aesling wrote:No culture is perfect, because people aren't perfect, so to pick out specific cultural differences that you like and say that somehow makes those countries "better" is ridiculous, because you are failing to look at the whole and acknowledge their flaws.
I think part of the problem is we started too high. You look around at all these nations that have existed twice as long as us, and you start comparing.
Obesity is up and intelligence is down. That's okay when you remember that we started at the top of the healthy/intelligent scales. Some of our competitors had nowhere to go but up, while we had a long way to fall.
Apathy and dissatisfaction in the government is at an all time high. That's okay when you keep in mind that the US has a history of sticking its nose in other countries' affairs - how many times did we replace Cuba's ruler before we boycotted them? It's part of our national culture to get involved and then spend decades wishing we hadn't. We'll get over it and in a few decades our children won't even remember we did it.
One of our only "true American" holidays is based on getting food from Natives who we later kicked off their land and practiced genocide against. That's okay when you remember that our Irish immigrants were due largely to England's nastiness, and our Jewish population grew after Germany went nuts.
Our country was built largely on the blood of slaves. Yeah, that one's kinda bad, but, hey, you don't see Egypt guilt tripping all over the place. We still count their pyramids as wonders of the world no matter how they were built.
Every country has flaws. Unfortunately most American's aren't aware of both their own flaws *and* the flaws of the countries they're comparing themselves to. They either focus on the positive - wealth, personal freedom, a hand in the government, religious tolerance - or they focus on the negative - nasty history, dropping stats, apathy, and an every man for himself mindset.
When we look at other countries we do the same thing. Negative - Mexico can't even keep its people from fleeing to us for food money to send home, China's killed too many girl babies to count in an effort to counter the absurd population, Iraq can't blow its nose without America to supply the tissue, and who even knows what's going on in Russia and Germany because we stopped paying attention after we kicked their asses in the last world war. For the positive, well, this thread has brought those out nicely. Other countries are friendlier, more united, more loyal to their culture and history, and - in the case of China in particular - on a fast track to becoming a stronger world power than the US could ever be (their ground troops alone make them intimidating).
One thing you can't argue with - as our education levels drop, our young people know less about other countries. So really, we can only blame ourselves if they can't compare those countries fully. They won't know the flaws and benefits unless we teach them. And, according to the stats, we teach them less every year.
/disclaimer: The criticisms of other countries were intended in a sarcastic tone - I'm not trying to insult Mexico, China, Iraq, Russia, Germany, England, or Egypt. I personally have no issue whatsoever with those countries. I think they're no better or worse than the US.