I\’m often rather preplexed by the unthinking hatred of the US displayed by so many lefties here in the UK. No, not just the (rather too common) idiocies perpetrated by the government of the place, but a visceral hatred of everything American, from Mickey D\’s through Hollywood to fat people and even, in the hilarious case of Martin Amis, bitchy backbiting over the way he had his English teeth fixed to the American standard.
Perhaps this is a clue:
Yet today’s New York Times reports on a recent poll by the Pew Research Center that finds that the number of Americans who consider themselves to be middle-class is nine in ten (“So You Think You’re Middle Class?” Dec. 23). That’s 277 million (out of a total of 308 million) Americans
The Left in England (and Britain too) is a slightly strange mixture of that great flowering of the working classes which was the friendly societies, the mutuals, building societies, often (although not exclusively) based on the Non-Conformism of the Weslyans, Methodists and so on, and a more rigidly Marxist view of the world. It\’s that latter which gives us the near insane rejection of markets for example, where the former is just absolutely delighted to use them, participate in them, but in a non-capitalist (strictly defined) manner.
But that very Marxism, as filtered through the last century and a bit, leads to an exaltation of everything proletarian and a visceral rejection of the middle class values (despite it being true that most expressing such views are determinedly middle class: Tommy Sheridan might be of good proletarian stock but there\’s something very petit bourgeois about marrying an air stewardess, the perma-tan and the suburban sex parties).
So the US is hated precisely because it is the bourgeois writ large. And really hated because along with that false consciousness of the inhabitants, is the horrible realisation that it\’s not only the richest large society the world has ever seen but that it won against the proletarian vanguard.
Hmm, mebbe I\’m reading too much into it but I do think there\’s definitely a strain of that going on.