Anti-Americanism is a relatively recent phenomenon.
The elites may have always despised American passion for individual liberties, but most common people admired America for exactly that. Upon gaining independence, a number of nations — from Uruguay to Greece to Togo to Malaysia — modeled their flags after the U.S. flag. Preambles of most Latin American constitutions closely resemble that of the U.S. Constitution, and the Latin American hero Simon Bolivar himself was an admirer of the United States and a believer in libertarianism and free markets, regardless of how his name and legacy are now being twisted by Hugo Chavez.
The important fact about modern-day anti-Americanism is that it spreads almost exclusively among impressionable cultural elites who are most exposed to ideological clichés delivered through media and educational channels.
It would be absurd to presume that people of the world go to bed every night loving dictators and hating the United States. Obviously, the first conscious thing on the mind of a European, an African, or an Asian as they wake up in the morning is not how to survive another day of “America’s economic and cultural imperialism.” And since anti-Americanism is incompatible with common sense that guides our daily lives, people must be reminded of it every day to keep it alive. That is the burden that radical intellectuals have taken upon themselves, dispensing daily quotas of leftist clichés to the “unwashed masses” down below.
Thus, Oliver Stone is reportedly making a documentary about Hugo Chavez, whom he describes as an “energetic, principled champion of change in Latin America” and hopes, in Stone’s words, to “capture the spirit of his drive to roll back U.S. influence.” The ability to claim originality while working for decades from the same moth-eaten template makes Mr. Stone an Oscar-winning genius. Is there a chance that in the process of glorifying what he calls the region’s “liberation from the United States,” the legendary director might display authentic originality by interviewing, not a leftist, but a hero of anti-Marxist resistance? Can the devastation inflicted on Latin America by socialist policies persuade Mr. Stone to look beyond the worn-out clichés? We can only wish.
If the convention requires this “unconventional” genius to lionize America’s enemies, it’s what he does — not more and not less. Until recently, Stone was rumored to be considering a similar anti-American documentary with the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the recent insurgency against this man in his own country may have convinced Stone to kill the plan as too obviously absurd.