Excerpt fom NEW PERSPECTIVES QUARTERLY: The Challenge of Positive Freedom
Or, how America's cultural exports shape American political freedom throughout the world
This is not light summer reading, but it is pretty cool; and, if you just read this chunk you get the essence.
Fukuyama | ... There has been a culture war going on within the United States for a long time over this issue. Cultural conservatives and the religious right have long criticized Hollywood for undermining the values of family and faith. In a sense, their position is not all that different from Osama bin Laden's. The valuelessness projected by American mass culture is a problem.
... Muslim extremists don't accept the basic framework of liberal tolerance within which America's culture wars are waged. But there is a relationship. What we see today on the global stage is in some sense an extension of America's own culture wars.
NPQ | After 9/11, the Bush administration launched a "public diplomacy" campaign that said, "if the Muslim world only understood America" they wouldn't hate us. But this postmodern propaganda of the mass culture has been out there a long time. Muslims do understand America. That is the problem! Perhaps Americans need to be a little more humble and self-critical. Not all the fruits of freedom are appealing.
Fukuyama | I do think that America's seamier side is well known in the world. The image of America held by many critical Muslims, radical or otherwise, is not inaccurate.
One of the delusions of American policy after 9/11 was to presume that if anti-Americanism was out there, it wasn't because of our policies or the Hollywood image but because we were misunderstood. That was a seductive impulse because it meant we wouldn't have to look inward and change ourselves or our policies.
On the other hand, I also think that America's image in the world depends on which part of the world you are talking about. In those places which are modernizing successfully, the projection of our mass culture is a net benefit because they see the freedoms shown in our films or music as something they can aspire to. That doesn't create resentment.
Where you get a big problem is where countries are failing at modernization. They can see the promised land, but there is no way of getting there. That creates resentment and anti-Americanism.
Full [link] here to story.