“Global backlash against America,” we saw at the news stand on our way to work this morning. It seems 60% of Australians hold “a negative view of America in the world,” according to a study done by the objective and non-political BBC. That percentage is slightly higher than the other 26,000 respondents to the poll, half of whom are unhappy with America, for some reason or other.
Sixty-five percent aren’t happy with America’s role in the fight between Hezbollah and Israel and Lebanon. Sixty percent are more disapproving of America’s policy on Iran’s nuclear plan than they are of Iran’s nuclear plan. Fifty four percent don’t like the way America has treated North Korea. And fifty six percent are still upset that the U.S. Senate failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and that America with a less than five percent of the world’s population, uses more than a quarter of its energy.
We are no big fan of bungling governments that use tax dollars extorted at the barrel of a gun to pay interest on bonds used to finance wars abroad. But here’s a newsflash to the BBC and its poll respondents, this kind of imperial war finance has been going on since Charles the first instituted Ship Tax in England in the early 17th century to raise money for his feud with France. The origins of strong centralized government are synonymous with the ability to tax. And the origin of sovereign debt (government bonds) whose interested is paid with tax dollars, is synonymous with the warlike ambitions of nation states.
It’s simple math really, and amounts to perpetual debt. Governments need money to make war. They borrow through the bond market and pay interest by levying taxes on a subject population. America has no special talent in this respect, although it inherited this method of war finance from Britain and, with a numerically large and wealthy tax base, has the ability to service a huge amount of debt. That gives it the ability to create a very large bond market and a very large military. Its government, like many before it, expands its martial and economic power at the expense of personal freedom and liberty.
It pains us, as an American, to see it. It also pains us to see so many idiots express strong opinions on a country most of them have never been to. But that’s the way things are these days. We are all encouraged to have strong opinions about things of which we have no direct experience.
Say what you want about America’s government. And after all, all of us live day by day with the results of American foreign policy blunders. But the tendency to blame American culture for all that’s wrong with the world is reaching its own kind of bull market high. It too, has become ludicrous. But it’s easy to do and satisfying in an adolescent sort of way, like a teenager mouthing off to a parent.
Sure, there are plenty of things to blame America for. But Iran’s nuclear program? Kim Jong Il’s megalomania? Hezbollah’s determined goal to wipe Israel from the map? We had no idea George Bush was responsible for all this. For the incompetent dimwit he is portrayed as by the media, Bush is also, apparently, an ambitious mastermind of American hegemony in all its nefarious aspects.
But while we just can’t see how America is really responsible for all that is wrong in the world, there are some things the country of 300 million should take responsibility for and make amends. Here we offer our own list (feel free to send us yours): the music of Britney Spears, the justice of Judge Judy, Cops (the television show), trans fat, the clapper, the Hummer, Tex-Mex cuisine, light beer, the New Jersey turnpike, the dinner portions at most sit-down restaurants, professional wrestling, and menthol cigarettes.
And while we’re at it, since Australia-day is making us a bit nostalgic for our homeland, here’s what we miss/like about America: Dr. Pepper, Mt. Dew, Captain Crunch, Colonel Sanders, Rocky Mountain highs, Johnny Cash, Johnny Knoxville, the Dallas Cowboys, a baseball diamond, any baseball diamond, Benji Scwhimmer, the Grand Canyon, Central Park, Las Vegas, a real broadband connection, and cheap books.
A final note:
“An American man has survived after falling 17 floors from the window of a hotel in the US city of Minneapolis,” reports the Associated Press. “Joshua Hanson, 29, landed on a roof awning and suffered multiple broken bones with some internal injuries, but is expected to recover. Mr Hanson crashed through the floor-to-ceiling window at the end of a corridor after returning to the Hyatt Regency after a night of drinking. Hotel managers said they would investigate the unprecedented incident.”
“Police Lt Dale Barness told the Associated Press that Mr Hanson must have ‘an angel on his shoulder or something’. ‘He’s a lucky guy.’