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Anti-Americanism: What does it look like (in America)?

July 28, 2010

We’re in big trouble here, friends.  Pay attention.

To follow, or believe in, another mortal man, you must have faith in that person.  As opposed to blind faith, pragmatic and secular faith requires understanding a little about the ideals that guide that particular individual.

In this pursuit I found it natural and economical to start with a baseline from which I could measure existing, new, and possibly complicated ideas and philosophies.  And because the object of my inquiry was of national significance I first endeavored to define the classical American values.  I have previously shared a concept first offered by deep thinker Dennis Prager, which he calls the American Trinity.  As Dennis illuminates, the American Trinity has been under his nose for his entire life, marked on virtually all of our coined currency as: In God We Trust, Liberty, and E Pluribus Unum.

In revisiting this topic I fetched a quarter from my pocket and was quickly distracted thinking about how I would have designed the coin.  No issues are taken with the symbols or iconic images.  But rather, I might consider including all of the mottos of the American values on one side of the coin.  On the obverse I would include the antithetical American values, as a constant reminder to the dire alternatives as coinage was exchanged, gamed for heads or tails, or tossed carelessly onto a nightstand at day’s end.

So the exercise began.  What are the concepts, philosophies, or ideals antithetical to the American values I selected for examination?  I will spare you the tedious details of my inspection and get right to the summary.

American Value Antithesis
In God We Trust Political Religion
In 1955 Congress required that “In God We Trust” appear on all currency.  In the context of the Cold War, the bill’s sponsor, Congressman Charles Edward Bennett, said, “In these days when imperialistic and materialistic Communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, it is proper” to “remind all of us of this self-evident truth” that “as long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail.” The following year the phrase was adopted as the official motto of the United States by an Act of Congress. Political Religion is a secular ideology that co-opts, manipulates, or eliminates religious organizations and beliefs to create voids that can only be filled by the State (i.e. government) or a total ideology.  History indicates that strong political religiosity may manifest itself in the form of state-controlled education and utopian ideals, historically lead by charismatic figures and commonly utilize tactics of fear, propaganda, divisiveness, and the externalization of the nation’s problems.  A political religion is viewed as a challenge to the enshrinement of our basic rights as being endowed by our Creator and, thereby, exempt from abridgement by man.
Liberty Egalitarianism
Liberty is a precondition for individuals to act according to one’s free will and notions of personal responsibility, in the absence of external compulsion or coercion, and without hindrance to another’s liberty.  The concept of rights, including liberty, endowed to all individuals by their Creator is, in itself uniquely American, and arguably the cornerstone of this nation’s independence.  Our Constitution was written and ratified “in order to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” In this completed act, established was a constitutional republic ruled by laws based on natural rights; not rights allocated by governments or mortal humans. Egalitarianism is defined as a belief in the doctrine of the equality of mankind and the desirability of political, social, and economic equality.  A core belief is that disparate and concentrated wealth negates the liberty of others through oppression and subjugation.  In modern terms, this ideology upholds notions of social justice, collective salvation, and distribution of wealth, often manifested as ubiquitous bureaucratic regulation.  Proponents believe that, as with liberty, there is a right to equality.  Ironically, coerced egalitarianism through legislation and public policy that is intended to balance a society’s equality necessarily results in the suppression, if not outright dismissal, of personal autonomy and individual liberty.
E Pluribus Unum Multiculturalism
An accurate translation of the Latin motto is “Out of many, one.”  It is reasoned that the phrase originally reflected the concept of thirteen individual colonies forming a cohesive single nation.  Today, it commonly reflects the uniquely American concept of the “melting pot,” wherein individuals of disparate backgrounds, beliefs, and ideals build upon the foundation of American culture by contributing the best of their unique cultural experiences and circumstance. Multiculturalism seeks to preserve diverse morals and cultures within a host nation.  In its most benign sense, multiculturalism implies a positive benefit to the larger society despite being at odds with a nation’s precept of assimilation.  Upholding multiculturalism as a virtue above individualism and assimilation can yield groups that are socially dysfunctional, envious of, or possess animosity toward other groups.  Such societal segmentations are unstable, vulnerable, and unsustainable, further eroding any belief in national unity.

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Summary of American and anti-American Values

The classical American value system is rooted in the belief that great goodness and great societies are born of individuals whom, through their Maker and as the Laws of Nature ascribe, have been gifted certain fundamental rights that are not capable of being alienated by others.

Anti-American sentiment is largely founded on the primacy of holism over individualism.  Moreover, anti-American proponents have a malevolent view of an economic system based on a free market, competition, profit motive, and private ownership of the means of production.  From the anti-American perspective, capitalism is the primary vehicle for the oppression of certain classes, races, cultures, and groups within the nation.  Imperialism is commonly defined as the highest stage of capitalism and is particularly, if not wholly, reviled for its worldwide subjugation of people.  Furthermore, the anti-American mindset concludes that because capitalism is the progeny of free individuals empowered by the self-evidence of their own Natural rights, the unhindered individual spirit must be abridged.  Anti-American ideologues romanticize, despite historical abominations and atrocities to mankind worldwide, that only social and economic statism will cement the world’s salvation.  It is reasoned by them that the capitalist structure and individual agency must be transformed so that a classless, just, and harmonious world will emerge.  In other words:  world peace and tranquility at the expense of individual liberty.

Conclusion

Does this matter? I think so.  Is America good? I believe that.  Are there persons with strong past and present associations with anti-American groups and individuals in this country? I don’t doubt that.  Are there persons with strong past and present associations with anti-American groups and individuals that hold positions in our government at the highest level? I’m getting a little scared here, but I’m still with me.  Are anti-American ideologies ingrained in our various societal institutions such that the questions I, and millions of others, have raised are widely unknown to many Americans? I need a nap.

Does it matter? I know it does.

The people asking these questions need help.  Maybe, hopefully, the truth will prove that for the first time, my gut, my logic, and my modest analytical and synthetical skills have failed me concurrently.  If so, so be it.  I will consider it the most important lesson of my life.  It is also possible that the answers will not make themselves known, or more particularly, you will not have the answers or know the truth.  Perhaps your part – your contribution – is just to pass the questions along.

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