Monday, May 17, 2010

We're (not) #1!

I really am not such a big fan of mindless flag-waving nationalism and the idea of "American exceptionalism" (which -- to me at least -- seems be be analogous to the whole "Manifest Destiny" thing), mainly because I grew up in many very nice countries, each filled with exceptional people, and don't understand how there is an "American trait" that is akin to being genetic among a nation made primarily of immigrants.

American exceptionalism reminds me too much of faux patriotism that is seen in militaristic countries. Of course, the whole "We're #1!" crowd as well as the "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!" cheerers, the "we have the best health care in the world" groupies, and "they hate our freedoms" junkies all don't really like looking at the numbers (or, when faced with numbers, say that they are biased, incorrect, or aren't measuring the right thing).

However, when one does compare the US against other countries, the US doesn't always come out on top. In fact, it doesn't come out on top for many things that US citizens think the US is on top of.

Via Prose Before Hos:
And, sources for those of you interested:

Life expectancy: Study: U.S. Slipping Down Life Expectancy Rankings, Life Expectancy Wiki
Democracy index
Freedom of the Press index as reported by Reporters Sans Frontières
Internet Speed: US ranks 28th in Internet connection speed and World Results by
Prison Population
Corruption Perception Index, Also reported by Transparency International
Quality / efficiency of education
Cell Phones Per Capita: Nation Master
Child Mortality Rates: Reported by the UN
Health Care Rankings done by the World Health Organization (WHO)

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