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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 13, 2003

Anti-Americanism is vain, hypocritical, and ignorant

Victor Hanson in "Bomb Texas" had some very interesting things to say about the psychological roots of anti-Americanism.

This is a major article so I have excerpted only a few paragraphs.

Eschewing any reference to truths of this kind, adherents of postmodernist relativism assess morality instead by the sole criterion of power: Those without it deserve the ethical high ground by virtue of their very status as underdogs; those with it, at least if they are Westerners, and especially if they are Americans, are ipso facto oppressors. Israel could give over the entire West Bank, suffer 10,000 dead from suicide bombers, and apologize formally for its existence, and it would still be despised by American and European intellectuals for being what it is--Western, prosperous, confident, and successful amid a sea of abject self-induced failure.

In this connection, it is not surprising that those most critical of America are not the purported victims of its supposedly rapacious capitalist system--farm workers, car mechanics or welders--but more often those in the arts, universities, media and government who have the time and leisure to contemplate utopian perfection without firsthand and daily exposure to backbreaking physical labor, unrepentant bullies or unapologetically violent criminals. For such people, the new prosperity does not bring a greater appreciation of the culture that has produced it but rather enables a fanciful shift from thinking in the immediate and concrete to idle musings of the distant and abstract.

But local charity is unheralded and also expensive, in terms of both time and money. Far easier for most to exhibit concern by signing an ostentatious petition against Israel or to assemble in Central Park: public demonstrations that cost nothing but seemingly meet the need to show to peers that one is generous, fair, caring and compassionate