Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Anti-Americanism Again

John, from Iberian Notes, has a link to a review of Barry and Judith Colp Rubin's book, Hating America: A History. John quotes the final paragraph as a summary, but there are many points in the body well worth reading. The following item caught my eye:
Europeans constantly complained that American women talked too much and didn’t know their place. Some sarcastically referred to the United States as a “paradise for women.”
One European of that era that came to a different conclusion was Alexis de Tocqueville, as quoted by Vishal Mangalwadi in his piece What Made America Greater Than Europe?:
During 1831-32, five decades after the successful American Revolution and four decades after the failed French Revolution, a French magistrate came to the United States of America on an official visit. He used the occasion for an unofficial investigation into the success and consequence of American democracy, and published his findings in a two-volume classic: Democracy in America. Toward the end of the second volume, Alexis de Tocqueville, says to his European readers,

"I have recorded so many considerable achievements of the Americans, if anyone asks me what I think the chief cause of the extraordinary prosperity and growing power of this nation, I should answer that it is due to the superiority of their women[1]."

[ 1] Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, tr. George Lawrence, ed. J. P. Mayer (HarperPerennial, 1988) P.603
(Dr. Mangalwadi develops a theme which ties together America's heritage of Protestant theology, puritan morals and belief in individual liberty, which results in, among other things, relative equality for women.)

In closing:
Nevertheless, Hating America is an otherwise comprehensive guide to the development and spread of yet another paranoid ideology—one they note bears a disquieting similarity to anti-Semitism, its ancient and evil sibling.
If one considers that America has the most clearly Judeo-Christian heritage of any country, it wouldn't seem so odd that anti-Americanism would be so much like anti-Semitism.

See also The Roots Of Anti-Americanism for additional resources.