As scholars of American Studies, we absolutely have to examine the film’s motivating assumption: “The American temperament reflects many of the qualities that anarchism idealizes: distrust of government, suspicion of authority, and belief in the plain old ‘Do It Yourself’ ethic.” Do you agree/disagree? Can you think of any American authors or texts that demonstrate an “anarchist” temperament? Does the documentary validate this thesis, why or why not?
On a different note, what is an “American temperament”? Does it make sense to think of national identity as reflective of certain political ideologies? How can we reconcile the ideal of a national tradition with a political philosophy calling for the elimination of the nation-state?