Monday, March 30, 2015

9 Things Many Americans Just Don’t Grasp (Compared to the Rest of the World)

To hear the far-right ideologues of Fox News and AM talk radio tell it, life in Europe is hell on Earth. Taxes are high, sexual promiscuity prevails, universal healthcare doesn’t work, and millions of people don’t even speak English as their primary language! Those who run around screaming about “American exceptionalism” often condemn countries like France, Norway and Switzerland to justify their jingoism. Sadly, the U.S.’ economic deterioration means that many Americans simply cannot afford a trip abroad to see how those countries function for themselves. And often, lack of foreign travel means accepting clichés about the rest of the world over the reality. And that lack of worldliness clouds many Americans' views on everything from economics to sex to religion. 

Here are nine things Americans can learn from the rest of the world.

3. American Exceptionalism Is Absolute Nonsense in 2015

No matter how severe the U.S.’ decline becomes, neocons and the Tea Party continue to espouse their belief in “American exceptionalism.” But in many respects, the U.S. of 2015 is far from exceptional. The U.S. is not exceptional when it comes to civil liberties (no country in the world incarcerates, per capita, more of its people than the U.S.) or healthcare (WHO ranks the U.S. #37 in terms of healthcare). Nor is the U.S. a leader in terms of life expectancy: according to the WHO, overall life expectancy in the U.S. in 2013 was 79 compared to 83 in Switzerland and Japan, 82 in Spain, France, Italy, Sweden and Canada and 81 in the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Austria and Finland.


  1. That's quite a list. I whole-heartedly agree with the first item and understand why it tops the list. I have pointed out in the past, how business, freed from the burden of shouldering healthcare costs, might grow free and unfettered. Personally, I blame uber-republican Bill Clinton for this flawed ideology. Sure, "You don't work, you don't eat!" is a philosophy as old as the hills. But burdening employers with the high cost of healthcare in the U.S.A. is simply a recipe for disaster. And don't hand me that line about competing to attract the best candidates. That's just a smokescreen for giving away the store to cronies. No one has been able to touch the high cost of health insurance yet. Obamacare has been an emergency, stop-gap measure with some positive results, but no real way out from under the crushing costs.

  2. Funny,

    That article stereotyped Americans in general, and Christians, conservatives, and others in particular, as much and as badly as some Americans stereotype Europeans. Gotta love a Preachy Progressive telling us how wrong we are about the world and not to stereotype while stereotyping as bad or worse himself.

  3. There is no such thing as American Exceptionalism. That's like a white bigot saying they are superior to blacks. It is merely a statement of egotism. Some can say the American Constitution sets up a better form of government than others, but that can be successfully debated with facts. America is factually not superior to other countries in areas like healthcare, income, benefits, etc., and other important standards of living, or even equal justice under the law.

  4. Why does everyone want to come to the US?