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In contrast, people with even the slightest concept of democracy treat such notions with ridicule and contempt. French academic Pierre Guerlain has argued that the term represents two very different tendencies: "One systematic or essentialist, which is a form of prejudice targeting all Americans.The other refers to the way criticisms of the United States are labeled "anti-American" by supporters of U. policies in an ideological bid to discredit their opponents".

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Political scientist Brendon O'Connor of the United States Studies Centre suggests that anti-Americanism cannot be isolated as a consistent phenomenon and that the term originated as a rough composite of stereotypes, prejudices and criticisms evolving to more politically based criticism.

French scholar Marie-France Toinet says use of the term anti-Americanism "is only fully justified if it implies systematic opposition – a sort of allergic reaction – to America as a whole".

De Pauw is also known to have influenced the philosopher Immanuel Kant in a similar direction.

De Pauw said that the New World was unfit for human habitation because it was, "so ill-favored by nature that all it contains is either degenerate or monstrous".

Ceaser argues that the Romantic strain of European thought and literature, hostile to the Enlightenment view of reason and obsessed with history and national character, disdained the rationalistic American project.

The German poet Nikolaus Lenau commented: "With the expression Bodenlosigkeit (absence of ground), I think I am able to indicate the general character of all American institutions; what we call Fatherland is here only a property insurance scheme".

Anti-Americanism has also been described as an attempt to frame the consequences of U. Brendon O'Connor notes that studies of the topic have been "patchy and impressionistic," and often one-sided attacks on anti-Americanism as an irrational position.

American academic Noam Chomsky, a prolific critic of U. and its policies, asserts that the use of the term within the U. has parallels with methods employed by totalitarian states or military dictatorships; he compares the term to "anti-Sovietism", a label used by the Kremlin to suppress dissident or critical thought, for instance. The counterpart is used only in totalitarian states or military dictatorships...

The so-called "degeneracy thesis" held that climatic extremes, humidity and other atmospheric conditions in America physically weakened both men and animals.

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