James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Sheldon Richaman writes,
The evidence is strong that non-Americans for the most part do not hate individual Americans or their culture, freedom, and commercial spirit. On the contrary, people in other most places seem to have a warm affection for Americans in their private capacity. Polls repeatedly show this, including polls done in Arab countries.

That leaves only one real object of foreign hostility, U.S. foreign policy. And let’s face it, what’s not to dislike? Since the end of World War II, a succession of American presidents and their diplomatic and military minions have treated much of the world like slow, pitiable stepchildren badly in need of their guidance. If their governments are following unwise policies, have no fear: an American president will set them right. And if they elect the wrong leaders, he will come to the rescue with a timely regime change. From the Dominican Republic to Iran, it’s happened repeatedly.

I have felt this "anti-Americanism" for the past few years, particularly since the invasion of Iraq. The flag, the color guards, the national anthem - none of these things generates affectionate feelings toward my country as they did in my youth. While I used to say the Pledge of Allegiance, now I wonder how any reasonable person can repeat something so preposterous.

And this is because, when I see that flag, I don't think of freedom or baseball or apple pie, I think of Empire. And, frankly, I kind of enjoy seeing the Empire humiliated whenever possible. I like to see flag-wavers sulk. This extends even to sports. In sports that have national teams, where athletes play for and represent "their country," if anything I've tended to root against the Americans. I just don't like the USA lording it over other countries, especially in avenues like soccer and the Olympics, that mean far more to other countries in the first place. And so I felt some relief that Team USA exited the World Cup without even one victory, losing to Ghana today.

It really is a shame. If international competition was not based on country, but rather featured the best individuals and city teams, and if they didn't have those damn medal counts and medal ceremonies with flag-raisings and national anthems, I would naturally be partial to my fellow Americans. But because they are representing the Empire, I kind of enjoy it when they lose.

This doesn't mean I hold it against the athletes personally, who are just doing their best just as are the athletes from other countries. But someone's got to lose, so it might as well be the Empire.


  1. GreginOz11:33 PM PDT

    G'day Jimbo! It bemuses me that any serious Libertarian actually espouses 'patriotism' , that last refuge of scoundrels (M. Twain?). How can one simultaneously BE Libo and worship the State? Having said that, why do I have an Aussie flag on the car for The World Cup? BECAUSE WE WON INTO THE SECOND ROUND! Pathetic. Regards.

  2. My own experience backs up Rachaman's contention. While briefly living in France in 1983 I spent a fair amount of time with a Moroccan political dissident whom I had befriended. We had many very interesting conversations and although he clearly was fond of my company he really had a problem with American foriegn policy... which was the topic of discussion more than once.