle class have always taken a clear side between their kindred spirits of totalitarian collectivism and the perceived greedy “cowboy” of America’s dynamic society. They hate “cowboy” capitalism because they prefer gulag socialism (is a cowboy all that bad a symbol next to that of a concentration camp guard?). Many would surely have preferred that the Soviet Union had won the Cold War. The Jacobin clique is still whining because America has deprived them of their “revolution,” to impose the rule of philosopher kings over the creative actions of free individuals.
One would certainly never expect a Leftist of any strain to note positive attributes in America’s character (or any wealthy, striving, or successful institution). However, one would hope they would have enough common sense to realize that most of the millions, who make up America’s diverse society, are not the caricature of greed and evil that socialist rants have tried to depict.
Though public comments are often measured, we all know of instances where some have been less guarded regarding their views of terrorist attacks on America – calling the acts well deserved if not actually rejoicing over them. To the frustrated philosopher kings, such acts of random violence are seen as just response to some unique cruelty fostered on innocents by Americans.
Rants against Americans often begin with the usual debatable list of “American atrocities,” (of the kind common to all powerful governments through history) proving nothing beyond the obvious stupidity of investing increased power in any government. Ironically, the most inspired critics of American policy are certainly no enemy of strong, centralized government power. Such philosophies would vastly increase government’s scope and authority (always on the assumption that arbitrary power is okay if it’s promoting one’s own noble agenda). Their prime consideration has always been one of determining how much human spontaneity should be rationed (or crushed completely).
Cliché litanies against America typically tell us that it “uses unfair shares of the World’s resources.” Have Liechtenstein and Bhutan failed to receive the “fair share” of titanium alloy that they wanted to buy?
We are told, “America possesses unfair amounts of the world’s wealth.” This is a classic reference to socialism’s imaginary wealth pie that’s somehow being “divided” unfairly. It would never occur to the forces of institutionalized envy, that many of America’s citizens (most, descendants of immigrants) have labored, innovated, and organized the creation of their country’s wealth. Resentment against such abundance is hardly warranted from those countries and ideologies that have made free commerce and creative enterprise a virtual crime. Such productive attributes can only be seen by some as the much maligned “materialism” or soulnessness of those unschooled in the moral perfections of their spiritual betters (the philosopher kings again – intellectuals). One often hears of those “gas hungry cars that Americans drive…” -- Symptoms of mass consumer society. Last I saw, Europeans were driving cars. Perhaps its an issue of degree – Americans drive too many cars… and their critics drive just the right amount.
Pollution and labor exploitation are seen as symptoms of free-market excess, yet we’re never told why a state monopoly over industrial production would magically be cleaner or “more fair” – or why those countries that have seized private enterprises are so much more polluted and oppressive to workers (often taking over the unions and media, as well as the industry).
Then, there are those horrid locally staffed and operated fast food outlets, and the music and movies forced on innocents who’d prefer the good old days of 9:00 to 9:00 field work in that pre-capitalist nirvana some want to force everyone back into.
Domestically, the cry of every closet Stalinist is that of the “class struggle” and poverty’s supposedly rampant presence. Yet, America has probably outspent most countries in history on massive bureau-programs for “ending poverty” (to the tune of some 5 trillion (!) dollars since the mid 60’s -- still, “not enough”).
To an average European Marxist, it would certainly never be considered that Europe itself was able to fund its own extensive welfare schemes with money it saved while the US largely paid the bill for 50 years of defense and social aid.
Among standard cliché arguments, we’re reminded of slaves and slave masters (in a society where no one is presently either) or of Native American slaughters, supposedly perpetrated by our descendants (most of which arrived in the US only in the last 100 years).
But, what of the good things? Does America do good things? Ask one of the critics to answer the question “Is there anything good about America?” They can’t. Not because there is nothing good, but because to say so would conflict with a stance that has little to do with reasoned appraisal and everything to do with envy, and projection. The current focused critique’ is not about some unique quality of evil that only America exhibits. It’s not about opposition to war, aggression, or oppression. It’s about political philosophies, those that succeed, those that consistently fail, and resentment against the former.
It would seem that international assistance, of any amount, would be looked well upon, yet America’s massive outlays of food and funds to other countries can only be seen as dubious, self-interested, or “not enough”-- Can they do anything right?
America’s – relatively – free market system has produced a powerhouse of invention, creativity, and diverse cultural/artistic expression. Of course, the successful results of this unbridled creativity and commerce can only be seen as being motivated by “greed.” This word’s pervasive misapplication needs to be noted. Is it “greed” that is being practiced in the normal striving common to most of humanity, to hope for the best personal condition for ones self and one’s family, and to apply one’s self to that end? Is every act performed to the end of increased wealth and achievement really the cruel aggressive and heartless condition one tries to conjure when using the tainted word “Greed?” Why is Sean Penn’s substantial income not “greedy” but a successful businessperson’s income is? Are Michael Jordan’s strivings for success less “greedy” than Bill Gates’?
Socialists would tell us that economic interest (i.e. Oil) could be the only motive for US actions. To the contrary, is it that unreasonable to suggest that America also has a valid interest in protecting its citizens from attack by fanatical religious and political factions? The socialist view of all motivation and action can, unfortunately, only be seen in terms of economics. Love, religion, art, leisure folly – are all seen as cold sterile economic issues. Is it any wonder then, that states established on radical Socialist principals have always been dull, lifeless prisons stifling humanity’s true creative potential?
Fervent critics would still have us believe their stance is wrought on unbiased logical appraisals, but their views and the debatable “facts” they raise stem from nothing more than an emotionally driven alliance with the socialist worldview. This is why the ruthless slaughter of millions for the cause of “egalitarian justice” is always brushed off or even justified when compared to the perceived horrors committed by America’s flawed liberal democratic state. Hatred of America is the initial stance. After the fact, the Leftist merely gathers the “facts” to “prove” their hatred is justified.
If the socialist bureaucracies of the world would free the human spirit from their dusty “five year plan” fantasies, they too might create a large middle class and its historically advanced condition. In the end, they’d prefer to line citizens up to rationed state troughs like barnyard animals and chime that they’re somehow “being fair” by “sharing” wealth (while simultaneously making it a crime to create new wealth). They will always view political models, like Castro’s decaying gulag, as better systems when compared to America’s diverse free-market society.
Lip service to humane goodness aside, I have yet to be convinced by any of these critics, that their level of “compassion” or sense of “justice” is any better than the next fellows (and many reasons to believe it may be less). If one criticizes communist gulags, one party police states, and “revolutionary” dictatorships, even moderate leftist will immediately counter with anecdotes regarding America’s flaws – often implying that an open and free system such as ours is actually worse! The left will insist, of course, that their bitter invective toward all American actions is motivated by some fair and well-reasoned appraisal of facts that merely accounts for all sides fairly. So, try this test: State criticisms of America like those on the left would make. Rail on its “injustices, inequality, belligerent militarism and imperialism.” Should not the all-reasonable and fair minded then immediately counter with examples of more horrid governments? Well…no. The left, for all it’s haughty attempts to appear above partisan conflict, does take a very clear side. It is consistently and passionately anti-US, anti-pluralistic, anti-free market and anti-free civil society. It is equally passionate in its consistent defense, and often open support for, the most authoritarian and oppressive systems to have ever existed.
What has been stated here would clearly infuriate some. To them, it’s impossible that one could defend the US when comparing it to the fundamentalist theocracies and socialist gulags of the world’s history. To them, a defense of America’s system and people can only be viewed as a Jingoistic, warmongering stance (“right wing extremist”).
Those who tell us that American “hegemony” (existence) is a curse to the people’s of the world, will certainly have opportunity to view alternatives in the uses of power and success. In the next few decades the locus of power may likely change, perhaps to China or Europe, countries that may then defy the darkness in their own histories and usher in a new utopia, free from hegemony and fast food franchises. Then again, they may be disappointed.
> American citizens who are reasonably aware of their
> own government’s historical errors and hypocrisies.
The insight or accuracy of these criticisms bears little justification for what has now become a bizarre and pervasive hatred for everything American.
> Hatred for America lies in nothing more profound than > a love for the things America does not represent,
> totalitarianism, collectivism and imposed conformity.
Cliff, they way you have written this is confusing. TO me it seems to suggest that the critiques of the "educated and informed" American citizens puts them into the category of the utopian totalitarian American-haters. You don't seem to pay enough attention to the loyal opposition, an essential party in any democracy.
Likewise, any Marxist worth his salt would praise the achievements of capitalism, as did Marx. They just think it can be done better
I'm well aware of the role of a loyal opposition in an open society. What used to be a loyal opposition seems to have all but vanished of late. People like Michael Moore (and there are many prominent people "like" him) genuinely do seem to have gone beyond mere disagreement. It's not completely far fetched to note their sympathies for totalitarian philosophies and institutions when they are comparing such to the United States.
I'm aware of the occasional rhetorical preamble that folks like Chomsky state in which they acknowlege some good attributes of America, but the net result of their diatribes can accurately be called hatred for America.
I'm not going to get sucked into one of those lengthily Chomsky debates where all sorts of "facts" and references are noted to prove how noble and grand this socialist intellectual is. I'll just state that I don't like him or his clear dislike for America and it's economic system.
If one likes socialism and sees America as relatively evil in comparison to socialist countries, by all means, Chomsky is your man, but that's not where I'm coming from.
Marx's plan for how "it can be done better" speaks for itself. I'll stick with 18th century reason and a belief in self-government, free-markets, and open diverse society.
For those who love bureaucracy and "leaders" by all means, render unto "Caesar" what you think belongs to him and his chosen interests.