2012/07/26

Greatest country in the world

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Relax, there's no country-bashing ahead.

Hat tip to War News Updates (who's kind enough to link to me even though I don't return the favour as selective as I am in regard to blog roll and who recently just barely escaped my ridicule*): He embedded a movie scene which made me think: How would you have answered?

Well, here's how I would have answered:

Many people believe that America is the greatest country in the world, especially most Americans do. What's special about this is that they believe many foreigners think alike.
Well yes, many foreigners think alike - they think their country is the greatest country in the world, just as Americans do.
It's easy to find foreigners who admire America and it's easy to find foreigners who are instead totally in love with their own country.

America is the greatest country in the world based on some hard facts, not the least because it's the developed country with the largest population.

What's more interesting is how its greatness is something that requires constant maintenance and improvement.
Wealth quickly fades away without near-constant hard work. We need to invest every year in factories, training, education, infrastructure, research and development.
We need to be alert that our freedoms aren't being restricted by corrupt policemen, authoritarian politicians, faceless bureaucrats or CEOs who mistake control over money for power over people.
We need to care for our society to keep fractures of the society under control, to create and maintain a social climate that enables people to live without much fear of others and the risks of life. Children ought to grow up without heavy burdens caused by social stresses.

This near-constant, everlasting need to maintain the greatness of a country for the benefit of its people is of greatest importance. America did a better job in this regard than many if most other countries.

This is why I'm always uncomfortable when "greatest country in the world" sounds more like an article of faith than like a reminder about the hard work and alertness that's needed to maintain what we have and to improve upon it. Someone who strongly believes in the phrase as an article of faith may come to think of it as self-evident and become complacent.


S Ortmann

*: War News Updates is an enticingly comfortable choice for simply looking up all the "War with Iran" craze of the last years in order to ridicule it and how readily people accepted the saber rattling as real news for years). I decided to skip the mocking of the warmongers and their pawns.
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1 comment:

  1. As a german citizen I want to mention something here: every single time an american talks about Amercia as "the greatest country" it automatically degrades ALL other countries and (foremost) people in the world. This is the opposite of respect. This is why I (and I think a lot of others in the world) are always irritated when hearing something like that.

    Please, do not get me wrong: I am very Pro-America and I would love to visit and live "over there" for some time but I think one of the qualities a superpower has to have is humility.

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