Archive for the ‘AMERICAN HISTORIAN PAGE SMITH AND SCHIZOPHRENIA’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HOW AMERICANS REACT TO CRITICISM OF THEIR ELECTIONS   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JONATHAN FREEDLAND IN THE GUARDIAN

Yes, absolutely, Jonathan Freedland.

What is so annoying about American attitudes is the juxtaposition of two inconsistent, obnoxious attitudes at the same time.

The first obnoxious attitude is America’s easy assumption of the country’s right to interfere or invade anywhere on the planet it chooses.

This “right” is always defined in the context of “defense”: after all, the world’s military Frankenstein monster is called the Department of Defense.

But a long trail of sad and murderous adventures since WWII has absolutely nothing to do with what anyone else understands as defense. Quite the opposite in many cases, including the overthrow of a number of democratic governments, these are works of bullying and even tyranny.

The other attitude resting comfortably in the American mind with the above is one of: “Butt out, mind your own business about our election!”

There seems to be a complete disconnect between these two things.

The great American historian, Page Smith, wrote many times of a form of schizophrenia in American history. He was using the word in a now-outdated sense, but he was precisely right in his essential meaning.

Effectively, Americans, many of them, seem to think it is just fine for the voters of America to behave as a global aristocracy, comfortable with their own right to voting and then acting as a tyrant towards many.

Those who vote there represent something on the order of 1% of the world’s population – the same percentage as the Communist party of China to its people, or as the privileged British who could vote for Parliament in the mid-eighteenth century – and they feel entitled to manage the affairs of billions of others.

Everyone in the world has the right to speak out about the anti-democratic and anti-human rights behaviors of America, a country whose government regularly pompously criticizes the state of democracy and human rights abroad, even maintaining lists of those considered most objectionable and grading them like a purse-lipped old school marm would.

Americans who resort to calling their critics anti-American are behaving exactly as the Israelis who call those who criticize Israel’s abominable record of human rights anti-Semites.

Interestingly, Israel, in all its unfair behavior, has the United States as patron.