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« More On AARP's Manipulative Polling | WILLisms.com | Liberals Thinking They've Already Won On Social Security. »

Americanism versus Anti-Americanism.


Anti-Americanism seems to be a favorite pastime of Islamofascists, snooty Europeans, and even much of "the Left" in the United States. We see anti-Americanism in the news on a regular basis. Some prefer to blame American policy, rather than what America stands for, as the cause of anti-Americanism. Some prefer to believe that terrorism is a result of, and perhaps merely a mechanical reaction to, the arrogant projection of American power, rather than hatred for the core philosophy of America.

WILLisms.com understands that anti-Americanism is fundamentally a manifestation of hatred against America's values.

Abu Musab Zarqawi, lead terrorist in Iraq, proved this point in recent comments:

"We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology," Zarqawi declared in a statement. "Democracy is also based on the right to choose your religion," he said, and that is "against the rule of God."

Indeed, anti-Americanism is a concept most can grasp. It is somewhat intuitive. But what about Americanism? What is it that people are so "anti," anyway?

David Gelernter, writing in Commentary, "America's premier monthly magazine of opinion," asserts that Americanism is not merely,

"American tastes or style, or American culture— that convenient target of America-haters everywhere. Nor do I mean mere patriotic devotion; many nations command patriotic devotion from their citizens (or used to).

For Gelernter, Americanism is,

"...the set of beliefs that are thought to constitute America’s essence and to set it apart; the beliefs that make Americans positive that their nation is superior to all others— morally superior, closer to God."

Gelernter continues:

"To sum up Americanism’s creed as freedom, equality, and democracy for all is to state only half the case. The other half deals with a promised land, a chosen people, and a universal, divinely ordained mission. This part of Americanism is the American version of biblical Zionism: in short, American Zionism."

The Americanists put great faith in the idea that America is a force for good in the world and that American principles are really universal, or God-given principles. President Abraham Lincoln hoped to be a “humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty and of this, His almost chosen people.” Ronald Reagan, a conspicuous revivalist of Americanism following the American malaise under Jimmy Carter, asserted,

"America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere."


Gelernter notes:

"Some agreed with Ronald Reagan and some disagreed. Some approved of him and some disapproved. Yet, to a remarkable extent, those who hated him are the ones who hate America....

On the occasion of his 'evil empire' speech, for example, the columnist Mary McGrory called Reagan’s denunciation of the Soviet Union 'a marvelous parody of a revivalist minister.' Another journalist, Colman McCarthy, wrote that Reagan had descended 'to the level of Ayatollah Khomeini' —to the level, that is, of an enemy of mankind who uses religion to do evil."

President Bush speaks often about how freedom is not merely America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to every individual in the world. The President believes that the United States "remains the hope of the oppressed, and the greatest force for good on this earth." There is no doubt George W. Bush is a believer in Americanism. This upsets anti-Americans profoundly.

On the evolution of anti-Americanism, Gelernter notes,

"In the 19th century, European elites became increasingly hostile to Christianity— which inevitably entailed hostility to America. In modern times, anti-Americanism is closely associated with anti-Christianism and anti-Semitism.

Anti-Americans are still fascinated and enraged by Americans’ bizarre tendency to believe in God."

While Europe has become increasingly secular, churches rapidly converted to bars and restaurants and shops and homes, religion in the United States remains a powerful, relevant, and positive force in society. But not all anti-Americans reside in Europe or the Middle East. Some prominent Americans, it turns out, believe in anti-Americanism, fearing, loathing, and distrusting American power, deriding those who believe that America has a divine calling to act as a force for good in the world.

"The President’s faith, said one prominent American politician in September 2004, is 'the American version of the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia, in Kashmir, and in many religions around the world.'

The speaker was former Vice President Al Gore. His comments were offensive and false. Today’s radical Islam is a religion of death, a religion that rejoices in slaughter. The radical Christianity known as Puritanism insisted on choosing life. Americanism does, too."


"Americanism is notable, of course, not merely for its spectacular ability to arouse hate.... it has also inspired remarkable feats of devotion."

Indeed, while anti-Americanism can be intense and frightening, this is only because Americanism itself is such a powerful and important force.

One lesson Democrats should have learned from the 2002 and 2004 elections is that Americans, naturally enough, prefer Americanism over anti-Americanism. This enough ought to be common sense, but apparently it isn't.

As long as Howard Dean, the current leader in the race for the chairmanship of the DNC, and Ted Kennedy, the current de facto leader of the party, continue to guide the Democrats down the path of hostility toward faith and mistrust of American power, they will have electoral problems for some time to come.

WILLisms.com has comments on a range of topics planned for the near future, including a look at the pending case before the Supreme Court dealing with interstate wine sales, a look at revolutionary icon and Communist guerilla Che Guevara, more inspection of the AARP, and a look at how Midland, Texas shaped the President's worldview and character. Stay tuned for these and many other thoughts in the coming days and weeks.

Posted by Will Franklin · 28 January 2005 01:44 PM