The New York Times' lead editorial on Tuesday also bemoaned American "hubris." One front-page article called Bush trigger-happy and another bitterly accused him of breaking a campaign pledge to preside over a "humble" America. In the 19 months since the 9-11 attack, the Times has used the phrase "American arrogance" nearly as many times (17) as in the entire 96 months of the Clinton presidency (24). Instead of American arrogance, the Times yearns for Clintonian flatulence.
There was no more eloquent testimony to what liberals mean by "American arrogance" than an article in the March 10 New Yorker, which nonchalantly quoted a Nazi in support of the proposition that Americans are jingoistic, imperialist rednecks. Amid page after gleeful page of European venom toward Americans, Columbia University professor Simon Schama quoted the anti-American bile of Norwegian writer and renowned Nazi-sympathizer Knut Hamsun.
Schama admiringly cited Hamsun's contempt for American boosterism, neglecting to mention that Hamsun went for Hitler boosterism in a big way. Beginning in the early '30s and until his death in 1952, Hamsun was absolutely smitten with Adolf Hitler. He exchanged gifts and telegrams with Goebbels and Hitler. Indeed, so enamored of Joseph Goebbels was he, that Hamsun gave Goebbels his own Nobel Prize medal.
When the Nazis invaded Norway, Hamsun wrote a newspaper column saying: "NORWEGIANS! Throw down your rifles and go home again. The Germans are fighting for us all." Tearful upon news of the Fuhrer's death, Hamsun was quoted in an obituary on Hitler saying: "I am not worthy to speak his name." He never equivocated and he never apologized.
While he issued tributes to Hitler, Hamsun wrote the ironically titled book "The Cultural Life of Modern America," which, as professor Schama sniggeringly writes, was "largely devoted to asserting its nonexistence." Hamsun called America "a strapping child-monster whose runaway physical growth would never be matched by moral or cultural maturity." It must have been a relief for Hamsun to find such genuine "cultural maturity" in Nazi Germany.
Hamsun hated America for all the reasons liberals hate America. To the delight of New York sophisticates, Hamsun once sneered at pathetic Americans marching in veterans' parades, "with tiny flags in their hats and brass medals on their chests marching in step to the hundreds of penny whistles they are blowing." America's little patriotic parades apparently compared unfavorably to a stirring Nazi war rally.
This is the essence of liberal admiration for Europeans and their pompous cultural snobbery. For proof that Americans are immature hicks in an ugly jingoistic mood, they cite a Nazi.