Thursday, October 15, 2009

American hubris

This is one of the better articles discussing a disturbing American tendency towards bombast and boasting. Most Americans have no idea how absurd and arrogant it sounds outside the USA. It is a failure of global perspective that keeps Americans saying how the US is the best country in the world without any self-consciousness of how it sounds to outsiders, especially when, as the article only begins to note, there are plenty of areas that the US could improve upon (highest proportion of population in prison being a major one, for example). See the whole article here:

One nation, under illusion

THE HOARIEST and most oft-repeated cliche in American politics may be that America is the greatest country in the world. Every politician, Democrat and Republican, seems duty bound to pander to this idea of American exceptionalism, and woe unto him who hints otherwise. This country is “the last, best hope of mankind,’’ or the “shining city on the hill,’’ or the “great social experiment.’’ As if this weren’t enough, Jimmy Carter upped the fawning ante 30 years ago by uttering arguably the most damning words in modern American politics. He called for a “government as good as the American people,’’ thus taking national greatness and investing it in each and every one of us.

(Rest of the article) [The article was published in the International Herald Tribune of 14 Oct. 2009, but was not put online for some reason.]

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