Gov Kodos wrote:
familiar. Though, really, the roots of U.S. imperialism go all the way back to Jamestown and Plymouth Rock -- let's not forget that the United States is the product of a project to systematically seize control of Central North America from its native inhabitants for peoples of European descent.
Feeling better with the self-flagellation?
I have engaged in no such thing. Being willing to acknowledge the bad things your country has done just means you're creating space to improve it; it does not mean you are punishing yourself. You can't self-flagellate if you feel no guilt for it.
But this kind of reaction brings to mind an interesting facet of American political culture -- a tendency many people have to feel as though any criticism of the circumstances of the U.S.'s founding and early policies is necessarily an attack on the U.S.'s legitimacy, on its right to even exist. It's a perplexing reaction; I suspect few Englishmen feel that England's right to exist is threatened if someone condemns the practices of the Anglo-Saxons towards the Celts, for instance.
To bring this back to the original topic, I suspect that this reaction is itself a function of imperialism's presence in a nominally democratic system. If you feel yourself a stakeholder in the state, it stands to reason that you may feel as though you bear some responsibility if the state engages in imperial policy, even if those policies were undertaken before your birth. In such an instance, I imagine one either feels guilt, or attempts to deny the immoral nature of imperial policy in order to avoid feeling guilt.