One of the most widely held beliefs in the contemporary world -- so widely held it is not disputed -- is that, with few exceptions, the world hates America. One of the Democrats' major accusations against the Bush administration is that it has increased hatred of America to unprecedented levels. And in many polls, the United States is held to be among the greatest obstacles to world peace and harmony.
But it is not true that the world hates America. It is the world's left that hates America. However, because the left dominates the world's news media and because most people, understandably, believe what the news media report, many people, including Americans, believe that the world hates America.
That it is the left -- and those influenced by the left-leaning news and entertainment media -- that hates America can be easily shown.
Take Western Europe, which is widely regarded as holding America in contempt, but upon examination only validates our thesis. The French, for example, are regarded as particularly America-hating, but if this were so, how does one explain the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France? Sarkozy loves America and was known to love America when he ran for president. Evidently, it is the left in France -- a left that, like the left in America, dominates the media, arts, universities and unions -- that hates the U.S., not the French.
The same holds true for Spain, Australia, Britain, Latin America and elsewhere. The left in these countries hate the United States while non-leftists, and especially conservatives, in those countries hold America in high regard, if not actually love it.
Take Spain. The prime minister of Spain from 1996 to 2004, Jose Maria Aznar, is a conservative who holds America in the highest regard. He was elected twice, and polls in Spain up to the week before the 2004 election all predicted a third term for Aznar's party (Aznar had promised not to run for a third term). Only the Madrid subway bombings, perpetrated by Muslim terrorists three days before the elections, but which the Aznar government erroneously blamed on Basque separatists, turned the election against the conservative party.
There is another obvious argument against the belief that the world hates America: Many millions of people would rather live in America than in any other country. How does the left explain this? Why would people want to come to a country they loathe? Why don't people want to live in Sweden or France as much as they wish to live in America? Those are rich and free countries, too.
The answer is that most people know there is no country in the world more accepting of strangers as is America. After three generations, people who have emigrated to Germany or France or Sweden do not feel -- and are not regarded as -- fully German, French or Swedish. Yet, anyone of any color from any country is regarded as American the moment he or she identifies as one. The country that the left routinely calls "xenophobic" and "racist" is in fact the least racist and xenophobic country in the world.
Given that it is the left and the institutions it dominates -- universities, media (other than talk radio in America) and unions -- that hate America, two questions remain: Why does the left hate America, and does the American left, too, hate America?
The answer to the first question is that America and especially the most hated parts of America -- conservatives, religious conservatives in particular -- are the greatest obstacles to leftist dominance. American success refutes the socialist ideals of the left; American use of force to vanquish evil refutes the left's pacifist tendencies; America is the last great country that believes in putting some murderers to death, something that is anathema to the left; when America is governed by conservatives, it uses the language of good and evil, language regarded by the left as "Manichean"; most Americans still believe in the Judeo-Christian value system, another target of the left because the left regards all religions as equally valid (or more to the point, equally foolish and dangerous) and regards God-based morality as the moral equivalent of alchemy.
It makes perfect sense that the left around the world loathes America. The final question, then, is whether this loathing of America is characteristic of the American left as well. The answer is that the American left hates the America that believes in American exceptionalism, is prepared to use force to fight what it deems as dangerous evil, affirms the Judeo-Christian value system, believes in the death penalty, supports male-female marriage, rejects big government, wants lower taxes, prefers free market to governmental solutions, etc. The American left, like the rest of the world's left, loathes that America.
So what America does the American left love? That is for those on the left to answer. But given their beliefs that America was founded by racists and slaveholders, that it is an imperialist nation, that 35 million Americans go hungry, that it invades countries for corporate profits, and that it is largely racist and xenophobic, it is a fair question.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”