Why Have Americans Always Been So Obsessed with the Land?

Something about land lies deep in the American psyche. Since the early 20th century most Americans have resided in cities and suburbs, yet the mystique of agrarian life draws millions to farmers’ markets and makes the family farm a touchstone of American politics. The cowboy, that rugged knight of the open West, remains an icon of American culture. Squabbles between developers and preservationists over land use become battles over the meaning and destiny of America.

That’s because they are battles over the meaning and destiny of America. The history of America’s land is the history of the country itself. America grew into its defining institutions even as it grew into its land. The land inspired American independence; it spawned American democracy; it undergirded America’s rise to world power. Land symbolized opportunity to generations of Americans, starting with colonists who never had the chance of owning property in Europe; the vast continent gleamed in their eyes and its frontier drew them west. When the open spaces filled up, Americans suffered an identity crisis: Without the frontier of open land, who would we be?

Colonel Washington Questions His Allegiance

George Washington knew the frontier well as it existed in 1763. He had surveyed lands of the Ohio Valley, then deep in Indian territory, and he had led a Virginia regiment in the French and Indian War, fought primarily on the frontier. At the war’s end, he expected to capitalize on his knowledge of the frontier by gaining legal title to thousands of acres in the West, which he would hold for resale at a higher value.

But then the British imperial government issued a proclamation declaring all territory west of the Appalachian mountains closed to settlement. The war had thrown Britain deeply in debt, and cost-cutting was imperative. Western settlement would cause further friction with the Indians, necessitating new spending on frontier defense. London couldn’t afford the latter, so it wouldn’t allow the former. The West was closed.

Washington already bristled under British rule. Though a gifted soldier, his colonial origins limited his advancement in the British army. This personal slight was suddenly compounded by the proclamation’s blow to his business plans. He had spent a great deal of effort—and no small amount of money—on his Ohio project; he had risked his neck and lost good men securing the West to Britain. Now the British government was keeping him from his hard-earned prize. And there was nothing he could do, for as a colonial he had no representation in Parliament.

Washington wasn’t a philosopher like fellow Virginian Thomas Jefferson. Where Jefferson thought in terms of natural rights, Washington, a practical man, dealt in material things like land. The British government was depriving him of land—land he had fought for and fairly won. It was enough to make him reconsider his allegiance.

Mad Anthony Rides Again

Before long, a critical mass of Americans joined Washington in concluding they needed a government of their own. Complaints over taxation and other issues joined the land question in triggering the American Revolution, which ended with the Americans in possession of the Ohio Valley and much more.

The new land proved the British right about one thing: More western settlement meant more trouble with the Indians. To the tribes of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, American independence was a disaster. The Americans were more aggressive in seizing land than the British had been. Often tribes secured treaties from the governments of the white settlers, but those treaties rarely inhibited the whites from taking what land they wanted.

At times the Indians resisted. In the first years of George Washington’s presidency, an Indian confederacy that formed in the region between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes inflicted a series of defeats upon settlers and local militia groups. They received arms and moral support from the British, who, still stinging from the loss of their 13 American colonies, were happy to provoke trouble for the upstart republic.

Washington summoned one of his lieutenants from the Revolutionary War, Anthony Wayne, known as Mad Anthony for his impetuous style of command. Wayne led America’s first federal army under the Constitution, called the Legion of the United States, against the Indian confederacy and won a decisive victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, near modern Toledo.

The victory allowed the settlement of Ohio, but it meanwhile foreshadowed a century of struggle between whites and Indians over land along the westward-moving frontier.

VIDEO: Manifest Destiny Historian Matthew Pinsker gives a crash course on the concept of “manifest destiny” and the seeds of westward American expansion.

Franklin Reckons, Jefferson Chooses

In the 18th century Benjamin Franklin calculated that the American population doubled every 20 years. For an agricultural people, as Americans overwhelmingly were at the time, this had an obvious corollary: American territory needed to expand lest the country become crowded and the people impoverished. Americans looked at Europe, already crowded, and determined not to become like that.

Thomas Jefferson admired Franklin and read his calculations. And when Jefferson, elected president in 1800, had an opportunity to double America’s domain by purchasing the western half of the Mississippi Valley—the region called Louisiana—he seized it.

The purchase cost Jefferson some sleep. Long an advocate of interpreting the Constitution narrowly, Jefferson scanned his copy of the document and saw nothing permitting Congress or the president to purchase new land. Had he been true to his constitutional principles, he should have told Napoleon, the French leader who offered Louisiana for sale, thanks but no thanks.

But another of Jefferson’s principles told him to take the deal. Jefferson was the first president to call himself a democrat—30 years before his party would call themselves Democrats—and he believed that the success of America’s experiment in self-government depended on the virtue and prosperity of the nation’s ordinary people. Jefferson felt obliged to ensure that America’s farmers and their children and their children’s children would have adequate land for their farms.

So he swallowed his constitutional scruples and concluded real estate bargain of the century, or any century. For $15 million (equivalent to perhaps $300 million today) he bought the huge swath of territory between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains.

Land as the Great Leveler

While Jefferson the democrat was adding land to America, access to land had a democratizing effect on American life. The noble classes in Europe exercised dominance on account of their land; serfs and peasants labored on the nobles’ land. The limited supply of land let this closed system persist. In America, by contrast, the abundance of land made property cheap. Far greater numbers of people could acquire land of their own. These independent farmers formed the backbone of the American republic.

And their political power grew over time. In the first years of the republic, property and residence requirements kept all but a small minority of citizens from voting. But during the next generation, the electorate expanded. New states established in the West enticed settlers with the promise of full political equality—that is, voting rights not dependent on wealth or long residence. A competition developed among states, each eager to lure more new residents. In self-defense, the old states of the East lowered their qualifications. By the time Andrew Jackson was elected president in 1828, nearly all adult white males could vote.

Destiny Made Me Do It

Long before Americans filled up the land they had already acquired, they were demanding more. They hungered for Texas in the Southwest and Oregon in the Northwest. James Polk won the presidency in 1844 on a platform of taking both.

Polk was as practical as George Washington, letting his actions speak for him. But some of his supporters provided a theoretical justification for American expansion, presenting it as generous sharing of American values and institutions. In the salad days of democracy, many Americans credibly considered themselves the best-governed people on earth, and it wasn’t ludicrous for them to argue that others would gain from being brought under democracy’s sway.

It was self-serving, though, especially when Manifest Destiny, as the doctrine was called, was used to rationalize a war that delivered half of Mexico to the United States. Some of the Manifest Destinarians were embarrassed by the patent aggression of the conflict, but even they gaped in wonder when gold was discovered in California. Providence, it seemed, was rewarding America for its audacity.

The End of the Frontier—or Not?

Enthusiasts of Manifest Destiny envisioned a continental future for the United States, in which the Stars and Stripes would wave from Arctic Ocean to the Isthmus of Panama. Already the country had spanned North America from east to west; why not from north to south?

Part of why not was the divisiveness of slavery, which disposed Southerners to distrust northerly expansion, and Northerners to distrust southerly expansion. Part was an implicit contradiction in Manifest Destiny itself. If the point was to spread popular government, what happened when the people over which it was to be spread objected to the spreading, as Canadians and Mexicans emphatically did?

Yet the larger reason was the transformation of the American economy. More land was crucial to a growing population of farmers. But it meant far less to urban workers, who formed an increasing part of the American electorate. After a final fling with Alaska, purchased from Russia in 1867, American expansion clanged to a halt amid the roar of the Industrial Revolution.

Even so, the enormous domain America already controlled enabled its industrializing economy to become the envy of the earth. American mines spewed iron, coal, copper and other raw materials essential to modern industry. American wells gushed oil that became the lubricant and fuel of modern life. American rivers and harbors sustained shipping that carried American products across the globe. By the end of the 19th century, America led the world in manufacturing.

The conversion of that prowess to world leadership was simply a matter of time.

Yet when the census of 1890 revealed that the American frontier had disappeared—that there was no line separating the settled regions from the unsettled—much of the country fell into a funk. For almost 300 years the American identity had been inseparable from the opportunity provided by an abundance of land. The process of settling the land, of taming the frontier, had made America a magnet to millions of immigrants, an engine of economic growth, a beacon of liberty, a model of political and social equality.

Now that opportunity was gone, or at least greatly diminished. America’s borders were fixed; suddenly the country looked alarmingly like the Europe which Americans had long derided.

Yet for all the hand-wringing, the American future didn’t end when the land ran out. In fact, the land didn’t run out, as anyone flying across the continent in the 21st century can tell. Especially in the West, there remain huge spaces hardly touched by human habitation.

By now far more people live in cities than on the land. Yet those centuries of obsession with land still echo. John Kennedy, the first president born in the 20th century, proclaimed a “new frontier” for his administration. The sustained popularity of the television series Star Trek and its Hollywood spin-offs had much to do with its characterizing of space as the “final frontier.” Elon Musk and other visionary entrepreneurs today are making big bets on this latest frontier.

Something about the land, and the frontier, remains embedded in America’s psyche. By now it might be mostly memory—but memories can be powerful.

H. W. Brands teaches history at the University of Texas at Austin. His next book, Heirs of the Founders, on the second generation of American statesmen, will be published in the fall. Follow him on Twitter at @hwbrands.

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Why Americans Became Obsessed with Ninjas

There are almost 22 thousand people on Twitter who call themselves "social media ninjas." Elsewhere in the world of post-industrial job titles you'll find "code ninjas" (subspecies: "JavaScript ninjas" ) "sales ninjas," and even "mommy ninjas." Sometimes these titles refer to a vaguely eastern way of doing things, but today being a "ninja" is just a way of saying you're awesomely skilled, and maybe a little aggressive. How did a word for Japanese mercenaries become a term that Americans use to describe everything from corporate bloggers to parents who can bathe two kids at the same time without getting wet? A lot of the blame can be placed on a 1967 James Bond movie called You Only Live Twice.

First off, let's get one thing out of the way. This is not an article about the history of ninjas as an actual historical group. What I'm interested in is how ninjas have been portrayed in pop culture, especially during the last fifty years. That's the time period when Japanese and Chinese lore about these shadow warriors jumped the Pacific and ultimately became a very different idea. Also, I'm describing a wide range of martial arts movies as ninja movies, including kung fu movies, because in the west, many people blur these genres together into one. I'm not saying ninja, samurai, and kung fu movies are the same thing, though they often overlap. I'm just saying that in mainstream American culture, these subgenres teamed up in a kind of pop culture melting pot that resulted in today's understanding of what a ninja is.

The Asian Lore of the Ninja

That said, it's important to know that there is an actual history behind Asian legends of ninjas, though mostly western audiences picked up on the legends (and, later, the movies about the legends) rather than the realities. Oxford military historian Stephen Turnbull, who has devoted his career to studying the history of ninjas and samurai, notes in his exhaustive Ninja AD 1460-1650 that the earliest Japanese writings about ninjas depict them as the opposite of the noble samurai. Ninja were regular foot soldiers, typically from lower class backgrounds, who turned to mercenary work and covert operations for money. They favored stealth tactics because undercover work was cheap — no need to buy expensive samurai armor and katanas. Ninjas became a source of popular Japanese legends after the fourteenth century war between two rival emperors, where some of the great military leaders from the Koga and Iga clans identified as ninjas. Over the next several centuries, ninjas became legendary warriors who specialized in covert intelligence gathering, stealth, and combat mastery.

Though Americans tend to associate ninjas with Japan, the word ninja actually comes from a Chinese pronunciation of the two characters "nin" and "sha" (忍者) that make up the word that has been variously translated as "one trained in the art of stealth," "one who endures," or more fancifully, "shadow warrior." In Japanese, the word is pronounced shinobi no mono, though in contemporary Japan people will also say "ninja" — usually to mean pop culture ninjas rather than the ancient warriors. Today in Japan, people who practice the historical art of ninjitsu are dying out and pop culture is replacing them.

The Jump Across the Pacific

The Oxford English Dictionary, which tracks the emergence of new slang into English, suggests that one of the first western uses of the word "ninja" was in Ian Fleming's 1964 James Bond novel You Only Live Twice. Bond has to take on an elite Japanese ninja force, partly by using ninjitsu spy techniques, and by the end of the novel has lost his memory and basically believes he's Japanese. It's a weird book that became an even weirder movie — both are packed with 1960s-era racial stereotypes — but something about the ninjas caught the western imagination. Especially in America, where the US occupation of Japan had already led to a lot of cultural mixing between the two nations.

The American fascination with Japanese warrior culture might also be traced to another mid-1960s event, the Summer Olympics, which were held in Tokyo in 1964. It was the first time since World War II that Japan had hosted the games — the nation was set to host in 1940, but the event was moved to Finland after the Japanese military invaded China. In the wake of the 1964 Olympic Games, Japan shed some of the stigma that remained from the war. It became fashionable again in America to admire Japanese culture and athletic prowess (Judo was introduced at these Games, and Japan cleaned up with three gold medals in it).

As the 1960s drew to a close, America was ripe for a form of Japanese pop culture that was grittier than giant monster movies, and that incorporated martial arts like the newly-introduced Judo. It was the perfect time for ninjas.

The Cultural Mashup Warrior

The ninja movies that became popular in America in the 1970s weren't necessarily about ninjas, though a lot of them were. Some were martial arts movies, and others were samurai movies. Ask somebody who grew up watching these flicks in the 1970s, and they're likely to slap the word "ninja" on everything from the Zatoichi movies about a blind samurai and the TV series Lone Wolf and Cub, to Bruce Lee extravaganzas, David Carradine's Kung Fu TV series, and Chuck Norris movies. It's not surprising that Americans immediately began casting Americans as the ninjas in our home-grown ninja stories, but usually there was some nod to eastern influences.

The ninja was no stranger to cultural mashups, even before he jumped the Pacific. Some of the most beloved ninja flicks of the 1970s were made by the Shaw Brothers, Hong Kong filmmakers who created cheesy movies about Japanese ninjas that always managed to spill over onto the mainland. The ninja arrived on American soil as a cultural mashup, which made it easy for Americans to add our own traditions to the legend, incorporating funky black street fighters and lean white dudes who learned their craft from mysterious sensei overseas.

Ninja was shorthand for Asian martial artist, but it also meant something else that appealed to Americans in the 70s. Often ninjas were social outcasts, people who worked outside the system, just as historic ninjas worked outside the traditional samurai order. The ninja movie complemented another 1970s subgenre, blaxsploitation, full of badass fighters who took on the system and sought justice beyond the law. Both ninjas and blaxsploitation heroes like Shaft offered audiences a new perspective on heroism, which had almost always been depicted in movies, TV and comics as a white guy's game. The popularity of ninjas made it obvious that Americans were ready to embrace ass-kicking heroes who came from Asia — and from Harlem.

But unlike blaxsploitation, which favored gritty, urban realism, ninja movies were full of characters who could defy gravity, use throwing stars and nunchucks with almost magical deftness, and pretty much acted like superheroes. As ninjas got more and more Americanized, superhero powers became crucial to the legend. And in the 1980s, ninjas changed comic books forever.

From Shogun to Batman

In 1980, westerners were gobbling up Shogun miniseries, which dug deeply into the medieval roots of eastern martial arts, highlighting samurai culture and ninjas. Like many martial arts movies before it, Shogun offered audiences a western perspective in its white guy hero. Shogun (and the Kung Fu series) can probably be blamed for the whole white ninja subgenre, culminating in 1980s cult classic American Ninja. Still, it wasn't all white guys: 1981 flick Enter the Ninja also kick-started the career of Japanese martial artist Shô Kosugi. And there were other ways the ninja was slashing his way the American style of heroism, too.

A young comic book writer named Frank Miller, who would later go on to reinvent Batman as "the Dark Knight," was turning the comic book Daredevil into one of the bloodiest and most memorable stories people had ever read. Heɽ even added an awesome new character, Elektra, a trained ninja assassin. His inspiration? Ninja movies. Writes journalist Sean Howe in his recent book about Marvel comics:

Miller had spent long hours watching martial arts films in boisterous Times Square theaters, an experience he compared to "attending a revival meeting." He synthesized his fascination with ninja lore into comics that would add further fuel to the burgeoning craze of Japanese martial arts . . . Miller, as much as anyone, was responsible for adding shuriken (throwing stars) and sai to the contraband wish lists of junior high school kids everywhere.

In the 1980s and early 90s, ninjas also fit neatly into a new vision of the superhero as dark, violent and out-of-control. You see hints of the ninja in Rambo, whose eponymous hero goes back to Vietnam to finish up what the established military would not permit. It's the ninja versus the samurai all over again, only this time the US government plays the aristocratic samurai role, refusing to acknowledge the sacrifices and skills of its lowly foot soldiers. Many action heroes were like Rambo during this period, from John McClane in the Die Hard films to Ripley in Aliens. They are all the fighters we least expect, who must use subterfuge and trickery to defeat their enemies (as well as punching and giant guns). They are also out of their elements, either working directly against authority (the government in Rambo, or the Weyland-Yutani corporation in Aliens) or without any authority (McClane is a New York cop in Los Angeles).

As the alienated ninja hero crept into American action movies, ninjas themselves became cute, stylized fun in the form of the GI Joe cartoon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So ninjas as such had become cartoons, and "serious" movies like Equilibrium turned ninjas into futuristic white guys who used "gunkata" — or, even less charmingly, "gymkata" in the movie of the same name. Ninjas may have become jokes, but at the same time, the essence of the dark, outsider ninja had become almost inseparable from mainstream American heroism.

The Matrix, the Internet, and the Asian Revival

The latest wave of ninjas, who use their throwing star skills to make Twitter accounts, can probably be traced back partly to a sea change in ninja representations around the time that The Matrix came out. Though there had always been a fantasy component to ninjas, in the late 1990s they became science fictional too. And nothing could exemplify our era of "code ninjas" more than Neo, inside the cyberworld of the Matrix, getting software downloaded into his brain which allows him to say, "I know kung fu." Of course SF authors like William Gibson had long associated Japanese pop culture with computer-dominated futures, but it wasn't until the Matrix trilogy that audiences were able to see a gorgeous, big-budget film that perfectly melded the glories of a Bruce Lee fight scene with the wonders of computer graphics.

That was the moment when a generation of internet "wizards" gave way to our current generation of web "ninjas."

Throughout the 2000s, and now in the teens, we've also seen a new wave of cross-pollination between Hong Kong action filmmakers, Japanese anime creators, and Hollywood. John Woo's ninja-like heroes electrified us, and anime continues to exert an enormous influence on VFX artistry in the United States. Meanwhile, some of the greatest martial arts movies are coming out of places like Thailand (Ong Bak) and Indonesia (The Raid: Redemption). In the US, the movie Ninja Assassin was written by an American, set in Japan, and starred Rain, a Korean pop star.

In America, the ninja continues to be a cultural mashup, a hero torn from the pages of comic books inspired by martial arts movies inspired by actual Japanese and Chinese lore. The ninja is one of those rare legendary figures who has moved from one cultural context to another, changing along the way, but retaining some of its basic elements. He or she is a warrior who fights alone, an outsider, who comes out of nowhere to strike down an entrenched and dominant group. Highly trained, often imbued with magic or techno-superpowers, the ninja darts in and out of our pop culture like a ghost. Where the ninja goes, mayhem and chaos spread, but maybe justice is done. And the samurai, those traditional power elites who control us, cannot rest easy at night.

Sources linked in the text.

Many thanks to a secret society of ninja brethren who helped me out with a quick, stealthy analysis of this cultural phenomenon.

6 Answers 6

I think this is not specific to the U.S. at all. (Although I freely admit that, from what I know American education, it would certainly benefit from being less concerned with only the U.S., and a bit more with the rest of the world.)

Politics had always been a game of power, and, historically, the only, or at least the most successful, way to gain power was war. So nations have been obsessed with either their victories over what they considered barbarians or mean adversaries, or with their oppression by those who thought thus about them. As a result, what got written down on stones, scrolls, books, and on Wikipedia is lots of victories and defeats in wars. (The rest are mostly enumerations of economics (tributes and trades) and religious texts.)

Plus, history was mostly written down on behalf of those in power — which usually were the rulers of the victorious parties. This made sure written history was, to a large extent, iterations of successful military operations.

Nowadays, we know that there is more to history than wars (what with ecological developments, economics and politics correlating with natural disasters and other aspects), but, of course, history is an inherently conservative subject, and it takes lots of time to change the curriculum to encompass those more modern aspects.

It's part of the Greco-Roman tradition and culture that has been around roughly 5000 years. I recommend Victor Davis Hanson's Carnage and Culture for a full review of this tradition.

You can find its start with various Greek philosophers and playwrights who used war and conflict as the basis for their stories. Later authors, from Plutarch to St. Augustine to Shakespeare, reflected this aspect of Western culture in their writings and influenced the popular culture of their times as much or more as the History Channel does us today.

Whithout any doubt, the history part of the contemporary Russian culture is absolutely military. About 95% of Russian alternative history novels are about how this or that war could be replayed. Is it due to Russian agressivity? It seems so. But . the utterly unmilitary culture of the contemporary Czech republic is very much interested in ancient wars, too.

I think, it is the specific of the understanding of history. Goodies beat baddies - it is easy to understand. And understanding of economics, group psychology, pedagogics development, morals changing, is really hard. And there are not too many intelligent people in the World.

As long as history is mostly concerned with rulers, and military action is the chief determinant of who rules what areas, then wars will play a big part in it.

Perhaps you live somewhere where history isn't so focused on rulers? I know there's been a movement lately to try to focus history instruction more on the common people.

America is a country that was born in Revolution and came of age in Civil War. Like Rome, it has been accustomed to fighting and winning wars. For this reason, as much as any other, military history, including Greco-Roman history, has a greater place in American history than in other countries who have know longer periods of peace. (The longest stretch of peace in American history was the 33 years between the Civil War and Spanish American war after that, the thirty-one years between the War of 1812 and the Mexican American War.)

I am not necessarily sure that we Americans are "more obsessed with the military aspect of History". From my own personal educational experiences, the historical education I received over the years-(from the secondary, to the graduate), certainly spent a good deal of time examining wars, battles and Generals. However, there was a sizable percentage of time dedicated to other areas of history that were not exclusively or primarily rooted in the origins of warfare.

My History classes, over the years, spent plenty of time examining the landmark contributions of figures, such as Socrates, Aristotle, Archimedes, Cicero, Virgil, Galileo, Shakespeare, Locke, The Founding Fathers, Hegel, Twain, Edison, Einstein, Freud and many, many, many other Thinkers, Writers, Explorers, Statesmen, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Diplomats, Inventors, Philosophers and Scientists. The Military aspect to my historical orientation, education and graduate training, was, in retrospect, parenthetical, when related to other areas of History. This is not to say that wars, battles and Generals were not studied in detail-(they certainly were), but it is to say that the Origin of warfare was not the central focus of my orientation and education.

I am sure different people have diverse educational experiences and observations regarding this topic, though I am not so sure that an empirically convincing and persuasive case can be made for such a topic. The question is so wide ranging and far reaching, that it would require, as well as necessitate, lengthy examinations and studies of American attitudes towards history-(in particular, the so-called military mindset or orientation that Americans are alleged to have regarding the study of history).

If I was to answer this question, "at face value", I don't believe that most Americans "are more obsessed with the military aspect of history". I think that the American historical educational system, while far from perfect, has and does provide the majority of its citizens with plenty of resources-(textual, written, artistic, architectural, archaeological, technological, mass media, as well as Museum based) for accessing and learning about varieties of History, as well as multidisciplinary approaches towards historical understanding.

With all of this said, the military aspect of History, is, for the Americans, a sizable, but partial interpretation of the historical experience.

Top Ten Reasons People Think Americans Are Stupid

There are a great many wonderful inventions coming from the United States and many, many brilliant people behind them. Odds are, you found this site after performing a search on an American search engine, powered by American servers, created by students who attended an American University. You're also likely viewing the site using a web browser created by Americans running on an operating system produced by an American company. Even this site is hosted using a US created server operating system in a server room offered by an American company.

But all of that seems inconsequential compared to the growing sentiment around the world that all American are idiots. Just watch a single episode of Top Gear and you're bound to find at least one example of the hosts going out of their way to insult American intelligence.

In all fairness, sentiments like this rarely appear out of nowhere. There are definitely characteristics of the United States that paint Americans in a bad light that are listed below. But before you start spouting off about how "all Americans" are this or do that, bear in mind that the United States is a country of over 300 million people stretching across 6 time zones. For every racist, inbred, obese, Bible-thumpin' nitwit, there is and educated, rational, enlightened, well-meaning citizen to balance them out. Now if we could just get Americans to stop voting the former into office.

Just look at this big baby. Right now we're suffering from Covid-19, and this guy is doing nothing for his country other than sowing seeds of distrust, causing chaos, challenging our democracy with virtually no evidence of MASS voter fraud, making tweets that cause insurrection and his record before covid is horrible too. Look what he inflicted on poor Biden, broken and disunited nation, no plan for a vaccine, and a massacre of deaths each day. Horrible handling of Covid, Americans truly are idiots for listening to this orange clown!

I am dumbfounded by how well Donald Trump is doing in the polls. I only met a couple people who actually want Trump for president, yet he is still the front runner on the Republican side. There is no way he believes half of the garbage he says, but he is acting like an idiot for the attention and ego boost. Many Americans are eating that garbage up like candy. This is what leads me to believe that many of my fellow Americans are stupid. The government is not a business, and most entrepreneurs only looks out for himself/herself rather than the greater good. Trump has no experience with what it takes to run a country and makes us look like bigoted, self absorbed, arrogant fools without compassion for suffering refugees. Perhaps Americans are smarter than we look though. People could be propping him up because we want a crazy fool running against who we really want to elect (while also highlighting what is wrong with the Tea Party Republicans we did elect), but then I can't explain . more

Electing someone who have no political experience and political knowledge is very stupid but also very dangerous. Donald Trump won the election because of his " popular attitude ". The great danger of this is that such persons have many irrational ideas about politics which can be put in practice because of his " power " ( given by the people who elected him as president ) and therefor a great danger for the entire world. " Make America great again "? What does that really mean? America was build on crimes ( the extention of the native population, slavery in its most vicious way which gived the wealth and economic power to the US, Wilson who wiped out in the 20's rights of the working class, etc. ). American history is all about racism, corruption, crimes ( labor movements, civil rights movements, gay-right movements etc. have fought from the 20's till now their rights in horrible times ). So, what does mean " great again "? Horrible times based on racism ( maybe that's why during . more

How can you take Donald Trump ( now president and not in the race for president ) as serious? He is now accusing Democrats and former president Obama for wiretapping his Trumptower ( there's no evidence found but he's acting like a paranoid individual ), he demands that Mexico should give the money for building his wall at the border, he is banning countries ( mostly Muslim countries ) for going in the US ( which is against freedom of religion and therefor against the US constitution. Not every Muslim is a terrorist! ), he says that giving money to reduce the global warming iniatives is a waste. of your money, he wants to kick out illegal immigrants who are not criminals ( why don't give them tests, papers and make them legal if they pass instead deportations? Not every illegal is a criminal ). The day that something really serious will happen in the US and prove his capacities as a leader, people will wonder about his reactions. People will say " Are his reactions serious or is he . more

Finally! A political list that I can agree with (one that is not biased)! After all, that 2003 invasion of Iraq George W. Bush commanded only served to lead to ethnic conflict in the Middle East and lead to the rise of ISIS! Not to mention he caused an economic recession! And he left this whole mess for Barack Obama to clean, with him acting as the scapegoat for America's current problems. If George W. Bush can't be number 1 on Top 10 Worst United States Presidents, then he can be number 1 on this list. Congratulations, George W. Bush. Let's hope the next president we elect will take off from where Barack Obama went with the choices he made to fix the problems George W. Bush caused. P.S. George W. Bush ruined this country FIRST, not Barack Obama. This is me and my right to freedom of speech.

Okay, Bushes reputation is bad but saying that he's downright the worst US president ever is probably just a bit over exaggerated. I honestly don't believe a lot of the 911 conspiracies but with all the pointless wars directly after with Iraq and Afghanistan, it became pretty obvious that we needed someone else. It's honestly just unbelievable just how flawed the 2004 election was.

His 2nd term really piled up at the end.
Outside Hurricane Katrina in which Bush could've definitely acted quicker, 2005 and 2006 honestly really weren't that bad but even still, we were showing some sings for a market crash and it really started to kick up during the spring-summer part of 2007. If anything, the recession of 2008 left a pretty bad hurt on the economy in decades. He also had some secret action in the prison system and torturing whoever was a suspected terrorists with

If anything, even outside these issues, I still really wouldn't necessarily go as far as to say that W Bush . more

Most of the facts that are placed on this website are false. First, after recounting the votes for bush many times, they found that Bush beat Al Gore Florida by several hundred votes. If one knows anything about voting, and how they are counted, one would know that Jeb had no chance of changing the vote in favor for his brother. As well, Obama has made the crisis in the Middle East far worse, along with increasing the national debt instead for cutting it in half. As well, Obama has been using Bush as a scape goat for all the problems that he himself made. George Bush was not the best president, I understand that. However, he was fR better then Obama is right now.

Read this fool below me. So typical. Gets worse here daily here yet poor little fellow is so arrogant he thinks his generation will fix things. Our education system is same as 50 years ago and a lot of it is outright lies. We teach almost no science or math. Our younger generation are one of the fattest laziest and ignorant in our history. Funny how this non arrogant and informed American lacks or more likely just refuses to see these facts. He actually just proves how correct this statement really is. Poor lil kid

The world hates hearing from Americans how great America is. So many Americans tout the United States as the greatest country on earth and expect everyone else to agree, but everyone else is asking themselves "best at what? ". Sure there are still areas where the United States is a world leader such as in military strength, but are those really enough to make the claim of greatest country? Especially when the US is lagging behind in life expectancy, infant mortality, education, and overall happiness.

You could argue that it is this arrogance that engenders the most hate around the world but it is also the thing that is holding the United States back. So many Americans are so thoroughly convinced the American way is the best way that they refuse to look at the world around them. It takes true arrogance and stupidity to see someone else get better results than you are but refuse to try to adopt their methods.

When talking to American citizens, they know nearly nothing about things happening in other parts of the world. I'm not talking serious world issues such as war, I mean smaller things that people should know. I'm from Canada, and our country is beautiful-in both the winter and the summer. However, when Americans were asked their opinion on their Canadian neighbours, many responded that it would be a lovely place to visit if you enjoy snow and cold. Many believed that all Canadians lived in igloos. This just showed how close minded they were to other places. All the news they focus on is their own, and they believe that their country is the best when really the US lacks a lot that other countries thrive with.

In this list of top 10 we are referring to people in the United States as Americans. This is a prim example of the arrogance we have about ourselves and why other countries hate us. No person in the United States says, "I'm American" and is referring to the fact that he is part of two large continents including many other countries that are American also. They are referring to the fact that live in the United States. We not only thing we are the greatest at everything, we are so narcissistic that we don't even care to know about about other countries. "We're just the greatest and that's it, everyone else might as well be Kenya." stupid people we are!

I grew up in Boston and then went to university in Montreal and have lived there for 3 years now. After living in Canada for so long I have really come to see the us in a new light. People really are stupid! I mean I come home and try to explain things to my friends and families and they just tell me that "socialism won't work in the us", "the work ethic In America is stronger because we aren't socialist". I mean seriously? The work ethic in Canada or other dem soc countries is worse than in the us? They also tend to think about critical issues in policies strictly in terms of America. It's like they all live in a bubble. And forget trying to talk politics with an American, all they do is argue because they can't think rationally enough to have a decent debate/conversation about controversial issues. They also are too stubborn to learn from the opinions of others. I really hate visiting home.

Even though there is a larger amount of Americans as it's a big country, it's still no major excuse. Considering guns are easy to purchase.

They trust a book that people decided what would go into it and what would get left out! Compared to the evidence that science can show. Stupidity.

I laughed at the fact of how idiotic you guys can be. If we evolved from animals, then why are there still animals? And why do human females give birth to other humans? You tell me. Even science is slowly closing in on the fact that there IS a force out there that created the universe. And if the Bible is an untrue book, then how has it lasted for millions of years and still manage to be the best selling book in the world today? You tell me. If you want to know why America is becoming stupid, it is because there are evolutionists in our government. America was founded by men of God, and it stayed that way until a couple of decades ago. Read this and understand, that there is a Being watching you right now, and even though you make mistakes, He still loves you. And He loves us all the same. Thank you.

I'm not a scientist, but I do believe that anyone will have a hard time refuting this without saying things that they don't understand.
The THEORY of Evolution says that for the past, I don't know, 6 billion years, the universe has been gaining complexity and improving itself through natural selection, mutation, etc.
The 2nd LAW of Thermodynamics states that as time goes on, entropy increases, meaning everything decays.
The two come into conflict. When this happens, the only sensible thing that can happen is for the THEORY to give way to the LAW. But that won't happen because people are too prideful and selfish to admit that there is a God to whom they must answer.

I mean, the United Kingdom has the NHS which, for the most part, is free healthcare. During the Pandemic it's been overrun but families haven't had to pay to literally survive. Americans have to pay to live.

Land of the free means the government should not shove things like health care down peoples throats. People have the right to say no to health care. If health care becomes national, then the national government would increase to a greater size then it already is. That is bad because not only would one have to pay for the health care itself. But one would have to pay the increase in taxes because of the growing size of the government. Even a stupid American should know that increase in taxes means one has to pay more each year on April 15. Also what the guy below does not understand is that the bigger the government the more policies the government is able to enact. Which then means a demise to one liberties because more laws and policies regulate what Americans can do.
One may believe that this is an irrational view. Is it? No, because the government will further expand this initiative, over many years. Slowly taking away each action an American can do. I ask the people reading . more

They have plenty of " doctor " T.V. series ( ER, Grey's anatomy etc. ), plenty of reality " hollywood entertainment type " T.V. shows ( Dr. Phil, The Doctors etc. ) but in real life most of Americans can't afford to pay a visit to a doctor just because they can't pay their insurance. Whenever they hear " universal " or " social " they're thinking to lose their freedoms (? ). They prefer to die in the Streets rather than having a proper working Healthcare. I mean, come on, I read some comments here that are really stupid ( and this list is about that! ). They are really thinking that their system of Healthcare is the best. How more stupid can you be?

Worst of all and also the proof that they are stupid is that they think that a social Healthcare is a socialist government involvement. Social healthcares are different institutions ( you have the choice to pay your contribution to your institution you prefer ) that take care of the Healthcare funds ( and not the government ). Some institutions are linked with non-ruling political ideas and some are completely neutral. The contribution is equal ( whatever institution you choose ) and everybody can afford it. Also, the institutions are not based on " Insurance politics " ( the more you pay your Insurance the more you get ). Another reason why Americans are stupid ( or at least a great majority of them ) is that they really think that their system is the best ( just because they think that they are free to pay or not wanting to pay an Insurance ).

I am a Chinese American and most of my family had their education in China. In China, the system has definitely changed a lot since the 1960s and yes, the Chinese are known for being some of the smartest people in the world. However, how do you define smartness? Test scores? Government policies? Ability to recall knowledge from books? Decision-making? Well, the Chinese are book smart which makes them good scientists, engineers, etc. Well folks, I've got news for you. America has a lot of scientists too and we are considered number one in terms of science and technology with China not too far behind. It is true when we say that the Chinese aren't good leaders because look at the Chinese culture and education: Memorize, repeat, follow the authority, etc. In that culture, you can't challenge authority, let alone impose your own. Oh, and for appreciation, in general, White American kids do appreciate things well because look at Chinese tiger moms who can't even appreciate an A- on a test . more

That's because they give us too many stupid test and act like our grades reflect our intelligence. Most students are put under a lot of pressure especially with standardized testing which effects their performance. To top it all off the U.S has a new way of teaching kids called "Common Core" which is beyond stupid. (Thank God Texas doesn't have it. It's the only state that doesn't by the way) I'm a straight A student and I struggle with my little brothers homework because of how stupid and different Common Core is. I also don't think it's fair to base American intelligence off of a few stupid test scores. I mean, late stop and think about this who invented Apple out of their garage? A few Americans. (But I thought all of us were dumb) Who invented Google. Umm. just a few Americans. So stop basing our intelligence off of test scores because that's not an accurate depiction of how smart we really are and can be.

I personally believe that intelligence should be judged in more ways than math or science or language arts (this is coming from a straight student). Someone might be a amazing musician and have the ability to multiple instruments but if they aren't making good grades they're considered stupid.

All I'm trying to say is that just because Americans aren't making as good of scores on standardized tests as they used too they should not be considered unintelligent simply because of this fact. Some people are smarter in other things outside of what you're taught in school.

Honestly telling, Americans think that USA is their world. They are very very dumb and have absolutely no idea about other countries. From my experience, I've seen that they have no knowledge about other countries. Also that they think English is everything. I met this girl who thought that only languages on Earth are German, French, Spanish, Russian and English. Lol seriously? What about Urdu, Arabic, Hindi and thousands of other languages?

The grades have to fall if the mental level of people out there is so stupid.

As a country that's surrounded by others influences, cultures and a nation with a large amount of ways to get to other countries, they don't know enough about the places they go to. Their education system is also to blame.

I'm African and I've been asked by Americans if I spoke African. They did not realize that Africa is a continent where about 2000 different languages are spoken.
They think that in Africa, we keep tigers and monkeys as pets. They also asked me if we had cars in Africa.
They also think that the middle east is a complete war zone even though only 3 of them are.
This guy even tried to claim that America invented the first bomb, forgetting that the Chinese invented the first bomb and gun with black powder.

Americans are so full of themselves that it makes them the most ignorant people on the planet. Their stupidity is absolutely overwhelming.

I'm having A recent distaste for Americans.
Most of it being pertinent to the propaganda and nationalism that they involve themselves in. Americans are one of the worst ranking first world countries apart from military, and thus most of it's budget is focused on having a large military.
Besides that unrelated topic, I've met way too many Americans that seem to think that countries outside of their's don't function-or function like mad max. It's increasingly frustrating to hear such a loud minority getting much louder on the internet. Not to mention so many Americans don't know anything outside of their country
(an American literally asked me if Australia and New Zealand are the same place when I went to go visit over there) and nothing is more infuriating than hearing a tourist say "wow this place/country is a lot more advanced than I thought"- of course coming out of a middle aged white lady that has 8 out of control kids and a barely functioning marriage

Americans can be pretty darn spoiled. Especially when you're a teen growing up here (yes I am American), people make up certain standards you have to live up to. It's like people have no clue what other countries are going through, we've got all the resources and everything other countries could only dream of, but people here just take it all for granted. 50% of food(which isn't even that healthy in the first place because of all the fats) gets thrown away. While a hungry person, not even an adult, a CHILD from Africa would do absolutely ANYTHING for a loaf of bread, and us Americans are just throwing most of the "luxury food" away, which is really disappointing because it only shows everyone how blind us Americans can really be.

Obama has done nothing but divide the country and alter numbers to make it seem like things have improved when in reality the US is slowly losing grip on whatever influence it had on the world and more countries are being less dependent on them. American ignorance (this coming from an American who is a Republican himself) believes a stereotype of pre-1970s South America when in reality almost all countries (mostly Chile and Colombia) there are developed, modern and becoming global powers. Despite their progress, Americans still believe that everyone besides us is poor, uneducated and needs our help. Obama sent John Kerry and Biden to meet with FARC forces (Colombian socialist guerrilla that has been dying out but still trying to cause problems) while in Cuba, to negotiate with them.. since when does the U.S negotiate with terrorists? This is why allies will end up breaking ties with us and thriving by themselves.

Obama is good man who never stood a chance. He, as somebody else mentioned, came into his presidency on the back of the double Bush cracker heads, tried all he could to salvage the economy but of course, the Republicans start poisoning the entire effort, as they do, and here Mr Obama is, 8 years later just trying to tread water until that absolute abomination named Trump will somehow become president and all the poor and downtrodden might as well give up. Oh what a sorry day in your short history that will be if he wins presidency. good luck.

He has us in a position with way less debt than we did when Bush left, he's a key factor in helping legalize gay marriage, and ObamaCare isn't very good but it's a step on the right track to Universal Healthcare, he has a pretty solid approval rating. He's overall a pretty good president, he just gets the short end of the stick because he came into office after Bush blew all our money that Clinton had us in and left Obama with a huge stack of debt and a bunch of unnecessary troops in Iraq killing innocent Iraqis, and so now we blame him for that.

I admire Obama because of his stance on gun control, even though it has had little result. John Howard took a tough stance in the 1990s in Australia and the result is that no mass shooting has occurred since. Why would people be opposed to that. Whilst Howard did many questionable things during his Prime Ministership, the legacy left by his stance on gun control will be a long lasting and positive one, and bloody Americans should take note. Crush your guns in a compactor, and the stress will disappear.

At days end American believe gun keep everything safe. When they lead the world in mass shooting. Well it might be possible, many thing they can take on the federal government.

What's the point of owning a weapon, to defend yourself. Guns are used for killing and destroy a family. Terrorists killing people is completely wrong but shooting someone because your defending yourself. Countries without guns have way less crimes and killing being done. I know that there are dangerous people in the USA and their mostly poor people who are in need of money because they can't get a good job because the completely failed school because they didn't care, their parents didn't care or the parents just don't have enough money because they or their parents didn't care

If, instead of continually amending your constitution you would instead bin the rag-earred monster then you would no longer have over 50% of your country shouting they have "the right to bear arms", when in fact, that was so over 300 years ago. Then, see the NRA off to Ireland where they can glorify guns all they want to and have a bit of a shoot-out with the IRA now and again to keep everybody's aim in good nick. What parent can feel good about rearing a child in the US knowing he or she has a 50% chance of being shot in class (and that is during the first 5 years of school), an additional 15% chance of being shot in upper levels of school (if they weren't killed the during first 5 years), and nearly 100% chance of being shot in the home of a gun-owning family member. even if "I don't know how they found my gun". Yes, you guessed it, I'm pulling those percentages out of thin air but sadly, they are probably somewhat close to the mark. You lot go on about "change". start changing at . more

I got myself a gun when I was fourteen but. I don't think that's a good idea.

As much as I really love it, I don't want gun ownership rights to be abused by people. Hell, I wish gun ownership was only used for professional purposes, not for random civilians who just want to look cool.

Look what happened. A few years ago, about 20 kids in our school got shot. Plus, everyone used to tease me and also this lone kid back at school because everyone else has a gun of their own.

Even if my finger will land itself on the trigger for the first time, I still think gun ownership isn't really necessary.

I don't think Americans even know how much their country is messing with everyone else's business. And this is coming from Serbia, so I guess you might be able to tell why I have such an opinion. Unless you are from America.

So true. We stick our nose into every countries business yet our country is a joke. Our government fails badly in everything it tries except starting wars.

Very true and I wish they'd stop getting involved in the worlds problems. Keep the stupidness over in the U.S, we don't want to catch it here.

Thanks to our past few crappy presidents, and by the looks of it, we aren't going to have a respectable leader in a while.

Where the heck are you people getting all of your facts from? In making your judgments, how did you set up your experiments to arrive at your conclusions? What was your sample size in interviewing the average american? from where did you interview these people?

How do you judge 319 million people as being the same? Sounds like all of you have a lot of growing up to do and have a lot to learn about america and its people. From the comments on here, the rest of the world is uninformed, because everything said on this site is all lies and completely false. Stop the hatred and false judgment please and lets all try to understand each other a little better and get along.

From, a parent who thinks your parents failed in raising you as decent human beings.

True. And our war on drugs has made it exponentially worse too. Non violent people people that commit no crimes other than doing what some say is bad get their lives ruined. Half our presidents have had substance abuse issues yet we toss our otherwise harmless folks in prison for it. If only harming yourself I don't care if you smoke or inject or snort pig. Rapists and murderers commonly do less jail time than many non violent people.

It's called justice! You do something bad or wrong, you go to jail. It's not like you didn't know about it. You want to take the risk to do something bad or wrong you knew what to expect if you get caught. The only flaw of the system that doesn't work well is the reintegration in society after you did your time. This is a real issue but it seems that the law and the government is blind to see or to trying improve those issues.

Change your attitudes of ego neurosis, public whipping for child molesters, drug users, wife beaters, bank robbers, armed hold-ups, also police that use excessive force on claimed criminals when it is the courts authority to dish out punishment, not the pigs that drive squad cars.

USA took the British systems of weights and measures and then altered them slightly just to be different. The metric system is SO much easier to use than the old system.

When the metric system was introduced in France during the French Revolution the mathematician Condorcet said " It's for all people for all time ". Many countries followed at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century ( Holland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain. ). Even Latin America adopted the metric system! The United States did not follow based on the following grounds, the cost ( typical American ) and the inconvenience of the change over. But American science had to adapt since important scientefic discoveries were made. One of them is the atomic weight based on the metric system ( the mole ). So, in this era of modern science it's almost becoming retarded to stick and to still learn the imperial system at schools. Every country had followed at time but because of their " money and time " issue are the United States still using the old ( and now almost obsolete ) system.

To be honest with you guys, this one should be blatantly obvious. We've already used it for so long, and now it would cost a lot of money to switch. Also, think of all the bussinesses that would be screwed over, like tape measurements and rulers and such. You can still use the metric system if you want, but it isn't considered the main measurement. The imperial system isn't that hard to grasp on anyways, I don't know why some people make such a big deal out of it.

The rest of the world has already switched and yet Americans expect the world to still convert for them. I work in the tech industry in Canada and every time we design something we have to do it in imperial because we do most of our exporting to the US. I find it extremely inconvenient for everyone.

If you actually took the time to visit smaller towns, you'd realize that America is diverse and full of kind, caring people. There are a few bad apples, but every country has them. Just because you visited LA and New York doesn't mean you REALLY know us Americans. Contrary popular belief, we do not constantly eat Mcdonalds. I know lots of people who hate that fake "restaurant." I refuse to eat there, and my family rarely goes out for dinner. We make our own food. We buy eggs from a family friend who owns chickens, and often get tomatoes from another friend. We have our own concord grapes, and it's quite common to grow strawberries, or your own tomatoes in your backyard. I'm really skinny, and so is most of my family. Before you judge, take the time to really look at Americans.

People in America still seem to think that being obese is the fault of the individual. Try telling them that it's actually the fault of the marketing of unhealthy sugary foods (especially to children) and a consumer society based around consuming more and more and more because it will make you happy, it doesn't work! They're not the brightest individuals when it comes to thinking critically about these issues. maybe because they've been manipulated by the system for so Long, who knows.

We didn't FORCE Canada to shut down anything. They had the intelligence we lacked, and we had the money they needed. Supply and demand. I'm sure if the Canadians could've funded AVRO Arrow themselves then they would've been on the moon drinking pina coladas and using it's craters as mini golf holes while American engineers were crunched numbers and tried to solve endless algorithms. Plus, Canada has been one our strongest allies for centuries. Team work makes the dream work.

Americans for the most part are not hard workers and are certainly amongst the laziest folks in the world. They love to take credit for the work of others. Example, they claim the space shuttle was a truly American accomplishment, ahead of it's time. Problem is it was primarily engineered by Canadians. When the Yanks forced the Canadian government to shut down it's AVRO Arrow program (blame the gutless PC's), the engineers went to work for NASA.

Every black jazz artist in the 50's and 60's were saying that in Europe they were treated as humans. Many American black jazz artists stayed in Europe and never did get back in the United States ( exept to give a concert once and a while ). We're living in the 21th century now and maybe some changes in rights and tolerant matters were made but it's still a common fact that a great percentage of Americans are racist or have prejudices against the black community. And I'm only talking about the black people here. When you put latino, Chinese. people in regard to American racial equality, I think you get the picture how America feels about racism.

Recently, when singer and actress Rebecca Ferguson was invited to play Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, she agreed to do so on condition she could perform the song " Strange fruit " ( a song made famous by Billie Holiday and later Nina Simone that was inspired by the double lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in the thirties. A third victim, James Cameron, escaped and later founded America's Black Holocaust museum ). She was promptly disinvited, proof that the song retains its shocking unsettling potency and that the ideas about racism aren't much changed in the United States. Google or Bing it up, you will see that my sources are 100% true facts.

Sure, the US elected a black president. But the fact that it was such a big deal is more evidence that the United States is still racially charged than it is color blind. So go ahead and celebrate your newfound acceptance, but don't forget that it is the 21st century and an alarming number of people believe that Obama is an African born Muslim. and far more importantly. that this is somehow a bad thing.

Hello, and I'm an Indian. You bloody Americans say that we treat our women poorly and are racist pigs but in reality, America hasn't had a woman president (India has, 2 times! ) and you stereotype every damn race on the planet! America and Americans are the stupidest people that have ever lived on the face of the Earth, and should be wiped out like they did to countless Natives in the area!

This here, is the most underrated choice, and the reason why the first option is voted. Why is Trump an "idiot? " Because Americans are ignorant people who do nothing but look at social media when you would have a much better time understanding by actually paying attention to all the speeches. The average American shouldn't be trusted with politics if we keep going down this path.

You mean brainwashed by and with social media. The powerful of the world couldn't ask for better, now they can control each and everyone.

That's not really true and not all Americans are obsessed with social media. Some non American are obsessed with social media, some not.

I HATE the Social Media Obsession and it has Ruined the way people interact

First of all, the correct word is doesn't*.
Might want to correct your grammatical errors before trying to bash Americans.
I know of some ignorant people who don't know much about history, but there are more people who fully know our history than those that do not. Before you discredit American intelligence, please realize that just because some people do things incorrectly or in a different way, that does not mean that all Americans are dumb or gullible. Before saying things about a country you have most likely visited, realize that we love our country as much as you love y66ours, and we are capable and intelligent beings that have done more for the world than most countries will ever achieve. Before you criticize America, criticize yourself. Your countries have problems just as much as we do.

You need current events and all other things are meaningless? How can you understand current things if you don't know anything about social events of the past, popular knowledge of culture that changed the country on a social scale ( music, art, literature. )? Knowing about your own country is not only just know about what is happening now. I agree with the first comment when a music group ( even if you don't care about the group ) says that oddly enough Europeans know more about America than Americans do. They mean ( I saw the interview on YouTube ) that Europeans understand the background of what they are doing now. In other words, they understand the current thing because they know the history of it.

Just saying, "don't" is correct. It's just that there should be an "s" on American so it is pluralized and consistent with the rest of the statements. But then again, nobody has ever expected an American to know much about the king's English. It's not so much that Americans are stupid, it's that they think they know a hell of a lot more than they do and are unwilling accept the fact that they don't.

Actually there's an interview by the group " The Cramps " on YouTube where they are saying that Europeans knows more about American music ( rockabilly, rock and roll, mid-sixties garage punk ) than the Americans. It's maybe a little bit out of context here but it shows or seems that a great percentage of Americans don't know much about their own cultural and social history of their country.

Funny but sad that it's true. That's because we ignore facts that go against what we believe or were told as kids. For instance most of us will say Christopher Columbus "discovered" America even though he never stepped foot on North American soil and if he did there was millions of people living there at the time anyway. We are told many ridiculous lies as kids and in school and never apply any thought to whether they make even basic sense.

In spite of objective facts and reality, there are many Americans that honestly believe that the earth is 6k years. This is astounding given that we have the evidence right in front of us, and they still deny it!

There is no evidence that the Earth is much older than 6k. Other than rock dating, there is nothing to prove how old the earth is. Science can't solve everything.

Sadly there are people here who do believe that steaming pile,but not where I live. Come to seattle Washington we definitely know better than that.

We brag so much about how great our own country is, we don't even look at other countries. For instance.

Japan is experiencing, and has been experiencing, very little inflation and corruption. Meanwhile in america. I think everyone and their mother knows what's going on.

They brag because they're so unaware that there is other countries on Earth.
What do they even brag about anyway? Having the largest military in the world? That's all they basically have.
Seriously America needs to wake up.

As tourist, Americans are seen in other countries as visiting brats, expecting to be treated as royalty because they are spending money while putting down the customs and traditions of the countries they visit.

And here is japan with their literacy rate 99%+, and their homocidal rates less than 1%. Haha stupid americans you think you are great. Yeah great in Hell. Many americans who are si called 'educated' don't even know what homocide is or literacy. Heck they don't even know that japan is in asia.

Americans are the ones who don't want to invest in hybryd or electric cars and vehicles for the future. Americans are the ones who don't want to do anything about global warming and who want to keep pollution of the planet. So, yes, they are greedy because progressive ideas or plans about new energy economics don't interest them. Oh, yes, there is Donald Trump who came with the idea to build the wall on the Mexican border ( only if the Mexicans are paying for it ) with solar panels ( but only for the benefit of Americans ) so that they can show to the world that they care about alternative energies. Talking about a stupid american " progressive " arrogant and racist idea. It's all about the mighty dollar for greedy billionaires who wants more " here and now in MY lifetime " dollars. Greedy billionaires and rulers who don't care about long-term actions and who are trying to convince the less fortunate Americans that their plans will and are the best plans for the economy and the . more

Movie theaters and the New York Yankees at Pinstripe have ridiculous prices and people go to expensive things. People think greed is good. Invisalign prices should be about the same price as braces. Then there is fixing teeth without ugly looking and less discomfort. Most people still fix teeth with braces. There are people that think greed is good. They need their heads and hearts examined. We need power lines put in the grounds more affordable. I have petitions against greed on links below. I am a chan ge.o rg activist. We also had years of gas prices ridiculous. It’s both oil company and government greed and a big part of the problem why the economy went out of shape in later 2007/earlier 2008.

Not only petroleum products, but I think they have a general tendency to be wasteful. Many Americans have no concept of the production process, to get a product from its raw state to a finished product, and the effect this process has on the environment.

We just need a lot cause we have the 3rd biggest population and we are one of the leading countries in engineering. We are not the top for sure but we are up there. But spew do tend to be wasteful and I try to cut as much wasting as I can. Just a small part I play in the world.

Socialism is an anathema to most USA people and yet parts of it would benefit USA so much. IT IS NOT COMMUNISM. At the moment USA is under a Fascist leader and yet no-one seems to care! Trump is/was a fascist. Forms of socialism can help the starving, the homeless, the disadvantaged, and does not have to be fully implemented.

This pisses me off. American needs to be a socialist country but we've been brainwashed by the right into thinking that it's bad

Socialism doesn't mean government involvement. Socialism is a political movement that strives at equality for social issues or problems. For instance, social Healthcare against the unfair " Healthcare Insurance ". This means that everybody should pay a equal contribution ( every month or every three months, depends ) and the contributions will go to a social fund afterwards. Whoever is sick, go to a doctor, needs an operation or medications, it's the fund that will take charges of the bill without affecting your contribution that you have to pay anyway. Because of the equality of the system, the contribution is the same for everybody ( poor people can afford to pay it ). Most Americans thinks that socialism is related to communism. It was related for a moment ( in the past ) till they separated from communism for political disagreement and so socialism became democratic socialism.

To the response of Alpha101. My response or comment was based on a comment of Top Tenner Slayerite ". means more government involvement ". I should have written ( my mistake ) that Socialism doesn't mean " more " government involvement. About my definition. The Karl Marx theory of socialism was based on dialectic materialism as opposed to Hegel's absolute idealism. In dialectic materialism there are conflicts between economic classes. After feudalism we came in a new these : the Industrial employers of capitalism. This these will generate a antitheses the proletarian class ( working class ). The syntheses that will come out of this conflict is in Marx's view socialism. This view is now considered as absolute socialism. To stop this conflict which generates inequality between the classes it is necessary to maintain a equilibrium of economic productivity trough socialism otherwise there will be in time only very rich and very poor classes left. A rich class system that strives only . more

What is even a "drug"? I think one important problem with drugs (in the world) that is rarely talked about is government dishonesty. Governments try so hard to keep people off drugs, they end up exaggerating, demonizing and lying about them. Plus they put them all in the same basket as if they were all the same. So, when somebody eventually tries some drug and sees it wasn't that bad (or truly good), they begin to try harder stuff until they find a bad one (meth/heroin) and they are gone. Drugs are just a tool, like any other, and as such can be used for good or stupidly.

There are many studies about the psychological effects of psychoactives, mainly LSD and mushrooms that show the overwhelming positive effects they can have. of course that would cut off on profits from Prozac (right Bayer?). just search for "lsd psychological studies".

Yeah, America is the only country that takes drugs. Like Germans, Canadians, Italians, and many, many more never tried a drug before. Weed is illegal in all countries except America. Yeah, really true.
SERIOUSLY THOUGH, are you joking? Many adults and old teenagers take drugs, even outside of America. Also, most legal adults are curious and try to take drugs, without expecting it can be addictive. They didn't want to be an addict. They DON'T want to suffer.
You can't just hate them because they take drugs, because if you did, you would be hating almost every country. Period.

The problem with this is that we have access to almost anything we want. This would be better if our correction facilities were more affective. There was a study done on rats that determine that one of the best ways not to be addicted to something is to have more human interaction. Humans want to be attached to something, wether it be people. or drugs. When the study was don the first time, the scientist put the rats in solitary cages with water laced with cocain and some plain water. The rats soon got addicted to the laced water and soon over dossed. When another scientist did it a second time, he put the rats in a cage with other rats, slides, food, and the rats could mate all they wanted. Basically a rat resort. He put the two types of water into the cage and almost all of the rats never became addicted and a very small percentage of the rats ever over dossed. Our correction facilities are like the solitary cages, so we need to create a correction system that is more like the rat . more

On the first comment about the rats experiments your view on the experiments has some good points but is wrong. First of all, surprising as it may seem at this time of modern scientific miracles, it is not known why the human body becomes physical addicted to some drugs. There are literally dozens of mechanisms and explanations. The leading explanation is the homeostatic theory ( the body tries to maintain equilibrium ). The parts of the body that are affected with the drug compensate for it after those parts become used and tolerant to having it present. One of the most important part is of course our brain which has a MFB ( Medial forebrain bundle ) that gives us the rewards and has the PVS ( Peri-Ventricular system ) that gives us the " punition ". In a human society there are the fundamental aggression based on hierarchies, different classes, social promotions, domination etc. The rats on the other hand were all equal in the cage ( they all had the same reward ). In a human . more

One of his ideas was to build a wall at the border of Mexico to stop illegal immigration. I don't know of that idea was just a stunt to win some voters or not but if he put that idea really in practice it's for sure that their will be non-stop manifestations all over the country. Another idea of him was to renew the infrastructure of roads, Streets, bridges, tunnels etc. This will give a boost to the economy, true, but then again, so did Hitler in Germany ( he was the one who had the idea to build highways in Germany to increase the economy ). Is Donald Trump the new Adolf Hitler? Infrastructure-workings to help the economy and little by little beginning to stop foreigners giving access to start a life in the United States? Let's see how the future will be, but I have personnaly a bad feeling about him as new president.

A man who denies global warming isn't a man who can be taken serious. Saying that it is a hoax of China ( when in reality it became a worldwide topic since American Al Gore's documentary " An incovenient truth " ) is just a hoax of him to cut down the Chinese economy. Also Cars like Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and so many others who are now trying to focus on electric and hybrid models in favor of their Diesel models are being criticised by Donald Trump and he has already the idea not to import their models anymore. If this man will continue his stupid ideas America will soon be forced to buy only American products ( but which will also lower down American export products. Outside America social -economic countries are not gonna incline to Trump's imposing ideas. Believe me! When his time as president will be finished America will fall into a economic crisis ( thanks to his irrational ideas to cut out other economic import-export countries ) and then America will pay the price. They really . more

The country is ruled by billionaires ( most people hired by Donald Trump in the very top are billionaires ) and nobody else counts. 70% of Americans ( and voters ) are disfranchised and their representatives ( President Donald Trump and his yes-staff ) pay no attention in the 70% people's attitudes and preferences just because they don't know anything about being disfranchised. How to maintain supporting the people they're kicking in the face is in fact their only concern. American democracy is beginning to look like an oligarchy thanks to Donald Trump. Politicians and people all over the world are really laughing ( with his stupid tweets that are sometimes very offensive ) at this elected clown without any political knowledge. Political world issues ( or even political national issues ) is not like " making deals " for realestates. Is this really the rolemodel to represent their country that Americans want? Is that what makes America great? " I punch you back ten times harder when . more

This clown just cares for his own businesses and the profits of money he can make. Do you really think that his economic plans doesn't involve his businesses? Wall street is waiting for pro-business reforms ( they're already corrupted. They showed it in the past and they are greedy more than ever now. ). He wants to cut corporate and personal taxes. Meaning that big businesses ( and certainly the ones he have ) will make bigger profits. Where is he gonna cut corporate taxes? In the contributions they have to pay for their workers. Then only he can cut personal taxes. But that same cut will give the working people less money in the end because to win back that money he will inventing other taxes that will not affect big corporates but the working-class people. He's a capitalist greedy pig. Besides that he's a racist too if you look at his program about immigation, control of non-americans living there and even minorities like Afro-Americans. The United States are now The Divided States.

OK. For those who do no discriminate, can you please give me a chance? I have corporate management experience from Europe, I was Sales District Manager, Business Development Manager, I did wholesale financing, worked by way up. I was trained by American Corporation in Europe in several countries, I have business degree from Europe (Masters in Business, International Business, started to work on PhD in Management before I came here. I am fluent in English, I sent hundreds of resumes and after 16 years here nobody was interested in hiring me except of low paid administrative jobs offered to me. I live in Palm Beach County, Florida. I learn quickly, I have no problem to switch to other area of expertise. I have been working since I came to this country two jobs, got my Broker's real estate license (studying here is extremely easy for me), I have no problems with math, anything other people have problems with, but so far even when I mentioned that I would export cars (in the days when . more

I still don't get why America does that. No baby is born racist, we are taught that from our parents and our peers. No baby is born saying a white baby is white and an African American baby is African American! We are all taught that and it is a very hard cycle to break.

My father has 50 years of experience with different countries. From Wake Island to Vietnam-in-war to Nigeria, my father is an expert. And who did they hire? The fresh white local who has no experience.

Employers hire who they think is best suited for the job. Immigrants are willing to work harder too as they've lived in conditions you wouldn't even dream of. First in best dressed

Americans want to say there's no God but if they'd read the bible, they'd realize how great of a lifestyle it's expresses to be. There is a God, Jesus Christ! Rather you believe or not, it's the truth. God doesn't bless a country out of no where. People pray for it! America was found up on Christianity. Since Americans have freedom of religion some were brainwashed, with all due respect, with other religions. Devil created religion. You can judge my opinion all you want but it's the truth. People believe all they hear now-a-days. Too easily confused and manipulated. Read the Holy Bible and you'll realize a lot. Read it spiritually not in the flesh. Pray and wait for something to happen. We aren't Gods children by nature, he chooses us to be by our actions. Hints the free will.

I am not Christian. I never have been and I never will be. Is that a bad thing? You know, we have freedom of religion for a reason. I shouldn't be criticised for not being Christian. I am not an atheist. I do think there is a greater force on this planet, but I don't think it is a specific one. The greater being is tasked with being what you need it to be. It can not change reality, yet it can comfort those in need of it and help clear the mind. I guess I don't have a religion really.

I'm hoping they fall from "God" quicker. Americans don't even know what being a Christian means anyway. They use Christianity for something to hide behind when they've just committed yet another sin. Half the time they wouldn't even realise whether what they've done is a sin or not.

People who believe in made up religions, let the Internet and history channel show you that. Honestly most of them are so gullible they'll try to preach it in front of strong Catholic believers

Get born - decide which side of politics you are on - that tells you whether guns are good or not, whether whites are supreme, where you will go to school etc etc - life planned out - no open mind on any subject.

I was born in Moscow, raised in Piran, then raised in Winchester. but arriving to New York was well, you can call it a nightmare.

First, they always make assumptions about my gender since I have to admit, I'm a very androgynous person. They always think they're right and I just hate myself for it (WRONG)

Second, the kids older than I am make brash comments about me being a European"snotty, snobby, spoiled, all the. really?! And my accent. God, the students always make fun of me for it.

Third. well, they always call me a freak or a homo. I'm straight, goddamnit. those always look at the outward appearance. One even called me DUMB, just because I was blonde. (They don't know how much I always studied)

But not just I myself, others as well. Screw it, sea to shining sea my ass.

I've lived here my entire life, and I can testify to the fact that there are more than a few in this country who are as dumb as a rock! This closed mindedness is not restricted too any one ethnic group but I see it as rather an American thing. I've come too the conclusion that once you teach a person something, it is hard too break them out of those teachings.
A lack of education, and critical thinking are two of the things that help too perpetuate this ignorance, and closed mindedness in America today!

You are correct. Most people don't accept new ideas unless the govt. Tell them it's true. For example, Canadian scientists found dust of thermite in Twin Towers, but Americans don't question it. Everyone knows the govt. Is behind Kennedy's death, but they won't question the report from the Warren Commission,
And the best one of all is they really think Obama got Bin Laden. Ever wonder how he plugged in or carried around a kidney dialysis machine for so many years in the desert?

Here's Why Americans Have Always Been Divided

Americans mark this Independence Day during a time of turmoil in the United States.

While many debate whether to wear a mask in public, the COVID-19 pandemic is surging in most U.S. states. Outraged Black Lives Matter protesters have taken to the streets after the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

A staggering 42.6 million people have filed for unemployment benefits during the pandemic. The existing political divisiveness that was heightened by the 2016 election of President Donald Trump continues to rage into the last year of his 4-year term.

But the United States has faced great unrest, uncertainty and divisions before, and even in quiet times, discord is constantly rippling beneath the surface, according to sociologist Todd Gitlin of Columbia University.

Myth of unity

“America has always been divided. I think the myth of a unified country is a myth… American beliefs have been contested ground from the start,” Gitlin says. “I mean, pick a moment in history when we have always not been deeply divided.”

In her 244-year history, the U.S. has endured deep divisions between its political parties, and over industrialization, the Civil War, immigration in the late 1800s, women’s suffrage, whether to enter the first and second world wars, civil rights and anti-war protests in the 1960s, gay rights, abortion rights and numerous other battles.

“When have we not been deeply divided?” Gitlin asks.

One reason for that disunity could be found at the very foundation of America, a melting pot of people who do not share a common origin story.

“We're not just a normal nation founded on agreement on a national story or a national consensus, which are usually embedded in a story of national origins,” Gitlin says. “America is unified by an ideological doctrine. As a statement of belief, rather than a statement of identity.”

Common beliefs

America’s identity comes through the common beliefs laid out in the Declaration of Independence, which is celebrated on the Fourth of July. And using the holiday to air out one’s grievances is not uncommon.

“People in the country who have felt marginalized or oppressed or cut out of the American Dream have always used the Fourth of July as an occasion to claim their membership in the nation, to claim their freedom and liberty and their equality with others,” says Timothy Shannon, professor of history at Gettysburg College.

In July 1848, suffragettes launched the women’s rights movement with the drafting of a “Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances,” a treatise modeled on the Declaration of Independence. And, before there was a Labor Day holiday, the Fourth of July was central to the labor movement. On July 5, 1852, American abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave his now-famous speech that asked, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"

Founding fathers’ ideals

In praising the nation's founders’ ideals of freedom, the former slave-turned-prominent-activist pointed out the hypocrisy of their ideals due to the existence of slavery.

"Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?” Douglass asked.

For some observers, today’s Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and injustice recall the turbulent 1960s, when people marched for civil rights, women’s rights, and against the American war in Vietnam.

A history of protest

“In the 1960s, we saw protesters marching in the streets and people boycotting racist companies,” says Jamie Goodall, a staff historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington and a former assistant professor of history at Stevenson University in Baltimore, in an email sent to VOA.

“Today, we have protesters taking to the streets and individuals choosing to purchase from Black-owned companies, boycotting companies that contribute to racist and bigoted causes. We can look to these protesters as a sign of American resilience in the face of adversity. They’re carrying the torch of their predecessors, continuing the fight for freedom and equity,” Goodall added.

Gitlin believes America is in the middle of its latest existential crisis, which began in the early 1970s when the standard of living for most Americans stagnated or began to decline, while the wealth gap between the haves and have-nots widened.

Fight over facemasks

The fight over whether to wear a facemask to protect others against the spread of COVID-19 could come down to how Americans view themselves in a country that increasingly makes people feel like they have to choose a side.

“Are we freestanding, isolated individuals who are self-made and do not owe collective responsibility to those less lucky?” Gitlin says. “Or are we connected in ways that require some sort of coordinated response to avoidable individual suffering?”

Towards a more perfect union

In some ways, this Fourth of July — mired by a faltering economy, COVID-19, polarized politics, and protests against police brutality and for social justice — reminds America that although she hasn’t quite fulfilled her promise, the work towards achieving those ideals continues.

“It's kind of our annual reminder that the nation was founded on a pretty radical political principle: all men are created equal,” Shannon says. “That was not obviously the reality in 1776, in a country that had slavery, in a country where women were denied the right to vote… But, as a nation, we have been called to live up to that ideal, and to do our best each generation to promote and preserve that notion of equality.”

Can anyone please ELI5 why Americans(as in US-citizens) seem obsessed with Heaven, Hell, Rapture and the end of the World?

Is it because you live in America and rather want to live somewhere else/better, or what's up with that?

There are a lot of factors behind it.

Protestantism, the Enlightenment, and Individualism diluted the Gospel from a proclamation about Jesus as Lord of the world, into a message about Jesus being your very own special personal savior who wants to take you to heaven when you die. This all coincided with the colonization of the "New World" by European Christians.

Many Christians who came to the "New World" genuinely believed this fertile, untouched, land of promise and opportunity was the fulfillment of biblical prophecies concerning the New Jerusalem and the millennial golden age. Christians throughout history have always believed this or that major historical event was a sign of the end times (e.g. the black plague). Millenarian sects existed in Europe, but this unbridled fervor for a whole new world could ooonly have been a sign of the times. Manifest Destiny, postmillennial dominionism, all that. (Interactions with the Native peoples were mixed, but there was a significant number of Christians who perceived them as "Canaanites", godless people who deserved to be uprooted and replaced.)

The world was changing rapidly, and the near-unrestricted religious freedom (First Amendment) enabled people to kickstart their own groups with little accountability. In the 1800s, millenarian sects emerged left and right (Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Millerites, etc.), with many of them making explicit predictions when the Second Coming would happen.

Meanwhile, the First and Second Great Awakenings catch fire over the course of the 1700s and 1800s. Postmillennial Protestant preachers saw ritualism as deadening, so they wanted to jazzercise all the Christians in America into an emotional desire for a personal relationship with God. The motivation behind these Great Awakenings was because those preachers believed Jesus would come at a time when Christians had become numerous, zealous, and had purified society. Hell has always been used as a motivator by Christian speakers and writers, but here we see the surging popularity of the stereotypical Fire & Brimstone preachers.

John Nelson Darby invents the rapture doctrine in the early 1800s. He brings it to America at the same time these other millenarian sects are growing. The entire basis of the doctrine is escaping to heaven, away from the evil world.

The horrors of the American Civil War and the two World Wars leave Christians disillusioned with the optimistic worldview of postmillennialism and dominionism. Despite numerous failed predictions that the world would end during the first, then the second, World War, millenarians are vindicated: the world is evil and on the path to destruction, so our only hope is escaping to heaven. At the same time, the Scofield Reference Bible has been published, and its notations promote Darby's rapture doctrine. Christians devour this reference bible.

Put it all together, and you get a cultural environment that has, for centuries, fostered a form of Christianity that longs for escape to heaven, threatens damnation, and thinks every minor political event is a sign the world is falling into the antichrist's palms.

5. Maryland's location

Maryland is placed in a great, neutral location. It's close to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and even New York City. Maryland is also a weird mixture of a Northern and Southern state, which makes it home to many different, unique people and cultures. You name it and you probably can find it in Maryland.

A land of opportunity—and gold

Chinatowns have been in the U.S. for more than 170 years. The first one, in San Francisco, served as an unofficial port of entry for Chinese immigrants escaping economic and political chaos in the mid-1800s. Men sought their fortunes in the California Gold Rush, and when mining waned, they found work as farmhands, domestic helpers, and in the 1860s, as workers for the Transcontinental Railroad. These men needed sleeping quarters, clean clothes, and hot meals after long days of grueling labor this led to a proliferation of housing, laundry services, and restaurants in burgeoning, Chinese-centric neighborhoods.

As the immigrants fanned out around the country seeking more work, Chinatowns mushroomed all over the United States. At one time, there were more than 50 of them.

But these Chinatowns were also borne out of growing racial tension and discrimination in housing and employment. After the abolition of slavery, Chinese immigrants provided a cheap source of labor, leading to resentment from the white working class, especially during the Long Depression from 1879 to 1896.

Beginning in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Acts severely limited immigration for more than 60 years. Anti-Chinese sentiment resulted in street brawls, race riots, and even lynching and massacres. During that time, many Chinatowns were destroyed by fire or natural disasters or abandoned by people fleeing the violence.

Why is Britain so obsessed with America?

By some British people. Thousands more love the country, the food, the culture, the women. Did I mention the women?
French hating little Englanders are as much of a stereotype as Bush lovin', God fearin' rednecks (the only people likely to actually order 'Freedom Fries').

They exist but thankfully they're a minority.

American women - we're GORGEOUS. To quote the Beach Boys (who I think are very intelligent) "I wish they all could be. California Girl! "

Fair point, and to be truthful, my xenophobia comment was aimed at the British press. I'm not quite clear who the British press doesn't hate . The British people strike me as a generally fair-minded bunch.

That part of our media is owned by the same guy who owns Fox News. Most of us are as embarrassed by it as most Yanks are by O'Reilly.


Going back to the thread title, and disregarding the ignorant original post, I, too, wonder why the UK is so obsessed with the US. Why is news of US Primaries the leading story on British news reports? No wonder people get fed up.

I don't think so, I have no explanation for that comic but The Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and The News of The World. News International's influence in all sections of our media is kind of scary.

When you say the BBC's xenophobic do you mean anti American or generally hateful? I can see how some could feel the former although I would probably disagree but the latter?

I think the BBC is pretty hateful - are there grades of hatefulness, depending on at whom it is directed? I think the BBC is pretty hateful - are there grades of hatefulness, depending on at whom it is directed?
There are subjective opinions about whether something is hateful or not and that's all either of us have to offer. There are subjective opinions about whether something is hateful or not and that's all either of us have to offer.
Very true. I can only suggest to you that it is hateful . Very true. I can only suggest to you that it is hateful .

Nicky Campbell's a wrong 'un, I'll agree with that. Always has been, he has a touch of the Jeremy Kyle about him. :eek:

Simpson (yes, the Kabul thing was shameless) and Humphreys can be a bit reactionary at times but I respect their opinions, which I think are reasonably balanced by programmes like the Politics Show, Question Time and Newsnight, which give airtime to most sides of the important debates.

Really, I can't stand it! But you may be onto a point there.
I personally think it is appalling that the Government gave the choice to make a language GCSE compulsory or not to the schools. When you look at how much English the Germans have to learn, its discusting to think how reluctant this country is in even teaching foreign languages.

It is embarassing when you look at the statistics of foreign language speakers in the UK, I believe we are only above Ireland in the EU with the number of people who speak a foreign language.

And the irony is that generally the same people that complain that immigrants come here and cant speak English are the same that move to the south of France or Spain and don't bother learning French or Spanish.

But this is off the point.

No American culture? is that a joke?
A country that has had the most dominance over world culture since perhaps the romans is being accused of having no culture?

People may not like American culture, but it certainly can't be accused of simply not having any! Its the centre of modern music (pop and classical), film, television, food, fashion, architechture and literature!

Been to the cinema recently? Most of that is American. Watched TV? Most of that is American. Listened to music on the radio? A lot of that is American. And quite rightly too, I don't want to go to the cinema to watch some French tale of two lovers, I wanna see explosions and guns!

I don't like the consumerism/materialism that exists in this society. It's certainly one of the aspects of our culture that I abhore the most (but fall into the trap of occasionally).

But I think the houses and cars are bigger because we are not as densely populated as most European countries. There is more free land, and cars are the only way to get around many cities, as public transportation may not be available, and cities are widely spread.

1 America had formed in to a set of smaller countries or
2 Its land mass was smaller or
3. The quality of the land was the same as Siberia, Australia, Saudi and other large but low quality land masses.

No one would pay any attention to the US.

If Climate change cooled and provided more rain for Oz and dried out the US in less than a century Australia would be the super power and we would be celebrating their culture and being their poodle. No one would pay much attention to the Americans.

If only UKIP scientists could move Ireland out of the way and fill in the sea we could once again be a world power. Sadly thats a bit unlikely so for now its US or EU you decide.

America has just been fortunate, take a large bit of mostly unpopulated high quality real estate with huge oceans either side. Fill it with people, add democracy and capitalism and hey presto super power every one looks up too. Notice they did not bother grabbing any bits of Canada or Mexico they just kept the best bits for themselves.

Theres nothing special about the Americans no matter how much they think so.

Americans Have Always Been Obsessed With National Security


The U.S. Constitution can reasonably be seen as a massive tax and mercantilist trade-promotion program. However, there's a third leg to this stool. It was a national-security program as well—almost a proto-PATRIOT Act. Indeed, these three elements formed an integrated project: it gave the new central government independent power to raise revenue by taxing individuals directly and to establish an army and navy in order to advance, by force if necessary, American trade. This, I submit, was not exactly a libertarian project. It let a terrifying genie out of the bottle ostensibly in order to contain it. Or, as James Madison put it, "You must first enable the government to control the governed and in the next place oblige it to control itself."

While the nationalists (that is, the self-identified but misnamed Federalists) saw military power as essential to the development of American commerce, the ability to raise an army and navy was intended to accomplish more than that, namely, continental hegemony and national security in a hostile world. As Madison, chief architect of the political system embodied in the Constitution, told the Virginia ratifying convention, America was surrounded by countries "whose interest is incompatible with an extension of our power and who are jealous of our resources to become powerful and wealthy. [They] must naturally be inclined to exert every means to prevent our becoming formidable." Thus the nationalists sought a permanent military establishment—albeit initially small—powerful enough that no nation would, as Donald Trump would say, "mess with us."

Whom did the Federalists fear? "The hostile nations the Federalists were talking about [Spain and England]," Max M. Edling wrote in A Revolution in Favor of Government: Origins of the U.S. Constitution and the Making of the American State, "had dominions to the north and south of the union, while in the west they fuelled the animosity of the Indian nations."

It's odd, then, that so many libertarians think an obsession with national security dates back only to the end of World War II and Harry Truman's National Security Act of 1947. In fact it goes back to the very beginning of the republic, when Americans who sought to expand the power of the central state warned that because America was exceptional, it faced constant danger from the old powers and the Indian nations (whose lands the Americans coveted). Security, the nationalists explained, requires consolidation (rather than loose the "league of friendship" under the Articles of Confederation) and a ready peacetime military. Yes, a standing army was potentially dangerous, they said, and so need not be large but America, as a unified extended republic secure between two oceans, did not have to fear a permanent military establishment.

Some libertarians believe that since Americans opposed a standing army, as the vocal Anti-Federalists did, the Constitution forbade it. That is clearly not the case. No prohibition is to be found, a fact punctuated by the Third Amendment, which prohibits the quartering of troops in people's home without consent in peacetime. Obviously, that could be an issue only with a peacetime standing army. (Thanks to Gary Chartier for pointing this out.)

But that's the least to be said. Congress was empowered virtually without qualification to raise an army and navy, the only restriction being that the military budget can be for no more than two years at a time: "Congress shall have the power to … raise and support Armies [and] To provide and maintain a Navy." Moreover, control of the state militias was taken from the states and nationalized. (See Article I, Section 8. In 1783 the Confederation Congress created a committee, chaired by Alexander Hamilton, to plan for a peacetime army and navy. Committee member Madison was unconvinced that Congress had the power to carry out any such a plan.)

These powers in the proposed Constitution outraged the Anti-Federalists, who opposed centralized government in a distant capital. They pointed out that this shift in responsibility to the national government would reduce the states to mere administrative districts with nothing to do but, as Patrick Henry put it, "take care of the poor—repair and make high-ways—erect bridges, and so on, and so on." They also warned that a professional military would suppress the liberty of Americans, who would be unable to resist because the militias would be gutted through federal neglect. Oddly, the Federalists argued that the powers would preclude federal coercion of the states because the new central government would "act directly upon citizens as individuals," as Arthur A. Ekirch Jr. explained in The Civilian and the Military: A History of the American Antimilitarist Tradition(1972). Small comfort for those citizens, of course.

The Federalists understood that most Americans were suspicious a professional military, so the Federalists gave assurances that the force would be small and not stationed close to the people. But the Anti-Federalists were not pacified.

"My great objection to this Government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights or, of waging war against tyrants," Henry said. "Have we the means of resisting disciplined armies, when our only defence, the militia, is put into the hands of Congress?"

Edling commented that "the argument that the Constitution would allow the national government to create a standing army in order to expropriate the people's property [through arbitrary taxation] shows that the Antifederalist objections to the Constitution were grounded in traditional Anglo-American individuals rights." (Some have held, on weak evidence, that the Anti-Federalists were not proto-libertarians but rather radical democrats who wanted no limits placed on the state legislatures. Whether the leading Anti-Federalists and the rank and file differed ideologically would be difficult to determine.)

Another concern of the Anti-Federalists was that the Constitution could authorize conscription. Anti-Federalist writer "Brutus" warned of a coming "Prussian militia": If "the general legislature deem it for the general welfare to raise a body of troops, and they cannot be procured by voluntary enlistments, it seems evident, that it will be proper and necessary to effect it, that men be impressed from the militia to make up the deficiency." (The Anti-Federalists saw the necessary-and-proper clause as a blank check for the central government.)

And that wasn't all that worried the Anti-Federalists. As Edling explained: "By law the American militia consisted of all men between the age of sixteen and sixty. Congress's unlimited power over the militia therefore gave it power over the vast majority of adult men, which meant that the entire political nation was within reach of the government's command." Anti-Federalist Luther Martin (quoted in Edling) pointed out that members of the nationalized militia "from the lowest to the greatest [could] be subjected to military law, and tied up and whipped at the halbert like the meanest of slaves."

The Anti-Federalists, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, were willing to concede power to the national government to raise an army in wartime—but not in peacetime. However, the Federalists, as one of them, James Wilson, put it, wanted "the appearance of strength in a season of the most profound tranquility." The potential for abuse was too great for the Anti-Federalists to accept.

The Anti-Federalists were happy that the military would at least be under civilian control and that although the president was commander-in-chief, the Congress controlled the purse and held power to declare war. (We know what became of that power.) However, with the rise of the Society of the Cincinnati and with retired Gen. George Washington as the likely first president, how comforted should they have been about all this? ("Almost at once," Ekirch wrote, "the Society was criticized as an attempt to establish the former Revolutionary officers as a hereditary aristocracy, and the volume of protest soon reached impressive proportions.")

The Anti-Federalist case against unlimited central control of the military obviously did not prevent ratification of the Constitution, but it did yield proposed amendments to limit Congress's power, such as requiring a two-third majority of voting House members to approve the raising or keeping of troops in peacetime. That proposal was ignored, however, when Madison assembled what would become the Bill of Rights. Earlier, Luther Martin and Elbridge Gerry's amendment at the federal Convention to cap the number of troops failed, prompting Gerry, Edmund Randolph (a Federalist), and George Mason to refuse to sign the Constitution.

The Federalist Papers, which were newspaper columns written to sell the Constitution to the public, were stunningly frank in their defense of the vast military powers enumerated in the Constitution. In Federalist 41 Madison wrote:

Security against foreign danger is one of the primitive objects of civil society. It is an avowed and essential object of the American Union. The powers requisite for attaining it must be effectually confided to the federal councils….

Is the power of declaring war necessary? No man will answer this question in the negative. It would be superfluous, therefore, to enter into a proof of the affirmative. The existing Confederation establishes this power in the most ample form.

Is the power of raising armies and equipping fleets necessary? This is involved in the foregoing power. It is involved in the power of self-defense.

But was it necessary to give an INDEFINITE POWER of raising TROOPS, as well as providing fleets and of maintaining both in PEACE, as well as in WAR?

…The answer indeed seems to be so obvious and conclusive as scarcely to justify such a discussion in any place. With what color of propriety could the force necessary for defense be limited by those who cannot limit the force of offense?…

How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?

Answer these questions as you may, but don't think for a minute that the Constitution did or was intended to limit the national government's power to raise and keep a peacetime standing army, or what Madison and his colleagues euphemistically called a "peace establishment." At the Federal Convention Madison had acknowledged that "according to the views of every member, the Genl. Govt will have powers far beyond those exercised by the British Parliament." (Quoted in Edling.)

As indicated, Madison tried to allay fears of a standing army by arguing that a unified country would preclude the dangers experienced in Europe.

"The Union itself, which it [the Constitution] cements and secures, destroys every pretext for a military establishment which could be dangerous," Madison wrote. "America united, with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat…. A dangerous establishment can never be necessary or plausible, so long as they continue a united people." (But note: he did not favor only a handful of troops or none at all.)

Indeed, he wrote, investigation into the matter "must terminate in a thorough and universal conviction, not only that the constitution has provided the most effectual guards against danger from that quarter [i.e., standing armies], but that nothing short of a Constitution fully adequate to the national defense and the preservation of the Union, can save America from as many standing armies as it may be split into States or Confederacies, and from such a progressive augmentation, of these establishments in each, as will render them as burdensome to the properties and ominous to the liberties of the people, as any establishment that can become necessary, under a united and efficient government, must be tolerable to the former and safe to the latter."

In other words, it's not the central government's peacetime standing army that is dangerous. It's the standing armies of small sovereign states that were to be feared. Of course the states had citizens militias, not standing armies.

In Federalist 23 Alexander Hamilton declared that:

the principal purposes to be answered by union [and hence the powers to raise taxes and military forces] are these—the common defense of the members the preservation of the public peace as well against internal convulsions as external attacks the regulation of commerce with other nations and between the States the superintendence of our intercourse, political and commercial, with foreign countries.

The authorities essential to the common defense are these: to raise armies to build and equip fleets to prescribe rules for the government of both to direct their operations to provide for their support. These powers ought to exist without limitation[italics added], BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FORESEE OR DEFINE THE EXTENT AND VARIETY OF NATIONAL EXIGENCIES, OR THE CORRESPONDENT EXTENT AND VARIETY OF THE MEANS WHICH MAY BE NECESSARY TO SATISFY THEM.

What was that about powers "few and defined"?

In case anyone missed it the first time, Hamilton repeats:

Whether there ought to be a federal government intrusted with the care of the common defense, is a question in the first instance, open for discussion but the moment it is decided in the affirmative, it will follow, that that government ought to be clothed with all the powers requisite to complete execution of its trust. And unless it can be shown that the circumstances which may affect the public safety are reducible within certain determinate limits unless the contrary of this position can be fairly and rationally disputed, it must be admitted, as a necessary consequence, that there can be no limitation of that authority which is to provide for the defense and protection of the community, in any matter essential to its efficacy that is, in any matter essential to the FORMATION, DIRECTION, or SUPPORT of the NATIONAL FORCES.

This is reminiscent of young William F. Buckley's declaration that "we have got to accept Big Government for the duration [of the Cold War]—for neither an offensive nor a defensive war can be waged &hellip except through the instrumentality of a totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores."

In Federalist 25 Hamilton wrote that defense cannot remain the province of the states because "the territories of Britain, Spain, and of the Indian nations in our neighborhood do not border on particular States, but encircle the Union from Maine to Georgia. The danger, though in different degrees, is therefore common."

In other words, the central state was first and foremost to be a national-security state, or as it was called then, "a fiscal-military state," European-like but superficially tailored to Americans' distrust of centralized power and elites. Like Madison, Hamilton tried to turn this distrust on its head.

"As far as an army may be considered as a dangerous weapon of power," Hamilton wrote, "it had better be in those hands of which the people are most likely to be jealous than in those of which they are least likely to be jealous. For it is a truth, which the experience of ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion." Or: better to give the power to distant strangers than to nearby acquaintances.

The Anti-Federalist argument was that the nearby government of a small republic was one the people could more readily watch. The Federalists' government, they said, would be far away and dominated by the elite, which would have an advantage over working- and middle-class people in gaining seats from the proposed large congressional districts in which one man would represent up to 30,000 people. The Anti-Federalists also invoked a version of the dispersed costs/concentrated benefits argument in claiming that the unorganized masses, unlike the well-organized special interests, would find it impractical to keep at eye on the new government.

Admittedly, the Anti-Federalists' worst fears did not come to pass, but that happy outcome had much to do with the resistance mounted by their successors, the congressional Republicans, to the Federalists' proposed military buildup. (See Ekirch. Later, the Republicans became militarists.) While the professional army was occasionally used domestically by both Federalists and Republicans (legislation permitting this was passed in the Jefferson administration), federal laws by and large did not require such heavy-handed enforcement. (A prohibition on such use of the army was formalized in the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.) The military establishment was of course essential in building the bloody and costly American empire, starting with the conquest of much of North America.

This piece originally appeared at Richman's "Free Association" blog.

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