The question is not rhetorical; I am genuinely asking, but given the paucity of comments I may not get answers. So let’s just say I am musing to myself, trying to understand why there is an ugly Anglophobia that shows itself in this country more frequently these days.
The latest example that provoked my question was an internet post that I’ve quoted a portion of. It was directed at an (apparently) British commenter who merely said he liked the British health care system. The following rant (excuse the foul language; it’s the anglophobe’s, not mine) appeared as a response:
I think it’s a shame that nobody told this foul-mouthed misanthrope to ‘shut up and show some respect‘, or at least some civility and manners. But I keep forgetting, those things are considered strictly optional in this mean and cynical age, in fact, foul language and ugliness seem to be de rigueur online.
People are entitled to their opinions about anything and anyone; individuals or groups of people included. But it’s possible to express criticisms without resorting to adolescent personal insults and without bringing in irrelevant points — the discussion was supposed to be about immigration and environmentalism, by the way. Obviously this person who wrote the rant was seething with animus towards English/British people. Why are British people’s ‘bad teeth’ (a popular insult these days) and alleged unattractiveness brought up? Or their lack of ability to make a milkshake (!)? Who develops grudges over such things? What kind of person writes online rants about such trifling irrelevancies? Apparently the kind with an unhealthy obsession with a certain country and people. Anyway what are the chances that this man has ever set foot in Britain?
He says in the full text of his post that Britain is a ‘dead’ country because of demographics, but factually we here in the United States have a greater percentage of ”diversity”, and more immigrants and ‘refugees’ streaming in. Pot, meet kettle. We are likewise in trouble. Why do Americans gloat about the impending doom of Europe, especially Britain? As if we don’t face the same crisis. Many Americans are in denial: reminds me of Carl Sandburg’s poem with the lines ”We are the greatest city, the greatest nation; nothing like us ever was.”
If you read much online, on blogs or forums or social media you find lots of personal animus, often directed at random targets. Everybody is bold and brave online, because you don’t have to see your “enemy” or your target face to face and risk getting an equally hostile response. The Internet, unfortunately, has done a lot to destroy civility and to escalate divisions within our country as well as in the world at large. I can see some of the anger over ideological divisions, especially with the increasingly unhinged and psychotic left pushing conflict. But since when did Americans dislike British or English people just because of who they are? Just since the days of the Internet?
I’d bet the Anglophobia which is so rife now is mainly coming from people whose ancestors had some grievance against England, people whose countries were conquered or defeated by England, or under English rule. There is a lot of resentment resulting from that, many generations after the fact. Shades of the ‘legacy of slavery and discrimination.’ It’s the same kind of complaints heard from blacks or Mexicans about things that happened long ago.
Then there are the maleducated Americans who somehow think that the English were some kind of foreign invaders during the Revolutionary War. There are some Americans who don’t seem to get the fact that the colonists were, for the most part, English by ancestry, and saw themselves as English, though born in the colonies. Maybe this is because the educational propaganda teaches students that America was diverse from day one, and that all sorts of people took part in the making of America; that the English colonists were just one group amongst many multi-ethnic colonists — so naturally they don’t see why the British felt they had any claim here.
And I’ve encountered quite a few Americans who are primarily German by descent who are resentful that they did not possess America (“did you know that this country almost chose German as the official language?”) and angry that German-Americans were ‘persecuted’ during the two world wars. I think the commenter’s bitter reference to the world wars indicates German ancestry, though that mindset is rife among many Americans now.
Between the various ethnic immigrant descendants, and the partisans of the ‘Celtic South’ who equate Anglo-Saxons with ‘Puritan Yankees’: the Enemy — Anglo-Saxons can’t get any good PR these days. There seem to be few real friends of Anglo-Saxons in the U.S. nowadays, or those in our mother country, England.
Part of the motivation for this blog was to offer some historical background, and to speak up for the old-stock English-descended Americans — but it seems a fruitless effort, with so few kindred souls out there. Or is it that there are just too few willing to stand up and be counted?
Personally I’m ashamed of fellow Americans like the commenter who wrote the diatribe I quoted above. The Ugly American of the 1950s lives on, if the numbers of similar comments are any indication. And is there any solution, or must it just get worse?