Medal of Freedom Winner, John Hope Franklin, Declares US 'Not a Democracy'

This is going to be controversial.

In an article written earlier today by Benny Morris and published by the UK's Guardian Unlimited newspaper, famous historian and civil rights activist John Hope Franklin had this to say regarding his home:

"This country is so arrogant, so self-certain," he says,
asked whether the west is now engaged with the Muslim world in a war of
civilisations. "I am not sure that is what we are confronting. [But I
am also] not sure we have done what we ought to have done to cultivate
the rest of the world. We're so powerful and so presumptuous that it
makes us unattractive, almost unbecoming. We don't treat other
countries and people right. Power without grace is a curse."

The article goes on to mention that:

Franklin is also fierce in his opposition to the war in
Iraq. "I don't see any good reason why we went in there or why we are
there now. The invasion has sullied our reputation as has our behaviour
there. We have undertaken to spread democracy when we ourselves are not

America not democratic - how so?

"Our presidents are elected by electoral colleges, not directly. And
our military is not democratic. There's no draft. Bush's children and
my children do not serve." He points out that those who do serve are
mostly from America's poorer classes, including many blacks, driven
into the professional army by economic necessity. He suggests that the
Bush administration keeps down the minimum wage to prompt the poor to
volunteer for the (relatively) well-paid armed services.

Of course, prominent Americans who grant interviews to the foreign
media, criticizing the US, is nothing new. This is, unfortunately, a
common practice on both sides of the political spectrum.

With that said, this is not your typical, "let's bash America"
piece. Granted, it is described as a "Special Report" on the United
States of America which, in actuality, is nothing more than a liberal
opinion piece. At the same time, however, who penned the interview
is just as interesting as the man being interviewed.

Both the interviewer, Benny Morris, and the interviewee, John Hope
Franklin, are prominent historians. Mr. Morris is an Israeli citizen
and Mr. Franklin an American citizen, yet the article is published in a
British newspaper. And in no way is Mr. Morris a regular contributing
editor to the paper. I counted just about five articles written by Mr.
Morris for the Guardian in the last five years.

If you delve into Mr. Morris' background, you actually find that he
is a self-proclaimed "new historian." In Israel, that is simply a way
of saying that he's one of those historians who does not believe that
the Jews claims to Israel are legitimate and tends to be a historical

So here suddenly we have some fascinating parallels between Mr. Morris and Mr. Franklin:

  • Both question the legitimacy of their governments,
  • Both see their governments as oppressors,
  • Both are harsh critics of their governments' policies,
  • And both stand firmly against the Iraq war.

In fact, it seems to me that both men express a common ideology, that of Folk Marxism:

Folk Marxism looks at political economy as a struggle
pitting the oppressors against the oppressed. Of course, for Marx, the
oppressors were the owners of capital and the oppressed were the
workers. But folk Marxism is not limited by this economic
classification scheme. All sorts of other issues are viewed through the
lens of oppressors and oppressed. Folk Marxists see Israelis as
oppressors and Palestinians as oppressed. They see white males as
oppressors and minorities and females as oppressed. They see
corporations as oppressors and individuals as oppressed. They see
America as an oppressor and other countries as oppressed.

The folk Marxist view of Iraq is that the United States is the
oppressor, and the groups fighting the United States are the oppressed.
At the extreme, Michael Moore and Ted Rall have made explicit
statements to this effect. However, even reporters in the mainstream
media who are not openly supporting the enemy take this folk Marxist
view when they refer to "the insurgency."

Clearly, that bias is showing through in this article. And not just
in this article. Read through so many other articles published by the
MSM and I think you'll see that this ideology dominates liberal

Unfortunately, too many liberals in the media try to dress up such
opinion pieces and call them "news" so as to forward this ideology.
Fortunately, the blogosphere is here to question such practices.

Media Bias Debate District of Columbia Journalistic Issues