Friday, May 23, 2014

10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America

Mark Manson has a few things to say about America in his blogpost that has gone viral on Facebook.

 "This is how I lovingly describe my current relationship with the United States. The United States is my alcoholic brother. And although I will always love him, I don’t want to be near him at the moment."

Why the love-hate relationship with America, you ask?

1. Few People Are Impressed By Us

"they’re not going to be excited that you’re American. It’s not some badge of honor we get to parade around....As Americans, we’re brought up our entire lives being taught that we’re the best, we did everything first and that the rest of the world follows our lead. Not only is this not true, but people get irritated when you bring it to their country with you. So don’t.

We are were taught that America did everything first because...well, we did do everything first.  Radio, Television, microwaves, moonwalking (the astronaut kind, not the Michael Jackson kind...well, ok, both kinds), the internet, the transistor, the movies, the Ferris wheel, the zipper, you get the picture.

If people around the world are not so impressed by us, then how come they are all wearing American brands, watching American movies, and using American inventions?

They say if you invent a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door.  Well, guess who invented the mousetrap?  That's right, William Hooker, an American.

2. Few People Hate Us

most people in the world don’t really think about us or care about us.

People in the rest of the world may not think about us as much as we might think, but I know for a fact that we think about them WAY LESS than they think about us.

There are entire countries that fewer than 5% of Americans ever heard of that hate us with a passion.  If you are so certain that the world does not hate Americans, then I am sure you will feel comfortable walking down the street in Baghdad.  Or Tehran.  Or Paris, for that matter.

There are plenty of people in the world that hate America.  Just ask the Ambassador to Libya and his protection detail.

3. We Know Nothing About The Rest Of The World

For all of our talk about being global leaders and how everyone follows us, we don’t seem to know much about our supposed “followers.”  In a recent survey of young Americans, 63% could not find Iraq on a map (despite being at war with them), and 54% did not know Sudan was a country in Africa. Yet, somehow we’re positive that everyone else looks up to us.

This is an indictment of the government run school system more than anything else.  So the teacher's unions have taken in billions of dollars all the while committing educational mal-practice and that give you cause to hate America? 

The flaws in our understanding of the world come from three sources. 
1.  Bad government run schools, 2. a popular culture that does not value history, 3. the uncomfortable fact that what happens in the rest of the world is really not that important.

4. We Are Poor At Expressing Gratitude And Affection

There’s a saying about English-speakers. We say “Go fuck yourself,” when we really mean “I like you,” and we say “I like you,” when we really mean “Go fuck yourself.”

In our culture, appreciation and affection are implied rather than spoken outright. Two guy friends call each other names to reinforce their friendship; men and women tease and make fun of each other to imply interest. Feelings are almost never shared openly and freely.

Mark is condemning much of Anglo-Saxon culture, and he really needs to get out more. The coarse 'fuck you' culture to which he refers may be prevalent on the East Coast, but here in the Midwest that sort of behavior does not fly.

Our dispassionate behavior is taken from the behavioral standards of the puritans and the mainline Protestant congregations that were the earliest 'lifestyles of the rich and famous'. 

5. The Quality of Life For The Average American Is Not That Great

If you’re extremely talented or intelligent, the US is probably the best place in the world to live. The system is stacked heavily to allow people of talent and advantage to rise to the top quickly.
The problem with the US is that everyone thinks they are of talent and advantage. As John Steinbeck famously said, the problem with poor Americans is that “they don’t believe they’re poor, but rather temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

This is a load of horse crap.  Life here is better for more people than anywhere else in the world.  How many people give up their life here to emigrate to these foreign paradises that Manson idolizes?  None.  How many people come here?  Millions.  

Manson's opinion is that idle time and less material goods are better than effort and stuff.  Well, based on the flow of immigration, the rest of the world thinks differently.

And Steinbecks observation is not the problem with poor Americans, it is our greatest virtue.

6. The Rest Of The World Is Not A Slum-Ridden Shithole Compared To Us

If there’s one constant in my travels over the past three years, it has been that almost every place I’ve visited (especially in Asia and South America) is much nicer and safer than I expected it to be. Singapore is pristine. Hong Kong makes Manhattan look like a suburb. My neighborhood in Colombia is nicer than the one I lived in in Boston (and cheaper).

Here Mark is projecting his own prejudice on the rest of us.   Just because you assume the rest of the world sucks doesn't mean we all do.

7. We’re Paranoid

Not only are we emotionally insecure as a culture, but I’ve come to realize how paranoid we are about our physical security. You don’t have to watch Fox News or CNN for more than 10 minutes to hear about how our drinking water is going to kill us, our neighbor is going to rape our children, some terrorist in Yemen is going to kill us because we didn’t torture him, Mexicans are going to kill us, or some virus from a bird is going to kill us. There’s a reason we have more guns than people.
In the US, security trumps everything, even liberty. We’re paranoid.

Americans are falling for this paranoid crap precisely because we are the greatest nation on earth.  We have vanquished all real danger.  We live longer, we have less discomfort, we live in amazing luxury.  And so we invent stupid little scares like Alar and Radon to replace the real fears of malaria and starvation that plague the rest of the world.

8. We’re Status-Obsessed And Seek Attention

We’re status-obsessed. Our culture is built around achievement, production and being exceptional. 

Uh, yeah.  I thought this was obvious.  We are a nation of achievers and do-er's.  Nearly every person here is descended from someone that had enough balls and motivation to leave their home village and emigrate to America.    This is wonderful.  Our competitive nature is what makes us a great people, not some defect that we need to apologize for.

Why does Mark hate everything that makes America great?

9. We Are Very Unhealthy

Unless you have cancer or something equally dire, the health care system in the US sucks. The World Health Organization ranked the US 37th in the world for health care, despite the fact that we spend the most per capita by a large margin.

This is a load of crap -- the study to which he refers uses such measures as 'social justice' to rate the quality of our healthcare system.  Naturally, we get a big fat mark down in the category, and yet we still rank 37th.

Here is the true test of the quality of the healthcare system:  How many Colombians come to the US for surgery versus how many Americans travel to Columbia.  Score one for America.  What about the poor you ask?  Fine.  How many American doctors travel Columbia to provide free medical services, and how many Colombian doctors travel this way and set up free clinics?  Score two for America.  A 'survey' that ranks the US 9 spots behind Columbia is a load of crap.

...we eat chemically-laced crap because it’s cheaper and tastes better (profit, profit). Our portion sizes are absurd (more profit). And we’re by far the most prescribed nation in the world AND our drugs cost five to ten times more than they do even in Canada (ohhhhhhh, profit, you sexy bitch).

How, exactly, is serving cheaper, better tasting food a bad thing?

I have news for you, Mark.  Large portion sizes decrease profits.  If restaurants served less food per meal they would make more profit..  So your commie world view is a bit off.

10. We Mistake Comfort For Happiness

The United States is a country built on the exaltation of economic growth and personal ingenuity. Small businesses and constant growth are celebrated and supported above all else — above affordable health care, above respectable education, above everything. Americans believe it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself and make something of yourself, not the state’s, not your community’s, not even your friend’s or family’s in some instances.

Yes, Mark, this is the country of the individual.  It is one of our most cherished values.  And if you don't understand that, you don't know as much as you think.

Unfortunately, a by-product of our massive commercial success is that we’re able to avoid the necessary emotional struggles of life in lieu of easy superficial pleasures.

So suffering is a value to be worshiped?  Imagine how happy Mark would have been as a Jew in the 1940's.  How fulfilled his dreams would be as a black sharecropper in the antebellum South.  Success is a problem to you only if you have never really been through a bad time.

Throughout history, every dominant civilization eventually collapsed because it became TOO successful. What made it powerful and unique grows out of proportion and consumes its society. I think this is true for American society. We’re complacent, entitled and unhealthy. 

Civilizations collapse when they lose sight of the core values that made them what they are.  The US is in fact losing touch with our core values, but it is because of socialist whiners like Mark.

In summary, Mark is ashamed of America because he does not understand or appreciate the core values that make us great.   It is a shame that this anti American drivel has gone viral.

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