CULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnAFTER SEPTEMBER 11, voices fromrnmany quarters have urged Americans tornreflect on the reasons for the widespreadrnhatred that the United States enduresrnabroad. This is doubtless good advice:rnSuch historical reflection is always worthwhile,rnand the pressing need for it is amplifiedrnin fimes of trouble.rnBut whether these voices genuinelyrnseek historical reflechon (as opposed tornthoughtless ideological applause) is anrnopen question, hi particular, one quarterrn—we might call it the academic/Hollywoodrnleft or, more broadly, the NPRrncrowd —has been quick to assume, asrnusual, that an understanding of thernsources of anti-Americanism will translaternfluidly into a particular political attitude:rnleft-liberal, vaguely pacifist, archlyrntherapeutic, smitten with the abstractrncharm of human rights. This assumptionrnis historically and politically inept, andrnmore a cause of anti-American feelingrnthan an analysis of it.rnBut what, precisely, is “anti-Americanrnfeeling”? The specific grievances on thernlists of anti-Americans around the worldrnvary from year to year and from region tornregion, but the rhetorical melody of anti-rnAmericanism remains fairly constantrnacross many contexts. The old time hasrnnot changed much since the end ofrnWorld War II, perhaps not since the annexationrnof Hawaii, or even, in a way,rnsince Fort Sumter. It goes somethingrnlike this: The United States is arrogant,rnpowerfril, self-righteous, and naive. Americarnwishes to remake the world in its ownrnimage and congratulates itself heartily onrnthe moral sensitivity it brings to this task,rnall the while knowing little and caringrnless about the distinctive civilizahons itrnsets out to liberalize and homogenize inrnthe name of a universal regime of humanrnrights and free-flowing capital. In U.S.rnimperialism, so goes the song, two unlovelyrnAmerican types—the sadisfic bullyrnand the priggish schoolmarm —havernjoined to produce an ugly, preening, bastardrnoffspring.rnNow, this old song isn’t too far wrong,rnbut most Americans have been reluctantrnto sing it—understandably perhaps, as itrnsuggests that the land they jushfiably lovernhas made grave errors througliout its history,rnhas taken the bad path at many anrnhistorical fork. Besides, this silent majorityrnthinks, we are powerless: The domesticrnand international entanglements ofrnthe American administrative state arernnow so extensive that fliey cannot be controlled,rnmuch less curtailed. LeviathanrnAmerica is quite beyond us now, toornhuge, too vast, too complex, and thinkingrnabout past mistakes will not imdornthem—better to close your eyes and hopernfor the best. This sort of historical amnesia,rnhowever pernicious, is quite understandable:rnFor good or ill, forgctfrilness isrnas much a necessan’ part of patriotism —rnor national loyaltv’, anvway—as are “thernmyshc chords of memory.” Indeed, suchrnforgetfulness is the background silencernagainst which those “mystic chords” becomernaudible in the first place.rnBut the NPR crowd has never hadrnmuch trouble warbling out at least onernverse of the anh-American anfliem: Theyrnare always ready to denounce America’srnpast, and to issue tear-stained, ahistoricalrnapologies to perceived victims of tliat history.rnThev are indignant partisans ofrnpeace and justice, passionate believersrnthat “injustice anywhere is a threat to ju.sficerneverywhere.” They thus advocate arnvigorous and comprehensive program ofrnhuman rights, both at home and abroad,rnfor they understand that many otherrnAmericans are prone to evil, backward inrntheir patriotism, their religion, and theirrnlocal attachments, and require restraint,rnas do many miscreants and monstersrnaround the world. Members of the NPRrncrowd are in favor of culture, of all cultures:rnFor fliem, flic world is a vast museumrnof diverse cultural forms, and thernquaintness of each should be preserved.rnUnlike the bulk of their benighted Americanrncovmtr}’men, thev know that culturernis a harmless and sophisticated entertainment,rnsave when it tries to interfere withrna person’s right to self-development.rnI hope the point of my sarcasm is clear:rnThe attitude of the NPR crowd is preciselyrnthe mix of bully and schoolmarm —rnarrogance, power, self-righteousness,rnnaivete —that gives rise to anti-Americanrnfeeling abroad. It is not only insensitivernand hawkish boors who give America arnbad name; refined partisans of uplift andrnenlightenment crusading “to make thernworld safe for democracy” have donerntlieir part as well. 1 he NPR crowd’s attitudernis at least as triumphalistically Wilsonianrnas President Bush’s confused and disturbingrnintention to “rid the world of evil” inrnthe name of freedom.rnThe condescending and unprincipledrnquasi-pacifism that has emerged in somernsectors of the NPR crowd since Septemberrn11 makes this more evident than ever.rnCertainly, responding to the Septemberrn11 attacks is a delicate matter, requiringrncareful thought and a degree of tacticalrnand strategic clarih- too often absent inrnAmerican foreign policy. Certainly, too,rnthe attacks provide us with yet anotherrnoccasion to ponder whether the costs ofrnmaintaining an homogenizing, historicallyrnoblivious, Wilsonian world empirernof abstract human rights outweigh any ostensiblernbenefits, to ourselves or to others.rnBut a high-handed refusal to retaliate,rncoupled wifli an endless faith in negohationsrnand economic pressure, not onlyrnbelittles the seriou.sncss of the attacks, itrn— ironically—belittles the depth of anti-rnAmerican feeling in the world at large,rnand behind the attacks in particular.rnSuch a refusal says to the world: “ThernUnited States is so much better than you,rnso much stronger than you, so muchrnmore morally keen than you, that whatrnany other country would feel as a devastahngrnattack, inspires in us only pity. Wernare sorry for you, in your benighted fundamentalistrnrage; you must learn to controlrnyourselves, not to lash out at thosernwho would be your civilizing benefactors.rnYour hatreds are irrational and misguided:rnDon’t you know that the house ofrnAmerican nudticulturalism has manyrnmansions, that a comfortable place forrnyou in the museum has already been setrnaside?” Is flicre any real doubt fliat suchrnan attitude is as arrogant and naive—asrnhistorically careless, as infuriating—asrnany thoughtless “nuke ’em all” hawkishness?rnAny serious antiglobalist position mustrnallow for the possibility of d i s p u t e s -rnwars-between sovereign entities, andrnindeed, between sovereign and non-sovereignrnpolitical groupings —however unsatisfvinglyrnamorphous the latter may be.rnWithout the passibility of such conflict,rnthe normative homogcnization of thernglobe has already been completed.rnHegel, famously, once noted fliat tornpunish a criminal straightforwardly forrndoing wrong is to treat him with more rahonalrnrespect than to medicalize or otherwisernexplain his crimes as a result of unpleasantrnforces beyond his control. 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