Denialists' Deck of Cards: The Ace of Hearts, "Unamerican!"

i-44125a9117a80bd3d47763a5d195800a-ah.jpeg Almost any proposal can be styled as "Un-American." Typically this is bundled with wild, inaccurate claims about European regulations (i.e., you can't do business in Europe at all). You'll wonder if the denialist has even been to Europe!

Update: Mark H provides this article as an example of "Unamerican" in today's Wall Street Journal. It contains, among others, this great example:

The German took the floor first. His was a bold thesis: The economic transformation required to address global warming will bring huge energy efficiencies--and hence huge economic benefits--even if there is no global warming problem. But vested interests in the energy sector stand in the way of that transformation. "We cannot," therefore, "wait for the industries that in many cases will be the losers . . . to make the necessary changes," he told the audience of American and European industrialists.

To this American ear, this smacks of the tales about the man who invented a car that runs on water, but was bought out by Detroit to protect their market. But from a European perspective, it makes more sense.

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To those of us who live in Europe, "Unamerican" is either cringe-inducing, evidence that USAians are aliens from the gods knows where, ironic, or some combination thereof (and possibly a few other things besides). And that's before you start to wonder what is meant by "Europe": The EU? The landmass? Greece? Luxemburg? Northern Ireland? Black-and-white newsreels from the Second World War? Redcoats two centuries ago in the northeastern colonies? � ...


On the flip side, as an ex-pat living in the U.S., I find it odd when every virtue is labeled as an "American virtue". Bravery. Self-sacrifice. Honesty. You name it, I've heard it all. It's very odd. I would have never thought to connect any of those things with nationalism, but here it comes quite naturally to people.


Unamerican = anything vaguely French.

We're now in favor of "New Europe" here. Ha!


Good point. A similar example is when a USAian visits and starts bad-mouthing the health services (there's lots to criticise, but it's rare to hear sensible criticism). Of course, I (we?) are now in danger of doing the sort of over-generalisation being commented about.

What gets really annoying is when the newspapers (on both sides of the pond) do this sort of over-generalisation. I myself get very irked at the description of "USAians" which seems to correspond more closely to politicals(?) in NYC and/or DC and ignores the rest of the country. Which, I suppose, is essentially the "Europe" problem in reverse; e.g., France is part of most definitions of Europe, but that doesn't mean this-or-that "French" trait is European.

Dont forget the related claim - call 'socialism' or 'communism.' Most of the US population has no idea what either term means (and considers them interchangable), but the cultural leftover of the cold war is still strong enough for them to taint anything nearby.

A public health servies: Socialised medicine, unamerican!
Open source software: It attacks ownership, its communist and unamerican.
Minimum wage increase: Government supporting the poor is communist!
Environmental protection: The environment is property, for its owners to do with as they wish - and saying that the collective can protect land is like endorsing communism.

In any area where increased government involvement is proposed, the spectre of the Red Menace can be resurrected to scare people away.