Better to die with honour than to sell out, I think.
I generally agree with that sentiment... but these companies are in the business of selling, not in the business or honor.
I had terrible trouble finding America in America.
You have a very static view of America. It's always been a country of the future, not the past. That is not to say there is no history, rather that we Americans do not feel constrained by the past nor do we feel that our past should dictate our future.
The loss of American artisanal tradition is lamentable, but the fact is that consumers enjoy a wide variety of choices over a varying price spectrum. On the whole the benefit outweighs the cost, as can be demonstrated by the comparative standard of living.
Furthermore, this choice factor has allowed artisanal crafts to flourish in some ways. For example, outside Japan, there is only one country where extremely high quality (and extremely high price) Japanese-style blades (I mean Katana and such, not kitchen knives) are made in any quantity. And that is the good ol' US of A.
Because of all the low cost Chinese clothing and mass-manufactured (low cost) food we buy, we have high disposable income and can spend our money silly on one of a kind blade that will cut through about 8 bullets fired at it before it gives out (and the $3,500 select-fire weapon to fire those bullets with in the first place).
I love consumer's choice.