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Topic: It’s the Culture, Stupid

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It’s the Culture, Stupid
« on: August 06, 2020, 02:48:19 PM »
Anti-Americanism comes in different varieties. Speak to Europeans who dislike the United States, and they point to what they see as the evils of conservative America: a shoot-first, ask-questions-later cowboy in the White House, Bible-toting fundamentalists walking around the corridors of power. Speak to Muslims who are hostile to America, however, and the typical complaint is very different. Many Muslims point to what they view as the horrors of liberal America: homosexual marriage, family breakdown, and a popular culture that is trivial, materialistic, vulgar, and in many cases morally repulsive. So while many secular Europeans abhor “red America,” many religious Muslims dislike and fear “blue America.”

Both the Europeans and the Muslims, of course, are only seeing one side of America. They are reacting not so much to “America” as to projections of American policy and American culture across the globe. We in the U.S. know that there is a difference between American popular culture and the way that Americans actually live. But foreigners cannot be expected to know this. The America that they see in the movies and on television is often the only America they know.
We have heard a great deal from critics of globalization about how the United States is corrupting the world with its multinational corporations and its trade practices. But world opinion surveys by the Pew Research Center and other groups show that non-Western peoples are generally pleased with American products. In fact, the people of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East want more American companies, more American technology, and more free trade. Their objection is not to McDonalds or Microsoft but to America’s cultural values as transmitted through movies, television and music.
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President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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