Although working-class Britons tend to be much more pro-American than their supposed betters, being condescended to by Britons is an occupational hazard for Americans abroad. I personally am usually spared it because I sound English and am only half American anyway. On the other hand, my accent means that I sometimes get to hear anti-American rants that might be withheld if there were an obviously American person in the room. "How can you bear living there?" I was once asked at a dinner party when visiting from New York, where I then lived. "It's all so Styupid!"
Of course, devoted hard-core anti-Americans of the Left or the Right won't hesitate to tell you what they think of the US even if you are their or somebody else's guest. British anti-Americanism of that sort tends to be far too obsessive and quasi-religious to be held back for reasons of good manners. And when you are confronted by someone who is willing to believe anything bad about America, you are likely to find that rational polite discussion about the subject is not really possible. Mind you, this is also true of American anti-Americans of the Chomsky type who need to believe that there is no evil anywhere that is somehow not the fault of America (or perhaps Israel).
What I didn't say but should have said to the man who pronounced "stupid" in a Pythonesque way is that America isn't really stupid, but sometimes seems so because it is different in ways that you may not understand or find appealing. As de Tocqueville noted, America is an extraordinarily democratic and demotic country in which the feelings and tastes of ordinary people set the tone much more than they do in the UK. (This is one reason why inarticulate men who would not shine at smart dinner parties can be elected president.) In America if a massive majority of people believe in the death penalty, then the dealth penalty remains legal, even if many people in the equivalent of the British chattering and political classes are horrified by it. It is a polity that for historical reasons has often chosen a different compromise between liberty and security, hence its peculiar gun laws. It's a society which has long fostered a sometimes unattractive conformism - including strange Soviet-style rituals like the Pledge of Allegiance - in order to counter the potentially divisive effects of mass immigration, unbridled markets and internal migration. Arguably, those rather un-Anglo-Saxon measures have worked very well: people from the most distant and different societies become patriotic Americans very quickly. You don't find many second-generation Arab-Americans or Pakistani-Americans drawn to violent jihad against their own country. On the other hand, I can understand why the sort of Briton who is attracted to or nostalgic for a traditionally hierarchical society or who has an aristocratic or Left-aristocratic contempt for commerce is likely to loathe American culture.
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