The September 11 attacks dramatically heightened the importance of being able intellectually defend America. Not only did the United States endure a physical attack that day, but our country’s policies quickly came under sharp attack from a number of critics both foreign and domestic.
During this time of war, being able to mount such a defense is especially important because people around the world will be more willing to support America if they feel that America is a force for good. In “Why The Left Hates America” Dan Flynn provides such a defense by debunking many leftist myths and detailing the vast amount of good that America has done for the world.
Flynn begins the book by detailing the various reactions to the September 11 attacks. In the aftermath many citizens were eager to defend their country and assist those in need. Some willingly donated their time and money to assist the families of the victims, while others prominently displayed the U.S. flag in their homes or offices. However, others both at home and abroad cheered the attacks and used them as an opportunity to criticize America. Flynn describes numerous Anti-American rallies both domestic and foreign. Furthermore, he provides numerous examples of universities which censored individuals who supported America or advocated a military response to the terrorist attacks.
Why do these people hate America? In the second chapter Flynn attempts to discover why. He details the four movements that have had a role in fostering Anti-Americanism in the United States, communism, relativism, cultural Marxism, and multiculturalism. Each of these movements has enjoyed some success in influencing the culture and affecting the way that people perceive America.
For instance, many textbooks used in colleges and high schools tend to emphasize slavery, racism, and our treatment of Native Americans. In fact the federal government’s “National Standards for U.S. History” mentions the Ku Klux Klan 17 times, as compared to only one mention of George Washington. Furthermore, many movies including “The Rock,” “A Few Good Men,” and “The General’s Daughter,” portray the military and U.S. foreign policy in a negative manner. Finally, critics of America such as Angela Davis and Noam Chomsky are rewarded with tenured professorships at prestigious universities, whereas defenders of America are routinely shouted down at many college campuses.
However, most of the criticisms voiced by those who dislike America misleading at best and outright lies at worst. In the next chapter entitled “The Five Big Lies” Flynn takes on the most prevalent criticisms about America, namely that America mistreats women, minorities, the poor, the environment, and other countries. However, throughout the course of the chapter, Flynn persuasively argues that America offers unprecedented opportunities for the poor, minorities, and women. In fact many people who fall into these categories flock to America because they realize that America offers them the best prospects for advancement.
Still, perhaps the most damning indictment of those who hate America comes in the next chapter entitled “Some Cultures Are More Equal Than Others” where Flynn takes a critical look at the non-western world. He finds that those outside the west lack basic freedoms that westerners take for granted, including free elections, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech.
Furthermore, Flynn provides numerous examples of the cruel and often gruesome punishments given to individuals who dare to criticize the governments in non-western countries. Overall, while America is no utopia, it does quite well when compared to actual countries, particularly ones outside the west.
In spite of this, why do so many on the left hate America? In the final chapter, Flynn argues that the leftists hate America because America refutes every pet theory that the left has ever held. America’s status as the world’s richest nation demonstrates that Capitalism is not a failed economic system. America’s appeal to immigrants from a variety of backgrounds shows that America is not a racist nation. The fact that American women fare better than men in many statistical categories shows that America is not a patriarchy. Finally, the fact that Americans enjoy freedom of religion demonstrates that Christianity is not an intolerant religion.
Overall, the book concisely and clearly provides a thorough defense of America and American policies. The only real shortcoming is that Flynn’s defense of U.S. foreign policy could have been more detailed. While Flynn does a fine job making the case that U.S. has been a tremendous force for good, he could have spent more time defending more specific foreign policy intervensions. For instance, it is true that the United States has supported some dictators with poor human rights records. However, some leaders with poor human rights records merited support because they were helpful to us in our global struggle against communism. In fact, the gains in human rights that accompanied the collapse of Soviet communism far outweigh any reductions in human rights that resulted from U.S foreign policy during the cold war.
Similarly, some critics on the left, as well as some on the right, argue that U.S. foreign policy intervensions are primarily responsible for the September 11th attacks. Specifically, many argue that both the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia and the United States’ support for Israel generate a tremendous amount of hostility in the Muslim world. While it is not entirely clear whether these specific intervensions actually caused the September 11th attacks, a defense of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East would have also been a welcome addition to this book.
Still, these are relatively minor criticisms. Overall, “Why The Left Hates America” does a fine job demonstrating how Anti-American attitudes prevalent among many elites influence the way that many perceive America. Furthermore, Flynn provides plenty of examples to debunk many of these Anti-American myths and clearly and concisely demonstrates how America fares considerably better than countries outside the west. It would be ideal if some university professors would assign this book to their students, as Pro-American perspectives are sorely underrepresented on today’s college campus. However, considering the poor treatment of professors who support America, most faculty members will sadly leave this book on the shelf.