April 8, 2004

America Bashing

John Parker reviews Anti-Americanism, by French author Jean-Francois Revel in The Asia Times. Calling anti-Americanism "a new global religion", Parker notes how its practitioners comfort themselves:

Curiously, however, while the religion has a hell (America), and a devil (George W Bush), it lacks both a heaven (the collectivist pipe dream having been found wanting) and a god (since the anti-Americans consider themselves as having evolved beyond the need for a deity - save their Islamist faction, which wants to impose its religion forcibly on everyone else). Still, the anti-American cult provides its legions of drooling adherents with the crucial element of any faith: the illusion of meaning in an otherwise meaningless existence. That priceless psychological salve, in this case, is the comforting delusion that, no matter how hypocritical, backward, bigoted, ignorant, corrupt or cowardly the cult's followers might otherwise be, at least they are better than those awful Americans.

Revel is one Frenchman who understands America, having lived here and traveled extensively here for many years. And he is merciless when it comes to the hypocrisy of the America bashers:

Revel...breaks new ground when he discusses the striking tendency of other countries to ascribe their own worst faults to the United States, in a curious "reversal of culpability". Thus the famously peace-loving Japanese and Germans excoriate the US for "militarism"; the Mexicans attack it for "electoral corruption" in the wake of the 2000 election; the British accuse it of "imperialism"; Arab writers condemn it after September 11 for "abridging press freedom" (of course, the Arab states have always been shining beacons of that freedom). The gold medal for jaw-dropping hypocrisy, however, goes to the mainland Chinese, whose unelected dictatorship routinely accuses the United States of "hegemonism". Having been the chief hegemon of Asia for most of the past 5,000 years, the Chinese are in a singularly weak position to condemn the practice. What they actually oppose, of course, is not "hegemonism" itself, but the possibility that any power other than China would dare to practice it.

Lots of good stuff here. Check it all out. (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Posted by dan at April 8, 2004 1:07 AM