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Why do they hate America?

November 18th, 2005

In the leadup to the Iraq war, we were repeatedly told that anyone who disagreed with the rush to war, or criticised the Bush Administration, was “anti-American”. It now appears that the majority of Americans are anti-American. A string of polls has shown that most Americans now realise that Bush and his Administration lied to get them into the war and that it was a mistake to go to war. The latest, reported in the NYT is this one from the Pew Research Centre.

It has a lot of interesting statistics on the views of Americans in general, and various elite groups. The truly striking figure is Bush’s approval ranking among leading scientists and engineers, drawn from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. In Aug 2001, it was 30 per cent – not strong but not negligible either. In Oct 2005, it’s fallen to 6 per cent, with 87 per cent disapproving. I’d guess that the scientists in the sample are more hostile than the engineers (though, obviously, the engineers must be pretty hostile). Looking around science-oriented blogs and websites, I’d say that the attitude of Academy members is pretty representative of scientists in general. Anytime you find a favourable remark about Bush you can count on it that the site is an astroturf operation like Flack Central Station or the aptly-named Junk Science.

Scientists and engineers are not generally seen as a highly political group, but they can recognise enemies when they see them, and no government in US history has been more anti-science than this one.

Update: In the comments thread at CT and elsewhere, it’s been denied that anyone ever asserted that opposition to the war was anti-American. This post from Media Matters gives a number of instances, and there are more in the CT comments thread. Others, like Instapundit, preferred objectively pro-Saddam

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