Blogs > Cliopatria > Richard B. Speed: Review of Barry and Judith Colp Rubin's, Hating America: A History

Jan 12, 2005 12:49 am


Richard B. Speed: Review of Barry and Judith Colp Rubin's, Hating America: A History



Mr. Speed is a Lecturer at the Department of History, California State University at Hayward.

“I am willing to love all mankind, except an American.”--Samuel Johnson.

“ America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.” --Oscar Wilde.

“Why do they hate us?” The question seems to be on everyone’s lips these days, and everybody seems to have an opinion. According to some observers, people throughout the world simply, “hate our democracy.” According to others the United States sides with Israel against the Palestinian people, thus incurring their justifiable wrath. In Europe it is common to assert that Americans act like arrogant “cowboys,” and that we are religious fanatics attempting to impose our ways upon the rest of the world. Radicals and even moderates in Latin America insist that the United States is responsible for the squalor so common in that region. Throughout the world the consensus of opinion seems to be that the United States has constructed an empire that snuffs out the aspirations of its victims. This has given rise in recent years to a wave of paranoid hatred of the United States. But few seem to know that such loathing of America is nothing new.

Long before the United States was founded, Barry and Judith Colp Rubin inform us in their new book, Hating America: A History, enlightened Europeans were convinced that America was inferior to the Old World and that nothing good would ever come of it. During the eighteenth century European intellectuals attempted to explain why no great civilization had arisen on American shores (the Incas and the Aztecs did not count) as it had across the Atlantic. The greatest biologist and naturalist of his time, Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, was convinced that climate was the critical factor in human development. Although he had never been to America, he read a great deal about the severe blizzards of New England and the heat of the tropics and concluded that it was impossible for civilized life to thrive there. In fact, he was convinced that life degenerated in American conditions. Without any evidence whatsoever, he contended that animals in America were smaller than their European counterparts. The American mountain lion for example, was “smaller, weaker, and more cowardly than the real lion.” He even held that animals such as horses, goats and dogs which had crossed the Atlantic to America diminished in stature after they arrived!

What was true of animals, naturally was also true of humans. Accordingly, Buffon wrote that the American Indian “is feeble in his organs of generation; . . . has neither body hair . . . nor ardor for his female . . . .” In terms similar to those often used by anti-American critics two hundred years later, he concluded that their “heart is frozen, their society cold, their empire cruel.”

The Rubins explain that Buffon was no exception in his bizarre estimation of America. The great French philosopher Voltaire echoed his opinions. Another eighteenth century popularizer of anti-American views was Cornelius DePauw of the Netherlands who contended in his popular 1768 book, Philosophical Research on the Americans, that everything across the Atlantic was “either degenerate or monstrous.” Immanuel Kant wrote in 1775 that Americans were “too weak for hard work . . . incapable of all culture, in fact even lower than the Negro.” So many European intellectuals accepted and repeated these and other similar claims that they formed the European consensus about America. In response to the prevalence of views such as these Benjamin Franklin wrote his Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, an essay demonstrating that Americans were not sickly, that the population was fertile and growing more rapidly than that of England. Thomas Jefferson’s famous Notes on the State of Virginia is an explicit defense of native creatures. American bears, he explained, were as twice as big as old world varieties, and the fossilized remains of American elephants were enormous.

Critics were not deterred however. Nikolas Lenau, a Hungarian poet went so far as to complain that he could find no nightingales or other songbirds in America. This he thought was emblematic of the region’s spiritual poverty. Unlike many European critics, Lenau had at least traveled to America in the 1830s, but he became ill, lost money in a land speculation scheme, and was embittered by his experience. He later wrote that “Americans are shopkeepers with souls that stink towards heaven. They are dead for all spiritual life . . . . The nightingale is right when he does not want to come to these louts.”

This enlightening new book places contemporary hatred of America in historical context by describing the trajectory of anti-Americanism over the course of three centuries. According to the Rubins, during the first phase of anti-Americanism, European intellectuals blamed the inferiority of America on the natural environment. During the second phase, which began with the Revolutionary era, they placed blame for American degeneracy upon the people. Even in Jefferson’s day, Americans were after all, the descendents of a polyglot collection of Europe’s criminals, outcasts, religious cranks, and failures—in short, the scum of European society. Furthermore, they were rebels who, having proclaimed the virtues of the common man, had rejected monarchy, the only system of government for which mankind had ever proven suitable. It was impossible that such a people could make a successful nation. European intellectuals dripped contempt as they discussed the United States. The democratic experiment across the Atlantic could not possibly last.

Most European critics were children of privilege, born into a class hierarchy they believed was the natural order of any society. They believed that all the benefits of culture, literature, the arts, poetry and the opera were the work of such an aristocracy of breeding. Yet Americans not only insisted on the revolutionary doctrine of equality, but practiced it. Americans refused to defer to their betters. Not only did Americans have offensive table manners, but they were filthy, crude and violent, prone as European visitors noted to knife fights, duels, and lynching. Europeans constantly complained that American women talked too much and didn’t know their place. Some sarcastically referred to the United States as a “paradise for women.” Even children were allowed to run wild without adequate discipline. The habit that repulsed them the most was, as the British traveler Francis Trollope put it, “the remorseless spitting of Americans.” With their eyes focused determinedly on the bottom line, Americans would never produce a culture worthy of note. Degradation was the natural, indeed the inevitable tendency of democracy.

What most bothered European intellectuals about Americans was that they neither appreciated the arts nor deferred to a refined upper class. In short, they refused to recognize their own inferiority and the natural superiority of the learned. To Americans, the latter were merely effete snobs unwilling to get their hands dirty with a little honest sweat. In 1824 a Jacksonian campaign slogan that ridiculed the highly educated John Quincy Adams expressed their contempt. According to the Democrats of that year, “Adams writes. Jackson fights!” Amidst the democratic mob, there was no place for an intellectual elite, certainly not in politics. One hundred-fifty years later little had changed as American politicians from George Wallace to Spiro Agnew made sport of “pointy-headed intellectuals,” and “eggheads” like Adlai Stevenson. Even in the twenty-first century, Americans prefer a plain talking Texas cowboy who expresses himself in sentence fragments to a Harvard educated liberal who speaks in nuanced paragraphs.

Through the middle of the nineteenth century few critics worried much about the impact of America because they knew it could not last. At most, the United States might be an obnoxious model that appealed to the lower orders of European society--a frightening prospect in itself. But when the Confederate states seceded from the Union igniting the Civil War in 1861, they were convinced that their predictions were coming true. When however, the Union triumph demonstrated that the nation was a permanent feature of the international landscape, they began to fear the impact of the United States. The third phase of anti-Americanism had begun. By the turn of the century, as the monster across the Atlantic began to out-produce the great powers of Europe, and compete with them in the imperial arena, some began to fear that the United States might at some time in the future impose its dreadful system upon them. Worse, their own people might prefer the boorish American mass consumption society to the cultured but sluggish class societies of traditional Europe. In short, the elites of “old Europe” feared “Americanization.”

During the nineteenth century anti-Americanism was an intellectual orientation of both the conservative right which loathed the “masses,” and of the romantic left which simultaneously championed and feared the “dangerous classes.” With the Bolshevik Revolution anti-Americanism acquired a state sponsor. Hostility to capitalism merged with hostility to the United States in the torrent of propaganda sponsored by the Soviet Union throughout most of its history. Fascists on the right conflated anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. Accordingly one Nazi propagandist commented that “Uncle Sam has been transformed into Uncle Shylock.” Hitler himself once asked a friend, “What is America, but millionaires, beauty queens, stupid records, and Hollywood?” Demonstrating that he had accepted Buffon’s degeneracy theory, Hitler told another friend, “Transfer [a German] to Miami and you make a degenerate out of him—in other words—an American.”

During the forty-five years or so of the Cold War, western European anti-Americanism was muted because that region depended upon the United States for its defense against the Soviet Union. It was muted everywhere that is except in France, which has always been a prolific source of anti-American bile. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union and its dreary empire, hysterical fears of American “hyperpower” have arisen once again. After all, without the Soviet Union to restrain the Americans, what is to prevent the United States from extending its repugnant culture, not to mention its economic and military hegemony everywhere? Intellectuals throughout the world who embraced socialism during the Cold War, have embraced anti-Americanism as their new ideology in the wake of the Soviet collapse.

In a series of persuasive chapters, the Rubins describe anti-Americanism as it metastasized first throughout Latin America and then the Middle East, where it has acquired new state sponsors who use it to shift blame for the failures of Islamic societies to come to terms with modernity. The Rubins find that “third world” intellectuals have generally adapted old anti-American themes to the new circumstances of the post Cold War order. It is worth noting that the authors fail to discuss the emergence since the Vietnam War of American anti-Americanism, a disconcerting yet pervasive aspect of our contemporary intellectual life. It is however, a phenomenon which could be easily explained within the intellectual framework the Rubins adopt. Nevertheless, Hating America is an otherwise comprehensive guide to the development and spread of yet another paranoid ideology—one they note bears a disquieting similarity to anti-Semitism, its ancient and evil sibling.




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Noemi June Szekely - 1/18/2005

Nikolaus Lenau (aka, Niembsch von Strehlenau) was a Schwab (German) poet from Hungary (which was a mutinational state at the time). He wrote in German,he lived most of his life in Austria. He was not Hungarian.


Jonathan Goodwin - 1/18/2005

I presume you were referring to Kerry there, who I believe was educated at Yale and Boston College. Bush was educated at Yale and Harvard.


Jonathan Goodwin - 1/18/2005

I presume you were referring to Kerry there, who I believe was educated at Yale and Boston College. Bush was educated at Yale and Harvard.


N. Friedman - 1/16/2005

Adam,

This is a very fair point. However, I reiterate that the hatred of the US has less to do with the US than it does with interests that conflict.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 1/16/2005

Val,
You are correct to point out Canada and Europe. Certainly, there are numerous cases of individual countries who were slighted by this administration.

Whenever I hear TV pundits discussing why so many billions of people all over the world are so wrong, greedy, corrupt, or blind enough to not support US actions, I am reminded of a scholar who, explaining why Napoleon was unable to pacify the Spanish, commented that Napoleon was simply unable to fathom how anyone could love their country as much as he loved his. I believe this applies to the Bush administration most strongly.


N. Friedman - 1/14/2005

Adam,

Those are fair points. I have no disagreement.


Val Jobson - 1/14/2005

"I believe that our policies really do appear arrogant and unilateral, our actions blatantly ignore the concerns of anyone else in the world, and our invasion of Iraq needless and belligerent."

Adam, your analysis of the situation is right on. Anti-American feeling has grown enormously all over the world as a direct result of the actions and words of the Bush administration. Basically Bush is perceived as a simple-minded bully, and he has justified that view over and over again. His invasion of Iraq is the worst example; his rejection of arms treaties, Kyoto, and any kind of multilateral action or support for the UN is appalling. The Kyoto treaty is becoming more of an issue, I believe, in Europe, which has suffered more from global climate change than the US has so far; and Bush's denial of the scientific evidence is a problem. Remember all those heat-related deaths in France?

In Canada the relationship with the US has always been complicated. There are longstanding trade irritants which may not be the direct fault of the Bush administration. The continuing beef ban over BSE is believed to be based on politics and greed instead of science; and even conservative Albertans, who usually argue that the Americans are our friends, are getting absolutely fed up with the US attitude. There is a general perception that Americans cannot be trusted to honour their trade agreements; also that while Canada has reported discovered cases of BSE, the US probably has covered up its own cases.

The US ambassador to Canada, Paul Celluci, infuriated many Canadians by criticising our decision to stay our of the Iraq invasion. He was seen as threatening economic reprisals, though I am not sure if that was accurate or a reflection of general anxiety over the economic relationship. Hopefully his replacement will have more diplomatic skill and can be perceived as less arrogant.

There are many close connections and reasons for friendship between Canada and the US; but there is also the fact that familiarity breeds contempt. When an Anmerican says he/she lives in the greatest country in the world, a Canadian gets a very sceptical look on his/her face.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 1/14/2005

Mr. Friedman,
There is very little in your post that I would disagree with. Indeed, I think the whole world has been a victim of the tragedy of the commons regarding the threat of Islamic extremism. The US has not been immune from this at all, although the absence of a large Arab lobby combined with the security of having a massive military has led to far less blatant extortion. However, during the Cold War, we were not above doing precisely what European countries did: ignore, appease, and forget. This is not to say that we were as “bad,” or to compare us and Europe, but Europe’s position towards the Middle East and Africa certainly is not one that I believe we should adopt. Quite the contrary, in time, I hope that Europe will come closer to us on this issue, although given the rising Arab populations in these countries, I am less than hopeful.

National security is never something that should be compromised just to make friends. However, rhetoric means a lot and there is much that the administration could do that would not require any policy change at all, merely a change in tone. As for actual policy, if we wanted to, I think a little can go a long way, just proposing an alternative to the Kyoto agreement, and other environmental concerns that much of the world has. Furthermore, ending the massive protectionist subsidies and opening up American markets to poor countries would not only be a magnanimous gesture of cooperation and humanitarianism, but it would also further free trade, help poor countries to lift themselves up from poverty, and perhaps assist us in achieving Bush’s aims of peace and democracy. Of course, this would cost Americans jobs in the short term and I am getting way off track. My point is that a little can go a long way and a lot could really help to diffuse an otherwise tense relationship.


N. Friedman - 1/14/2005

Adam,

Regarding: "Only time will tell, but it probably still wouldn’t hurt for the administration to use his second term to try and mend some fences anyway":

There are things we can do to mend fences. However, there are things that we must not do in order to mend fences. One of those things is adopt the European position on the Middle East. That would make things even worse for the US as, in fact, the European policy is to acquiesce toward whatever insanity the Arab world offers in exchange for some short term economic gain.

In my view, the Europeans are living in a dream world regarding the intentions of the Muslim world. Please note: I am not anti-Muslim. On the other hand, only a dope looking at the political activity of the Muslim world could conclude that the intention of either the pan-Arabists or the Islamists, among other political groups, is benign.

And, moreover, I think that we are witnessing the beginning of a general re-awakening of Islam toward its classical political roots as an imperialist theosophy. If - and I use the word "if" intentionally since we are at only the beginning of things - Islamdom follows its traditional course, then we can reasonably predict what the future will bring, namely, first to obtain control of the Arab and the rest of the Muslim world, then control Europe and, eventually, the US. Moreover, I think that the most reasonable view of the current terrorist campaign is that such mimics the razzias by which the classical Islamic empire softened up Europe for conquest (as, for example, occurred against the the Byzantine Empire before that empire was conquered).

An examination of European policy reveals that it is, via the EU, locked into agreement with the Arab world including the Muslim view of that region. As part of that policy, Europeans have, for all practical purposes, adopted the political line of the Arab League on nearly all matters affecting the Arab world. Hence, in disputes between Muslims and anyone else, Europe more or less overlooks all wrongs by Muslims while condemning anyone who says boo about Muslim Arabs.

For example, there is Europe's near silence for over 20 years about slavery in Sudan (including, e.g., the slave raids by Sudanese Arab Muslims who have enslaved large numbers of Christians and animists), about forced conversions of Christians and Muslims in Sudan, about the murder of 2 million people in Sudan, mostly Christians and animists. Instead, what is really a classical jihad against the Christians and animists (in which a hudna was recently signed) has been reinterpretted as a simple civil war when, in fact, the "civil war" is merely the effort by the Christians and animists not to be slaughtered and enslaved.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 1/14/2005

Mr. Friedman,
You make some excellent and thoughtful points, as always. It is true, opposition to Bush pre-Iraq was not nearly as intense, and indeed I tend to conclude that “Bush generated opposition by clumsy diplomacy.” Indeed, there is little that Bush had done pre-Iraq that Clinton had not done, and in some cases, such as monetary aid to Africa, surpassed Clinton in American generosity. It is just that Clinton (as well as Bush’s father, who was a superb diplomat) has a way of achieving American interests without having to disrespect whoever he was dealing with.

I would agree that there is a large segment of the European community who want to return to a multipolor world (particularly in France), however, I do not believe that this was a dominant position, certainly not in Britain or Germany. While Europe was concerned with building the EU for mutual economic advancement, I do not believe that many people seriously wanted to challenge the US in terms of military supremacy or economic domination (which, at the end of the day, is the only thing that has ever changed balances of power).

After 9/11, there was good reason to support the US against Afghanistan and AQ. After all, these organizations were as much a threat to Europe (who is desperately trying to figure out what to do with its own growing Muslim population) as they were to us. Iraq, however, and particularly the manner by which it was approached, I think solidified the belief that a counter balance to the US was not only an ideological objective, but necessary for any lasting peace in the world. This is not to say that I actually believe this or support these positions, but I do believe they have now become the prominent beliefs throughout much of the world.

Although I do not subscribe to the various conspiracy theories that have circulated why we went into Iraq, it is nonetheless apparent that this nation arbitrarily invaded another nation for what appears to be no real reason (at least none that would indicate that war was a last resort) and the fact remains that there was nothing anyone can do about it. I believe that this reality has helped to move much of the world, particularly in Europe, into the camp that believes that America cannot be trusted to restrain itself in the post-Cold War world, and in the long term, if it continues, it will prove itself to be a dangerous development.

I am convinced that with proper American leadership, there is no reason why we cannot remain a superpower indefinitely. However, this can only be done by convincing other countries that it is not in their best interests to try and challenge us in any serious capacity. If America abdicates its role as the leader of the free world, pulls out of treaties that it fins inconvenient, and ignores the national pride or interests of all other nations, I believe that it is only a matter of time before American hegemony will be replaced with some other alternative.

However, I hope that I am wrong in all of this. If you are correct, and this is just the continuation of a long-lasting trend, then there is nothing that we could do to prevent it, it is only the result of jealousy, fear, of historic pride. Only time will tell, but it probably still wouldn’t hurt for the administration to use his second term to try and mend some fences anyway.


N. Friedman - 1/14/2005

Adam,

Apart from agreeing with your opinion about the Iraq war, I do not agree with your ideas - as much as I respect you, your method of argumentation and your opinions -. Which is to say, we have an honest disagreement.

While it is true that Bush was criticized, early on, for rejecting, for example, Kyoto, such objection was, at best, half-hearted. More importantly, Bush's position on Kyoto and the international criminal court was all but identical to Clinton's. Yet - opposition to the US was also minor under Clinton -.

One might conclude that Bush generated opposition by clumsy diplomacy. And, surely, his diplomacy was clumsy even when he has done the right thing.

However, it is again to be noted that his attitude on the court and Kyoto did not make the US in the boogey man. Iraq did. The question is why. The issue is whether or not that war was the cause or merely uncovered other trends that had been long (whether or not ancient or post WWII) in the making.

My view is that such has been long in the making. Moreover, my contention is that the objection to the US comes from two different sources, one that is rather ancient (as discussed in the article) but which feeds background ressentiment. The other has to do with concrete differences in political interest about which there is little the US can do.

Those differences are, in no particular order, the disproportionate military and political power of the US (somewhat unique in the West since the days of the Roman and Islamic Empire) versus the generalized impotence, in nearly every field, of the old world powers (and everyone else). The other is the underlying political aims of the European Union countries which, by their objectives, intends a joint European Arab counterweight to US power and influence.

When the US was attacked by the Islamists and, in response, decided to take the fight directly to the Islamic countries, that placed the US on a collision course with European interests and scared those other countries which are dependent on (a) a stable world community and (b) the uninterrupted flow of oil. In that any president would, one way or the other, have taken the fight to the Muslim world, the US was headed toward boogey man status. Having picked an actual war and occupation, of course, exasperated the issue but, one way or the other, a collision, I think, was and will continue to be inevitable.

Were it the case that the US sought to attack, for example, Ivory Coast, the world would be silent (as it has been for France). Were it the case that the US decided, as it actually did, to attack Serbia but, again, without the approval of the UN or most of the world, nobody would much care. When, however, the US chose a country about which many European countries - and most particularly France - have actual political aspirations and have entered into policy agreements with, the US became the boogey man.

But, again, understanding the basic dynamic of ressentiment toward the US, as the Rubins evidently have done, is very valuable to understanding the language of and part of the cause of anti-Americanism.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 1/14/2005

I agree with Mr. Ewener. Dislike, indeed disdain for the US in general is high, and I do believe that the level of contempt is a relatively recent phenomenon, even though general dislike of the US, or concern about the growing power of the US, is nothing new. Of course, it becomes very difficult to find much quantitative data supporting this belief, since most countries do not have accurate polling data and those that do seem to never had even thought to measure the level an anti-Americanism until recently. However, anecdotal evidence is compelling enough for me to call it a serious problem whose intensity is uniquely high right now.

I tend to believe that while much of this dislike is based on actual policies, most notably the rejection of many international treaties and agreements and the invasion of Iraq (which was opposed by the majority of every nation for which polls exist save 2).

However, a great deal of it seems to be based on America’s attitude towards the world, at least that is based on my own observations and discussions with foreign colleagues. For example, much of the animosity seems to be directly more towards President Bush than to Americans in general. In other words, many people in the world hate us because they perceive that we hate them (not inaccurately based on our leaders’ public statements). Remember Bush’s statement of being “with us or against us”? How about Don Rumsfeld calling any European nation that opposed the Iraq war “OLD Europe,” or Congress changing the name of fries and toast simply because the French do not agree with us on the Iraq war? To political leaders, and perhaps Americans in general, there is no such thing as an ally that disagrees with us: only cowards and traitors who are either in cahoots with the enemy, being bought off with oil, or simply want to see us fail. Perhaps the better question than why do they hate us, is why do we hate them so much?

If I believed that international condemnation of the US was ungrounded or unfair, than frankly, I would never advocate changing policy simply to appease others. However, I agree with much of the criticism leveled against the US. I believe that our policies really do appear arrogant and unilateral, our actions blatantly ignore the concerns of anyone else in the world, and our invasion of Iraq needless and belligerent. Perhaps the recent trend in anti-Americanism is superficial enough to end with the current administration, as I hope. I tend to believe that like all foreign policy throughout history, perceptions can change rather easily.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/02/14/sprj.irq.protests.rodgers.otsc/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2994924.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2544599.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2970424.stm


N. Friedman - 1/14/2005

Mr. Ewener,

You write: "The recent, still inchoate situation seems to be something new."

Some evidence and argument for your opinion might be helpful. As matters stand, you have asserted the view that the current hatred of the US, which recently became clearly evident (whether or not it began recently) is a new phenomena that is, evidently, only superficially if at all rooted in the history that the Rubins have traced. Maybe you are correct. Maybe not. However, you have provided no evidence or reason for thinking that your view is even likely. All you have done is note that there is much current hostility to the US.


I look forward to you presenting your evidence and reasons.


Jeffery Ewener - 1/14/2005

There have always been people who hate the Americans. There have always been people who hate the French. There have always been people who hate the Chinese, the Nigerians, the Brazilians, the Persians ... and on and on. There is absolutely no historical interest in this. Anyone with time on their hands and a big enough grudge could go through the records and fill a book with dumb remarks.

What is historically interesting is that America has gone, in no more than half a generation, maybe less, from being far and away the most popular country in the world, to a country somewhat, though still not a lot, less than well-liked. During the first Gulf War, during the Reagan years, during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, during Watergate and all through the horrific Vietnam War, most people in most parts of the world admired the United States. Even those who thought the country was on the wrong track (because of war, political corruption, plutocratic economic policies, whatever) still believed that America's virtues outweighed its faults, and wished the country would just get hold of itself and snap out of the aberrant fit in question.

The recent, still inchoate situation seems to be something new. I think it could be better characterised as a loss of faith in America. The magnificent words of America's founding documents (and no question, the USA has the best documents of any country in the world, bar none) which have stirred billions, don't seem to be enough anymore. The country's actions seem to be speaking louder than its words -- and those actions are disturbing. America no longer seems to present itself as a can-do, gung-ho, let's do 'er kind of economic powerhouse, and instead squares off against the world armed to the teeth and asking, "You feel lucky, punk?" A meanness and a brooding violence seems to have entered into the soul of America. The country resembles a nasty drunk, all by himself in a dark corner of the bar, looking back bitterly on his glory days.

This is interesting. What is it that has changed -- just the perception, the public relations, or has the supreme self-confidence of America really turned to water and trickled away? Is it the result of a quarter-century of hyper-active denial of Jimmy Carter's diagnosis of "malaise"? Or have the attitudes of the rest of the world -- their tastes and interests and concerns and aspirations -- simply moved past (or fallen behind) those of America? Or is it simply that the Cold War -- like the First World War and the Second World War -- drained the heart out of the winner as much as the loser.

One thing I think is obviously beyond question -- reviews like this one, and, if it's an accurate review, books like this one, are part of the problem, not the solution.


N. Friedman - 1/12/2005

My thank you to Mr. Speed for his very useful review of 'Hating America: A History,' by Barry and Judith Colp Rubin.

It is to be noted that there are even a few Frenchmen who agree with the Rubins including, most notably, Bernard-Henri Lévy who refers to Anti-Americanism as that other cr-p that is akin to Antisemitism.

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