There are many ways to philosophically divide Americans. Liberal-conservative and religious-secular are two obvious ways. But there is another, no less significant, division: Those who are ashamed of America for being hated and those who wear this hatred as a badge of honor.
I am in the latter group.
I understand such hatred. I am a Jew, a member of the most consistently and deeply hated people in world history. As such, and as coauthor of "Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism" (Simon & Schuster), I have devoted decades to thinking about Jew-hatred.
There are basically two possible ways to look at anti-Semitism. One is that anti-Semites are essentially decent folks and Jews have usually been so bad that they have merited anti-Semitic hatred. The second is that the Jews have generally been a decent people who antagonized many of the morally worst people of their time and place.
Anti-Semites would, of course, choose the first explanation. Others would acknowledge that those who have hated the Jews have usually been the vilest of their generation. Whether Roman torturers, Crusaders who massacred Jewish communities on their way to the Holy Land, Nazis or Communists -- they all hated Jews. The monsters of the 20th century, the Nazis, made Jew-hatred the centerpiece of their ideology. And the monsters of our young century, militant Muslims, have done the same.
Why have the Jews, always among the weakest and smallest of peoples, attracted the hatred of the most evil people? Because of what the Jews represented. The civility of the Jews' lives and the values the Jews brought into the world -- especially ethical monotheism, i.e., a standard of right and wrong based on a moral and judging God -- made them loathsome in the eyes of those who led particularly uncivil lives and who celebrated moral chaos and cruelty.
Turning to hatred of America, the same questions and answers apply.
Either America is evil and hatred of it is merited, or America is a decent country and the haters are evil.
The correct explanation is so obvious that only one who already hates America or who is simply morally confused would choose the first.
To assess the veracity of this, all one need do is compare America -- a country that has liberated more people from tyranny than any other, and which has been a place of refuge, tolerance and opportunity for more people from more backgrounds than any other in history -- with those who hate America.
Militant Muslims hate America. These people include the Taliban of Afghanistan, Al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists, the Islamic regimes of Iran and Sudan, members of Hamas and the many Palestinians and other Muslims who support it.
Now, what types of people are these, and what societies have they made or seek to make?
To call the Taliban primitive is to insult the many primitive peoples who were light years more civilized than these totalitarians who forbade girls to get an education and prohibited women from such innocent activities as going to the zoo. They murdered anyone who loved liberty, beheaded any Muslim who converted to another religion, and blew up some of the most priceless sculptures of the ancient world because those works of art were of a different religion. Is it a good or bad reflection on America that the Taliban hated this country?
Al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists seek to impose Taliban-like regimes on everyone in the world, beginning with the Muslim world. They routinely slaughter innocent people -- literally slaughter, as cutting off the heads of their human sacrifices is their preferred method of murder. They are monsters in human form. Is it a good or bad reflection on America that Al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists hate this country?
The Islamic regime of Iran has taken one of the brightest nations on earth back into the darkest past of human civilization. Their great ally is the genocidal regime of North Korea. Is it a good or bad reflection on America that the Islamists in Iran hate this country?
The Arab Islamic regime in Sudan has killed about one million non-Arab, non-Muslim blacks in the south of its country. Rape and enslavement of these blacks is routine. Is it a good or bad reflection on America that the Sudanese regime hates this country?
Hamas and its many supporters among Palestinians have developed a new theology of cruelty and death -- that a Muslim boy who blows himself up while maiming and murdering as many innocent Jews as possible goes to heaven where he is then sexually serviced by dozens of virgins. In the annals of the history of religion, no analogous theology of cruelty and vulgarity has ever been devised. Is it a good or bad reflection on America that Hamas and its Palestinian supporters hate this country?
One more point. When you look at the roster of the America-haters and realize that none of them hates France or Sweden, this assessment of America-hatred is rendered even more obvious. America, largely alone, calls these groups and regimes what they are -- evil.
America, largely alone, wages war against them. America, largely alone (with Israel), prevents them from assuming far more power.
As I said to my synagogue on the Sabbath after 9-11, "I stand before you as a proud member of the world's two most hated peoples -- Americans and Jews."