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Anti-Americanism: the dislike that 'decent' people are happy to admit to

By David Hale - posted Friday, 18 October 2019

There are many people who though not viewing themselves as intolerant are more than happy to talk of their dislike for all things American. There are the more serious consequences of Anti-Americanism in the world that have seen Americans killed and injured.

Only a median of 58% of people, across 37 countries according to Pew Research has a favourable view of Americans. It means that almost half do not and in some parts of the world especially the Middle-East it is much lower. 

American popular culture is liked by most people but over 30% dislike it according to Pew and this is nothing new.


The degeneracy thesis that Europeans were intellectually superior, more cultured, more evolved physically, and mentally than Americans has existed since at least the late 1700's.

The criticisms of America and Americans came from prominent enough figures that people like Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin decided to respond to the attacks.

No place can really lay claim to being superior. Europe was a place where two world wars started, where the Holocaust occurred, Stalin, where more young people in Britain voted in television contests than said would vote in the general election, where there were workhouses in London and where the flawed ideas justifying British colonization had a home. 

Joseph Joffe describes five aspects of anti-Americanism such as stereotyping Americans. One of the other aspects is blaming America for all the evils in the world which is similar to how some people blame all rich people, Muslims, refugees, and conservatives for everything wrong in the world.

There is also the Anti-American insult, made by some Americans themselves against other Americans.

One response to all of this can be found in Christian principles which are often themselves associated with Americans and are the subject of much stereotyping and dislike. The call not to judge others is a Christian mandate. How can we see the spec in their eyes but not the log in our own?


My own country of Australia has the history of the White Australia policy to contend with, the bad treatment of indigenous people or convicts during the convict era, the persistence of homelessness, and the persistence of racist politicians to consider before throwing stones literally across the pond.

Christians are called to love their enemy which includes people from other countries.

There is the teaching to love thy neighbour as ourselves.

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About the Author

David Hale is an Anglican University Lay Chaplain, staff worker for the Australian Student Christian Movement and a member of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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