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It is something basic in the psyche of the haters

Reader comment on item: [Symposium:] Why Does the World Hate America?

Submitted by Warwick Wakefield (United States), May 17, 2003 at 21:34

Firstly, I agree with commenter, Mr Gombis, that the overwhelming majority of those who give voice to anti-American sentiments are unable to place their opinions within a context of a general world-view of international relations, or even within a a deep and well-considered first-hand knowledge of America, its people and its institutions.

Most, but not all. There are very many fierce critics of America who have a great factual and theoretical knowledge of the subject. And some of the most vehement exponents of anti-Americanism are to found amongst the teachers and students at American universities. There are no anti-Americans like American anti-Americans. Just read Michael Moore's book, Stupid White Men.

I think that the deepest cause can be seen by observing the attitudes of New Zealanders towards Australia and Australians. Now, viewed from London, for example, it is astonishing how similar the two cultures are. But on the ground in New Zealand there is tremendous animosity towards Australia and Australians. If you point this out to Australians who have never been to New Zealand they will say, "That's odd, we never think about them." And this statement just drives New Zealanders into greater rage.

But what can be said with total certainty is that Australia is a very much larger society, much more powerful economically, a much more significant player on the word stage and a place with greater cultural diversity and opportunity. This activates what seems to be a near universal David and Goliath complex in the human psyche. The little guy is almost always resentful of the big guy and does everything possible, short of all-out confrontation, to disparage, vilify and hinder the big guy. He assumes a posture of moral superiority and ignores any evidence that supports the view that the little guy could be a real swine. (Look at the multitude of squalid dictatorships in Africa and the East).

I think that America should accept this generalized anti- Americanism as a tribute to its standing as the most successful and most progressive society in the history of the world. While America can afford to be undisturbed by anti-American posturing, knowing that human nature contains some very perverse elements, I think that the present Bush government is employing just the right admixture of carrot and stick (magnanimity and ferocity) towards those who are, or who might be considering, engaging in mass-murder as a result of their perverse misunderstandings of reality.

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