Wednesday, May 23, 2012

We Deluded Americans

What are some of the most interesting or shocking things Americans believe about themselves or their country? An intriguing question, don't you think? It was to me too when I ran across it at this site. How would you answer it? Well, I discovered that I would respond pretty much the way thoughtful people who answered the question did. I've just pasted responses from various people in verbatim and commented where I felt moved to. As you will see, the quality of the observations vary, but they all have this in common. They are true.

  1. American exceptionalism: that some magical combination of Anglo-Saxon liberties, Protestantism and capitalism made the US new, unique, better, and outside the normal rules. [Number one. As well it should be.]
  2. That now or ever, there was a mass public in foreign countries praying for United States Armed Forces intervention.
  3. That the quality of life in the US is better than in Europe.
  4. That Detroit cars are as good or better than Japanese cars like Toyota and Honda.
  5. That women from the US need to worry more about their safety in Europe.
  6. A large fraction of Americans believe that humans have only been on Earth for about 6000 years, and that evolutionary biology is false.
  7. That a public healthcare program would be socialistic [well, actually it is socialistic, but that doesn't make it bad.]
  8. That President Obama is a socialist, a Muslim, and was foreign-born.
  9. That all Americans have an equal chance to become wealthy. [how people actually believe this has been a mystery to me for decades]
  10. That the UN is a dangerous concept.
  11. That American society is truly "classless."
  12. That there is no need for labor unions.
  13. That corporations are people [according to the law. A bizarre 19th century construction that has wreaked untold havoc on our political system]
  14. That there is nothing of significance that the US could possibly ever  learn from other countries
  15. That no matter where Americans are in the world, they will never be more than a few feet away from someone who speaks English [Something I observed over and over when I lived abroad.]
  16. That the corporate-owned mainstream media is liberal. [Another completely counter-intuitive belief]
  17. That our national government is less corrupt than most other nations. [Everything floats of a sea of falsehood in government, not to mention business, and just about any other field of endeavor you care to mention.]
  18. That everyone carrying arms somehow makes our society safer and deters crime. 
  19. That the military is the most honorable, truthful, and virtuous constituency in American life, and the corollary that U.S. military intervention anywhere is be definition necessary, well-intentioned, and desired by the people of other countries. 
This last one is mine. There were were many more, and you can probably come up with a list of your own. The bottom line is as a people we probably rank at the top in self-delusion.
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