European Anti-Americanism, Then and Now

Brussels Journal quotes a charming new anti-American tune by Belgian musician Raymond van het Groenewoud with the original title, “Down with America.” According to BJ, the tune is

written in Dutch… and will be available in record shops as of next week, and was played on Belgian state radio last Thursday and Friday. Here is a quote from the lyrics of the song:

Hamburgers and coke, yes you already knew
But do you also know the cause of the general decay?
Short-sighted thinking, loud talking
Sticking to one-liners forever
Down with America! Down with the jerks from America
Down with America! […]

Down with American colonialism
Down with that ugly, biting English
All the Anglo-Saxon pretence, arrogance
Yes, a hot pick up their ass
And that is that […]

I am from the Belgian, the European panel
And I ask you: “Clear my channel! Clear my channel!”
Megalomaniac unicellular idiots
Kiss my ass, yes, kiss my balls

Thus one of the most recent expressions of European “Kultur.” I doubt that Der Spiegel, whose editors have been known to throw tantrums and become blue in the face over the excessively patriotic lyrics of Toby Keith, will even bother to take notice.

Like racism, anti-Semitism, and religious bigotry, anti-Americanism is a common expression of the Amity-Enmity Complex I’ve written about earlier. However, unlike racism, which justified slavery, or anti-Semitism, which resulted in the Holocaust, or religious bigotry, which has caused millions of deaths in Europe since the days of Constantine, anti-Americanism hasn’t yet resulted in a catastrophe sufficiently horrific to give it a bad name and render it socially unacceptable. As a result, it still thrives luxuriantly, although its intensity has fallen off somewhat of late from the obsessive, mindless frothing at the mouth one found in even the “respectable” European newspapers and magazines in the last years of the Clinton and the first years of the Bush Administrations.

In an ideal world, the psychologists would have recognized the Amity-Enmity Complex for what it is long ago; the fundamental aspect of human nature responsible for anti-Americanism and all of the other varieties of destructive behavior mentioned above, not to mention most of the countless wars that have marred our history from the dawn of recorded time. However, this is not an ideal world, psychology has been more akin to an ideology than a science lo now these many years, and so, instead of recognizing and controlling the Complex itself, we stagger on from disaster to disaster, assigning a bad name to each of its manifestations in turn so that we may recognize them as evil. So it is, and so it will continue until some inspired team of neuroscientists tracks down the bio-chemical processes responsible for the expression of the Complex molecule by molecule, documenting it so thoroughly than all but the most recalcitrant of the assorted species of psychologists, anthropologists, and sociologists are dragged kicking and screaming into the real world, and can no longer deny a truth that should have been obvious to them long ago.

Well, we have been making wonderful and encouraging progress along those lines of late, and one finds glimmerings of common sense in even the darkest journalistic haunts of the social science professoriat. However, before they master a notion of such cognitive complexity as the close kinship of, for example, anti-Americanism and racism as common manifestations of the Amity-Enmity Complex, I suspect we will yet have a long path to follow.

To amuse you during the long wait, I’ve uncovered an interesting example of anti-Americanism from days gone by. Of course, such artifacts will come as no surprise to the cognoscenti among you, who, no doubt, can cite many interesting specimens of their own. Be that as it may, I turned up this example in a back issue of H. L. Mencken’s “American Mercury,” dated October 1924. It is entitled “A Yankee in Paris,” and documents a savage attack on Americans who dared to cheer on their Olympic football team. There are many nuances to the story that will be abundantly familiar to the modern reader, such as the remarkable delicacy of the mainstream media then as now in avoiding any mention of such outbursts. I have included a pic of the opening blurb below, and the story in full may be found here.


Author: Helian

I am Doug Drake, and I live in Maryland, not far from Washington, DC. I am a graduate of West Point, and I hold a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin. My blog reflects my enduring fascination with human nature and human morality.

Leave a Reply