Thursday, August 10, 2006

What I mean by "Anti-American"

I use the term "anti-American" quite frequently in my writing. It occurred to me that its definition is not universal and that I should make an effort to define it as I understand it.

My definition begins with the Merriam-Webster definition:

"opposed or hostile to the people or the government
policies of the United States"

It seems to me that the dictionary definition of the term can apply only to non-Americans. The UN is, for example, an anti-American organization as defined above. It routinely opposes US government policy. Iraq was an anti-American country under Saddam's reign. It routinely opposed US Government policy and threatened the safety and security of the people of the United States.

It would be difficult to assert in any meaningful way that domestic political opposition to US Government policy is anti-American. Dems have long been trying to convince the voting public that they are being labeled as anti-American for simply opposing government policy. They have not been persuasive because the voting public knows a convenient fig leaf when they see one.

In my lexicon an American becomes anti-American when he steps beyond the boundaries of ordinary political discourse and advocates positions that threaten America's sovereignty and/or security.

Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State, lamented the fact that the USA is a hyperpower and suggested that our overwhelming strategic advantage over the rest of the world was destabilizing and unwelcome. The solution to this "problem" in her view was the reduction of our advantage over the rest of the world. That, in the view from down here, is an anti-American position. Any position advocating the reduction of America's various economic, strategic or tactical advantages necessarily diminishes our sovereignty and security.

The position described above also has another unfortunate component; it necessarily implies that America is not deserving of its preeminence and that it will abuse its advantage to the detriment of other countries. That is manifestly untrue and and has been proven so for decades.

But for the determination, strength and generosity of this country most of the "free" world would be speaking German, Russian or Japanese today.

The countries of Scandinavia and Europe would not have been free to develop their welfare states if the USA had not taken on the burden of their defense for the past 60 years. Canada would be bankrupt if it had to defend itself. I am not suggesting that the USA has undertaken the defense of the west at its own expense for all these years out of charity. As we have all seen countless times, self-interest often has very charitable results.

That huge coterie of US politicians anxious to gain or re-gain the "respect" of the world community by begging their indulgence and ceding our prerogatives to international organizations are, in my view, anti-American. They have no confidence or belief in the goodness of America and seem to see almost anything we do as bad. This view is only possible if one chooses to ignore all the great things America has done and continues to do and focus only on our warts. For the most part, this view also requires one to ignore or be ignorant of history.

The French have been anti-American since immediately after WWll. Idiots like John Kerry seem to think that their disaffection for us is some new phenomenon. Any American who has traveled to Paris in the last 50 years knows better.

Debating foreign and domestic policy is an essential element of the American experience. Advocating the reduction of US sovereignty through the ceding of national prerogatives to organizations like the UN or allowing foreign governments to dictate the foreign policy of the US is anti-American.

It is also anti-American and completely counterintuitive to suggest, as Stephen Bryer is fond of doing, that foreign law should inform the interpretation of the US Constitution. The Constitution is a uniquely American document and trends, legal or social, in Africa (or anywhere else for that matter) must, by definition, be irrelevant to it. Whether or not abortion on demand is available in Liberia or England makes no difference to the interpretation of the US constitution. Whether the execution of juveniles convicted of murder offends the US Constitution as cruel and unusual punishment does not depend on what the laws of Holland and Sweden say.

Looking to sources like those listed above for guidance in interpreting our Constitution belies a lack of faith in the institutions and people of this country that can only be interpreted as anti-American.

1 comment:

  1. The View From Up Here11:26 PM

    I've always known that you were an exceptional speaker, not to be confused with conversationalist ( ha,ha), but have never had the chance until now to experience your written prowess. I must say I'm impressed. (It almost rivals my own) Not surprised, impressed. I hope you don't mind if I re-use one of your statements. Of course, if asked, I'll give you the credit but I especially like, " ...self interest often has very charitable results."