62% of Brits Agree: U.S. Not Evil!

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That's from a recent poll reported in the Manchester Guardian.

More findings include:

Today's ICM poll shows that 43% of voters say they welcome Mr Bush's visit, while 36% say they would prefer it if he did not come.

It also shows that that 62% of the electorate think that America is "generally speaking a force for good, not evil, in the world". Some 15% believe that the US is the "evil empire" in the world, according to the survey.

Opposition to the war in Iraq is also shown to have dropped by 12 points since September to 41% of the electorate. Those who believe it was justified has jumped from 38% to 47%.

Despite those findings, the best line in the story goes to anti-Bush London Mayor Ken Livingstone:

Claiming that the cost of policing for the visit would add ?2 to the average London council tax bill, Mr Livingstone said this morning: "I think most Londoners would be happy to give ?4 for him not to come."

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  1. I doubt if that many people even in universities think “we” are a force for evil. As Bill Kauffman put it in a Counterpunch column a while back, America is not the U.S. government. America is the people who live and work here–small towns, neighborhoods, all that. And WE, in the sense of that America, are the most freedom-loving and anti-authoritarian people in the world. The real America, the country founded by those hell-raisers at Lexington and Concord (the same hell-raisers to took up arms again under Capt. Shays), is one of the greatest and most inspiring examples ever provided to mankind.

    The pols, the war pigs, and the corporate mercantilists–the people who make foreign policy that screws the rest of the world–stand in relation to us as a parasite does to the host organism.

    And the reason they are able to do so is that the American people forget how to be Americans when a suit on TV wraps himself in the flags and invokes the magic words “national security.” From questioning the government and resisting authority, Americans go into full “rally ’round the flag” mode, and feel obligated to listen with respect to the lying war propaganda emanating from “our Commander-in-Chief.”

    The so-called anti-government extremists often, rightly, express the sentiment “I love my country but I fear my government.” But for some irrational reason, too many of them feel a “patriotic” duty to suspend that fear when the government is acting overseas. But it’s the same government; and if it serves fat cats and corrupt interests at home, why is it such a stretch to believe the same of its motivations abroad?

    If we would just stay home (or rather, keep “our leaders” at home), and stick to being the America of Lexington Green and Shays’ Rebellion, we would be an unmitigated force for good in the world.

  2. The pols, the war pigs, and the corporate mercantilists–the people who make foreign policy that screws the rest of the world–stand in relation to us as a parasite does to the host organism.

    Dr. Chomsky, call your office.

    Who are the “warpigs”, moonbeam, er, I mean, Kevin?

    Politicians and corporate mercantilists I can at least imagine I know who you are impugning, (although when you inveigh against Big Corp, are you in the group saying they are behind the evil that is NAFTA and open markets, or are you in the group saying they are behind the evil that is protectionism?)

    I tend to agree with a lot of the rest of your post, but that one paragraph reads like you were channeling ANSWER or something.

  3. kevin is just begging the question. he belives that most americans are stupid because they don’t hold the same narrow gnostic-anarchistic beliefs as he does.

    it is a good illustration of irrational anti-americanism that haunts the left (and gnostic anti-war libertarians). it isn’t worth debating since his goal is isn’ to debate or understand but to convert people to his personal cult.

  4. Can someone explain to me why London, the center of finance in Britain, has a communist for a mayor?

    *** Kevin ***

  5. PNAC infiltrator,

    Actually, you are flat wrong. Kevin appears to love America. Just not the America that you love.

    Can you tell me what a “gnostic anti-war libertarian” is exactly?

  6. someone who thinks FDR is the Demiurge?

    Actually, that pretty much sums up Kevin.

  7. I bid ?12 to keep Bush in Texas!

  8. mr/ms Merovingian: i disagree that i am flat wrong.

    true the government is not the same as America, but it is certainly part of America.

    if you love something you also have to love its warts, even if you disagree with or dislike the warts. you can’t hate the warts but love the rest.

    a gnostic-libertarian is gnostic because they can’t understand why the world is what it is. but instead of learning why they decide the world itself is wrong (or evil).

  9. The saw about loving Americans but hating the American government is getting a bit too much play these days. We hear it from the middle east, then see dancing in the streets at thousands of dead US civilians.

    The war had significant support domestically, yet we kept hearing the same old thing from abroad about loving the American people but hating their government.

    Do I fear my government? Yes, but much less than I would fear the government of Sweden if I lived there, and certainly less than I would fear any middle eastern government. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I love the ability of my government to protect my liberty through force of arms from many other governments simultaneously.

    There is a limit to this love, of course, but I don’t buy for a minute that the distinction as commonly made is genuinely felt.

  10. PNAC,

    “if you love something you also have to love its warts, even if you disagree with or dislike the warts. you can’t hate the warts but love the rest.”

    Loving the “warts” suggests coddling, special pleading, and enabling. Please, never get involved with an alcoholic. 🙂

    “a gnostic-libertarian is gnostic because they can’t understand why the world is what it is. but instead of learning why they decide the world itself is wrong (or evil).”

    So someone who opposed this war and is a libertarian is automatically ignorant of “why the world is what it is,” and therefore a gnostic? It may be the fact that they know damn well how the world is, and care not to support that.

  11. $20 to keep that rat fucking bastard, weasel, son of a bitch in fucking outer mongolia living in a dung heap amongst beetles!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Skepticism about foreign policy is healthy, but don’t kid yourself that sitting at home doing nothing makes you the most popular kid in school. This is a libertarian, or perhaps only Libertarian, foreign relations fantasy.

    Taking military actions has consequences, but so does sitting on your hands. Inaction benefits one party while action benefits others. Giving no weight to the opinions of the oppressed who would be helped is just saying that you want a foreign policy that coddles tyrants because it is easiest to do so.

  13. Merovingian: i didn’t mean to imply that all anti-war libertarians are gnostic, just that it applies to many.

  14. Someone help me out here. I haven’t looked at foreign currency conversion tables much lately. Is Merovingian’s bid of 12 British pounds greater than FUCK BUSH’s bid of 20 US dollars?

  15. I bid ?30 to keep Bush in Texas!

    PNAC,

    I don’t find your argument credible.

  16. Mero: which part of it?

  17. Brad S,

    Actually, my bid was in Euros. 🙂 And ?30 is of greater value than $20; especially in these days of the Bush devaluation of the US dollar.

  18. PNAC,

    Every part of it.

  19. joe,

    LOL. On the other hand, I read a pretty good quote from Adam Engel talking about Demos who awaited the “second coming of FDR.”

    R.C. Dean,

    No, I’m channelling Ozzie Osbourne. And NAFTA is evil precisely because it is NOT about “open markets”; it’s faux “free trade.”

    PNAC Infiltrator,

    “…if you love something you also have to love its warts, even if you disagree with or dislike the warts. you can’t hate the warts but love the rest.”

    That sounds almost pantheistic–talk about your gnosticism. If I were a gnostic, I’d probably–I don’t know–talk a lot about “creative destruction” and democratizing the world by force, maybe?

    Jason Ligon,

    “…but I don’t buy for a minute that the distinction as commonly made is genuinely felt.”

    Including with me, I suppose? Careful, Jason, looking for ulterior motives behind people’s avowed justifications could get you classed as a “tinfoil hat brigade” paranoiac.

  20. I have elsewhere that the policing bill alone will come to ?10 billion. I think it was wise for the Queen to refuse a hovering blackhawk helicopter; they tend to stop hovering and crash into things.

  21. That should read ?10 million.

  22. “…but I don’t buy for a minute that the distinction as commonly made is genuinely felt.”

    “Including with me, I suppose? Careful, Jason, looking for ulterior motives behind people’s avowed justifications could get you classed as a “tinfoil hat brigade” paranoiac.”

    True enough. I believe a more accurate statement could be made on a party by party basis. For example, the French could say, “I hate most Americans, but I love Susan Sarandon.”

    In your case, it could be something like, “I love Americans who long to live a tribal lifestyle, but I hate cheap goods and the people who trade for them.” 😉

  23. if you love something you also have to love its warts, even if you disagree with or dislike the warts. you can’t hate the warts but love the rest

    Fair enough. I love the set of all things that are not warts, and I don’t love the set of things that are warts.

    It’s all in how you define the “thing” that has warts.

    Kevin-

    I don’t agree with all of your positions, but I think you’re often on the right track. I don’t quite believe that Americans simply push their brains’ “off” buttons when a suit on TV utters the words “national security.” I would, however, say that sometimes we pay too much attention to external enemies of freedom, and not enough attention to the politicians who are allegedly defending that freedom. (Notice the word “allegedly”.)

  24. Fifty Quatloos to keep Bush in Texas!

  25. Fifty bucks for Blair to come back as our president instead!

  26. “America is the people who live and work here–small towns, neighborhoods, all that. And WE, in the sense of that America, are the most freedom-loving and anti-authoritarian people in the world. The real America, the country founded by those hell-raisers at Lexington and Concord (the same hell-raisers to took up arms again under Capt. Shays), is one of the greatest and most inspiring examples ever provided to mankind.”

    Don’t forget, America is also the whinners and babies that demand to be coddled at the expense of their neighbors, that are too irrational to make their own financial decisions and so uber-sensative that they hyperventilate at the mention of an official praying or of two men holding hands or a synonym for stingy.

    Yeah, that’s the America we know and love.

  27. I don’t know why people think that America needs to be “the greatest” in order to justify patriotism. I rooted for the Patriots when they were 2-14, just as hard as when they won (Don’s Write the Name of the Football Game for Chrissakes!) XXXVI. You know what we call people who only started to root for them when they made the playoffs? Fair weather fans.

  28. Joe,

    Haven’t you used this argument before ?

  29. Didn’t they slant the result a bit by making it a choice between good and evil only? What would the percentage have been had they asked merely if the U.S. was a force for good?

    Another recent line from Mr. Livingstone:

    “…the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, branded Mr Bush as ‘the greatest threat to life on this planet’ whose policies will ‘doom us to extinction’. The mayor also said that he did not recognise Mr Bush as a lawful president and he condemned America?s rapacious capitalist agenda.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,9389-898868,00.html

  30. Well, that will go down as the first time in history that Red Ken gave a crap about the tax burden.

  31. 15% of Brits think that we’re an evil empire? Big deal. I wouldn’t be shocked if something approaching 50% of American college students claim to think that…more if they were being asked by their polisci prof…

    Besides…Guardian…grain of salt…

  32. No such paper as the Manchester Guardian, at least not since 1952.

    /pedantic Brit

  33. Steve,

    Either way of asking will slant the results one way or the other. The way to go may be to ask part of the group the question phrased one, another part of the sample group, another, and so on. This could give some information on the effect of the questions’ phrasing.

  34. Ha! I’ll pay ?8 for him to stay in London!

  35. …he condemned America?s rapacious capitalist agenda.”

    Ha…I think the word he was looking for was imperialist agenda.

  36. Haggle with them Madog! Drive up their bids! We can make up the deficit by receiving bribes from other countries to keep Bush in Crawford, TX.

  37. How many grams of Au in a Quatloo, anyhow?

    Kevin

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