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General Discussion => Welcome and General Discussion => Topic started by: markbrynn on February 06, 2015, 08:00:32 AM

Title: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: markbrynn on February 06, 2015, 08:00:32 AM
I feel like I'm about to open up a massive can of worms. Luckily, I can only be criticized with words in a relatively anonymous forum, rather than tarred and feather in person.

My question is, why do so many Americans feel that it is normal/acceptable/patriotic/intelligent to say, "The United States is the best country in the world."?

A couple of notes from my life:
I'm not American. Lived there for quite a while. Don't love everything about the country, but certainly don't hate it.
I find patriotism of all stripes to be pretty silly. A general pride for what you do in life, your family, your sports team, your town, your country, your continent (Go EUROPE!!), your planet could all make sense to some degree. I just don't get the desire/need to go to "best." I like the country where I live, but not sure how I would ever be able to claim it's the best (even though it does many things well).

I bring up this subject at this specific time because of a comment I just read in these forums that said something about complaining about something in America, but then the poster pointing out that they know that they live in the best country in the world.

Any response, short of showing up at my house with pitchforks, is welcome.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: iamlindoro on February 06, 2015, 08:12:36 AM
Generally it's exposure to nationalist propaganda throughout elementary education (our history books are written from a point of view that casts us as the heroes of nearly every conflict we've been involved with) and a lack of exposure to other ways of life (our news outlets do a lot of reporting about other first world countries that state as fact subjective opinions like a certain form of government is inferior, etc.).  Basically, it's opinions stated as fact throughout an entire lifetime which leads to a general, inarticulable feeling of superiority.

It's a double edged sword, but this also means that we seem to be willing to take action against perceived injustice faster than some nations.  Sometimes that has been used to nefarious ends (Iraq), sometimes it has been a true force for good when others would say nothing.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: odput on February 06, 2015, 08:13:30 AM

My question is, why do so many Americans feel that it is normal/acceptable/patriotic/intelligent to say, "The United States is the best country in the world."?


Because 'MURICA!!!!!!!!!

Seriously though...probably because we have been told over and over throughout our lives that it is so.  I can't say I speak for everyone, but I can think of times even way back in elementary school we were told that America is the best country in the world.  When it is drilled into you from so early on, at some point you just believe it to be true, and when anyone says otherwise, you think to yourself "well that just can't be right"
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: netskyblue on February 06, 2015, 08:15:32 AM
Don't most people who live in a reasonably stable first-world country feel like their country is the "best"?

Ok, I wouldn't say that about America (even though I'm American), but I'd say I feel that way about my alma mater (Go Hawks!), my state, my city, etc.

Doesn't mean it IS the best, just that it's the most I could ever want.  It's the best for me.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Gone Fishing on February 06, 2015, 08:19:07 AM
I don't proclaim the US to be the "Best" but there is still a LOT of opportunity here. 

To some degree, perception is reality.  99.9%+ of those who claim that the US is the best do not have means, ability, and/or desire to go anywhere else, so they might as well convince themselves that they made the best choice by default.

Here is a little reading you might find interesting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puffery
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boosterism
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: hunniebun on February 06, 2015, 08:20:51 AM
If you have only known one place, it is easy to accept it as being the best.  I think my husband is the best husband in the world...but since I have only had the one...who really knows?   I think generally we are all taught to be patriotic, I am Canadian and the fervor is not as strong...but generally the sentiment is the we live in one of the best places in the world (despite the freezing temperatures, high taxes and need to apologize for things that are in no way our fault).   It is all relative and really what is the harm?  If you love the place you live you are more likely to take care of it and the people in it, defend it when you need to, etc.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: odput on February 06, 2015, 08:25:33 AM
If you have only known one place, it is easy to accept it as being the best.  I think my husband is the best husband in the world...but since I have only had the one...who really knows?   I think generally we are all taught to be patriotic, I am Canadian and the fervor is not as strong...but generally the sentiment is the we live in one of the best places in the world (despite the freezing temperatures, high taxes and need to apologize for things that are in no way our fault).   It is all relative and really what is the harm?  If you love the place you live you are more likely to take care of it and the people in it, defend it when you need to, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd0uaMynQJI

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Jags4186 on February 06, 2015, 08:33:36 AM
I've tried typing this multiple different ways but couldn't write it without coming across as an American douche.

Needless to say our Founding Father's were a group of exceptional men, who thought what they were doing was exceptional at the time, what they created was exceptional, and since as a nation we revere the founding fathers as demigods, as we pass through the generations we are continually reminded how wonderful and awesome the United States is. 

The truth is...it is pretty sweet here.  Not saying it sucks everywhere else, but take this website as an example.  I see posts from people from all different countries talk about how much harder it is to gain FI where they are vs here.  The fact that you could conceivably work for 10 years and then live 60 years doing whatever you want in this country sounds pretty fucking sweet to me.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: markbrynn on February 06, 2015, 08:35:21 AM
Quote
Don't most people who live in a reasonably stable first-world country feel like their country is the "best"?

Ok, I wouldn't say that about America (even though I'm American), but I'd say I feel that way about my alma mater (Go Hawks!), my state, my city, etc.

Doesn't mean it IS the best, just that it's the most I could ever want.  It's the best for me.

I find this very interesting. Your first sentence is exactly the kind of thing I have trouble understanding. To answer the question, no, I don't think my stable first-world country is the best. I think lots of countries do different things well and what's the point of trying to determine "best".

Then, in the last sentence you say "best for me." Maybe that's my answer. Maybe so many Americans are just leaving out the "for me." Maybe if I insert those words every time I hear an American say "America is the best" then it will make more sense. (Though if you haven't never visited about 95% of the world I'm not sure how you can know it's the best for you.)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: nanu on February 06, 2015, 08:35:35 AM
I'm not American, and while currently living the US, I don't think it's the BEST country in the world (though I can't say I've lived in all countries to make an informed decision).
But I thought adding this link was appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q49NOyJ8fNA
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Will on February 06, 2015, 08:39:06 AM
I'm not American, and while currently living the US, I don't think it's the BEST country in the world (though I can't say I've lived in all countries to make an informed decision).
But I thought adding this link was appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q49NOyJ8fNA

This.  I was just going to add the shorter version of this when I saw nanu posted.  http://youtu.be/wTjMqda19wk
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MandalayVA on February 06, 2015, 08:42:19 AM
I'm not American, and while currently living the US, I don't think it's the BEST country in the world (though I can't say I've lived in all countries to make an informed decision).
But I thought adding this link was appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q49NOyJ8fNA

I was hoping someone would post that.  I always use a line from that when someone goes on about AMERICA FUCK YEAH: 

"We lead the world in only three categories: Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending."
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: markbrynn on February 06, 2015, 08:43:30 AM
Quote
If you have only known one place, it is easy to accept it as being the best.  I think my husband is the best husband in the world...but since I have only had the one...who really knows?   I think generally we are all taught to be patriotic, I am Canadian and the fervor is not as strong...but generally the sentiment is the we live in one of the best places in the world (despite the freezing temperatures, high taxes and need to apologize for things that are in no way our fault).   It is all relative and really what is the harm?  If you love the place you live you are more likely to take care of it and the people in it, defend it when you need to, etc.

Regarding the sentence I bolded. Yeah, this is the part that makes me think.

You have the extremes that could lead via a long and winding path to Nazism, but that's a bit of a stretch, so I'd prefer not to focus on that.

You also have the day to day disregarding of the great things that happen in other countries. There are a bunch of things that the US does well. One of which, pointed out in this thread, is allow people to work hard, get ahead and retire young. However, there are things that other countries do well (and arguably better than the US), have good healthcare and education systems, low crime rates, etc.

I worry sometimes that if people (not just Americans) focus so much on how their country is the best, they will fail to notice the strengths of other countries. Many of which could be copied to other countries' benefit.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Luck12 on February 06, 2015, 08:56:27 AM
It's brainwashing.   If you say anything less than 100% positive about this country, you are branded a pinko commie who hates America.   

The America is #1 mindset is bullshit and whitewashes a lot of atrocities this country has committed and still commits as well as preventing us from learning about and from all the good things being done in other countries.  There are many great things about this country, but here's a list of where America is most certainly not #1:

1) Health Care
2) Economic and Social Inequality/Mobility
3) Frugal living
4) Health/being in decent shape (have you seen all the fatass motherfuckers out there?) - esp noticeable if you go to Europe and Asia and contrast with the US
5) Crime
6) Educational outcomes
7) Affordable college education
8) We start too many unnecessary/illegitimate wars
9) Work-life balance (def too few vacation days, amount of parental leave is a joke in this country)
10) Too many people are religious and all the problems that causes
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Kris on February 06, 2015, 09:08:14 AM
Quote
If you have only known one place, it is easy to accept it as being the best.  I think my husband is the best husband in the world...but since I have only had the one...who really knows?   I think generally we are all taught to be patriotic, I am Canadian and the fervor is not as strong...but generally the sentiment is the we live in one of the best places in the world (despite the freezing temperatures, high taxes and need to apologize for things that are in no way our fault).   It is all relative and really what is the harm?  If you love the place you live you are more likely to take care of it and the people in it, defend it when you need to, etc.

Regarding the sentence I bolded. Yeah, this is the part that makes me think.

You have the extremes that could lead via a long and winding path to Nazism, but that's a bit of a stretch, so I'd prefer not to focus on that.

You also have the day to day disregarding of the great things that happen in other countries. There are a bunch of things that the US does well. One of which, pointed out in this thread, is allow people to work hard, get ahead and retire young. However, there are things that other countries do well (and arguably better than the US), have good healthcare and education systems, low crime rates, etc.

I worry sometimes that if people (not just Americans) focus so much on how their country is the best, they will fail to notice the strengths of other countries. Many of which could be copied to other countries' benefit.

Agreed.  The problem with certain types of "America fuck yeah" is that, well, we are the strongest, militarily, and our influence is completely outsized in the world, compared to our portion of the global population.  Decisions we make here have huge ramifications geopolitically.  And if they are made (or supported) by people who have un-reflected belief that America is the best and every other country's differences are to be disregarded, well, you have a situation of basically a giant baby with deadly weapons running rampant and sitting/shitting on everything around it.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Iron Mike Sharpe on February 06, 2015, 09:27:57 AM
People are stupid for the most part.  So they think their country, their religion, their race, their school, their generation, etc. are the best. 

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: hunniebun on February 06, 2015, 09:45:31 AM
If you have only known one place, it is easy to accept it as being the best.  I think my husband is the best husband in the world...but since I have only had the one...who really knows?   I think generally we are all taught to be patriotic, I am Canadian and the fervor is not as strong...but generally the sentiment is the we live in one of the best places in the world (despite the freezing temperatures, high taxes and need to apologize for things that are in no way our fault).   It is all relative and really what is the harm?  If you love the place you live you are more likely to take care of it and the people in it, defend it when you need to, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd0uaMynQJI

LMAO :)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: rocksinmyhead on February 06, 2015, 09:56:15 AM
Ha, this is a really thought-provoking thread. I have totally been brainwashed from youth, because it's way too easy for me to automatically think, "yeah! America's the best!!" without thinking, wait, why?? I think the default for a lot of people is "freedom": free to be anything you want, free to succeed, free to voice your beliefs, etc... but, uh, pretty sure you're free to do all those other things in other first-world countries with decent governments as well (e.g. most of Europe). So that's a pretty dumb reason.

So I guess it's not the best, I just really like it because I grew up here. I will say that one thing I think is really cool/"the best" about the U.S. is the awesome cultural/climatic/physiographic diversity within our borders, just by virtue of being so huge and having a history of diverse immigration (which itself is linked to the hugeness/natural resources). Off the top of my head I can't think of any other first-world countries that are similarly diverse, and I think it's a pretty neat feature.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: HazelStone on February 06, 2015, 10:02:05 AM
The question is, best in which respects? The actual land under our feet? Our original political structure? The culture? The diversity? The economic climate? The crime rates? Our universities and research environment?

I've done some traveling, too. While other countries have aspects to their culture that might be better, my overall conclusion was "I'm (very) American, and you know what? That's okay. I'm not going to apologize for it." Bringing up a few generalities:

We may be a bit workaholic, but don't underestimate the importance of a work ethic.

I hope we never lose our ethic of self-reliance. Trimming it back a wee bit might be healthy, but I still like it.

Europe may have better work/life balance, but anecdotally it is harder to break into the regular, full time workforce.

We may be facing a growing problem with income inequality, but around here, customers dressed as working class/casual/tradesmen do, on average, get a higher level of respect by default than they do in other countries. In other countries, clothes make the man/woman because you will get absolutely no help/respect if you appear to be a plebe.

We may have some ethnic/racial tensions but other countries laugh at our "problems"

Food here is still relatively cheap and high quality (I fear the latter may be on the wane, if you buy it in the normal supply chain...)

There's still plenty of places with a low cost of living and decent quality of life. Housing is way cheaper.

We have some awesome universities (and some that should be plowed under, I admit). On the average we have much less of a culture of cheating than some other places I could name.

You can travel hundreds, even thousands of miles and you are still in the same country and people are speaking the same language. We mostly take that boon for granted.

Ours on the whole is still a very open and friendly culture- to the extent that we weird out a little people from other countries.

The land itself has many beautiful places to see and gobs of resources.

Would I like to see an actual maternity leave program? Hell yes. Am I concerned about waning social mobility? Yes. Could we do better on allowing alternate transportation options to the car? Somewhat. Do I think for a second that there will be a social safety net by the time I reach old age? Not likely. And our taxation system is waaaay overdue for an overhaul.

Regardless, we have it sweeter than we sometimes realize.  I find quite a few Americans who think they sounds educated and worldly by ragging on their own country and idolizing certain other locales...have never been out of the country more than two weeks.

Cultural differences can be a hard thing to wrap your mind around. What works best for Country A will not work so well with Country B. But some in Country A think Country B's differences are due to circumstance and if they could emulate the ways of Country A, they would. They just can't because of their circumstances, and we'll just be understanding of that. Then they visit Country B, talk with people there, and the residents of Country B say "Why the hell would we do it like that? Are you mad?!"

Yaaay, culture shock.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Schaefer Light on February 06, 2015, 11:26:38 AM
How many countries were founded by a group of people with the ideals of our founding fathers?  If not for the US, what would Europe have looked like from the mid-1940s on?  How many countries can come close to inventing the things that have been invented here?  China may have 10x as many people, but they don't have a fraction of the innovation we have here.  In how many countries is obesity the biggest health problem?  Do most countries have people willing to risk their lives walking across the desert or rafting in shark-infested waters to enter them?  In how many countries do people who are considered poor own TVs, computers, iPhones, refrigerators, and microwaves?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: mak1277 on February 06, 2015, 12:11:06 PM
I think competition, and the desire to be the best, is one of the reasons America became the country it is today (for better or worse).  I think the desire of our founding fathers to create "a more perfect union" (i.e., the best country possible) started the ball rolling and the freedoms and capitalist ethos of Americans has driven it home.

It doesn't surprise me that a non-American finds it hard to understand...just as it doesn't surprise me that most Americans totally nod and say "heck yes, America is the best" or at least "I want to live in no country other than the best one". 

The other issue is, without a doubt, America is the most important country in the world, from an economic and geopolitical standpoint.  So when you're a citizen of that country it's awfully hard not to feel like you live in the "best" country...even if we aren't #1 in healthcare, crime, or whatever.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NoraLenderbee on February 06, 2015, 12:45:25 PM
2 things come to mind:

--The country was founded on ideals of liberty and independence that were not widespread among major countries at the time. We are still proud of this.

--Unfortunately, there is also a strong tendency to believe that the US is "The Greatest" in every way, and to view the slightest criticism as disloyalty. Past success is taken as proof that we deserve to dominate the world. The fact that we came out of two world wars stronger than before is seen as evidence of our divine greatness, rather than the result of being safely separated from Europe by oceans.

I'm US-born and raised and I don't wish I lived anywhere else, but I also recognize that this country has its flaws like others, and doesn't do everything better than everybody.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: randommadness on February 06, 2015, 12:56:21 PM
I'm not American, and while currently living the US, I don't think it's the BEST country in the world (though I can't say I've lived in all countries to make an informed decision).
But I thought adding this link was appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q49NOyJ8fNA

Awww I only came in here to post the same thing =P
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Beric01 on February 06, 2015, 01:07:34 PM
The US is probably still the best country in the world to make and save a lot of money. Taxes are relatively low, and salaries are some of the highest. If you can fight the incredible push of consumerism and live far below your means while you're working here, you can do well.

But after you're made your money and hit FI, the best plan is to get out. There's too many problems with this country, and it's past saving.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: odput on February 06, 2015, 01:11:49 PM
/snip
...and it's past saving.

Y'know...I was going to reply lashing out at this statement, because rarely are things "beyond saving."  But as I stopped and thought about what I might type, I changed "sides" simply because the fact that most people don't realize it needs saved is what makes it likely to be true
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: 2527 on February 06, 2015, 01:38:38 PM
Over the course of 250 years, there were many years when we were the only democracy, and there were many years when millions of people were voting with their feet about what they think the best country in the world is.  Then after WWII, our standard of living was head and shoulders above those of other countries.

Now, I think there are countries with standards of living, levels of education, and democracy on par with ours:  much of Western Europe, Japan.  Maybe Korea?  But not many others.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: 2527 on February 06, 2015, 01:45:16 PM
Over the course of 250 years, there were many years when we were the only democracy, and there were many years when millions of people were voting with their feet about what they think the best country in the world is.  Then after WWII, our standard of living was head and shoulders above those of other countries.

Now, I think there are countries with standards of living, levels of education, and democracy on par with ours:  much of Western Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand.  Maybe Korea?  But not many others.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on February 06, 2015, 02:01:21 PM
We've lived in Australia a few years now.

I think, at this point, Australia is probably better overall. We're still moving back to the US. I feel a bit guilty, because I'm worried I'm not doing the best for my kids (main reason we're going back is a bit selfish, mainly homesickness). At least we've exposed them to a different culture, and will be able to keep that door open for them.

Healthcare doesn't seem any worse, and is in many ways much better. Wife had to stay in the hospital about a month due to pregnancy complications. Private (though not guaranteed) room, three meals a day, round the clock care. Total cost for the hospital stay and the numerous tests (there were a number of ultrasounds, forget what else they did)? $0.

People seem more accepting of people's differences. You can work a white-collar job and have visible tattoos and piercings. Two examples of this: the lady who put a visa label in my wife's passport (lots of tattoos on her arms, I don't remember piercings) and midwives my wife works with (definitely tattoos, and I think piercings as long as they don't interfere with their work, but don't quote me on that). I see old ladies walking around with bright purple/red/blue/whatever the heck color hair (you can get some really cool colors when you're starting with white hair) and I smile just a bit. You can be openly gay here. Maybe that's just in the tiny section we've spent most of our time in, but we've traveled around a bit and it "seems" similar all around.

Food seems to be higher quality. Finding high-fructose corn syrup (think it's called glucose[maize], and there's a wheat version) is rare. All milk is hormone-free (as in, it's banned). In the US we had to pay a premium to get the non high-fructose corn syrup food, and the hormone-free milk (have to buy organic to get more than a "we pinky-swear not to" guarantee). Argue amongst yourselves whether these are legitimate concerns.

Shaun Micallef. He's funny (mad) as hell.

For all the good, Australia does fall far short in some categories.

High cost of living. Ouch! Have you SEEN the home prices? Not to mention electricity rates.

Seasons are reversed. Seriously, wtf is up with that? I demand you move winter to Christmastime. Pass a resolution or whatever you call it.

Vegemite. This is some kind of cruel joke, right?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Beric01 on February 06, 2015, 02:18:05 PM
/snip
...and it's past saving.

Y'know...I was going to reply lashing out at this statement, because rarely are things "beyond saving."  But as I stopped and thought about what I might type, I changed "sides" simply because the fact that most people don't realize it needs saved is what makes it likely to be true

I have a similar perspective to you then. I used to think it was possible to stop the US from going further downhill if only people would wisen up, but eventually I realized that by the time the country truly realizes how bad things are and where we're going, we truly will be past saving. Most people are truly oblivious.

Now, I think there are countries with standards of living, levels of education, and democracy on par with ours:  much of Western Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand.  Maybe Korea?  But not many others.

The world opens up when you don't define countries merely by "standards of living" (read materialism/excessive spending). Level of education? As long as everyone can read or write, that's cool by me - mandatory college degrees just to work at Starbucks don't count as education to me. And Democracy? Try Oligarchy. Is there really any difference between governments? Some governments keep their corruption in secret, others (like the US) put it out on the open. There's not a single government that isn't corrupt, even if elected by the people.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: markbrynn on February 06, 2015, 02:41:32 PM
One thing that always surprised me about US nationalism is how many otherwise intelligent people get caught up in it. Clearly, based on that statement, you can guess that I think nationalism is the domain of the ignorant. Why should I feel special because somebody I don't know invented Apple computers? Does the fact that he lived in my country make me more special? What about some of the famous serial killers, does that make me less special? What does the spot where your mother gave birth to you have to do with your value as a person? Or your proximity to somebody who actually did something useful for the world? Aren't we just lucky or unlucky on where we were born and aren't we mostly riding on the coattails of people's greatness that we had no influence over?

So, why do intelligent people get defensive about America's greatness? What do you care about what I or anybody else thinks about your country?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: mak1277 on February 06, 2015, 02:48:10 PM
So, why do intelligent people get defensive about America's greatness? What do you care about what I or anybody else thinks about your country?

I'll flip this on its head...what is wrong with wanting to be the best? 

If you don't feel that being the best is important, of course you're not going to understand American nationalism and the desire to be the best.  But I believe that Americans are raised to be competitive and to desire being the best (regardless of your personal definition of "best"). 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: odput on February 06, 2015, 02:50:19 PM
What do you care about what I or anybody else thinks about your country?

Mostly I hate the stigma of being an American when traveling abroad.  If I wasn't profiled as being a typical American and treated accordingly, I wouldn't care at all.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: markbrynn on February 06, 2015, 03:01:24 PM
Quote
I'll flip this on its head...what is wrong with wanting to be the best? 

Nothing wrong with trying to be the best. Trouble is, saying it doesn't make it true.

It's the words that irk, not the intentions.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: markbrynn on February 06, 2015, 03:07:45 PM
Quote
Mostly I hate the stigma of being an American when traveling abroad.  If I wasn't profiled as being a typical American and treated accordingly, I wouldn't care at all.

It's not fun to be stereotyped, but the thing that a lot of people don't notice or haven't experienced, is that most countries are stereotyped. Some examples:
French = rude, arrogant
Dutch = cheap, blunt
American = ignorant, demanding (service)
British = drunks (young), prudes (old)
Germans = something about the war
Swedes = depressed, sex-crazed
Mexicans = lazy, stupid
the list goes on and on

If you try to go low profile, blend in and have a sense of humor these things are rarely held against you for long (at least not by anybody worth your time).
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 06, 2015, 03:43:52 PM
I am Australian. As with many people who are not from the US, I have always found it totally ridiculous that
so many Americans feel that it is normal/acceptable/patriotic/intelligent to say, "The United States is the best country in the world."?
I am someone who has never been to the US. In fact partly BECAUSE of this perception by US citizens, the US would be one of the last countries in the world that I want to visit - there are others that are lower - North Korea, South Sudan, Saudi Arabia (although there are some things I would like to see there), but it is very low.

How can I, who have never even visited either American continent, have that view? How can I even know this about the US unless I have seen people say this on television (I don't even have one, so it must have been television at work), on films, on radio, or the US citizens I have met? Is it just a mantra they say all the time while, really, underneath, they think something else? Does it even mean anything to these US citizens, who don't really know anything about anywhere else? For instance, the US citizen I met briefly in Japan who commented on how well I spoke English when I said I was Australian (she was lost - couldn't even read a map). Or the US citizen who couldn't understand why I find it morally repugnant for people to carry firearms, because any US citizen can in their own country. It comes across as so very arrogant, and I want nothing to do with it.

Yes, as an Australian, I think Australia is pretty good. Possibly the best country on earth - New Zealand might be better, and so might Canada if it wasn't so freezing cold there - but I am firmly committed to Australia. And other people from other environments certainly find other countries "the best country on earth". In fact, I have a friend who thinks Myanmar is the best country on earth, and is completely miserable in Australia because of it.
We've lived in Australia a few years now.

I think, at this point, Australia is probably better overall. We're still moving back to the US.
This is exactly how most people feel about their country - the deep love that makes it the best country on earth for them - without the arrogance of thinking it is THE BEST.

Anyway - what would Christmas be if it didn't threaten to be over 100F in the shade one year out of four?

Oh, by the way, the US is not the world's oldest democracy. I wish US citizens didn't say that as well.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Jules13 on February 06, 2015, 03:57:01 PM
 
Because 'MURICA!!!!!!!!!
[/quote]

Okay, this cracked me up.  Mainly because my husband (disclaimer: he's an Aussie) says it all the time when he's making fun of rednecks. 

I had a friend genuinely commented to me once about how Australians "just love" Americans.  Which, frankly, I think most Australians are just pretty easy going and likeable and give pretty much anyone a chance to be the same in return.  But making a blanket statement like that I thought was just weird and wondered how he came by that assumption.  He said an Aussie told him that.  I told him that guy was probably teasing him/making fun (that's the only equivalent I can think of to 'taking the piss').

But, I do find it a blanket assumption among many Americans that everyone would rather live here than anywhere and that we are the best at everything.  When, in point of fact, it's just not true.  America is definitely great at some things, maybe even the best.  But also super crap at just as many others.  And, to say anyone or any place is the 'best' at everything is just a bit silly and sort of kindergartenish. 

Granted, I think this and patriotism are different things.  I think you can have a huge amount of pride in your country while also still recognizing the failings and need for improvement. 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MidWestLove on February 06, 2015, 04:29:04 PM
:)

I do not know, may be because it is?  everyone gets what they want - it is a huge land (3 most populous and 6th by territory)  with tremendous amount of variability in terms of 'social contract' (each state is different) and great foundation of laws that are better than anything I ever saw anywhere else. if you do not like nanny state of California, you can move to Arizona, if you do not like Arizona, move to New York , etc. 

and for x-Soviet immigrants, I would never consider any other country especially on items like firearms laws. Australia in that regard in terms of personal freedom is far, far behind and falling further. so , it is whatever rocks your boat.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: aspiringnomad on February 06, 2015, 04:32:36 PM
I don't proclaim the US to be the "Best" but there is still a LOT of opportunity here. 

To some degree, perception is reality.  99.9%+ of those who claim that the US is the best do not have means, ability, and/or desire to go anywhere else, so they might as well convince themselves that they made the best choice by default.

Here is a little reading you might find interesting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puffery
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boosterism

I have the means and bureaucratic ability (i.e., easily accessible visas) to migrate elsewhere. I wasn't born here but was certainly bred here and I agree that the 'Murica #1! mentality has a lot of defensiveness and jingoism behind it. But it comes from a place of truth at least with respect to certain important measures. The US is not #1 in a lot of ways, but "we" are #1 in some very important ways - namely economic opportunity and freedom, especially of speech. I think if you take the whole of its relatively short history, blemishes and all, you cannot help but find that America has been (on average) the best place to find opportunity and freedom. We have also devised a system that is exemplary (though of course not perfect) in assimilating families, like mine, from all different corners of the world with all sorts of customs. I put "we" in quotes when I first used it above because my family wasn't here when that system was devised. But we've certainly been a beneficiary of it and contributed to it in our small way. I realize it's gotten to the point where the rest of the world is sick of hearing it, and where the US' military exploits disqualify it as an aspirational place to many, but that doesn't make it less true that the US has been the best overall place for economic opportunity for as long as anyone on Earth has lived. I say that not just as an immigrant here but as someone who is likely to FIRE overseas for personal reasons, for what it's worth.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MidWestLove on February 06, 2015, 04:34:33 PM
and as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of EU - 17.5
Population of US - 320m
Population of EU - 507m

1 US worker   ~1.5 EU worker in productivity . yes, Dorothy, they do more and do it better, at massive scale.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: midweststache on February 06, 2015, 04:40:25 PM
American Exceptionalism (not that [we] Americans think that, but rather that it is a cultural ideology that pervades the American experience at home and abroad, whether one buys into it or not). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Cookie78 on February 06, 2015, 04:51:15 PM
and as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of EU - 17.5
Population of US - 320m
Population of EU - 507m

1 US worker   ~1.5 EU worker in productivity . yes, Dorothy, they do more and do it better, at massive scale.

This is something I hear Americans brag about often, but don't understand at all. In the same breath they are talking about 60+ hour work weeks and not enough vacation time, or time with their families. If i were to choose a 'best' country it wouldn't be the one where I'm far more likely to be expected to work overtime with no compensation and give up 'my life' for 'my job'. I would think that most people on this forum would agree to that.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: surfhb on February 06, 2015, 05:04:02 PM
The United States is the best country in the world for two things only:   

1.   It provides the fastest track to financial independence for those willing to do the work.

2.   We have the finest and most diverse and national park system on the planet


We rule!!!
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: nanu on February 06, 2015, 05:04:25 PM
Quote
Mostly I hate the stigma of being an American when traveling abroad.  If I wasn't profiled as being a typical American and treated accordingly, I wouldn't care at all.

It's not fun to be stereotyped, but the thing that a lot of people don't notice or haven't experienced, is that most countries are stereotyped. Some examples:
French = rude, arrogant
Dutch = cheap, blunt
American = ignorant, demanding (service)
British = drunks (young), prudes (old)
Germans = something about the war
Swedes = depressed, sex-crazed
Mexicans = lazy, stupid
the list goes on and on

If you try to go low profile, blend in and have a sense of humor these things are rarely held against you for long (at least not by anybody worth your time).
You are aware that those are American stereotypes for people from those countries, right?
Different countries have different stereotypes for those. I'm from Israel, and we'd probably say nothing
about Mexicans (since there are almost none of them in Israel), we are generally fond of the Dutch and Swedes,
think Americans are ignorant and don't stray from the rules (no matter how stupid they are), and the list goes on.

By the way, Americans are mostly construed as ignorant because of that "America is best" mentality and because,
generally speaking, they seem to know significantly less about the world than people from other countries (which might be because "America is best, so why bother?").
The fact that many Americans only speak one language and many have never left the US or have studied much world history doesn't exactly help.
In comparison, pretty much everyone in Israel speaks two, if not more, languages (I speak three, though only fluent in two), has traveled to
several countries in Europe, and in general is more aware of what's happening in the world than most Americans (or so it seems, at least).
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NoraLenderbee on February 06, 2015, 05:07:31 PM
So, why do intelligent people get defensive about America's greatness? What do you care about what I or anybody else thinks about your country?

I'll flip this on its head...what is wrong with wanting to be the best? 

If you don't feel that being the best is important, of course you're not going to understand American nationalism and the desire to be the best.  But I believe that Americans are raised to be competitive and to desire being the best (regardless of your personal definition of "best").

But what's "the best" when it comes to countries? How does the concept even make sense? A nation can be best at something specific and measurable (best soccer team, highest per capita income, lowest infant mortality). But how can one country be "best" at everything? And is that the same as being the "best" place to be alive? (As if you could define one place that was best for everyone.) Having the biggest army or the most billionaires or the fastest runners doesn't say anything about quality of life.

If by "the best" you mean "being the best that you can be"--the US has plenty of work in a number of areas before it can say it lives up to its ideals.

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Christof on February 06, 2015, 05:08:23 PM
Taxes are relatively low, and salaries are some of the highest.

No. You do have more flexibility to pick a state were taxes match you way of living, but taxes are not lower than in many places in Europe. We have about four times the median income and our effective tax rate is between 22% and 28%. Our property tax is about 0.08%.  I've seen worse in the US when combining federal, state and property tax.

The median household income in German is a bit lower than in the the US (37,000 Euros vs $ 52,000). The exact numbers depend on the exchange rate. Right now it is about 24% lower, a year ago it was a few percent higher. There are also a lot of single income families here.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Miss Prim on February 06, 2015, 05:16:31 PM
I'm curious Deborah, why you would pass judgement on all Americans if you have never been to this country and base your views on television, movies and a few American's abroad that you considered rude? That is basically stereotyping and I really hate when people do that.

I work with a lot of different kinds of people from different countries of origin and I always try to keep an open mind about people and judge them on their actions, not preconceived notions.  I have found that most people, no matter where they are from are kind and friendly if you act the same way with them.  How great or not America is, never comes up in a conversation.  Really, most people I have met just want to live and raise their families in peace. 

                                                                      Miss Prim
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: neil on February 06, 2015, 05:39:08 PM
http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2013/04/the_us_continues_to_be_one_of_the_least_taxed_of_the_developed_countries.php#.VNVayS6_quM

Now you could probably argue they may not be including something but they claim it counts state and local.  I can only take the studies at their face value.  I don't really care where the taxes are levied; they are all imposed on the consumer eventually.  The only way to avoid taxes is to be completely unplugged from the economy.  You can also argue GDP is not a good measure of how much an economy is being taxed, but I don't know what other measure would be better.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: firewalker on February 06, 2015, 05:42:52 PM
I can end this thread with two words: DALE EARNHARDT! Now simmer down, go get yourselves a beer, and go watch some Dukes u Hazzard reruns.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on February 06, 2015, 05:58:50 PM
I can end this thread with two words: DALE EARNHARDT! Now simmer down, go get yourselves a beer, and go watch some Dukes u Hazzard reruns.

I have every single episode of the Dukes of Hazzard.

Even the stupid one with the aliens. WTF was up with that?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 06, 2015, 06:10:23 PM
I would never consider any other country especially on items like firearms laws. Australia in that regard in terms of personal freedom is far, far behind and falling further. so , it is whatever rocks your boat.
This is a matter of national opinion. I am aware that many in the US equate personal freedom with the ability to carry a gun. You may not be aware that many outside the US (particularly in Australia) equate personal freedom with the inability to carry a gun. Most failed states are places which have the ability to carry a gun.

The United States is the best country in the world for two things only:   
2.   We have the finest and most diverse and national park system on the planet
You are right - the US has some fantastic National Parks. However, I am not sure about it being "the best". There are plenty of countries with a greater percentage of their area protected (eg. US has 13.8% protected, Venezuala has 53%). There are possibly other countries with as wide a range of diverse protected environment (for instance Australia - our highest mountain is on the part of Australia in the antarctic circle, and Chile). 
I'm curious Deborah, why you would pass judgement on all Americans if you have never been to this country and base your views on television, movies and a few American's abroad that you considered rude? That is basically stereotyping and I really hate when people do that.
So do I. You have completely missed my point. I did not judge all Americans - nor even all citizens of the US. However, it is really amazing that amongst the relatively small number of US citizens I have seen (including clips of your Presidents) the topic of this thread has been quite noticeable. I don't have a TV, and don't go to movies. Most people for the US are nice people, the same as most people are nice people. The topic of this thread is one thing that makes me cringe a lot, especially as some of our misguided politicians are trying to change us to be as vocal about how wonderful our country is - and there is a lot of push back about us taking on US ways (just as I'm sure there is in Canada). I was taught that nice people don't boast. I was making an observation, including my internal reaction to the topic.

Australia is home to an enormous number of migrants, and, in fact, I remember one job I had where I was the ONLY person in the 250 workforce who was born in Australia. And when I worked, there was one group I managed who were all migrants who had become Australian citizens. Something like 49% of our population was born overseas. Last time I looked, we were considered to be second only to Canada in our multicultural acceptance.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: nanu on February 06, 2015, 06:17:31 PM
I can end this thread with two words: DALE EARNHARDT! Now simmer down, go get yourselves a beer, and go watch some Dukes u Hazzard reruns.

I have every single episode of the Dukes of Hazzard.

Even the stupid one with the aliens. WTF was up with that?
Did you watch all of them that you can say that you hate all of them? If so, why continue watching after a few episodes? (I'm just interested in your answer, I've never actually seen the show)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on February 06, 2015, 06:48:44 PM
I can end this thread with two words: DALE EARNHARDT! Now simmer down, go get yourselves a beer, and go watch some Dukes u Hazzard reruns.

I have every single episode of the Dukes of Hazzard.

Even the stupid one with the aliens. WTF was up with that?
Did you watch all of them that you can say that you hate all of them? If so, why continue watching after a few episodes? (I'm just interested in your answer, I've never actually seen the show)

No, I did not watch all of them so that I can say I hate all of them.

#1. Saying I hate Dukes of Hazzard will mean permanent expulsion from my home state of Tennessee. You don't say things like that. I also will not admit to not liking Nascar (because, um, it's great or something I guess. Left turn FTW!).

#2. Love the show. Had a General Lee piggy bank when I was a kid (ok, so being a car it couldn't be a piggy bank, you know what I mean). But even shows I love(d) can have crappy episodes. There's even a couple episodes of Cougar Town I could do without. Er, did I say Cougar Town? I meant Big Bang Theory. Sorry about that slip-up.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: PerpetualWanderlust on February 06, 2015, 06:58:55 PM
I think my country (United States) is the greatest country on Earth. It's not something that I say based off of hard evidence, although there are probably some facts that would help make the case.

It's because it's MY country. I love it. I'd protect it with my life if I had to. It's like my mother; I'd never admit that she is anything but the best in the world.

Call it being near-sited, stupid, or whatever you like. To be honest, I feel sorry for you if you don't have the same pride in your homeland.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Beric01 on February 06, 2015, 07:00:50 PM
I think my country (United States) is the greatest country on Earth. It's not something that I say based off of hard evidence, although there are probably some facts that would help make the case.

It's because it's MY country. I love it. I'd protect it with my life if I had to. It's like my mother; I'd never admit that she is anything but the best in the world.

This kind of "my country can do no wrong" mentality is exactly why the US is going downhill.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: PerpetualWanderlust on February 06, 2015, 07:03:19 PM
I think my country (United States) is the greatest country on Earth. It's not something that I say based off of hard evidence, although there are probably some facts that would help make the case.

It's because it's MY country. I love it. I'd protect it with my life if I had to. It's like my mother; I'd never admit that she is anything but the best in the world.

This kind of "my country can do no wrong" mentality is exactly why the US is going downhill.

Don't get me wrong. Just because the US is the best IMO, doesn't mean it is perfect or without fault. For example, I really wish we would improve our education & public transport system.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on February 06, 2015, 07:08:06 PM
I think my country (United States) is the greatest country on Earth....
This kind of "my country can do no wrong" mentality is exactly why the US is going downhill.

Big difference between thinking your country is the greatest, and thinking it can do no wrong.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Barbaebigode on February 06, 2015, 08:05:15 PM
Judging by many of the answers to this thread, it's because americans have really specific personal criteria to judge countries and coincidentally the US is always the number one by those standarts.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: surfhb on February 06, 2015, 08:42:37 PM
Hey, give us a break.     Our big heads are attributed to saving the planet from those kraut eating Nazi bastards.  ;)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: phillyvalue on February 06, 2015, 09:03:32 PM
and as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of EU - 17.5
Population of US - 320m
Population of EU - 507m

1 US worker   ~1.5 EU worker in productivity . yes, Dorothy, they do more and do it better, at massive scale.

This is something I hear Americans brag about often, but don't understand at all. In the same breath they are talking about 60+ hour work weeks and not enough vacation time, or time with their families. If i were to choose a 'best' country it wouldn't be the one where I'm far more likely to be expected to work overtime with no compensation and give up 'my life' for 'my job'. I would think that most people on this forum would agree to that.

Well, the beauty of it is that it's all up to you. Nobody has to work 60+ hrs to live a good life in the U.S. You can live an amazing life and retire early working ~40 hours a week if you are willing to live a lifestyle that is still materially far better than most people around the world can dream of. Or, if you love what you do and want to make your work a priority in life, you can work much harder, and the American system tends to reward hard work that is put towards productive uses very well. The perception that Americans have to work harder is driven by the consumerism mentality, which certainly exists here in abundance, but you don't have to fall into the trap yourself.

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 06, 2015, 09:20:12 PM
Using the same figures, as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of Australia - 1.56T
Population of US - 320m
Population of Australia - 23m

1 US worker   ~ 0.7 Australian worker in productivity

And the Australian worker has more annual leave, better minimum wages...

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: AlexK on February 06, 2015, 09:40:43 PM
I've only been to the USA, China, Japan, Thailand, Mexico, New Zealand, and Canada. The USA is better than all of those countries in my opinion. Do I need to visit every other country to be sure? Maybe. The fact that I am a US citizen makes it much easier to live here than anywhere else.

Slavery wasn't cool though.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on February 06, 2015, 09:47:00 PM
Using the same figures, as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of Australia - 1.56T
Population of US - 320m
Population of Australia - 23m

1 US worker   ~ 0.7 Australian worker in productivity

And the Australian worker has more annual leave, better minimum wages...

What exchange rate are you using? In the not too distant past the AUD was near parity with the USD (in fact, it was worth even more than the USD). Right now $1 AUD is $0.78 USD. If those numbers are assuming $1 = $1, then they're off. If not, then wow...Australia was kicking even more butt last year and the year before.

Though it seems a little silly to say a country suddenly became richer/poorer just because another country's dollar rose/fell. Only a bit silly, I realize there is an actual change in relative wealth.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MMMaybe on February 06, 2015, 09:59:58 PM
Americans think that America is the best country in the world because a startling percentage of them have never left the country. They have nothing to compare it to...

Those that have lived or travelled abroad often tend to have a more balanced view. That is, America is not perfect but it is great for x and y reasons.

As for me, I think that there is no perfect country. It is arrogant to assume that you are always the best and the brightest and I inwardly roll my eyes is when I hear statements like that.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: CDP45 on February 06, 2015, 10:21:21 PM
We've created the most wealth for the most amount of people in the history of the world. 315,000,000 people, PPP of $53,000. You're on a website dedicated towards spreading the reality that people can work 10years and retire in America, something impossible for basically all of the history of mankind, even within 50 years.

I think people who haven't been here don't understand the exploding volcano of abundance , which is great MMM has an outsiders perspective being canadian.

It's a great place to live and self actualize.

Australia had a nice run in the 2000s, but the commodity boom is over, probably never to return, might need to cut back on social spending. There is no free lunch.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 06, 2015, 10:42:01 PM
Using the same figures, as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of Australia - 1.56T
Population of US - 320m
Population of Australia - 23m

1 US worker   ~ 0.7 Australian worker in productivity

And the Australian worker has more annual leave, better minimum wages...

What exchange rate are you using? In the not too distant past the AUD was near parity with the USD (in fact, it was worth even more than the USD). Right now $1 AUD is $0.78 USD. If those numbers are assuming $1 = $1, then they're off. If not, then wow...Australia was kicking even more butt last year and the year before.

Though it seems a little silly to say a country suddenly became richer/poorer just because another country's dollar rose/fell. Only a bit silly, I realize there is an actual change in relative wealth.
This was in USD according to Google. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=gdp+australia&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=vpDVVPzKJIKxmAXzm4LQAg I did not calculate the exchange rate at all. Just copied the European comparison above, and put in the numbers.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 06, 2015, 10:49:35 PM
We've created the most wealth for the most amount of people in the history of the world. 315,000,000 people, PPP of $53,000. You're on a website dedicated towards spreading the reality that people can work 10years and retire in America, something impossible for basically all of the history of mankind, even within 50 years.

I think people who haven't been here don't understand the exploding volcano of abundance , which is great MMM has an outsiders perspective being canadian.

It's a great place to live and self actualize.

Australia had a nice run in the 2000s, but the commodity boom is over, probably never to return, might need to cut back on social spending. There is no free lunch.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

Often in the past Australia has been top of the world. But what does it matter? As Bill Bryson said in his book about Australia (haven't looked up the exact quote but it goes something like this): In the 1950's Australia was top of the world rankings, and each household could buy an electric jug!

If most people have enough does it really matter whether you're first, or tenth - any country in the top ten of most indices has a fantastic environment for its citizens. Australia does very well on most world comparisons - as does Canada, Switzerland and the Nordic countries. Unfortunately, the US rarely makes it into the top 10 of these indices.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Malaysia41 on February 06, 2015, 11:20:53 PM
America is the best because we have The Onion.

The small minority of US citizens who read The Onion are laughing at the majority - who are wearing this t-shirt 24/7. 

I suspect the rest of the world is laughing too?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: crazylemon on February 07, 2015, 12:49:55 AM
I think more interesting is why other countries don't say it as much. Certainly within Europe we tend to get a little unsettled by nationalism (I mean with pretty good reason when you look at the previous century, or the one before that). Obviously we can still be patriotic but there is an increasing realisation that Individual European states are no longer big enough to play on the top table of the world stage on their own.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: markbrynn on February 07, 2015, 01:01:59 AM
Quote
I think my country (United States) is the greatest country on Earth. It's not something that I say based off of hard evidence, although there are probably some facts that would help make the case.

It's because it's MY country. I love it. I'd protect it with my life if I had to. It's like my mother; I'd never admit that she is anything but the best in the world.

Call it being near-sited, stupid, or whatever you like. To be honest, I feel sorry for you if you don't have the same pride in your homeland.

I find this series of statements lacking in logic, especially if you visualize the outcome.

American loves his/her country and will protect it with his/her life.

Italian feels same.

Sri Lankan feels same.

Etc. Etc.

They start telling each other that their own country is "the best!"

What happens next?

And please don't tell me that you feel sorry for someone who isn't proud of their homeland. Pride is different from telling everyone that your country is the best. On top of that, where is the self-reflection? If I have a pair of boots with holes in them, that don't keep my feet warm, why would I try to convince myself that my boots are better than somebody else's? That seems like trying to champion a blind love that is completely uncritical of itself. That mentality is a major reason why people, companies and nations fail.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: markbrynn on February 07, 2015, 01:09:14 AM
Quote
I think more interesting is why other countries don't say it as much. Certainly within Europe we tend to get a little unsettled by nationalism (I mean with pretty good reason when you look at the previous century, or the one before that). Obviously we can still be patriotic but there is an increasing realisation that Individual European states are no longer big enough to play on the top table of the world stage on their own.

I can't speak for the rest of the world, but the reason why I don't say "my country is the best" is because it's a statement that ends conversations. It is the exact opposite of open-minded and curious about the world. If I tell somebody that my country is the best, it doesn't invite them to share something about their country.

There's nothing wrong (in my opinion) about sharing things you love about your country, but think about how it sounds to the person on the other side of the table. If you talk about the good and the bad in detail, you have a conversation. If you say that "my country is the best" you have very little to discuss.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Dexterous on February 07, 2015, 02:02:13 AM
Switzerland is my favorite country due to it's scenery, culture/languages, transportation, economy, political system, neutrality, etc.

By the way, I'm an American so some of us do think other places are equally awesome (or better).  ;)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 07, 2015, 03:17:38 AM
We've created the most wealth for the most amount of people in the history of the world. 315,000,000 people, PPP of $53,000. You're on a website dedicated towards spreading the reality that people can work 10years and retire in America, something impossible for basically all of the history of mankind, even within 50 years.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

Not sure about the most amount of wealth in the history of the world. PPP is a good measure - much better than GDP per worker. However, as I was responding to a post, I used the same methodology as had been used for Europe. I notice that parts of Europe show better PPP than the US which is 10th (not best in the world), as against Australia which is 14th (not bad in either case). The difference in the figures show what every Australian MMM complains about - that the cost of living in Australia is quite high. Unfortunately, we are located at the end of the line, so everybody charges the earth to ship here. For instance, Adobe products that you buy online, and are shipped online to your computer are something like twice the price they are in the US - go figure!
Australia had a nice run in the 2000s, but the commodity boom is over, probably never to return, might need to cut back on social spending. There is no free lunch.
Rubbish! You have not followed the fortunes of Australia for long enough. That is just what they always say a few years before the next commodities boom. And there is always the fact that we are one of the richest countries in the world (possibly the richest) as far as renewables is concerned. Think of the fact that we lead the world in skin cancer - it's partly because we actually are one of the very best places for solar power - same with wind...
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: pancakes on February 07, 2015, 03:40:26 AM
Fascinating topic. I feel very lucky to have been born in Australia. We have it good here, I mean just look at how well we get on in the midst of seemingly continual political upheaval. I'd probably feel the same to have been born in America. Actually I'm pretty pleased to have been born at all
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: SnackDog on February 07, 2015, 03:50:52 AM
As far as quality of life goes, Australia is normally considered highest in the world, and for good reasons: climate, water and air quality, economy, politics, healthcare, education, nature, low crime, low poverty, etc.  Cities like Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane routinely rank best in the world: they are stunning places to live, full of fabulous people, parks, nature, food, wine, etc.  Look no further!   

Europe has social problems, Canada is freezing cold, Latin America is a complete disaster, Asia is largely still emerging (except Japan and Korea which are unfortunately culturally closed), Africa is a corrupt mess and we all know what a fiasco the US is with crime, pollution, obesity, consumerism, appalling education, no healthcare, etc.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: phillyvalue on February 07, 2015, 03:55:23 AM
In terms of U.S vs Australia, when you look at PPP per capita (GDP adjusted for cost of living) the U.S comes out about 10% ahead. That seems like the relevant figure to use.

The point about the number of people the U.S has made wealthy is the key IMO. There are ~10 countries with PPP per capita higher than America, some much higher, but these are tiny countries, all of which combined don't come close to the U.S population. Luxembourg may have living standards 80% higher, but there are more people living in NYC than the entire country. It's a pretty amazing thing that you have 300+ million people, from Manhattan to Kansas, ranking among the top in living standards in the world.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 07, 2015, 04:08:01 AM
But this thread isn't US vs Australia, but about why all these US citizens (Americans includes Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Argentinians... - are US citizens Yankees or something else - they haven't appropriated the whole two continents, just half of the top one) are always saying that the US is the best. Because I am Australian, I am using Australia (my homeland, and therefore a pretty good place, but not necessarily the best - and certainly not the best for everyone, because I don't want to be crowded out of my homeland) as one example of a place that I really know.

Of course, because the gini coefficient in the US is so much worse than it is in Australia, the US actually gives many fewer of its citizens the ability to have the PPP that the GDP PPP figure would suggest. Whereas, as the Australian gini figure means we have a much more equitable distribution of wealth, we possibly have a greater proportion of citizens able to take advantage of the higher PPP - and to therefore FIRE!

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: fa on February 07, 2015, 05:52:19 AM
This is sort of a silly topic, but amusing.

The French have better food, Africa has some amazing animals, Costa Rica has unbelievable biodiversity, Japan is wonderfully safe,  New Zealand has awesome hiking trails, Germans can drive much faster....

But, the US has a combination of:
-an unbelievable track record of political stability
-a federal system that works remarkably well
-more personal freedom than exists in many places, including European countries
-more economic opportunity than just about anywhere on the planet
-in spite of the US deficits, the US is the only country that has always paid its debts in full (nice for us investors!)
-food cost is very low compared to most industrialized countries
-taxes are generally lower than most countries
-an incredible amount of natural resources
-a founding document and constitution that have served as a model for many countries around the world
-less petty crime than many places
-makes achieving FIRE much easier than most other countries
-there is a lot of freedom of expression
-a very high standard of living (maybe too high)
-huge open spaces and tons of natural beauty
-a low level of corruption.  Most people don't ever deal with such a problem.
-wide variety of climates, from arctic to subtropical

This is a pretty awesome combination.  As an example of the low petty crime:  I have a nice set of patio furniture that is sitting on my patio, in full view of the street and has been there for 20 years.  In how many places on earth can you do that?  My patio set would have been stolen long ago in most places outside of the US.

Freedom of expression.  Did you know that is many western countries, it is illegal to express your support for the Nazis?  I would find expressing your support for the Nazis despicable, but it is legal in the US.  In most countries, there is freedom to express what is already accepted, not what is "on the fringe" or touches a raw nerve of history.  In the US, freedom of expression truly means just that.

Are there things that could be better?  Of course.  But, on aggregate, this is a pretty incredible place to live.  We have started to look at places to retire in the world, because I am not a nationalistic person and I am open to other options of places to live.  So far, we have not come across a place we would rather live when you take everything into consideration.  It is not for lack of checking it out:  my passport almost ran out of space to put customs/immmigration stamps.

I wasn't raised thinking that the US is the best.  In fact, I have enjoyed many aspects of places I have visited on all continents.  But when you put together a list of what matters, I find it tough to come up with a country that is better overall.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 07, 2015, 06:43:58 AM
It is a silly topic. But Australia has it all:
- Where else do you have the possibility of being killed by any one of 3/4 of the 20 most venomous snakes in the world (including 8 of the top 10, and the most venomous snake in the world)?
- What other country in the world has lost its leader who disappeared while swimming? Most other places manage to lose their leaders in much more violent ways, but the most violent that Australia can manage is swimming.
- What other countries have never had a civil war?
- I have a feeling that Australia has also never defaulted on a debt, but you could prove me wrong.
- Where else in the world has such a low population density? We are the size of the contiguous continental US with less than 1/10 the population.
- Where else in the world are things missed so much in Wikipedia? Our largest lake is not mentioned in the lists of large lakes (and Lake Eyre is quite large), because most towns are so small, they don't appear on google maps until you REALLY zoom in, we have one of the world's oldest living trees (estimated to go back to the last ice age, because its seeds need ice to germinate), we had the tallest tree in the world (someone cut it down and it was the longest ever measured)... but none of this is in Wikipedia, so it doesn't really exist.
- Where else has had more stable government? Of course it depends upon what you call stable government... (you may not be aware of the fun we are currently having)
- Where else has actually relinquished ALL its UN mandated territories, and let them be self-governing?
- Where else has the world's largest population of feral goats (best cashmere in the world, ruining artwork 60,000 years old), camels (more than Arabia - huge pest - millions of them - more dangerous than kangaroos if you hit one in your car), horses (another huge pest - ruining the delicate national parks)?
- Where else has the oldest known depiction of a human, the oldest known human cremation and the oldest known human burial, and artwork 60,000 years old?
- Where else in the world has had half of its capital cities visited by major natural disasters in my lifetime (half of them twice), without it being a really big deal? (I'm sure you've heard of Katrina - but have you heard of Tracy?)
- Where else has no active volcanoes on its mainland?
- Where else does everyone get the name and location of the Capital and the highest mountain wrong?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Jags4186 on February 07, 2015, 06:52:15 AM
http://www.joshuakennon.com/mailbag-united-states-misconception/

This explains the crux of it
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: agent_clone on February 07, 2015, 07:12:12 AM
I had a friend genuinely commented to me once about how Australians "just love" Americans.  Which, frankly, I think most Australians are just pretty easy going and likeable and give pretty much anyone a chance to be the same in return.  But making a blanket statement like that I thought was just weird and wondered how he came by that assumption.  He said an Aussie told him that.  I told him that guy was probably teasing him/making fun (that's the only equivalent I can think of to 'taking the piss').

Yeah, my experience would not be that Australian's "just love" Americans.

The US is not #1 in a lot of ways, but "we" are #1 in some very important ways - namely economic opportunity and freedom, especially of speech.
But you are not #1 in economic opportunity or freedom.  You have 50% about a socio-economic mobility which is on par with Italy, and which is much worse than many countries around the world, 50% means that the wealth of your parents affects how well you do economically in society, compared to about 18% in Australia.  In regards to freedom, you guys have so many laws about things that you think you have the Freedom, but really only do if you have the money for it (i.e. lots of money to pay for lawyers), admittedly, Australia has similar issues here.

Heres some stats about socio-economic mobility around the world: http://www.oecd.org/tax/public-finance/chapter%205%20gfg%202010.pdf .

But, the US has a combination of:
-an unbelievable track record of political stability
-a federal system that works remarkably well
-more personal freedom than exists in many places, including European countries
-more economic opportunity than just about anywhere on the planet
-in spite of the US deficits, the US is the only country that has always paid its debts in full (nice for us investors!)
-food cost is very low compared to most industrialized countries
-taxes are generally lower than most countries
-an incredible amount of natural resources
-a founding document and constitution that have served as a model for many countries around the world
-less petty crime than many places
-makes achieving FIRE much easier than most other countries
-there is a lot of freedom of expression
-a very high standard of living (maybe too high)
-huge open spaces and tons of natural beauty
-a low level of corruption.  Most people don't ever deal with such a problem.
-wide variety of climates, from arctic to subtropical
Ok i want to address some of these points...
-an unbelievable track record of political stability
Political stability, are you sure about this?  I seem to remember there has been at least a civil war, the civil rights campaign, more recently you guys have had large scale riots in various places such as Ferguson.
-a federal system that works remarkably well
Are you sure on this.  My understanding is that now you have to have hundreds of millions of dollars to be elected president.  Interesting that it cost 2 billion dollars to elect a president in 2012... Source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/02/economist-explains-4.
Also if this is so, why have we in Australia for the last few years had news about congress blocking the debt ceiling because of petty differences of opinion.  Admittedly the states can continue to function well while this is occuring I presume.
-more economic opportunity than just about anywhere on the planet
Incorrect.  Your socio-economic mobility stats contradict this.  It has just been indoctrinated in to you guys that this is true.
-in spite of the US deficits, the US is the only country that has always paid its debts in full
Incorrect you guys have sovereign defaults in your history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_default .  There are a number of countries around the world that haven't.
-a very high standard of living (maybe too high)
Are you sure on this.  For some yes, but for a number of your poor people perhaps not so much.  I hear that some poorer people have 2-3 part time jobs just to survive, my question would be why?
-a low level of corruption.  Most people don't ever deal with such a problem.
Hmm, I'm not so sure on this... I would look at what your elected officials are doing and what deals and vested interests they have, i.e. who funds them.  That being said, I presume you don't have to pay a bribe to get the police to investigate things like some other countries such as India (although the racial profiling of cops is another matter...)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Schaefer Light on February 07, 2015, 07:54:58 AM
You guys can debate this all you want, but who was it that saved the world from the Nazis?  And who was it that kicked the Brits' asses and went on to form a country that was even bigger and more powerful than Britain?  And if your country is being attacked by a foreign enemy, then who are you going to call for help?  No other nation has done what this one has to promote freedom at home and abroad.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 07, 2015, 08:00:23 AM
Sorry, but those are not the only interpretations of those parts of history.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Cookie78 on February 07, 2015, 08:15:41 AM
Sorry, but those are not the only interpretations of those parts of history.

Lol. No kidding.

Shows up late to war. Takes all credit.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Villanelle on February 07, 2015, 08:17:04 AM
You guys can debate this all you want, but who was it that saved the world from the Nazis?  And who was it that kicked the Brits' asses and went on to form a country that was even bigger and more powerful than Britain?  And if your country is being attacked by a foreign enemy, then who are you going to call for help?  No other nation has done what this one has to promote freedom at home and abroad.

Who was it that helped the US get freedom from the Brits?

Also, what we have done in the past can't be used as the only measure of where we stand today.

Unlike make of the people in this thread, I've lived in other countries, and I've traveled extensively (30+ countries).  And I don't think the US is either superior or inferior to many of those places.  It's just different.  Japan is amazing in so many ways, for example.  Crime is minimal, the people are polite and helpful to the extreme (to an outsider at least, which is the only perspective I can offer), and they look out for each other.  There is a certain subjugation of self that is beautiful.  When the US has an incoming hurricane, people get in fistfights over the ability to stockpile Everything.  In Japan after one of the biggest scale disasters in history, people waited politely in line and bought only what they needed, erring on the side of less in case someone else needed it more.  That's better than the US would do.

But their education system is brutal on kids.  It doesn't allow a lot of recovery once you are put on a lessor track.  There is a certain prevalent dislike for some other countries that makes me, as an American uncomfortable.

So it isn't perfect.  But neither is the US.  I'd say the same about Germany.

Every country is flawed, and I think many are equally good overall.  And no doubt some place that is better for one personality type is going to be worse for another personality type.'

But the "fuck yeah, 'Merica!!", based on nothing factual and no other experiences seems terribly ignorant to me. 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Barbaebigode on February 07, 2015, 08:24:56 AM
You guys can debate this all you want, but who was it that saved the world from the Nazis?  And who was it that kicked the Brits' asses and went on to form a country that was even bigger and more powerful than Britain?  And if your country is being attacked by a foreign enemy, then who are you going to call for help?  No other nation has done what this one has to promote freedom at home and abroad.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Front_%28World_War_II%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_authoritarian_regimes_supported_by_the_United_States
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: BlueHouse on February 07, 2015, 08:36:31 AM
I don’t know the answer to the question, but I am pretty sure that as soon as people believe that they are the best, they give up striving to be better.  For that reason, America falls behind in education, health, mortality rates, and most of the items that determine a great nation.
Could it be that our leaders want us to be complacent? 
We have all seen the statistics and we know where we rank on the list of nations, yet even I have a desire to believe that we’re higher up than we are. 
The truth for me is that I’m pretty comfortable and I have a great quality of life.  I can go to bed every night pretty secure that my government will still be in place tomorrow and that anything I’ve worked to achieve will probably still be as valuable tomorrow as today. 
Harder to admit is that some people/groups/nations are hammers and some are nails.  I don’t want to be the nail.  It would be really nice if everyone had a great quality of life and security and money, and I hope they all can get it.  But I”m not willing to give up what I have (been given or worked for) so that someone else can have as much as I have.  I don’t want the nation I live in to be “the nail” to anyone else’s hammer. 
I know I didn’t say that very nicely or politically correct, so I’m expecting a lot of attacks on my statements.  sorry, just didn’t feel like trying to make a feel good statement, when this is basically how I feel about it. 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Indexer on February 07, 2015, 08:59:29 AM
So I live in the US, and I love the US.  Is it the best country in the world?  I would sure like it to be as I'm living in it. 

If you live in trash you will want to live somewhere else.  If you live somewhere nice you would like to think it is the nicest. 

There are many things other countries are better at than the US, but I'm going to argue the US is the best place not based on best place to live but for making the world a better place.  Given the superpower card we primarily used it to make the world more stable instead of being dicks and trying to take it all over.

Europe spent centuries... millenia fighting over the same stupid lines, religion, grudges, etc.  Their feuds brought about the two worst wars in human history.  Africa/Middle East/South America are a mess not even worth mentioning.  China/Russia have corruption levels off the chart and treat their people like trash, and I don't think there is any doubt either one would expand through force if given the chance(both are trying on a small degree even now).  Australia and Canada are both great places to live, and with W Europe are the beneficiaries of a very safe world. 

Since the US helped win WWII the world has been a better place.  Sure there is stupid infighting in little pockets of the world, but it stays in those little pockets.  There are no large scale wars between major powers(even the cold war was cold).  If many countries were given the military/economic superpower card they would abuse it to no end.  The US abuses it military strength to make sure the oil keeps flowing out of the gulf... I admit it, but given how the world works(off oil) if the US didn't other countries would do it(hopefully with Canada/US pumping out our own oil that will be less of a problem.)  Other wars in the past 60 years can normally be attributed to trying to hold back Russia or bringing stability to an area(I imagine S Koreans are grateful).  How many countries would overtake Iraq, and then try to build a stable government?  If Russia controlled Iraq, it would be called the oil field of the Soviet Union and it would quickly include what is now Kuwait, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.  Even our stupid mistake was handled better than most other countries would have handled it.  Australia, Canada, Western Europe, etc. can rest safely knowing they won't get invaded tomorrow.  From a not getting invaded point of view Canada is probably the safest place to live in the whole world.  The US won't invade, and because of proximity to the US no one will touch Canada.  The US is more likely to be directly attacked than Canada is.  Now go tell the people in Georgia(country) and Ukraine how awesome it is to feel safe living next to a superpower....

Given the ability to rule the world...
Greece tried.
Rome(Italy) tried.
The UK tried.
Spain tried.
France tried.
Germany... lets not even go there.
Japan... helped Germany.
Italy... helped Germany.
Russia, probably would have done it if it weren't for the USA.
etc...
Given the chance China probably would try as well.

Given the superpower card the USA just said  "don't threaten us" (pointing nukes at us or shutting off the global oil supply both count).  Post WWII the USA could have just split the world with Russia... honestly given that we had the A-bomb first we could have just taken Russia right then and there too.  The fact that we have a democracy where the leader doesn't have ultimate power, and the fact that we prefer stability over violence means we tend to use our power more for stability rather than greed/violence.

Serious question for the Ausies, given your natural resources, if the USA wasn't in the picture and China was the most powerful country in the world with a military bigger than every other country combined, do you think they would hesitate to taking those resources?  If you say no, look at how much they are currently causing problems over open ocean near Japan which doesn't even have resources.  Or look at the company they keep(N. Korea).
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: act0fgod on February 07, 2015, 10:12:21 AM
Quote
Don't most people who live in a reasonably stable first-world country feel like their country is the "best"?

Ok, I wouldn't say that about America (even though I'm American), but I'd say I feel that way about my alma mater (Go Hawks!), my state, my city, etc.

Doesn't mean it IS the best, just that it's the most I could ever want.  It's the best for me.

I find this very interesting. Your first sentence is exactly the kind of thing I have trouble understanding. To answer the question, no, I don't think my stable first-world country is the best. I think lots of countries do different things well and what's the point of trying to determine "best".

Then, in the last sentence you say "best for me." Maybe that's my answer. Maybe so many Americans are just leaving out the "for me." Maybe if I insert those words every time I hear an American say "America is the best" then it will make more sense. (Though if you haven't never visited about 95% of the world I'm not sure how you can know it's the best for you.)

I feel like this exchange is the crux of the issue.  Why wouldn't you live in the country you consider the best?  Is it because they won't have you or because you don't have the finances to go there?  My grandparents left their home and moved to the US with nothing because they thought it was the best country in the world.  I'm glad they did and if I didn't think the USA was the best country I would try and become a citizen elsewhere.  I have an uncle who left the USA and moved to Australia and became an Australian citizen.  I respect his opinions and am glad he moved to the country he thought best for him and his family. 

I currently live in Korea due to work and have traveled a good amount visiting each continent and a good number of countries.  From my experience the USA is the best country and that's why I choose to call it home.  I'm not saying the USA is without faults.  I admit other countries do some things better, that's why I like to travel.  Travel allows me to experience those other things, but all things considered the USA offers the best of what I'm looking for.  I can't understand why someone would choose live in a location they don't consider the best fit for them.

I also take other peoples statements with a grain of salt.  Everything someone else says is based on their experiences and their opinions.  Any statement of best is subjective or based on a specific set of criteria.  I understand that and try not to get offended by peoples opinions.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: lizzie on February 07, 2015, 10:36:28 AM
(Americans includes Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Argentinians... - are US citizens Yankees or something else - they haven't appropriated the whole two continents, just half of the top one)

I just want to note that it's common for people around the world to refer to US citizens as "Americans." Also, there really isn't a readily available obvious and easy to use alternative term. So please don't assume that when people refer to themselves as "Americans" that they are being jerks. I too wish there were a consensus alternative term because I'm tired of being lectured about this.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MidWestLove on February 07, 2015, 10:42:47 AM
-an unbelievable track record of political stability
Political stability, are you sure about this?  I seem to remember there has been at least a civil war, the civil rights campaign, more recently you guys have had large scale riots in various places such as Ferguson.

yep, pretty certain about it. no comparison with Australia at all - remind me please what Australia was circa 1770 and what laws it was operating under? Wasn't it still a Queens Dominion during the time of US Civil War?  How old is the current constitution of the Australia (from colony , to self governing colony, to Commonwealth ,etc) ? No comparison here at all for political stability. And do not get me started on Europe (with two world wars in 20th century alone), what republic are French under now? how many monarchies that had in between? I know of no other country (and would like to hear it) that kept is primary law through over 2 centuries, may be Swiss did?
 
-a federal system that works remarkably well
Are you sure on this.  My understanding is that now you have to have hundreds of millions of dollars to be elected president.  Interesting that it cost 2 billion dollars to elect a president in 2012... Source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/02/economist-explains-4.

yep, pretty sure about that too. federal system works and pretty much the only way to run vast countries, China may be the only country of sufficient size that is not run that way. federal system is not about dollars to be elected president , it is about separation of power between global and local levels, local elections with real power to influence results, it is about tolerance to different (in cases massively different) operating social contracts (laws in our states).  Australia is federal too, but I am not sure how much the 'rights of the lands' withing Australia are balanced against the feds.



Also if this is so, why have we in Australia for the last few years had news about congress blocking the debt ceiling because of petty differences of opinion.  Admittedly the states can continue to function well while this is occuring I presume.

:) that is exactly what we want out of our government, making sure it can not screw us too much.  the best government is the one that does not get in the way.

-more economic opportunity than just about anywhere on the planet
Incorrect.  Your socio-economic mobility stats contradict this.  It has just been indoctrinated in to you guys that this is true.

:) compare it with any other country over 100 million people please and come back with your findings. Australia is not a good cause since it is tiny population wise, less than multiple US states..


-a very high standard of living (maybe too high)
Are you sure on this.  For some yes, but for a number of your poor people perhaps not so much.  I hear that some poorer people have 2-3 part time jobs just to survive, my question would be why?

Yes. again , nothing to do with number of poor people (or we will be using Bahrain here as example of good country where there is citizen master class and massive slave class (I mean non resident workers) for residents)

So in short , US is better and much larger Australia - both started with good stock (primarily English colonists) where we got religious sects and you got convicts . The difference , US had the balls (ok, fortitude) to kick Brits out while Australians did not. Both had horrible track record on native population, both are first world countries and close allies on multiple levels united by common language (expect Australians speak it funny).

See? :)
 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 07, 2015, 01:55:04 PM
As I have said before,
But this thread isn't US vs Australia, but about why all these US citizens are always saying that the US is the best. Because I am Australian, I am using Australia (my homeland, and therefore a pretty good place, but not necessarily the best - and certainly not the best for everyone, because I don't want to be crowded out of my homeland) as one example of a place that I really know.
Serious question for the Ausies, given your natural resources, if the USA wasn't in the picture and China was the most powerful country in the world with a military bigger than every other country combined, do you think they would hesitate to taking those resources?  If you say no, look at how much they are currently causing problems over open ocean near Japan which doesn't even have resources.  Or look at the company they keep(N. Korea).
It is worrying, and I'm not sure what would happen. China has shown (over millennia) that it is not interested in taking over large sections of land far away - unlike European nations or their offshoots. Sure, over the millennia of the Chinese empire, it has grown and shrunk, but not that much - especially compared with what it could have done, and what empires elsewhere have done.

The modern Chinese government is different, so expecting them to remain where they are and not expand may not be wise. However, to date, it could easily be argued that the US, with the number of Pacific Islands that it has taken over (not including Hawaii), the puppet states it has supported, and the bases it has established everywhere, has demonstrated more empire building in the last 100 years than China (the British empire started by them building bases everywhere). The problems in the South China Sea are disturbing developments that may indicate a new expansionist tendency, and it is unfortunate that the British in the 1800s and the US in the 1900s demonstrated so clearly to China that domination of the South China Sea is in their best interests.

Besides which, the Chinese are much more cunning than that - they already own sizable amounts of Australia, as they have been buying up our farmland to provide them with food security in a post-climate-change world, sizable amounts of mineral resources too, and there are an enormous number of them in Australia as international students. So they have done it without their military, and without any intervention from the US.

remind me please what Australia was circa 1770 and what laws it was operating under? Australia was independent, operating under the laws that had governed it for more millennia than any other society has had a continuous set of law.
Wasn't it still a Queens Dominion during the time of US Civil War?  At this time most of Australia was still running under the laws stated above
How old is the current constitution of the Australia (from colony , to self governing colony, to Commonwealth ,etc)? As we are a Commonwealth of states (similar to the US actually), these go back to prior to the US civil war.
I know of no other country (and would like to hear it) that kept is primary law through over 2 centuries, may be Swiss did? You have not heard of the Magna Carta or the Code of Ur-Nammu, which is the earliest code of law in existence?  All codes of law that I know of have built from previous ones and it is unreasonable to consider that ones own laws were created in a vacuum. However, the fact that many new nations base their constitutions and structure upon the US one means that US law and its judicial and political structure are a very worthy gift to the world.
 
Compare it with any other country over 100 million people please and come back with your findings. Australia is not a good cause since it is tiny population wise, less than multiple US states.. So the US is only the best of 12 countries in the world? There are only 12 with over 100 million.

So in short , US is better and much larger Australia - only slightly larger than Australia - remove all of you're outlying areas and we are similar sizes. And, as I have said, Australia is my homeland and it is the best for me.
The difference , US had the balls (ok, fortitude) to kick Brits out while Australians did not. We did it in a non-violent way, without guns. We are proud of doing it this way, through non-violent means.

Both had horrible track record on native population, both are first world countries and close allies on multiple levels united by common language (expect Australians speak it funny). Well, we have yet to have an argument about who speaks funny!
 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Ambergris on February 07, 2015, 02:16:41 PM
As  British person, and newly minted US citizen, who has lived in the states for nearly 18 years (almost as long here as in Britain) I'm going to weigh in on this, with my usual care and total lack of bias.

American is the most powerful and richest country in the world, so it has the impression it is terribly important. It is. Whether it should be is, of course, a matter of considerable debate. It uses its wealth to build a vast military that it can use to enforce its foreign policy pretty much anywhere; it does, and everyone knows it will and plans accordingly. So the claim not to be "conquering" or "imperial" is pretty much beside the point.

The sweet, burning core of the US's sense of importance, however, is its belief that its "founding fathers" and their ideas were special. They weren't. They were pretty mediocre thinkers. The supposedly great "Declaration of Independence" was an almost complete rip off of John Locke's "Treatise of Government", for example, as were many of the other writings of the time. The ideas were British that had existed in part since the time of the Magna Carta and were developed in full in Britain during the seventeenth and earlier eighteenth century. The British even tried to do what the USians did in the seventeenth century, and set up a republic under Oliver Cromwell.

The difference is that the USians succeeded. This was not due to their overwhelming brilliance but partly due to a lot of historical, social and geographical chance.

The problem is that the "founding fathers" were trying to impose extremely liberal, modern, and non-religious ideas on a highly conservative, religious population. They were also themselves big, fat hypocrites, slave owners and so on. The ideas were in large part not implemented. MLK put this more kindly when he wrote that the US DoI and BoR were a "promissory note" that had not yet been cashed in (by freaking 1963, by all that's holy). They still aren't today. The ideas the US borrowed from Britain and France were, in large part, followed though on faster over there despite the lack of overt commitment to them.

The highly conservative religious population is still here, compared to the rest of the developed world. The religious nuts who burble about freedom in the US are the ones who have the least concept of what it actually is, and absurd authoritarian social agendas to boot. These are the ones who try to cash in on the importance of the ideas the hardest, but at the same time have the absolute least connection to any of them.

A lot of the other American claims to greatness are also lies. Economic equality of opportunity is laughably absent here. It's not real in any of the rest of the developed world either, but they don't feel the need to pretend about it.

The US's one greatest saving grace is its diversity. It isn't one country, it is many countries, and there are as many different "Americas" as there are Americans. Thank God. Otherwise I might have stomped my way home ages ago, grumbling in disgust. Probably not, though. Britain sucks, too.

The US reminds me of a great big gangly teenage boy, one half arrogance and one half burning insecurity, thowing its weight around in the presence of its little elderly aunties (the European countries) and smaller cousins (like australasia).

What the US needs, more than anything else, is the power to laugh at itself, its identity and its history. To NOT TAKE ITSELF SO F***ING SERIOUSLY. Americans currently seem able either to scream about their importance and wonderfulness or gravely shake their heads over their appalling awfulness. American isn't either of these things. It's just a bit stupid, clunky, awkward and daft.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: beltim on February 07, 2015, 03:53:12 PM
but about why all these US citizens (Americans includes Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Argentinians... - are US citizens Yankees or something else - they haven't appropriated the whole two continents, just half of the top one

Fun facts:

1) There is only one country with "America" in its name: the United States of America
2) There is at least one other country with "United States" in its name: Mexico (Mexican United States is one of the translations of the formal name of Mexico into English)

So "American" is the proper name for citizens of the USA.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: markbrynn on February 07, 2015, 03:54:23 PM
Quote
What the US needs, more than anything else, is the power to laugh at itself, its identity and its history. To NOT TAKE ITSELF SO F***ING SERIOUSLY. Americans currently seem able either to scream about their importance and wonderfulness or gravely shake their heads over their appalling awfulness. American isn't either of these things. It's just a bit stupid, clunky, awkward and daft.

I like the majority of this post (just quoted the last paragraph), but particularly agree about not taking itself so seriously. Any ideas WHY so many Americans take their country so seriously? By this I mean to not only like/love your country, but to also seriously argue that it is the best.

[For the Americans out there who will probably ask, no, most other nationalities don't take their countries so seriously. Certainly some people from other countries take their country seriously, but from my experience, it is a particularly common trait amongst Americans.]
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Kris on February 07, 2015, 04:07:35 PM
Quote
What the US needs, more than anything else, is the power to laugh at itself, its identity and its history. To NOT TAKE ITSELF SO F***ING SERIOUSLY. Americans currently seem able either to scream about their importance and wonderfulness or gravely shake their heads over their appalling awfulness. American isn't either of these things. It's just a bit stupid, clunky, awkward and daft.

I like the majority of this post (just quoted the last paragraph), but particularly agree about not taking itself so seriously. Any ideas WHY so many Americans take their country so seriously? By this I mean to not only like/love your country, but to also seriously argue that it is the best.

[For the Americans out there who will probably ask, no, most other nationalities don't take their countries so seriously. Certainly some people from other countries take their country seriously, but from my experience, it is a particularly common trait amongst Americans.]

We are super, super indoctrinated to do so.  In school, from a young age.  And lately in our incredibly polarized society, especially since 9/11, it's been a sort of McCarthy-esque atmosphere in certain circles/regions/political parties where even questioning whether there might be certain things we could learn from other countries is tantamount to treason. 

My husband and I have a running joke between us.  Whenever one of us happens to point out something about the US that is problematic, or compare something (like health care) in the US to a better practice in another country, the other person will ask, "Why do you hate America?"

It is kind of sad.  There are a ton of great things about our country.  But it is indisputable that we are slowly losing ground, in part, I believe, because of a cultural inability to truly believe any other country could possibly teach us a thing or two.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Left Bank on February 07, 2015, 04:25:14 PM
It's brainwashing.   If you say anything less than 100% positive about this country, you are branded a pinko commie who hates America.   

The America is #1 mindset is bullshit and whitewashes a lot of atrocities this country has committed and still commits as well as preventing us from learning about and from all the good things being done in other countries.  There are many great things about this country, but here's a list of where America is most certainly not #1:

1) Health Care
2) Economic and Social Inequality/Mobility
3) Frugal living
4) Health/being in decent shape (have you seen all the fatass motherfuckers out there?) - esp noticeable if you go to Europe and Asia and contrast with the US
5) Crime
6) Educational outcomes
7) Affordable college education
8) We start too many unnecessary/illegitimate wars
9) Work-life balance (def too few vacation days, amount of parental leave is a joke in this country)
10) Too many people are religious and all the problems that causes
+1,   ALL DAY LONG!
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on February 07, 2015, 04:51:50 PM
Any ideas WHY so many Americans take their country so seriously? By this I mean to not only like/love your country, but to also seriously argue that it is the best.

I'm from the South and know a lot of stereotypical rednecks. With guns. Do you REALLY want them to not love America? Cause, um, I'm not sure that's the best course of action.

In case you don't know, a lot of people watch Civil War re-enactments, and hope THIS time the Confederacy will win. The South Park episode on this is not that far fetched.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: lizzie on February 07, 2015, 05:03:12 PM
As  British person, and newly minted US citizen, who has lived in the states for nearly 18 years (almost as long here as in Britain) I'm going to weigh in on this, with my usual care and total lack of bias.
Hey, welcome to US citizenship. Glad you joined us!

Quote
The US reminds me of a great big gangly teenage boy, one half arrogance and one half burning insecurity, thowing its weight around in the presence of its little elderly aunties (the European countries) and smaller cousins (like australasia).

This kind of echoes what I was going to say, which is probably a bunch of pseudo-psychobabble but I'll say it anyway. I don't normally hear regular people talking about how the US is the greatest country in the world. But I hear it ALL THE TIME from politicians. My theory is that this has to do with Vietnam and the culture wars of the 1960s, of which there are still echoes today. We are a young nation, and Vietnam caused this big teenage-like crisis of identity (think Kevin Kline in "A Fish Called Wanda" yelling, "We didn't lose Vietnam! It was a tie!") Which caused a big backlash, "America-love it or leave it!" etc. Somehow this all became bound up in the idea that liberals always blame America first and are soft on defense, blah blah blah. So now every politician of any persuasion has to say "America is the greatest!" and wear a flag pin or the terrorists win. Of course, if politicians were in the habit of saying this before Vietnam, this theory makes no sense.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MidWestLove on February 07, 2015, 05:04:33 PM
Is this wrong?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Australia

The Constitution was approved in a series of referendums held over 1898–1900 by the people of the Australian colonies, and the approved draft was enacted as a section of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (Imp),[1] an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

if is it right then Australian Constitution is 115 years old, ~1/2 of the age of US one.  this is what we mean under political stability in form of government :)

for me , the more interesting question is trying to find immigration/emigration balances between various entities as this speaks volumes more than Magna Carta BS,  as it is people voting with their feet, uprooting themselves and going through significant effort to improve their lot elsewhere. i.e. we can talk about all we want about tyranny of oppressive taxation in EU and host of other issues, the flow of people dying (literally) to cross Mediterranean to land of shores of Italy from North Africa tell me all I want to know about North Africa countries and their suitability for life. Same way El Salvadorians dying to get through difficult Mexico trip and into US tell me plenty about Latin America.  I know that data exists within state (with my state of Illinois having dubious honor of being second worst in ratio of people departed to people immigrated to the state (62 departing for each counted, 38 entering the state, only New Jersey beat us at 64)). that also tells me plenty about how (badly) Illinois is run in case I can not see it with my own eyes.  Not sure if similar stats are available between major states.   

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MidWestLove on February 07, 2015, 05:15:02 PM
actually, reading up more on it  - it seems I was wrong and the current form of Australia law (defining itself as a nation) is 30 years old where it finally separated from UK for by defining the roles/responsibilities with its former colonial master.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia_Act_1986

Australia could be proud- it beat some of the former Soviet republics by 5 years!!  Great!  and in plenty of those republics (including one I was born in within Central Asia have created and run empires from 500 BC and peaked in 10th century) have much more history than all Europe (and its colonies) combined, but no sane person would be claiming 'same government and constitution for the last 2500 years'.  See , my country is the best, right?
 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 07, 2015, 05:23:16 PM
if is it right then Australian Constitution is 115 years old, ~1/2 of the age of US one.  this is what we mean under political stability in form of government :)
As I said, that is when Australia was Federated. We already had State parliaments, with State voting and political stability a while before that. And, of course, even when the British first landed, there were courts and people were subject to British law. So there was political stability for a long time before that, whether you look at the traditional political climate, or the imported British political climate.

Your further reading has muddied things.

Look at the indices put out by the OECD and find where the US is ranked in all those - you would be surprised just how many countries are ranked better by experts.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Ozstache on February 07, 2015, 05:23:40 PM
I can't believe this irrefutable fact hasn't come up already in this thread:

(https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/4097722624/h5299DCEC/)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: gaja on February 07, 2015, 05:24:48 PM
Over the course of 250 years, there were many years when we were the only democracy, and there were many years when millions of people were voting with their feet about what they think the best country in the world is.  Then after WWII, our standard of living was head and shoulders above those of other countries.

Now, I think there are countries with standards of living, levels of education, and democracy on par with ours:  much of Western Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand.  Maybe Korea?  But not many others.

I find it quite amusing to cherrypick the last 250 years, and then (probably) have very strict frames for what you call a democracy. I guess the Nordic constitutional monarchies don't count? What about the relatively independent Swiss kantons? For the record, my favorite "best democracy in the world"goes to the Faroe Islands, who established their Thing in 881, and only had an official break in 1816-1852 (unofficially, I'd like to see the islander that would adhere to Danish rule). http://www.thingsites.com/thing-site-profiles/tinganes-faroe


and as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of EU - 17.5
Population of US - 320m
Population of EU - 507m

1 US worker   ~1.5 EU worker in productivity . yes, Dorothy, they do more and do it better, at massive scale.

You do know that EU is a union of several countries with vastly different economy and culture? And that several european countries have elected to stand outside the union? The GDP per capita can be found here, and you can see that e.g. Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland are substantially higher than the US:
By nominal GDP, I'm worth 2 of you (using your logic): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
By correcting for purchasing power, it goes down to 1.2. But that would partly be because a lot the national oil revenue goes into savings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita


[1.] Europe may have better work/life balance, but anecdotally it is harder to break into the regular, full time workforce.

[2.]We may be facing a growing problem with income inequality, but around here, customers dressed as working class/casual/tradesmen do, on average, get a higher level of respect by default than they do in other countries. In other countries, clothes make the man/woman because you will get absolutely no help/respect if you appear to be a plebe.
1. Where is this country of Europe you are talking about? I guess it must be close to Spain, because it can't be in northern or western Europe.
2. I would very much like to hear an Australian answer that claim.

-an unbelievable track record of political stability
Political stability, are you sure about this?  I seem to remember there has been at least a civil war, the civil rights campaign, more recently you guys have had large scale riots in various places such as Ferguson.

yep, pretty certain about it. no comparison with Australia at all - remind me please what Australia was circa 1770 and what laws it was operating under? Wasn't it still a Queens Dominion during the time of US Civil War?  How old is the current constitution of the Australia (from colony , to self governing colony, to Commonwealth ,etc) ? No comparison here at all for political stability. And do not get me started on Europe (with two world wars in 20th century alone), what republic are French under now? how many monarchies that had in between? I know of no other country (and would like to hear it) that kept is primary law through over 2 centuries, may be Swiss did?
The Norwegian Constitution celebrated 200 years in 2014. But most of our laws are based in Magnus Lagabøtes law from 1274. It was followed until King Christian the IV of Denmark-Norway did a translation in 1604 and Christian the V did a major revision in 1687. So it was mainly unchanged for 413 years.
In the Faroes, nobody has ever legally retracted the "Sheep Letter" from 1298. That is 716 years.

I guess I should take part in the "why are we best" contest too?
-Norway has no debt, and the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, ensuring our children's and children's children's state pensions. Through the fund, I own part of Paris, London, Berlin, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Munich, Zurich, and loads of shares in international companies. I can watch my wealth grow here: http://www.nbim.no/
-All the lists you have linked to so far (GDP, PPP, OECD) and a few more (happiness, ease of starting business, little crime, few people in prison, length of (paid) maternity leave...) show us close to the top.

For the "why are we not the best" list:
-As a nation we are extremely self centered, and only see as long as our noses reach. We pretend to care about the environment, but do very little to exploit and export clean enery instead of fossil fuels.
-We are even more full of hot air than the typical US citizens.
-It is damn cold here.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 07, 2015, 05:28:28 PM
If the only reason the US is the best is the length of contiguous government - what about the Isle of Man?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: lizzie on February 07, 2015, 05:37:03 PM
Quote
What the US needs, more than anything else, is the power to laugh at itself, its identity and its history. To NOT TAKE ITSELF SO F***ING SERIOUSLY. Americans currently seem able either to scream about their importance and wonderfulness or gravely shake their heads over their appalling awfulness. American isn't either of these things. It's just a bit stupid, clunky, awkward and daft.

I like the majority of this post (just quoted the last paragraph), but particularly agree about not taking itself so seriously. Any ideas WHY so many Americans take their country so seriously? By this I mean to not only like/love your country, but to also seriously argue that it is the best.

[For the Americans out there who will probably ask, no, most other nationalities don't take their countries so seriously. Certainly some people from other countries take their country seriously, but from my experience, it is a particularly common trait amongst Americans.]

Wait a minute. Have you guys SEEN the Colbert Report?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: gaja on February 07, 2015, 06:05:24 PM
If the only reason the US is the best is the length of contiguous government - what about the Isle of Man?

Oh yes, now that you mention it, those buggers haven't paid their rent in hundreds of years. About time we retrieved those islands. http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100319452
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MidWestLove on February 07, 2015, 06:17:53 PM
I am not sure why you are so defensive so I would drop the topic- we are talking about the age of the current form of government as example of stability (including political stability)

"As I said, that is when Australia was Federated. We already had State parliaments, with State voting and political stability a while before that. And, of course, even when the British first landed, there were courts and people were subject to British law. So there was political stability for a long time before that, whether you look at the traditional political climate, or the imported British political climate."

Everything you said so far was wrong in that regard
no Commonwealth of Australia in the current form did not exist at the same time as US or even at the time of US Civil War. It is at most 115 years old.
yes, the current form of government and rules that govern it changed 3 times in 20th century (1901, 1942, 1986) so it is very young country politically speaking.

is Australian history learned in Australian schools different from any other history?  and by this point I think I lost the point of what you were trying to say (other then accuse US after admitting of never actually being here) . Please continue to stay in Australia, you do your country proud as diverse, well educated, open minded person. enjoy your internet censorship, restrictive personal liberty laws,  it is still better than 80% of the world.

Signed *from best country on Earth*  from person who travelled through every country in Europe from Atlantic ocean and into Russia (France, Germany, Poland, UK) and lived under multiple 'social constructs' and political regimes.



Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MidWestLove on February 07, 2015, 06:23:44 PM
The Norwegian Constitution celebrated 200 years in 2014. But most of our laws are based in Magnus Lagabøtes law from 1274. It was followed until King Christian the IV of Denmark-Norway did a translation in 1604 and Christian the V did a major revision in 1687. So it was mainly unchanged for 413 years.
In the Faroes, nobody has ever legally retracted the "Sheep Letter" from 1298. That is 716 years.

I guess I should take part in the "why are we best" contest too?
-Norway has no debt, and the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, ensuring our children's and children's children's state pensions. Through the fund, I own part of Paris, London, Berlin, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Munich, Zurich, and loads of shares in international companies. I can watch my wealth grow here: http://www.nbim.no/
-All the lists you have linked to so far (GDP, PPP, OECD) and a few more (happiness, ease of starting business, little crime, few people in prison, length of (paid) maternity leave...) show us close to the top.

Thank you, great to learn this - I really liked Sweden (in the summer) and have close friends that moved to Denmark and Netherlands from former SU (all love it and would not trade it for anywhere).  one of the weird things is that with such friends , they end up working on EU divisions of US companies (that is where opportunity was for them) and we overlap in strange places like San Francisco neither of us being from Bay area.

The part that was hard to accept for the Baltics, is  that I not sure how you guys handle winters. My family still leaves in Tomsk, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk (south Siberia in Russia) and that was also weather unacceptable 8 months out of the year. 2-3 weeks of summer in Tomsk, brrr
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: iamlindoro on February 07, 2015, 06:39:24 PM
The longer this thread goes on, the more I question the whole point.  Who cares if (some) Americans think they're from the best country in the world anyways?  Arguments to the contrary seem to take one of two forms:  data that suggest it's untrue, or data that suggest the posters own country is better in some measure or another.

If two children are in the playground and one loudly shouts "I'm the best," then another shouts "Oh no you're not," neither is behaving with much maturity.

I'm American, and I don't deny that there is a general societal suggestion that we live in one of/the best countries on earth.  However, it's not an idea I would ever want to promote when I go abroad, and it's something I, and many like me, simply roll our eyes at.  That said, if it makes someone happy to think they live in the best country on earth, wherever that may be, it does me no harm whatsoever to allow that person to believe it.  It would be similarly childish to start threads objecting to any group calling themselves the best at anything.

Make money, stop working, eat the food you like best, live in the country you like best, and have sexy sex with the person you like best.  Let me do the same.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 07, 2015, 06:49:58 PM
compare it with any other country over 100 million people please and come back with your findings. Australia is not a good cause since it is tiny population wise, less than multiple US states..
As I said previously, there are only 12 countries with over 100 million people, so this means the US is possibly only the best of 12?

According to Wikipedia (as I have previously stated, not the best source of information, particularly about Australia), there are 247 countries in the world (I thought it was more like 183, but we will use that figure for now), and that Australia has the 52nd largest population. So we have a reasonably average to large number of citizens. While people from the US may think we have a small population, the truth is, we don't!

So, what 12 countries have over 100 million people? China (too much pollution, nice people - although they may believe their country is also "the best", going by some discussions I have had with Chinese nationals, very interesting culture), India (too much pollution, poor infrastructure, very interesting culture, nice people), Indonesia (close to home, nice people, very interesting culture, too hot), Brazil (very interesting culture, have had a lot of money problems over the years), Pakistan (very interesting culture, but no), Nigeria (very interesting culture, but no), Bangladesh (very interesting culture, know people from there who have invited me to visit, but no), Russia (Vladimir Putin lives there - he might shirt front an Australian), Japan (very interesting culture, nice place, wonderful food, nice people... but not Australia), Mexico (very interesting culture, USA took half their country, but no), Philippines (very interesting culture, nice people, nice food, probably too hot).

So what am I left with? Japan. 

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: firewalker on February 07, 2015, 06:57:32 PM
The winner of "The Best Country in a Hell Hole World" contest goes to the one who can explain why the moderators have not moved this pointless blather to "Off Topic."
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: lizzie on February 07, 2015, 07:11:48 PM
The longer this thread goes on, the more I question the whole point.  Who cares if (some) Americans think they're from the best country in the world anyways?  Arguments to the contrary seem to take one of two forms:  data that suggest it's untrue, or data that suggest the posters own country is better in some measure or another.

If two children are in the playground and one loudly shouts "I'm the best," then another shouts "Oh no you're not," neither is behaving with much maturity.

I'm American, and I don't deny that there is a general societal suggestion that we live in one of/the best countries on earth.  However, it's not an idea I would ever want to promote when I go abroad, and it's something I, and many like me, simply roll our eyes at.  That said, if it makes someone happy to think they live in the best country on earth, wherever that may be, it does me no harm whatsoever to allow that person to believe it.  It would be similarly childish to start threads objecting to any group calling themselves the best at anything.

Make money, stop working, eat the food you like best, live in the country you like best, and have sexy sex with the person you like best.  Let me do the same.

+1000
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 07, 2015, 07:14:27 PM
I am not sure why you are so defensive so I would drop the topic- we are talking about the age of the current form of government as example of stability (including political stability)

"As I said, that is when Australia was Federated. We already had State parliaments, with State voting and political stability a while before that. And, of course, even when the British first landed, there were courts and people were subject to British law. So there was political stability for a long time before that, whether you look at the traditional political climate, or the imported British political climate."

Everything you said so far was wrong in that regard
no Commonwealth of Australia in the current form did not exist at the same time as US or even at the time of US Civil War. It is at most 115 years old.
yes, the current form of government and rules that govern it changed 3 times in 20th century (1901, 1942, 1986) so it is very young country politically speaking.

is Australian history learned in Australian schools different from any other history?  and by this point I think I lost the point of what you were trying to say (other then accuse US after admitting of never actually being here) . Please continue to stay in Australia, you do your country proud as diverse, well educated, open minded person. enjoy your internet censorship, restrictive personal liberty laws,  it is still better than 80% of the world.

Signed *from best country on Earth*  from person who travelled through every country in Europe from Atlantic ocean and into Russia (France, Germany, Poland, UK) and lived under multiple 'social constructs' and political regimes.




Actually, everything I said was strictly correct, although in a tongue-in-cheek way. Australia had no British settlers in 1770. The Aboriginal laws and customs had been consistent for at least 12,000 years - longer than any society anywhere else - there are paintings, carvings... that date their settlement of Australia to at least 60,000 years ago. At the time of the American Civil War, they still controlled most of Australia's land area, so the laws etc, over most of Australia were as per 1770...

I am glad that I have helped you to find out a bit more about our wonderful land, but I am somewhat horrified about what you have come up with, as it is not terribly true.

Of course Australian school history is taught differently than history is taught in other countries. Every country teaches history differently. The syllabus is something like - the history of our own country, the history of some countries that we have connections to (near neighbours, trading partners...), and recent history of everywhere. Unfortunately, because the US is a leader on the world stage, it tends to be difficult for it to go past the first part of the syllabus in the depth that other countries need to go.

For instance, a previous comment here said that the US beat the Nazis - it is generally thought that if only one country could be credited with that, it would be the Russians, at tremendous cost to themselves. But it was really a coalition of countries of whom both the US and Russia were very important players.

The winner of "The Best Country in a Hell Hole World" contest goes to the one who can explain why the moderators have not moved this pointless blather to "Off Topic."
Agreed!
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: firewalker on February 07, 2015, 07:17:31 PM
Yup! As I said before. Simmer down, get yourselves a beer, and go watch some Dukes uh Hazzard reruns.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MidWestLove on February 07, 2015, 07:32:06 PM
Uhhh - what is Dukes uh Hazzard  ?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: WYOGO on February 07, 2015, 07:32:27 PM
I like the vast sometimes unregulated open spaces found in America, that one can roam freely through virtually every type of climate and terrain on earth and meet people so different from oneself that one might believe they are in fact visiting foreign lands. I like that one can choose to tailor their location within the country to reduce living expenses and optimize their tax burden. There are many benefits to living in so vast a land with so many different options. I like options. I am a fan :)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on February 07, 2015, 07:44:26 PM
Of course Australian school history is taught differently than history is taught in other countries. Every country teaches history differently. The syllabus is something like - the history of our own country....

I know, right? Our kids' school has not once mentioned the importance of Columbus Day, or even the history of Thanksgiving (they actually had the schools open that day, oh the humanity!). Not even the Pledge of Allegiance to start the day. I swear, sometimes it feels like this is a completely different country.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MidWestLove on February 07, 2015, 08:27:17 PM
"
I know, right? Our kids' school has not once mentioned the importance of Columbus Day, or even the history of Thanksgiving (they actually had the schools open that day, oh the humanity!). Not even the Pledge of Allegiance to start the day. I swear, sometimes it feels like this is a completely different country.
"

we are talking describing the same(or shared) events in completely different way, i.e. WWII. usually in tune of "our mother/country is the best" -propaganda and brain washing disguised as history. Saw it in Soviet Union , after the collapse of it, and same in US. do not expect anything different... keep thinking, keep questioning, understand where information is coming from, make your own decisions  - pretty basic stuff.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: fa on February 07, 2015, 09:01:13 PM
Okay I give up.  Australia really is amazingly incredible.  Heaven on earth.  What more do you want to hear?

Actually, although I have not been to Australia, I always assumed it was a nice place.  After this discussion I am starting to wonder if I was mistaken. But I truly enjoyed my visit to New Zealand, so maybe Australia is  fine (assuming is Autralia is kind of like NZ).  I sure as heck would not care how long the aborigines have had rules in place in prehistoric times, but it was interesting to hear about it.

Fully agree with the previous post:  live where you like to live, work where you like to work (or be retired) and enjoy your friends and family.  Add to do that not too many rules and regulations, not too much government making life difficult (maybe they let you keep some of the money you worked for), and a nice climate.  Let's not forget good health, with or without a socialized health care system.  That covers most of it I think.  If that describes where you live, you live in the best country!  Congratulations!

I can't believe I got sucked into this silly discussion.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: pancakes on February 07, 2015, 09:08:39 PM
In my experience (as an Australian) people in Australia like to complain about how terrible Australia is: We are so backwards, everything is so expensive, so much tax, so much commuting, such bad public transport, so much rain, so many deadly animals, such terrible politicians, so many people on welfare, such racism, so bogan, etc, etc. We are very quick to rip ourselves apart.

Western Australians are even worse! When I moved over here the locals kept asking me what it was like moving backwards in time 30 years.

edit: just to clarify, I love living in Australia but it isn't perfect. I don't believe that we've managed to create a utopian country yet ;)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on February 07, 2015, 09:24:52 PM
(posting to bookmark) - I've lived in several countries for extended periods and they are all great.  I've never met a new country that I didn't like :)  Some countries are more memorable because of their geography, some countries are great for their people, and everything in between.  As a whole, Europe is pretty amazing because there are so many different countries all packed in to the same space as states in the US, and that's probably the weakness of the US, being a single country that requires a car to see, whereas all of Europe (with its rich history) is amazingly accessible by Eurail...

  I think it's a fool's errand to try to 'pick' a winner, and saying you live in the best country only shows that you haven't traveled a lot...  It's like asking 'what is your favorite meal' (which is also a part of having a favorite country) or favorite book (which also is influenced by where you have lived), etc.  I guess it's pretty apparent that my dream of FIRE is being a citizen of the world, once this full-time parenting gig subsides...
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Dimitri on February 07, 2015, 09:26:29 PM
Americans think America is number one because it is what they were taught in school and as adults they only read/watch MSM propaganda. 

Their perspective might be different if they opened their eyes.

South China Morning Post - http://www.scmp.com/frontpage/international
RT - http://rt.com/
Al Jazeera America - http://america.aljazeera.com/
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Indexer on February 07, 2015, 11:59:39 PM
and as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of EU - 17.5
Population of US - 320m
Population of EU - 507m

1 US worker   ~1.5 EU worker in productivity . yes, Dorothy, they do more and do it better, at massive scale.

You do know that EU is a union of several countries with vastly different economy and culture? And that several european countries have elected to stand outside the union? The GDP per capita can be found here, and you can see that e.g. Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland are substantially higher than the US:
By nominal GDP, I'm worth 2 of you (using your logic): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
By correcting for purchasing power, it goes down to 1.2. But that would partly be because a lot the national oil revenue goes into savings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita 

The EU is a union of several countries.... The USA is a union of several states, many of which are bigger than the countries in the EU.  You cherry picked three countries, and none of them are super significant.  Just New York, and I'm not even talking about the state, just the CITY of New York has a larger GDP as all three of those countries combined!

GDP Per capita in NYC is 54k, but if we look just at Manhatten(still bigger than Luxembourg) it is 121k.  I'm not saying one is better than the other.  I'm just pointing out that picking a few small countries and saying wooo they have higher income than the average for a giant country like the USA is crap.  The EU has Luxembourg, we have Manhatten, the EU has Greece, we have Mississipi. 

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/here-are-the-10-biggest-us-cities-by-gdp-and-how-theyve-grown-since-2009/279833/
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: gaja on February 08, 2015, 01:16:21 AM
and as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of EU - 17.5
Population of US - 320m
Population of EU - 507m

1 US worker   ~1.5 EU worker in productivity . yes, Dorothy, they do more and do it better, at massive scale.

You do know that EU is a union of several countries with vastly different economy and culture? And that several european countries have elected to stand outside the union? The GDP per capita can be found here, and you can see that e.g. Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland are substantially higher than the US:
By nominal GDP, I'm worth 2 of you (using your logic): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
By correcting for purchasing power, it goes down to 1.2. But that would partly be because a lot the national oil revenue goes into savings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita 

The EU is a union of several countries.... The USA is a union of several states, many of which are bigger than the countries in the EU.  You cherry picked three countries, and none of them are super significant.  Just New York, and I'm not even talking about the state, just the CITY of New York has a larger GDP as all three of those countries combined!

GDP Per capita in NYC is 54k, but if we look just at Manhatten(still bigger than Luxembourg) it is 121k.  I'm not saying one is better than the other.  I'm just pointing out that picking a few small countries and saying wooo they have higher income than the average for a giant country like the USA is crap.  The EU has Luxembourg, we have Manhatten, the EU has Greece, we have Mississipi. 

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/here-are-the-10-biggest-us-cities-by-gdp-and-how-theyve-grown-since-2009/279833/

Luxembourg, Switzerland and Norway are not members of the EU.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: stripey on February 08, 2015, 03:19:52 AM
This is a hilariously heated discussion!
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Ozstache on February 08, 2015, 03:23:18 AM
This is a hilariously heated discussion!
For which there will be no victor, as opinion heavily outweighs facts in such discussions.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: markbrynn on February 08, 2015, 03:26:16 AM
Quote
The longer this thread goes on, the more I question the whole point.  Who cares if (some) Americans think they're from the best country in the world anyways?  Arguments to the contrary seem to take one of two forms:  data that suggest it's untrue, or data that suggest the posters own country is better in some measure or another.

If two children are in the playground and one loudly shouts "I'm the best," then another shouts "Oh no you're not," neither is behaving with much maturity.

I'm American, and I don't deny that there is a general societal suggestion that we live in one of/the best countries on earth.  However, it's not an idea I would ever want to promote when I go abroad, and it's something I, and many like me, simply roll our eyes at.  That said, if it makes someone happy to think they live in the best country on earth, wherever that may be, it does me no harm whatsoever to allow that person to believe it.  It would be similarly childish to start threads objecting to any group calling themselves the best at anything.

Make money, stop working, eat the food you like best, live in the country you like best, and have sexy sex with the person you like best.  Let me do the same.

Quote
The winner of "The Best Country in a Hell Hole World" contest goes to the one who can explain why the moderators have not moved this pointless blather to "Off Topic."

To try and get this "pointless blather" back on topic: Doesn't it concern many Americans (the way it does me) that this attitude lacking in self-reflection is going to stop the US from making changes to the things it does worst? For example, all of this economic wonderment that has been argued up-thread is at the cost of massive resource use. All of the consumerism (what this site focuses on avoiding) that is so prevalent in the US sucks up resources and spits out pollution. The US may or may not be the worst offender in this regard (uses the most of some resources, but uses technological solutions to somewhat reduce pollution impact), but isn't a stronger feeling of self-awareness and even self-criticism important to improve as a country (or as a person).

To take this to a personal level, some of my family are naturalised Americans and after years in the country have adopted many of the traits discussed in this thread. When we discuss various topics on an international level, they are usually so busy defending the US that they don't take the time to think if the ideas discussed may actually be good ones. To be clear, in the rest of the world, we get to see what the US does every day (in the news, on TV shows, in movies, music, imported products or in American companies on the ground in our country). I think non-American countries are almost forced to have this self-awareness (maybe less so in other very large nations, like China), which leads to trying to mix the best of all countries.

It was never my intention (I am the OP) to ask "Is the US the best country?" but to discuss whether the attitude behind the question is healthy/helpful.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: crazylemon on February 08, 2015, 03:33:35 AM
and as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of EU - 17.5
Population of US - 320m
Population of EU - 507m

1 US worker   ~1.5 EU worker in productivity . yes, Dorothy, they do more and do it better, at massive scale.

You do know that EU is a union of several countries with vastly different economy and culture? And that several european countries have elected to stand outside the union? The GDP per capita can be found here, and you can see that e.g. Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland are substantially higher than the US:
By nominal GDP, I'm worth 2 of you (using your logic): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
By correcting for purchasing power, it goes down to 1.2. But that would partly be because a lot the national oil revenue goes into savings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita 

The EU is a union of several countries.... The USA is a union of several states, many of which are bigger than the countries in the EU.  You cherry picked three countries, and none of them are super significant.  Just New York, and I'm not even talking about the state, just the CITY of New York has a larger GDP as all three of those countries combined!

GDP Per capita in NYC is 54k, but if we look just at Manhatten(still bigger than Luxembourg) it is 121k.  I'm not saying one is better than the other.  I'm just pointing out that picking a few small countries and saying wooo they have higher income than the average for a giant country like the USA is crap.  The EU has Luxembourg, we have Manhatten, the EU has Greece, we have Mississipi. 

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/here-are-the-10-biggest-us-cities-by-gdp-and-how-theyve-grown-since-2009/279833/

Luxembourg, Switzerland and Norway are not members of the EU.

Luxembourg is, the other two are not. Heck their former Prime Minister is the president of the EU commission at the moment!

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: gaja on February 08, 2015, 04:09:26 AM
Luxembourg is, the other two are not. Heck their former Prime Minister is the president of the EU commission at the moment!

Sorry, I was thinking about Lichtenstein.

As to the "New York alone is bigger than bla bla bla": I prefer living in a smaller country, because that gives me larger influence in the democratic system. I can meet the major at the local grocery shop, get a meeting with members of parliament when I feel the need for that, and my vote really makes a difference. My country might not be as "important" as the bigger countries, like China and India. But as an individual, my country gives me just as much, or more, opportunities on a global scale.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 08, 2015, 05:00:27 AM
The OP wants us to start discussing whether thinking about whether the attitude behind being the "best" country is good.

To a certain extent it is good if it is not just blind nationalism. It is good to recognise why you think your country is "the best", or even what your country is "the best" in, so your country can continue to concentrate on its strengths.

Australia has a wonderful amount of resources - whether you are talking about the minerals mined, the natural energy available (solar and wind), the agricultural riches that first made our fortune, the unique flora and fauna or the absolutely fantastic tourist magnets (the reef, the rock, dinosaur fossils, coastline, whales, rock art...). We are a highly urbanised country, with few people, which means that outside the cities, there is just wide open space. I don't think even people from the US can imagine how unpopulated we are (although Canada is similar). Most of the country (in terms of % of land - not many people) relies on the flying doctor service and school of the air (where children go to school at their home with a teacher hundreds of miles away, and their fellow students spread over areas the size of some decent sized states in the US) and similar services.

We need to preserve this plenitude, which has proved difficult, especially as some of the feral animals we have that are destroying the unique flora and fauna and the rock art and the agricultural riches are cute mammals (cats, horses, camels, goats, foxes) and silly people from overseas who haven't seen the destruction these creatures cause to our fragile environments campaign against any form or control or killing. When you have over a million camels eating all your desert plants, so your own unique fauna is disappearing in areas where less than 1 person lives per 100 sq miles,  you cannot follow idiotic suggestions like milking the camels - or even using them for meat!

We have stable government that is currently in denial about climate change, when we are one of the countries that is likely to be most effected. We already are subject to catastrophic flooding, fires and cyclones (you might call them hurricanes), and most of our major centres of population have faced devastation by one or more of these over the past 50 years - many more than once. We have a very good emergency system, that has stopped this devastation turning catastrophic, but occasionally we are not happy with the results. We need to face these issues, and not deny them by simply saying that other countries need to do their bit and that we are more than pulling our weight.

Our people and politicians rarely see the really wide open spaces, and this means it is difficult to make sure things happen properly (eg. miners follow the rules), or even what the proper thing should be.

In general, we consider Australia to be one of the best places to live, but we often take the mickey out of ourselves - partly not to grow complacent. There seems to be a growing complacency, as we adopt more of the US nationalistic approaches (which are unfortunately encouraged by our politicians) - such as "the best". This is bad for us, as we need to constantly be alert for things that aren't very good because we live on the second driest continent (Antarctica is the driest), that is very fragile and prone to natural disasters. If our Great Artesian Basin (the underground water system covering most of inland Australia) dried up or became polluted by fracking life would be impossible in a lot of the interior. We have no real mountains because Australia is generally an old land, so our soils are more fragile, lack some basic nutrients, and need careful husbandry.

So, no, I don't think it is at all good to just blindly think your country is "the best". It breeds complacency and a dictatorial approach to other countries that don't do things the same way as you do.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Christof on February 08, 2015, 05:41:31 AM
I just came across this article in the Washington Post and was reminded of this thread:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/01/07/a-surprising-map-of-the-best-and-worst-countries-to-be-born-into-today/
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Malaysia41 on February 08, 2015, 06:01:33 AM
As a single counterpoint to the stereotype, I'm a US citizen and this picture has been my FB profile pic for approximately a year.  There are others like me.  We do exist.   
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: justajane on February 08, 2015, 06:27:55 AM
When I hear people (mostly politicians like someone said above) say that America is the best country in the world, they are more often than not referring to our Constitution and this misplaced idea that it is the best document ever written.

To try and get this "pointless blather" back on topic: Doesn't it concern many Americans (the way it does me) that this attitude lacking in self-reflection is going to stop the US from making changes to the things it does worst? For example, all of this economic wonderment that has been argued up-thread is at the cost of massive resource use. All of the consumerism (what this site focuses on avoiding) that is so prevalent in the US sucks up resources and spits out pollution. The US may or may not be the worst offender in this regard (uses the most of some resources, but uses technological solutions to somewhat reduce pollution impact), but isn't a stronger feeling of self-awareness and even self-criticism important to improve as a country (or as a person).

What collective body of people is that good at self-reflection? I'm not sure the "best country in the world" idea is hindering this as much as human nature is.

Personally I am concerned about consumption and the amount of waste we produce. I lived in Germany for a year during university and was impressed with how much more aware they were of packaging and attempting to reduce it. They also composted and reused bottles to a degree that has never caught on in the States. I can't stand how many disposable plates, cutlery and the like that we use in this country. But this is probably more connected to laziness and regulations than it is to a sense that we are somehow superior. Maybe the amount of land we have to throw our junk also contributes to this, as does our larger homes. At least in Europe, regular folk can't have as many clothes and things because they don't have the space in which to put them. Population density rather than philosophy fuels this.

I guess my point is that you are looking in the wrong place for answers to your question. Plus the type of people in regular life who would say something so patently stupid and jingoistic are probably not the people who are going to ever enact change anyway.

But you've got me on the politicians. They could reform things. I think someone upthread had a good answer for why they talk this way and it had to do with our history - Vietnam, etc. As this generation of politicians retire and new ones replace them, hopefully this tendency to proclaim us the best will go by the wayside.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: lizzie on February 08, 2015, 06:35:02 AM
To the OP: yes, it concerns me that many of my fellow Americans are uninterested in how the rest of the world does things and do not want to look around to see how we could improve. I also do not like a lot of our foreign policy or many of the things that the US has done in the world. But what you don't seem to get is that this is entirely normal and banal. I'm surrounded by Americans who feel as I do. Americans argue about this all the time through our political process. 

If you don't see that, then I'll venture to guess it's because you're an outsider. Most people don't like listening to outsiders criticize their families, even if the criticisms are justified, and I think many people feel the same way about their countries. (Note that I am not talking about criticizing the US government's official actions. I have no problem listening to criticism of that. I'm talking about threads like this that suggest that there's something defective about Americans themselves.) 

People tend to get defensive when you ask them to justify or explain themselves or accuse them of lacking a sense of humor. Not to mention it gets old having to continually refute silly categorical assertions that have little or no basis in fact. (For example, I was not taught in school that the US is the best country in the world. Also, watching Hollywood movies does not mean you understand how Americans live or what they think.)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: DollarBill on February 08, 2015, 06:35:14 AM
I found this video last night called "Dumb, Drunk and Racist". It talks about stereotypes in different Countries. A Journalist takes four Indians on a road trip around Australia to examine their worst stereotypes -- are we really beer-swilling, racist bogans, or are we simply misunderstood? I'm only on esp 3 of 6. These video's are amazing....please watch!

"Dumb, Drunk and Racist"...Especially Deborah!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRqOFW9j0rI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRqOFW9j0rI)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Albert on February 08, 2015, 07:38:53 AM
This thread reminds me a bit of a shouting in a sand box…

I've lived in three different countries and visited many, many more. Most places have some appeal and what is best is highly subjective. Of course wealth comes in play and freedom of speech, but also natural beauty, climate etc. Perhaps even more important is what your background is and where you feel at home. Poland, for example, wouldn't make too many lists as the best country in Europe from some kind of impartial view, but it's all very different if you are Polish yourself.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: stripey on February 08, 2015, 07:58:48 AM
Most people don't like listening to outsiders criticize their families, even if the criticisms are justified, and I think many people feel the same way about their countries.

Spot on. At least to many people in other parts of the world, the manner in which some U.S. citizens tend to articulate/demonstrate that they believe that the USA is the best country in the world can be quite grating. Regardless of whether one believes that the US is morally/ethically/democratically/constitutionally/educationally/fiscally/etc. superior, why say it? Surely it can be understood that people who grew up in other societies will have slightly different values and even be proud of the way their nation does things, and being told that the US is superlative is at the very least irritating.

To be clear, in the rest of the world, we get to see what the US does every day (in the news, on TV shows, in movies, music, imported products or in American companies on the ground in our country). I think non-American countries are almost forced to have this self-awareness (maybe less so in other very large nations, like China), which leads to trying to mix the best of all countries.

I think to some extent this is correct. We're exposed to a lot of US culture which is not equally reciprocated. As an example, when travelling in the US, I've been amused (and shocked occasionally) by how some people cannot cope with my non-North-American accent despite my being a native English speaker, and that has to be due to a lack of exposure to other English accents. When I was at uni, the US exchange students seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing (mostly amongst themselves) just how different everything is in Australia. It seemed to come as quite a shock to many that a developed English-speaking nation could be so insidiously culturally foriegn.

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Schaefer Light on February 08, 2015, 08:49:58 AM
3 of the 4 major championships in golf are played in this country.  Nuff said ;).
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: lizzie on February 08, 2015, 11:00:55 AM
Most people don't like listening to outsiders criticize their families, even if the criticisms are justified, and I think many people feel the same way about their countries.

Spot on. At least to many people in other parts of the world, the manner in which some U.S. citizens tend to articulate/demonstrate that they believe that the USA is the best country in the world can be quite grating. Regardless of whether one believes that the US is morally/ethically/democratically/constitutionally/educationally/fiscally/etc. superior, why say it? Surely it can be understood that people who grew up in other societies will have slightly different values and even be proud of the way their nation does things, and being told that the US is superlative is at the very least irritating.

Sure. All I can say is that I personally have never once asserted to anyone that the US is the best country in the world, whatever that could even mean. I have, however, many times been subjected to people from other countries exhaustively explaining to me why their country is better than the US, or that Americans are all uberdumb, or whatever. It has not occurred to me, however, to demand that citizens of those countries explain to me why so many of them are so obsessed with doing that. The answer isn't complicated: some people are just jerks who like to indulge in stereotypes.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: ChrisLansing on February 08, 2015, 11:28:59 AM
Last week one day, during lunch, the topic of roads came up.   One of the guys declared that the Germans build better roads and added that the depth of the roads was why they last longer in Germany.   

So, it seems that at least some of us are aware that the US isn't the best at everything.   

The conversation then veered off on how Germany has about 1/4 the population of the US in an area about 1/2 the size of Texas.   The conclusion which seemed to be agreed upon by everyone was that a big country with low population density can simply not afford to have the same quality roads as Germany (not throughout the country) because it would bankrupt us.   We will never have the best roads, though quite possibly we have more miles of paved roads than any other country.   

These same guys might occasionally be heard to say American is the greatest country on earth.     

Just don't take the statement in such a literal way.    It just means America is a pretty good place, which is true enough.   
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: lizzie on February 08, 2015, 11:59:05 AM
As  British person, and newly minted US citizen, who has lived in the states for nearly 18 years (almost as long here as in Britain) I'm going to weigh in on this, with my usual care and total lack of bias.

[...]

The sweet, burning core of the US's sense of importance, however, is its belief that its "founding fathers" and their ideas were special. They weren't. They were pretty mediocre thinkers. The supposedly great "Declaration of Independence" was an almost complete rip off of John Locke's "Treatise of Government", for example, as were many of the other writings of the time. The ideas were British that had existed in part since the time of the Magna Carta and were developed in full in Britain during the seventeenth and earlier eighteenth century. The British even tried to do what the USians did in the seventeenth century, and set up a republic under Oliver Cromwell.

Pursuant to 8 USC § 1427(a)(3), one of the requirements of naturalisation is that the applicant be "attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States" during the five years preceding the application for naturalisation and continuing up until citizenship is granted. There is no requirement to be attached to those principles after becoming a citizen, but if your representation to be attached to them during the relevant period was false, citizenship can be later revoked pursuant to 8 USC § 1451(a).

Oh my god please tell me you didn't just threaten a newly minted citizen with revocation of his citizenship because he dared to express opinions critical of the founding fathers.

Not that Ambergris needs this assurance but I'm quite sure that USCIS has better things to do than investigate the sincerity of his commitment to the principles of the Constitution.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: beltim on February 08, 2015, 12:08:13 PM
As  British person, and newly minted US citizen, who has lived in the states for nearly 18 years (almost as long here as in Britain) I'm going to weigh in on this, with my usual care and total lack of bias.

[...]

The sweet, burning core of the US's sense of importance, however, is its belief that its "founding fathers" and their ideas were special. They weren't. They were pretty mediocre thinkers. The supposedly great "Declaration of Independence" was an almost complete rip off of John Locke's "Treatise of Government", for example, as were many of the other writings of the time. The ideas were British that had existed in part since the time of the Magna Carta and were developed in full in Britain during the seventeenth and earlier eighteenth century. The British even tried to do what the USians did in the seventeenth century, and set up a republic under Oliver Cromwell.

Pursuant to 8 USC § 1427(a)(3), one of the requirements of naturalisation is that the applicant be "attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States" during the five years preceding the application for naturalisation and continuing up until citizenship is granted. There is no requirement to be attached to those principles after becoming a citizen, but if your representation to be attached to them during the relevant period was false, citizenship can be later revoked pursuant to 8 USC § 1451(a).

Oh my god please tell me you didn't just threaten a newly minted citizen with revocation of his citizenship because he dared to express opinions critical of the founding fathers.

Not that Ambergris needs this assurance but I'm quite sure that USCIS has better things to do than investigate the sincerity of his commitment to the principles of the Constitution.

Not only did Cathy do that, but she was wildly unjustified in doing so, since even an elementary reading of Ambergris's comment indicates support for the "principles of the Constitution of the United States." 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Kris on February 08, 2015, 12:09:57 PM
As  British person, and newly minted US citizen, who has lived in the states for nearly 18 years (almost as long here as in Britain) I'm going to weigh in on this, with my usual care and total lack of bias.

[...]

The sweet, burning core of the US's sense of importance, however, is its belief that its "founding fathers" and their ideas were special. They weren't. They were pretty mediocre thinkers. The supposedly great "Declaration of Independence" was an almost complete rip off of John Locke's "Treatise of Government", for example, as were many of the other writings of the time. The ideas were British that had existed in part since the time of the Magna Carta and were developed in full in Britain during the seventeenth and earlier eighteenth century. The British even tried to do what the USians did in the seventeenth century, and set up a republic under Oliver Cromwell.

Pursuant to 8 USC § 1427(a)(3), one of the requirements of naturalisation is that the applicant be "attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States" during the five years preceding the application for naturalisation and continuing up until citizenship is granted. There is no requirement to be attached to those principles after becoming a citizen, but if your representation to be attached to them during the relevant period was false, citizenship can be later revoked pursuant to 8 USC § 1451(a).

Oh my god please tell me you didn't just threaten a newly minted citizen with revocation of his citizenship because he dared to express opinions critical of the founding fathers.

Not that Ambergris needs this assurance but I'm quite sure that USCIS has better things to do than investigate the sincerity of his commitment to the principles of the Constitution.

Not only did Cathy do that, but she was wildly unjustified in doing so, since even an elementary reading of Ambergris's comment indicates support for the "principles of the Constitution of the United States."

That was exactly my thought.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Cookie78 on February 08, 2015, 12:10:05 PM

Sure. All I can say is that I personally have never once asserted to anyone that the US is the best country in the world, whatever that could even mean. I have, however, many times been subjected to people from other countries exhaustively explaining to me why their country is better than the US, or that Americans are all uberdumb, or whatever. It has not occurred to me, however, to demand that citizens of those countries explain to me why so many of them are so obsessed with doing that. The answer isn't complicated: some people are just jerks who like to indulge in stereotypes.

I really want to answer this for you, but I don't know how. I am Canadian and I had the same opinion about Americans for a long time. I couldn't tell you exactly why, but I think it's very media driven. I wasn't an asshole about it, like the people you had to deal with.

I also had a fear that if I ever went to New York city I'd get shot (also media driven). Even when I was 30something and finally went to New York I still remembered that fear (but wasn't actually afraid). I think it takes a lot for those media driven thoughts to disappear.

Since then I've met hundreds of Americans and none of them (except one girl working at a grocery store in Ohio) fit into the stereotype that I had. All of the people I've met have been pretty fantastic, or less than fantastic, but not in a stereotype way, just in a human way. I started to think that if my media based stereotype wasn't applying to any of the people I was meeting, perhaps it was useless.

Media, from all countries, like to show us the extremes for shock value. If you never go to a place and all you get to see are extremes, your opinion of that places is based only on those extremes.

I don't think people are necessarily 'jerks'. I think very few people are bad. I think that people just have opinions based on the limited info they have access to, and are forming a world view based on limited info.

/end blog
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Cookie78 on February 08, 2015, 12:11:17 PM
As  British person, and newly minted US citizen, who has lived in the states for nearly 18 years (almost as long here as in Britain) I'm going to weigh in on this, with my usual care and total lack of bias.

[...]

The sweet, burning core of the US's sense of importance, however, is its belief that its "founding fathers" and their ideas were special. They weren't. They were pretty mediocre thinkers. The supposedly great "Declaration of Independence" was an almost complete rip off of John Locke's "Treatise of Government", for example, as were many of the other writings of the time. The ideas were British that had existed in part since the time of the Magna Carta and were developed in full in Britain during the seventeenth and earlier eighteenth century. The British even tried to do what the USians did in the seventeenth century, and set up a republic under Oliver Cromwell.

Pursuant to 8 USC § 1427(a)(3), one of the requirements of naturalisation is that the applicant be "attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States" during the five years preceding the application for naturalisation and continuing up until citizenship is granted. There is no requirement to be attached to those principles after becoming a citizen, but if your representation to be attached to them during the relevant period was false, citizenship can be later revoked pursuant to 8 USC § 1451(a).

Oh my god please tell me you didn't just threaten a newly minted citizen with revocation of his citizenship because he dared to express opinions critical of the founding fathers.

Not that Ambergris needs this assurance but I'm quite sure that USCIS has better things to do than investigate the sincerity of his commitment to the principles of the Constitution.

Not only did Cathy do that, but she was wildly unjustified in doing so, since even an elementary reading of Ambergris's comment indicates support for the "principles of the Constitution of the United States."

That was exactly my thought.

Ambergris! Why you hate 'murcah???!
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: lizzie on February 08, 2015, 12:14:15 PM
It was just information, not a threat.

One interesting aspect of 8 USC § 1451 is that it charges United States attorneys with a "duty" to pursue revocation of naturalisation "upon affidavit showing good cause therefor". This would appear to suggest that at any time, somebody could swear or affirm an affidavit alleging facts sufficient for denaturalisation, and then the government would be forced to take proceedings based on that. That is actually a bit disturbing.

Well, OK. If Osama bin Laden had somehow managed to obtain US citizenship, then maybe a US attorney would be inspired to invoke this provision. Otherwise I put the chances of this ever happening at less than zero.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Malaysia41 on February 08, 2015, 03:34:45 PM
When's Kriegsspiegel II gonna weigh in?  He'll straighten this all out. 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: stripey on February 08, 2015, 09:30:40 PM
Most people don't like listening to outsiders criticize their families, even if the criticisms are justified, and I think many people feel the same way about their countries.

Spot on. At least to many people in other parts of the world, the manner in which some U.S. citizens tend to articulate/demonstrate that they believe that the USA is the best country in the world can be quite grating. Regardless of whether one believes that the US is morally/ethically/democratically/constitutionally/educationally/fiscally/etc. superior, why say it? Surely it can be understood that people who grew up in other societies will have slightly different values and even be proud of the way their nation does things, and being told that the US is superlative is at the very least irritating.

Sure. All I can say is that I personally have never once asserted to anyone that the US is the best country in the world, whatever that could even mean. I have, however, many times been subjected to people from other countries exhaustively explaining to me why their country is better than the US, or that Americans are all uberdumb, or whatever. It has not occurred to me, however, to demand that citizens of those countries explain to me why so many of them are so obsessed with doing that. The answer isn't complicated: some people are just jerks who like to indulge in stereotypes.

Thank-you for sharing your experience, and for re-emphasising that stereotypes can be detrimental for a very large cross-section of society/societies.

I have occasionally asked (not demanded) my U.S. American in-laws why their fellow citizens (and occasionally they) have felt like telling my partner and I that the USA is the best. The responses and discussion that has followed has been quite interesting, with much more nuances and subtleties than indulgence in stereotypes, or people simply being jerks. And it's that kind of discussion the OP is trying to elicit, although probably it's not going to happen on this forum.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Lukim on February 08, 2015, 11:50:38 PM

no Commonwealth of Australia in the current form did not exist at the same time as US or even at the time of US Civil War. It is at most 115 years old.
yes, the current form of government and rules that govern it changed 3 times in 20th century (1901, 1942, 1986) so it is very young country politically speaking.

is Australian history learned in Australian schools different from any other history? 

Ok, I give up, how did the current form of government and rules change in 1942 and 1986?

I did the Australian Constitutional Law course at University of Sydney (and got a distinction) but don't remember anything about those changes. I did the course before 1986 so maybe I have an excuse for missing the 1986 change of constitution.  I have not done any research but I am guessing is this something to do with ending appeals to the Privy Council (which was no big deal)?

There have been a number of amendments to the Australian constitution (as there have been to the US Constitution) but not many and it is a difficult process involving a referendum to change the Constitution.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 08, 2015, 11:55:20 PM
It is the privy council change she's talking about - as I said, her further reading just muddied the waters.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Lukim on February 09, 2015, 12:52:56 AM
The Privy Council was a good guess!!

The number of cases that could get leave to appeal to the Privy Council before 1986 was only about 1 or 2 a year so the end of Privy Council appeals was hardly a major change to the Australian system of government.

The Privy Council only affected the judicial arm of government only, nothing to do with executive or political government.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: mak1277 on February 09, 2015, 06:21:17 AM
I'm going back to something I said several pages ago, but bears repeating (in my mind).

From an economic and geopolitical perspective, there can be little (no) doubt that the US is the most important country in the world.  I think many Americans conflate that fact with America being the "best" country. 

Whether it was by luck or design, the road to being the world's superpower is much less important than the fact that America IS the world's superpower.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 09, 2015, 06:33:21 AM
This would be somewhat worrying when the title is likely to change hands within the next 20 years. It would make people in the US question what they had done to stop being "the world's great superpower". After all, the cold war was always labeled (truly or falsely) as a competition between the USSR and the USA as the two superpowers, and with the breakup of the USSR, the USA won the competition by default. What has happened since in Russia has been ugly partly because of the loss of world domination. I would certainly not want the USA to go through something like that. However, I would also like to see the mantle passed in a peaceful way.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: mak1277 on February 09, 2015, 06:36:27 AM
This would be somewhat worrying when the title is likely to change hands within the next 20 years. It would make people in the US question what they had done to stop being "the world's great superpower". After all, the cold war was always labeled (truly or falsely) as a competition between the USSR and the USA as the two superpowers, and with the breakup of the USSR, the USA won the competition by default. What has happened since in Russia has been ugly partly because of the loss of world domination. I would certainly not want the USA to go through something like that. However, I would also like to see the mantle passed in a peaceful way.

You're saying you prefer China being the world's superpower to the US?  Yikes...if you really feel that way I can't imagine having much common ground and I better understand that rancor you've shown throughout this thread.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 09, 2015, 06:47:54 AM
No, I would not prefer it.

However, every year it seems that some economist is predicting that it will happen (for instance "the Economist" magazine), and it is probably somewhat inevitable. Not only that, but somewhere I read some figures (yes I am being very vague) a couple of years ago that said that China has already overtaken the US in at least one area - I think that was in the Economist too. Of course, there is also India - but it is a bit further away, and India has real infrastructure problems.

If it is inevitable, I would prefer it to happen in a peaceful way.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Schaefer Light on February 09, 2015, 10:34:19 AM

However, every year it seems that some economist is predicting that it will happen (for instance "the Economist" magazine), and it is probably somewhat inevitable. Not only that, but somewhere I read some figures (yes I am being very vague) a couple of years ago that said that China has already overtaken the US in at least one area - I think that was in the Economist too. Of course, there is also India - but it is a bit further away, and India has real infrastructure problems.

All the more reason for us to keep building up our Armed Forces.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: 2lazy2retire on February 09, 2015, 10:54:58 AM
You guys can debate this all you want, but who was it that saved the world from the Nazis?  And who was it that kicked the Brits' asses and went on to form a country that was even bigger and more powerful than Britain?  And if your country is being attacked by a foreign enemy, then who are you going to call for help?  No other nation has done what this one has to promote freedom at home and abroad.
Do you really believe that the US foreign policy is to "promote freedom at home and abroad"
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: 2lazy2retire on February 09, 2015, 11:03:37 AM
Personally I think ( hope)  that nationalism will go the way of religion. As people get more educated they will realize that both were engineered to fool the masses into doing stupid shit in the name of god or country with the real objective been to preserve the status quo.
Like the British Empire line during WW1 - "fight for the freedom of small nations" - WTF

As for America been the best country, I agree with an earlier poster that a lot of this attitude stems from the brain washing in early years of school. I remember soon after moving here my wife went for a run at a local middle school, half way around the track the tannoy turns on (scaring the shit out of her) and proceeded to blast out the national anthem at 8:30 in the morning ( apparently the kids have to stand to attention) - do other countries do this stuff?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Kaspian on February 09, 2015, 11:17:42 AM
Americans are concerned with being #1.  They see everything as win/lose, succeed/fail, good/evil.  It's a bit crazy.  There is no such thing as second place.  (Even an American interviewer will ask a friggin' SILVER MEDALIST "How did it feel to lose the race?") 
I'm Canadian.  I don't give a shit about being #1 or winning at everything.  The loudest duck is usually the first to get shot.
Anyway, if someone thinks they live in the greatest country in the world, they should visit at least 30 or 40 other ones.  Otherwise, they're talking out their ass.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Schaefer Light on February 09, 2015, 11:44:43 AM
You guys can debate this all you want, but who was it that saved the world from the Nazis?  And who was it that kicked the Brits' asses and went on to form a country that was even bigger and more powerful than Britain?  And if your country is being attacked by a foreign enemy, then who are you going to call for help?  No other nation has done what this one has to promote freedom at home and abroad.
Do you really believe that the US foreign policy is to "promote freedom at home and abroad"
Nope.  But I do believe that we've done that.  At least, more than other nations have.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: 2lazy2retire on February 09, 2015, 11:49:41 AM
You guys can debate this all you want, but who was it that saved the world from the Nazis?  And who was it that kicked the Brits' asses and went on to form a country that was even bigger and more powerful than Britain?  And if your country is being attacked by a foreign enemy, then who are you going to call for help?  No other nation has done what this one has to promote freedom at home and abroad.
Do you really believe that the US foreign policy is to "promote freedom at home and abroad"
Nope.  But I do believe that we've done that.  At least, more than other nations have.
Agreed -  its days as a protector of freedoms is sadly in the past. I think currently to use a playground analogy - the US is the big idiot in the playground that you pay off with your lunch money to sort out the bully.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2bhwy9_watch-key-peele-s-funny-take-on-how-the-us-military-works-in-reality_fun
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Giro on February 09, 2015, 12:24:11 PM
It all comes down to what exactly you value.  I've been to many countries over the years.  I haven't found a country I would live in long-term.  I have always wanted to come home after 6  months or so.  My priorities align with American life more than any other country so I think it is the best for me.

I enjoy watching American football more than any other sport.
I enjoy being able to drive 10 miles and get authentic you-name-it cuisine. 
I was able to gain FI at 40 years old rather easily.  A little more difficult in most other countries.
America is so large and so diverse that you can move and control so many aspects of your life....climate, COL, ethnic diversity, etc etc
And then, it's difficult to stereotype America because we are so large and so different.  I hear people from other countries call us gun-toting rednecks....well, I live in Seattle.....oh, but I hate earth-lovin hippies......well, I live in San Francisco - oh...but the gays ......well, I'm a New Yorker....eh - the traffic and over-population... I live in Ohio.....

There is nothing wrong with thinking you live in the best country in the world.  I believe with everything in me, that I have THE BEST life of anyone EVER.  I'm not wrong. 


Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Cookie78 on February 09, 2015, 03:17:37 PM
Read this today:
http://markmanson.net/america

Thought of this thread.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 09, 2015, 04:23:20 PM

However, every year it seems that some economist is predicting that it will happen (for instance "the Economist" magazine), and it is probably somewhat inevitable. Not only that, but somewhere I read some figures (yes I am being very vague) a couple of years ago that said that China has already overtaken the US in at least one area - I think that was in the Economist too. Of course, there is also India - but it is a bit further away, and India has real infrastructure problems.

All the more reason for us to keep building up our Armed Forces.
Why? As I said, it is inevitable. China and India have more than four times the population of the US. As they move out of poverty, get their infrastructure together... they will, inevitably regain the position they held in the world until about the 1700's as the world's superpowers - the places everywhere else thought of as the richest.

And it is good that the majority of the world's people are moving out of poverty, that their countries are getting their act together (China in particular as it has more people, and seems to be progressing more rapidly).

They both have so many people, that when they do reach a comparable standard of living, the US will be in a similar position in relation to them as Germany is to the US currently (Germany has about 25% of the population of the US, just as the US has 25% of the population of India or China). Germany is a very major power on the world stage - and I see the US also always being a very major power on the world stage. But no-one wants the US to become a belligerent country like Russia has become - and increasing the build up of your armed forces is just that. That belligerence has seen Russia lose a lot of its influence on the world stage even though it still has the second largest firepower in the world.

Over the last 50 years or so there has been a genuine move worldwide toward peaceful coexistence, and respect for other country's borders. This has been helped significantly by trade and tourism. US diplomacy has helped more than US armed might. China is very close to overtaking the US not in military power, but in better things like economically, in gross GDP and other economic figures.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 10, 2015, 02:28:50 AM
This thread has been remarkably civil. I expected it to be a polemic fest. Congrats, everyone.

For the record, I don't know that anyone can have a truly fair opinion on this matter due to nationalism, various forms of pride and/or propaganda, and simple group identification. I think that some places (North Korea) are clearly worse than others (Denmark), but even that doesn't apply to everyone. I'm sure life is pretty great for an upper-level defense official in Pyongyang. He (presumably a male) probably has a beautiful family, beautiful home, secure position, access to Western products, and plenty of money. Depending on his level of knowledge regarding human rights violations, he might be happily ignorant of the plight of other North Koreans.

I will echo the earlier sentiment on the national parks. No, I haven't been to every country nor have I even been to all American National Parks. However, based upon the places I've seen, the history I know, and my knowledge of other countries' parks, America wins that contest hands-down. The United States invented the concept when most great land was owned by old money in Europe and was inaccessible for all but a select few. On the quality side, the United States has the most diverse system of parks. To take that a step further regarding quality, I think I'd take the United States' best offering, the Grand Canyon (imho), over every national park system in the world. And it isn't like the Grand Canyon is head and shoulders above Yosemite.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Nickyd£g on February 10, 2015, 03:09:03 AM
How many countries can come close to inventing the things that have been invented here?

Scotland. :)  But then, I'm very patriotic.  Oh, the irony!
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Nickyd£g on February 10, 2015, 03:48:18 AM
Joking aside, I lived in California for a few years and I've visited lots of European and a couple of African countries.  I LOVED living in San Francisco for the climate, the friendliness, the food (except Indian food, I couldn't get a good curry there for love nor money) and the scenery and parks.  I found it amazing you could drive an hour and be at a beach or on a mountain.  I also think that the history of immigration has made for a fantastically interesting, open minded culture.  The houses were massive - even the fairly small apartment I lived in had a pool! And everyone seemed to have lots of stuff - every appliance known to man!  I went camping with some friends and believe me, it was ten times more luxurious than camping in Scotland - we had mattresses, a boat, you could buy firewood, there was a barbeque pit, it was amazing.

But I was.. mmm...astonished by the patriotic fervour instilled in many people I spoke to, particularly high school kids.  They all seemed so confident that they were the best at everything and lived in the best country in the world, in many cases without having been exposed to any other cultures (or, apparently actually knowing anything about or even where European countries were!). 

While on the one hand, I admired that self confidence (I think Brits, Scots especially, are really negative about ambition and success) I also found it a bit scary, as I could see it leading to that "we know best" attitude which the US is accused of.  And I was frankly appalled at the lack of healthcare, employee benefits (I get 4 WEEKS plus 2 weeks public holidays for annual leave! and we get 6 months maternity leave) and the political system - only rich folks can stand because it costs so much money, what's that about?.  And there were no pavements for walking, everyone drove, that was really weird. 

I do think America is a great country, but it could learn a few things from others which I think would make it even greater.

Just my two pence :)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 10, 2015, 05:27:29 AM
I do think America is a great country, but it could learn a few things from others which I think would make it even greater.

My sentiments exactly...and I'm American. I'd say that statement applies everywhere.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Giro on February 10, 2015, 06:39:40 AM
How much vacation is "normal"?  I keep hearing Americans lack paid time off.  I have always had extra vacation at the end of each year.  I thought our problem was more about how we don't use our vacation days.  I just started with a new company and I negotiated 5 weeks paid time off and of course the 10 national holidays.  At the same time, I received my unused vacation pay from my previous employer and that was 3 weeks pay. 



Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Villanelle on February 10, 2015, 07:59:49 AM
Americans are concerned with being #1.  They see everything as win/lose, succeed/fail, good/evil.  It's a bit crazy.  There is no such thing as second place.  (Even an American interviewer will ask a friggin' SILVER MEDALIST "How did it feel to lose the race?") 
I'm Canadian.  I don't give a shit about being #1 or winning at everything.  The loudest duck is usually the first to get shot.
Anyway, if someone thinks they live in the greatest country in the world, they should visit at least 30 or 40 other ones.  Otherwise, they're talking out their ass.

If you are Canadian, then it is... uncomfortable that you would presume to make blanket statements about what "Americans are".

I wouldn't presume to tell you about Canada and what all Canadians are.  Because I would likely look foolish, and ignorant, having spent only minimal time in Canada, and certainly not enough to feel like I have an insider, native-level understanding of the culture and norms. 

I don't care about being #1.  I'm never especially interested in the Olympics, and when I do watch, I end to root for the person whose story touches me the most, no matter where that athlete is from.  I've already said in this thread that I think the US us flawed in many ways and I don't view us a #1, in the vague, who is the bestest overall, category we are discussing.  It doesn't hurt my feelings if the US is #3 in the medal count, or in education (I'd be *thrilled* if we got up to #3, simply for what that would mean about what our citizens would be getting that they now aren't), or in GDP, or in pets per household, or in amount of broccoli consumed, or any other metric.  I don't care where we rank.  I care whether we are doing right by ourselves.  Comparing that to how others are doing is of zero interest to me, other than to show what is possible, in an aspirational way.

One thing that the US might actually be #1 in is diversity of thought.  And no, I don't mean that in the "we are the most open-minded" kind of way.  I simply mean that IME, (and yes, I have been to 30+ countries and lived abroad), there is less of an "average American" than there is an "average othercountry-ian".  We are so large, formed from so many different group of colonizers, so spread out, faced with such varied topography and weather, and so many other factors, that I think there is less uniformity of culture than in most other nations.  Which makes statements about what "Americans are", especially from non-Americans (and those who haven't spent a lot of time in a lot of parts of the US) all the more ridiculous. 

The quintessential CA girl has surprisingly little in common with the quintessential Texas man.  To make blanket statements about them, together, is nearly impossible. 

It's like speaking about what "Europeans are". IME, the Southern Italians are pretty darn different than the Schwabish Germans.  To to make a statement about what all of them are is going to be pretty much universally wrong.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: DollarBill on February 10, 2015, 09:12:13 AM
I found this video last night called "Dumb, Drunk and Racist". It talks about stereotypes in different Countries. A Journalist takes four Indians on a road trip around Australia to examine their worst stereotypes -- are we really beer-swilling, racist bogans, or are we simply misunderstood? I'm only on esp 3 of 6. These video's are amazing....please watch!

"Dumb, Drunk and Racist"...Especially Deborah!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRqOFW9j0rI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRqOFW9j0rI)

Did anyone watch this?? Instead of continuing to toot your Countries horn or talk shit about another Country because of some presumed stereotype. Because all of those things on TV are sooo true! Most of the people on TV are the biggest low life's around because people will watch that train wreck or be pissed off about what some dumb ass said.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: 2lazy2retire on February 10, 2015, 09:48:21 AM
I found this video last night called "Dumb, Drunk and Racist". It talks about stereotypes in different Countries. A Journalist takes four Indians on a road trip around Australia to examine their worst stereotypes -- are we really beer-swilling, racist bogans, or are we simply misunderstood? I'm only on esp 3 of 6. These video's are amazing....please watch!

"Dumb, Drunk and Racist"...Especially Deborah!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRqOFW9j0rI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRqOFW9j0rI)

Did anyone watch this?? Instead of continuing to toot your Countries horn or talk shit about another Country because of some presumed stereotype. Because all of those things on TV are sooo true! Most of the people on TV are the biggest low life's around because people will watch that train wreck or be pissed off about what some dumb ass said.
What?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Christof on February 10, 2015, 02:34:01 PM
We are so large, formed from so many different group of colonizers, so spread out, faced with such varied topography and weather, and so many other factors, that I think there is less uniformity of culture than in most other nations. 

The same is true for India, China, to some degree Russia and certainly for many of the African countries that were created with arbitrary borders by their former colonist... Those countries alone account for more than half of the world's population. It is the minority that lives in a uniform country.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: phillyvalue on February 10, 2015, 04:15:04 PM
China is actually a lot further from challenging the U.S. economically than most on here seem to think. In terms of GDP per capita, as of 2013, China is at $7,000 vs. the U.S. at $53,000. China's growth is slowing and there is a lot of concern that certain sectors such as real estate have been in bubble territory. I would be surprised if you see parity in per-capita GDP within the next 50 years.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Albert on February 10, 2015, 04:35:53 PM
China is actually a lot further from challenging the U.S. economically than most on here seem to think. In terms of GDP per capita, as of 2013, China is at $7,000 vs. the U.S. at $53,000. China's growth is slowing and there is a lot of concern that certain sectors such as real estate have been in bubble territory. I would be surprised if you see parity in per-capita GDP within the next 50 years.

I would be very surprised as well, but that is not necessary. 1/3 in per-capita GDP would easily make China the biggest economic power on the planet.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: aspiringnomad on February 10, 2015, 10:58:59 PM
Americans are concerned with being #1.  They see everything as win/lose, succeed/fail, good/evil.  It's a bit crazy.  There is no such thing as second place.  (Even an American interviewer will ask a friggin' SILVER MEDALIST "How did it feel to lose the race?") 
I'm Canadian.  I don't give a shit about being #1 or winning at everything.  The loudest duck is usually the first to get shot.
Anyway, if someone thinks they live in the greatest country in the world, they should visit at least 30 or 40 other ones.  Otherwise, they're talking out their ass.

If you are Canadian, then it is... uncomfortable that you would presume to make blanket statements about what "Americans are".

I wouldn't presume to tell you about Canada and what all Canadians are.  Because I would likely look foolish, and ignorant, having spent only minimal time in Canada, and certainly not enough to feel like I have an insider, native-level understanding of the culture and norms. 

I don't care about being #1.  I'm never especially interested in the Olympics, and when I do watch, I end to root for the person whose story touches me the most, no matter where that athlete is from.  I've already said in this thread that I think the US us flawed in many ways and I don't view us a #1, in the vague, who is the bestest overall, category we are discussing.  It doesn't hurt my feelings if the US is #3 in the medal count, or in education (I'd be *thrilled* if we got up to #3, simply for what that would mean about what our citizens would be getting that they now aren't), or in GDP, or in pets per household, or in amount of broccoli consumed, or any other metric.  I don't care where we rank.  I care whether we are doing right by ourselves.  Comparing that to how others are doing is of zero interest to me, other than to show what is possible, in an aspirational way.

One thing that the US might actually be #1 in is diversity of thought.  And no, I don't mean that in the "we are the most open-minded" kind of way.  I simply mean that IME, (and yes, I have been to 30+ countries and lived abroad), there is less of an "average American" than there is an "average othercountry-ian".  We are so large, formed from so many different group of colonizers, so spread out, faced with such varied topography and weather, and so many other factors, that I think there is less uniformity of culture than in most other nations.  Which makes statements about what "Americans are", especially from non-Americans (and those who haven't spent a lot of time in a lot of parts of the US) all the more ridiculous. 

The quintessential CA girl has surprisingly little in common with the quintessential Texas man.  To make blanket statements about them, together, is nearly impossible. 

It's like speaking about what "Europeans are". IME, the Southern Italians are pretty darn different than the Schwabish Germans.  To to make a statement about what all of them are is going to be pretty much universally wrong.

Well said. I was born elsewhere, my wife spent most of her life on the other end of the world, and we've both traveled to 30+ countries each, so we have some basis for comparison and agree with this.

The U.S. is #1 for business but not #1 in terms of quality of life, secondary education, equality, health care, cricket playing, shark fin eating, and a whole host of other categories. But the business category is particularly notable in a very market-driven global economy and on a website where folks rely on market returns to fund their early retirement.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 11, 2015, 12:58:33 AM
The same is true for India, China, to some degree Russia and certainly for many of the African countries that were created with arbitrary borders by their former colonist... Those countries alone account for more than half of the world's population. It is the minority that lives in a uniform country.

Other than China, I'd say there's no comparison in regards to a uniform culture and/or social harmony. India has huge rifts due to religion and language differences. Russia is way less tolerant of ethnic diversity than you think. See: deportation of Crimean Tatars, resistance in Chechnya, etc. Is the US perfect on these counts? Absolutely not. But generally people accept a black American as an American just as much as they do a white American or American of Asian descent. Go see if the French think the same way about a third generation Algerian immigrant in Marseilles.

Furthermore, re: Africa, the difference between one tribe that is from a villages 100 miles upstream from another is in no way comparable to the difference between an Italian American and a Vietnamese American. Even the difference between an Anglophone and a Francophone in Cameroon is minimal in comparison to the Italian and Vietnamese Americans above. There are definitely differences, but they are in another ballpark.

Source: I've spent time in many of these countries and have studied them quite a bit.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: 2lazy2retire on February 11, 2015, 05:56:38 AM
How many countries were founded by a group of people with the ideals of our founding fathers?  If not for the US, what would Europe have looked like from the mid-1940s on?  How many countries can come close to inventing the things that have been invented here?  China may have 10x as many people, but they don't have a fraction of the innovation we have here.  In how many countries is obesity the biggest health problem?  Do most countries have people willing to risk their lives walking across the desert or rafting in shark-infested waters to enter them?  In how many countries do people who are considered poor own TVs, computers, iPhones, refrigerators, and microwaves?

Thanks for proving a point, typical, spouting off what he chooses to believe without checking the facts

"Do most countries have people willing to risk their lives walking across the desert or rafting in shark-infested waters to enter them?"
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31414009

"If not for the US, what would Europe have looked like from the mid-1940s on?"
Debatable, but we could say "Would the US even exist if it were not for the french"

" In how many countries is obesity the biggest health problem?"
The fact that this is listed as a positive just boggles the mind, how on earth, we are so smart we don't know when to stop eating
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Albert on February 11, 2015, 11:49:44 AM
Furthermore, re: Africa, the difference between one tribe that is from a villages 100 miles upstream from another is in no way comparable to the difference between an Italian American and a Vietnamese American. Even the difference between an Anglophone and a Francophone in Cameroon is minimal in comparison to the Italian and Vietnamese Americans above. There are definitely differences, but they are in another ballpark.

There are no major language or education (for those born in US) differences between Americans of Italian and Vietnamese descent. I live within walking distance of French border and I can tell that there is a significant cultural difference. I bet geneticall population on both sides of the border is more or less identical, but language and different education system introduces plenty of differences. Local people learn French in school, but I'm not local so after walking just 20 min I'm in a place where I don't understand (except few simple words) anyone. Can't say that about America (well maybe in Miami).
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: marketnonsenses on February 11, 2015, 12:12:19 PM
Maybe for people who say that, it is the best country in the world to them. Best is such a subjective term when it isnt something quantifiable. It is presumptuous to say they do not know enough to know what country is the best choice for them.

I have immigrant grand parents who insisted that their home countries were the best countries in the world. They lived in the US because they had no home or family left in their countries after WWII.

People have no issue when someone claims that Paris or NYC is the best city in the world. But for some reason they get weird when people claim it about their country.

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Villanelle on February 12, 2015, 09:00:58 AM
Maybe for people who say that, it is the best country in the world to them. Best is such a subjective term when it isnt something quantifiable. It is presumptuous to say they do not know enough to know what country is the best choice for them.

I have immigrant grand parents who insisted that their home countries were the best countries in the world. They lived in the US because they had no home or family left in their countries after WWII.

People have no issue when someone claims that Paris or NYC is the best city in the world. But for some reason they get weird when people claim it about their country.

I disagree with that.  How can I say broccoli is the best food (for my pallet), if it's all I've ever tasted. Or if maybe I've had one steak (which may or may not have been burned to a crisp), some spam, and reconstituted powder food? 

Maybe broccoli would still be my favorite food, but to claim that it is the best without having really experienced other foods is still ignorant, even if it accidentally arrives at the correct answer.

If someone has learned about other countries in some depth and has experienced at least a handful of them, them a claim that the US is the best country in the world for them (which, by the way, is not the same as saying it is the best country in the world), cool. But to base that opinion on some 4th of July jingoistic montage of flags and jets and amber waves of grain is silly.

And it's also silly to say NYC or Paris is the best city in the world it is one of the only cities one has ever experienced. 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: paddedhat on February 12, 2015, 11:10:29 AM
Personally I think ( hope)  that nationalism will go the way of religion. As people get more educated they will realize that both were engineered to fool the masses into doing stupid shit in the name of god or country with the real objective been to preserve the status quo.
Like the British Empire line during WW1 - "fight for the freedom of small nations" - WTF

As for America been the best country, I agree with an earlier poster that a lot of this attitude stems from the brain washing in early years of school. I remember soon after moving here my wife went for a run at a local middle school, half way around the track the tannoy turns on (scaring the shit out of her) and proceeded to blast out the national anthem at 8:30 in the morning ( apparently the kids have to stand to attention) - do other countries do this stuff?

You should of been around when our idiot king, George decided to attack Iraq. Now, as you might of guessed, like most rational humans on the planet, I shared the view of one of our retired Generals, who said, "It makes about as much sense as bombing Mexico when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor". Well, at that point, retard strength nationalism ruled the day, and it was common to be verbally assaulted if you expressed the opinion that there was no good reason to get our asses handed to us, attacking another middle eastern country, especially one that had fuck-all to do with the original issue. It was so bad that friends of ours were asked to leave their church, since the minister spotted a peace rally sign in the back of the wife's car, and the church was strongly pro-war, and felt that killing was the answer. In the school where my wife was teaching, the children were forced to stand for the playing of Lee Greenwood's "God bless the USA",  which is well worth Googling BTW, as it is about the sorriest piece of nationalist propaganda dreck ever written.

Thirteen years, trillions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands dead, and our latest idiot king is asking congress to approve another round of war, "but this one will only be three years"  LOL. I sort of remember another shit-bag claiming that the last one would only be six weeks.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 12, 2015, 11:31:43 AM
Actually, although I don't agree with it, this one has a lot of justification. Since the cold war there has been a world wide agreement that countries don't pinch parts of other countries. There are disputed territories, like Kashmir where countries have never agreed on the border, but not annexation. This is annexation.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: marketnonsenses on February 12, 2015, 01:27:31 PM
Maybe for people who say that, it is the best country in the world to them. Best is such a subjective term when it isnt something quantifiable. It is presumptuous to say they do not know enough to know what country is the best choice for them.

I have immigrant grand parents who insisted that their home countries were the best countries in the world. They lived in the US because they had no home or family left in their countries after WWII.

People have no issue when someone claims that Paris or NYC is the best city in the world. But for some reason they get weird when people claim it about their country.

I disagree with that.  How can I say broccoli is the best food (for my pallet), if it's all I've ever tasted. Or if maybe I've had one steak (which may or may not have been burned to a crisp), some spam, and reconstituted powder food? 

Maybe broccoli would still be my favorite food, but to claim that it is the best without having really experienced other foods is still ignorant, even if it accidentally arrives at the correct answer.

If someone has learned about other countries in some depth and has experienced at least a handful of them, them a claim that the US is the best country in the world for them (which, by the way, is not the same as saying it is the best country in the world), cool. But to base that opinion on some 4th of July jingoistic montage of flags and jets and amber waves of grain is silly.

And it's also silly to say NYC or Paris is the best city in the world it is one of the only cities one has ever experienced.

I mean why does everyone assume that they only think that it because the person has never been anywhere. Unless you know the persons full history you dont know what they know. Unless they are close to you, you dont know if they have lived in other countries or travled a ton. That is what I meant.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: ozzage on February 12, 2015, 02:16:24 PM
In my opinion, the two countries where the inhabitants are most likely to argue about for it being the "best country in the world" are the US and Australia!

I do NOT think that the US is any worse than Australia in that regard. Aussies are some of the most nationalistic in the world. They might "take the piss" among themselves but woe betide any foreigners hinting that it's not paradise on earth!

(I'm Australian)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: greaper007 on February 12, 2015, 05:10:46 PM
I'm a big fat liberal, but I still think America has the "potential" to be the best country on the face of the planet.  And frankly, it's pretty close.

#1 is freedom.    Journalistic and individual freedoms in this country trump just about everyone else.    Now, we do have to do something about the war on drugs, and our insanely high rate of incarceration.    Until then we can't tout our freedoms.

#2 is our military strength.   Not the strength per say, but the fact that in theory we use it to help people that are truly in need.   Now, Iraq and Afghanistan (and Vietnam, Panama, The Spanish American War, The Trail of Tears...) have really cast a shadow on our efforts.    Still, we destroyed the Axis powers and made the world safe for democracy.   Our Navy is also the largest protector of maritime shipping lanes in the world.    When a country is in trouble and needs help they don't call China or Russia, they call the US.    As much as I hate our high rates of military spending, our military is essential to worldwide freedom.    We just need to use it the right way.

#3  Economic opportunities.    This has and always will be a place for innovators and hard workers.     Of course from a statistical standpoint this is no longer a great place to live if you're not in the top 1%.    There's more economic mobility in the UK than the US now.     

We need to get our poop together on a lot of things.    From emissions to poverty.    It's not jingoistic to say that America has the potential to be the greatest country on earth though.   It does, we just need to come together and help each other.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 13, 2015, 03:53:17 AM
Furthermore, re: Africa, the difference between one tribe that is from a villages 100 miles upstream from another is in no way comparable to the difference between an Italian American and a Vietnamese American. Even the difference between an Anglophone and a Francophone in Cameroon is minimal in comparison to the Italian and Vietnamese Americans above. There are definitely differences, but they are in another ballpark.

There are no major language or education (for those born in US) differences between Americans of Italian and Vietnamese descent. I live within walking distance of French border and I can tell that there is a significant cultural difference. I bet geneticall population on both sides of the border is more or less identical, but language and different education system introduces plenty of differences. Local people learn French in school, but I'm not local so after walking just 20 min I'm in a place where I don't understand (except few simple words) anyone. Can't say that about America (well maybe in Miami).

Language differences are miniscule compared to cultural and racial differences. I live with an anglophone host family in Africa and I can tell you that our shared language (which they speak very differently than I do) pales in comparison to our cultural distance. I'm pretty sure this should go without saying, but since you're in Switzerland perhaps you place more of an emphasis on language differences since they are so proche. People generally value the things that are close to them. I think you should be able to see past this, though. Assuming you're a native French-speaking Suisse, I don't think I need to spend too much time arguing with you that your shared language with someone from Libreville means very little.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: chemgeek on February 13, 2015, 10:14:34 AM
I think "America is the best" initially stemmed (historically at least) from the fact that the US was not taken seriously as a country for a very long time. The fact that the Civil war happened within 100 years of founding was proof to other countries that America as an idea was going to fail and wasn't worth considering as an equal. Because of that, I think extra efforts went into proving that we could play with the big kids, and through the years, that has translated into the population's nationalistic pride.

To the OP: I think blind patriotism is not a good thing, but I get it to some degree. I think people get defensive about facets of their identity or life that they cannot change. I didn't chose to be a female as much as I didn't choose to be born an American. I get rather agitated when sexist remarks and stereotypes are bandied about, just as I get annoyed when American stereotypes are attached to my identity without cause. I could technically change my citizenship and move somewhere else, but there's trade offs to anywhere  you live, and I personally couldn't be that far away from family.

@nanu: It really bugs me when people hold the lack of linguistic ability against Americans. Geographically, living in the US is very different than living in a European country. I can drive to the part of Canada that speaks French, but it's going to take me at least 5 hours to get there. Where as if I lived in Switzerland, it makes a ton of sense to have conversational skills in French, English, German and Italian.   International flights are cost and time prohibitive for a lot of people. I feel lucky to live on the East Coast in that regard. The only other language I can speak is Spanish ( barely) because it seemed like the most logical choice for where I live. 

Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: marketnonsenses on February 13, 2015, 11:32:53 AM


@nanu: It really bugs me when people hold the lack of linguistic ability against Americans. Geographically, living in the US is very different than living in a European country. I can drive to the part of Canada that speaks French, but it's going to take me at least 5 hours to get there. Where as if I lived in Switzerland, it makes a ton of sense to have conversational skills in French, English, German and Italian.   International flights are cost and time prohibitive for a lot of people. I feel lucky to live on the East Coast in that regard. The only other language I can speak is Spanish ( barely) because it seemed like the most logical choice for where I live.

I have this argument all the time. I dont speak any other language because there is no where to speak it. I live over 1000 miles from a country that speaks something other than English. I could join some club with a bunch of other Americans trying to learn a language. Not nearly the same as Europe. Speaking to people who moved here and have english as a second language. I ask them when did they learn English. Almost allways they said "a little in school but I really learned it moving here". So unless someone is willing to move thousands of miles away, they will never really learn a different language.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Albert on February 13, 2015, 11:40:01 AM
Language differences are miniscule compared to cultural and racial differences. I live with an anglophone host family in Africa and I can tell you that our shared language (which they speak very differently than I do) pales in comparison to our cultural distance. I'm pretty sure this should go without saying, but since you're in Switzerland perhaps you place more of an emphasis on language differences since they are so proche. People generally value the things that are close to them. I think you should be able to see past this, though. Assuming you're a native French-speaking Suisse, I don't think I need to spend too much time arguing with you that your shared language with someone from Libreville means very little.

I'm not a native of Switzerland and I only speak German and no French, but I can still say that someone from Libreville is  unlikely to have French as a native language and thus your example doesn't work. There is some cultural affinity between France and Quebec.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Albert on February 13, 2015, 11:47:46 AM
As for languages it is true that vast majority of people learn new one because they need or because they have parents speaking them and not because they are particularly interested. I can speak four to one extent or another, but it's just because my life has turned in such a way that I have needed the three foreign ones.

It is not necessary however to live abroad to speak a foreign language well. Most of my co-workers speak fluent English, but very few have lived in UK/USA.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Cookie78 on February 13, 2015, 12:15:51 PM
It is not necessary however to live abroad to speak a foreign language well. Most of my co-workers speak fluent English, but very few have lived in UK/USA.

:p
I can say the exact same thing of nearly all of my coworkers.... in Canada.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 13, 2015, 01:14:13 PM
I'm not a native of Switzerland and I only speak German and no French, but I can still say that someone from Libreville is  unlikely to have French as a native language and thus your example doesn't work. There is some cultural affinity between France and Quebec.

Not correct...But sure, you can ignore my point because I picked a less obvious example since people know little about Sub-Saharan Africa. Use Kinshasa instead. Or Accra and Seattle for English. Or the sticks in Lousiana and Rabat for French.

Language matters but not nearly as much as the other factors.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: marketnonsenses on February 13, 2015, 01:28:14 PM

It is not necessary however to live abroad to speak a foreign language well. Most of my co-workers speak fluent English, but very few have lived in UK/USA.

If you lived in the US what second language would you speak? There are no other equeviants to English except maybe Mandarin but no one I know speaks it, not even sure where I could find someone to speak it with
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Albert on February 13, 2015, 01:44:39 PM
If you lived in the US what second language would you speak? There are no other equeviants to English except maybe Mandarin but no one I know speaks it, not even sure where I could find someone to speak it with

If I was born in US I wouldn't be me anymore so I can't say, but in principle Spanish makes most sense in US. There is a fair number of Americans who can speak it to some extent.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Louisville on February 13, 2015, 01:49:52 PM
"Best Country in the World - why do you say this?"

I didn't. Who said I did?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 13, 2015, 02:32:34 PM
Learn the First Nations language of your area. Local, non-English, cool...
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: agent_clone on February 13, 2015, 03:52:18 PM
If you lived in the US what second language would you speak? There are no other equeviants to English except maybe Mandarin but no one I know speaks it, not even sure where I could find someone to speak it with

If I was born in US I wouldn't be me anymore so I can't say, but in principle Spanish makes most sense in US. There is a fair number of Americans who can speak it to some extent.
Plus, I think most of their nearer neighbours speak it (I know Brasil is Portuguese, but Mexico and Peru are certainly spanish).
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: beltim on February 13, 2015, 04:54:04 PM
If you lived in the US what second language would you speak? There are no other equeviants to English except maybe Mandarin but no one I know speaks it, not even sure where I could find someone to speak it with

If I was born in US I wouldn't be me anymore so I can't say, but in principle Spanish makes most sense in US. There is a fair number of Americans who can speak it to some extent.
Plus, I think most of their nearer neighbours speak it (I know Brasil is Portuguese, but Mexico and Peru are certainly spanish).

Yes, but a lot of the US is almost as close to Europe as it is to South America.  Heck, I've taken cross-Atlantic flights longer (in time) than cross-country US flights.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: caliq on February 13, 2015, 04:57:15 PM
If you lived in the US what second language would you speak? There are no other equeviants to English except maybe Mandarin but no one I know speaks it, not even sure where I could find someone to speak it with

If I was born in US I wouldn't be me anymore so I can't say, but in principle Spanish makes most sense in US. There is a fair number of Americans who can speak it to some extent.
Plus, I think most of their nearer neighbours speak it (I know Brasil is Portuguese, but Mexico and Peru are certainly spanish).

Yes, but a lot of the US is almost as close to Europe as it is to South America.  Heck, I've taken cross-Atlantic flights longer (in time) than cross-country US flights.

+1

I'm closer to Quebec than any Spanish-speaking country, and Spanish is not something I hear or see on any sort of regular basis.  I have spent time in francophone areas (Gulf of St. Lawrence area & France itself), and never spent time in any Spanish speaking areas.

I did learn French, though.  Not quite fluent anymore (it's been 5+ years) but I was pleasantly surprised the other day when I could read 95% of a scientific research group's website :D

Edit: and to the original question...I've never had any illusions about America's place in the world (not really #1 in quantitatively measured characteristics, and not really #1 in terms of culture/society); " 'MURICA! " is a common joke among my peers...
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Kris on February 13, 2015, 05:21:56 PM
In my opinion, we are probably best in certain areas, and we have the potential to be the best in many others, but we cock it up by allowing our political system to be hijacked by hucksters and not valuing science and education enough.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 14, 2015, 01:05:51 AM
I'm American and I speak French. I would've preferred Spanish, but French is one of the most spoken languages in the world, so I'm not complaining. English + French will cover a lot of the world's population, while also giving me the ability to read (at the survival level) other Romance languages through cognates & common roots.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: BlueHouse on February 15, 2015, 09:56:50 AM
I was at a lecture the other day that I think adds some insight to the topic.  Sorry if this was already covered, tl;dr
Before the US got into WWII, Americans didn't generally have that opinion. In fact, we had an inferiority complex for the most part.  Some parties with an interest in changing US policy actively started indoctrinating the populace with the "America is strong, proud, and the best".  Part of this came from the Government, and part of it came from Hollywood and other special business interests.  American films, posters, comic books, etc all started to celebrate the American Hero. 
Sorry to say, but we are all indoctrinated by propaganda. 
Also, we are the champions of the world!  (JK)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: libertarian4321 on February 15, 2015, 04:13:11 PM
I am Australian. As with many people who are not from the US, I have always found it totally ridiculous that
so many Americans feel that it is normal/acceptable/patriotic/intelligent to say, "The United States is the best country in the world."?
I am someone who has never been to the US. In fact partly BECAUSE of this perception by US citizens, the US would be one of the last countries in the world that I want to visit - there are others that are lower - North Korea, South Sudan, Saudi Arabia (although there are some things I would like to see there), but it is very low.

How can I, who have never even visited either American continent, have that view? How can I even know this about the US unless I have seen people say this on television (I don't even have one, so it must have been television at work), on films, on radio, or the US citizens I have met? Is it just a mantra they say all the time while, really, underneath, they think something else? Does it even mean anything to these US citizens, who don't really know anything about anywhere else? For instance, the US citizen I met briefly in Japan who commented on how well I spoke English when I said I was Australian (she was lost - couldn't even read a map). Or the US citizen who couldn't understand why I find it morally repugnant for people to carry firearms, because any US citizen can in their own country. It comes across as so very arrogant, and I want nothing to do with it.

Yes, as an Australian, I think Australia is pretty good. Possibly the best country on earth - New Zealand might be better, and so might Canada if it wasn't so freezing cold there - but I am firmly committed to Australia. And other people from other environments certainly find other countries "the best country on earth". In fact, I have a friend who thinks Myanmar is the best country on earth, and is completely miserable in Australia because of it.
We've lived in Australia a few years now.

I think, at this point, Australia is probably better overall. We're still moving back to the US.
This is exactly how most people feel about their country - the deep love that makes it the best country on earth for them - without the arrogance of thinking it is THE BEST.

Anyway - what would Christmas be if it didn't threaten to be over 100F in the shade one year out of four?

Oh, by the way, the US is not the world's oldest democracy. I wish US citizens didn't say that as well.

You base your opinion of a massive nation, with over 300 million people, that you've never visited, based on a couple of chance encounters with Americans travelling overseas and a few movies?

So your opinion is based largely on ignorance, in which you seem to be reveling.  That's just as ignorant as the Americans who proclaim the USA the best place, despite knowing next to nothing about anyplace else.

That is why I encourage people to travel.  Experience different cultures and form opinions based on your own experiences and your ability to reason.  Don't settle for ignorant stereotypes.  Ignorance is a significant part of the basis for much of the strife around the world.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 15, 2015, 05:39:50 PM
But I don't - as I have said repeatedly, Australia is one of the best places. US is one of the best places. But best? Nah!
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 15, 2015, 07:05:36 PM
There are many ways to know about another country. Seeing it is one way - and I would suggest it is not the best - it may give you an understanding of the way it fits together - the relationship between deserts, mountain ranges, tropical jungles... It can lead you to question some fundamental assumptions you have. For example, I visited Myanmar (Burma) in 1993. The people longed for democracy. But it seemed to me that what they thought was democracy wasn't the democracy they would get. They had television, which showed US, British, Australian... sitcoms, with people going about their everyday business. Sure, they were viewing democracy, with nice helpful police and government officials who were not corrupt - but it also showed people who were rich beyond their wildest dreams. And if they thought freedom from corruption and riches were going to come automatically as a result of democracy, they were probably wrong. They were going to end up with a democracy more like India's - but very few Indian films were shown. Whenever I have talked to people about their experiences in other countries, the holiday rose-coloured glasses tend to come out - they have seen the tourist spots of the country, rather than what it is actually like as a country for the people living in it.

I don't have a television or go to the movies, but I think that a similarly jaundiced view can be gleaned of just about every country from films and television. The film maker is trying to emphasize some aspect of the country. When we went to Japan, we were on Japanese TV. We were a group of normal skiers, but we were taking part in their "fun run on skis" and were about half of the very few foreigners in the event (we were not in the "race" part, and were doing the second from the bottom course) which had 24,000 Japanese in it. The film crew filmed our first day on skis for six months - we fell frequently, we were terrible - apart from anything else Australian snow is not really snow - it's more like hail because the temperatures are always near freezing point, and this was powder, so we were experiencing something totally different! The segment they broadcast was fantastic - the 30 best seconds of the entire day's skiing. Boy were we good! Even before this I didn't think film was completely truthful - afterwards, I realised just how untruthful it could be!

I am somewhat addicted to reports about the differences between countries - for instance the OECD happiness report. Sure, many of these reports have a table of the relative standing of most countries in the world, with Australia near or at the top. But this is only the start. Reading the body of the reports shows you the diversity of countries, and how different countries tackle their problems differently. It shows you that everywhere has different solutions to their problems. It may reinforce your thoughts that Australia is a pretty good place - one of the best in the world - but it also shows you where your country is lagging - and every country - even the very top - lags somewhere in every one of these inter-nation reports. It shows you interesting solutions. Every country - even the very bottom - has something to teach. And these reports really broaden your understanding of different countries. I read them whenever I find a new one, or a new version of one comes out.

I am also somewhat addicted to history and geography, and have a collection of over 200 metres of books (I measure the amount of bookshelf my books consume), mainly in these categories. I read many library books each year as well.

I consider both of these to be somewhat better sources of information about other countries than movies or visits. I also read international news and behind the news journals such as the Economist.

Coming to MMM has shown me many things about the US that I just don't like, particularly the enormous lack of safety nets for the poor and vulnerable. It's not what people whinge about - it's the things that they just take for granted, like lack of unemployment benefits (not an insurance, anyone who meets the very tight unemployed criteria gets it), old age pension (not the same as SS - everyone who is poor enough gets it) and minimum wage... I already knew about the health benefits. I am sure that there are things that people looking at Australia don't particularly like. There are many I don't like too.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: willow on February 15, 2015, 07:46:30 PM
(http://www.imgderp.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2013/09/Englands-greatest-gift-to-the-world-421x900.jpg)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 16, 2015, 03:01:25 AM
HA - that's great.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: marketnonsenses on February 16, 2015, 05:49:54 AM
If you lived in the US what second language would you speak? There are no other equeviants to English except maybe Mandarin but no one I know speaks it, not even sure where I could find someone to speak it with

If I was born in US I wouldn't be me anymore so I can't say, but in principle Spanish makes most sense in US. There is a fair number of Americans who can speak it to some extent.

 
Plus, I think most of their nearer neighbours speak it (I know Brasil is Portuguese, but Mexico and Peru are certainly spanish).

Yes, but a lot of the US is almost as close to Europe as it is to South America.  Heck, I've taken cross-Atlantic flights longer (in time) than cross-country US flights.

From the East Coast I think it is shorter to fly to Germany than Brazil. Funny thing. It is a shorter flight from California to Tokyo than it is from California to Sao Palo Brazil. I think people dont realize how far South America is.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: jackiechiles2 on February 16, 2015, 08:04:44 AM
There isn't one for sure reason the U.S. is the "Best" country in the world.   However, taken in its totality, it's hard to argue with its citizens believing it is the best.   What we have on here are people taking individual components (education, crime, literacy, etc., ) and thinking "hey, we're not number 1 in education, therefore we're not the best," a line of thinking, that completely ignores the totality of what makes a nation the "best."  Let's look at the U.S. as compared to other nations in its totality.

1.  Political System

The U.S. pioneered the Federal System along with the balanced power system.  Sure, the UK had something like three branches of government when the U.S. declared it's independence, but it wasn't as clearly defined as it was in the U.S. and it certainly wasn't as balanced as it was in the U.S.  Sure, the UK eventually got to the point where the US was in terms of balanced power, but it took a lot longer and took several more civil wars than occurred in the US to get to that result.

2.  Stability

The U.S. really has only had one major civil war in its history.  Sure, the US's history has been relatively short (250 years or so) but not all countries can say they've only suffered one civil war in that time frame.   Again, the U.S. isn't the "best in this regard, but it's pretty good.

3.  Rights of Citizens

The U.S. gives a fair amount of rights to its citizens. Right to free speech, press, etc., are all enshrined in the Constitution.  That's something that wasn't common in the Western world prior to the Bill of Rights.  The UK did have rights that Englishmen were entitled to, but it wasn't very clearly defined.  Maybe Europe is currently better than the US at this because it gives rights to healthcare, maternity care, and childcare, but the U.S. is still far ahead of many other nations at this.

4. Military Power

This is an obvious choice. The U.S. is far superior to the rest of the world in military power.  This has helped to enforce a sort of stability that is unknown in world history.  Since the 1940s, the wars fought have not been on a global scale, but on a much smaller localized scale.  Wars are never good, we got that.  But the European powers fought much larger and much more brutal wars over colonies than the U.S. fought in Vietnam or Iraq.    Someone mentioned pointless wars- the U.S. has started pointless wars with Iraq, and to an extent, Vietnam.  The same can be said for nearly every country.  Russia in Afghanistan, France/Britain 100 years war, 7 years war, etc.  Maybe the U.S. isn't as good at this as, say, Australia, but, again, it's still pretty good.

I should also note that since the U.S. military serves as the de facto military of the EU and Australia, the plush welfare benefits would likely not be available in those nations were it not for the U.S. level of spending on military and defense.  Those nations spend a fraction of what the U.S. spends on the military, because it can rely on the U.S. military to protect them to a degree.  This is a huge benefit to the Western world that the U.S. is fully bearing the burden of paying for.

5.  Education

The U.S. has a highly educated populous compared to other nations. Sure, it's not the smartest in every category, but again, it's still above-average. 

6.  Economy

The U.S. currently has the first (or second) biggest economy in the world.  It alone surpasses the size of the entire economy of the continent of Europe and is nearly the same size as the Chinese economy which has over 3x the citizenry.  The U.S. may not be on top forever, but it's economy will remain a major force worldwide for years to come. 

7.  Medicine

The U.S. medicine system is one of the most advanced in the world. Other nations like Australia or the UK probably have better systems in that it is more accessible to the entirety of the populous, but the U.S. is still above average with its medical care.  When you take into account the medical research that originates in the U.S., it's probably one of the top 5.

8. Population Size/Growth

This may be an arbitrary category, but it's important.  A larger population enables the U.S. to act as an economy of scale and gives it a larger talent base to choose from.  The more educated people there are, the more super-star inventors, writers, etc., there will be. Kind of like how high school sports are divided into school sizes.  There's a reason a school with 5000 kids will field a better football team than one with 500.  The same goes for countries.  The U.S. certainly isn't the size of China or India, but it is in the top 3 and will continue to be with immigration patterns and birth rates.  Russia, Italy, Japan, and much of Europe are being faced with the likelihood of a declining population in the future.  It will be difficult for the public welfare systems to support retirees and health benefits with shrinking populations to pay for them.   

9.  Crime

The U.S. has a very low crime rate compared to many countries.  It has the most incarcerated people in the world- huge negative.  However, the U.S. is a safe country to live and work in.  There are parts of South Africa where there is nearly a 100% chance that a woman will be raped in her lifetime living there.  Such statistics would be shocking in the U.S.  and most of the Western World.  Again, while the U.S. may not be the best in this category as crime rates are probably higher than in other nations, it's still pretty good.

10.  Infastructure

The U.S.'s infastructure is crumbling.  It still has, however, one of the best infastructure systems in the world.  There concept of interstates do not exist in many countries in the world. Europe has a superior rail system.  China seems to be building out rail systems that will make it surpass even Europes.  The U.S. may not be the best at rail, but it still has decent road systems (although in dire need of upgrades).  It still has a good air system with relatively few accidents.  The U.S. may not be the best at infastructure, but it's still relatively good.


Conclusion

There's probably some other categories I'm leaving out like government integrity, natural resources, financial institutions, etc., that also play into whether a nation is a "good" nations.  The fact is, there's not another nation that currently parallels the US in its totality as a nation.  Maybe China or India will eventually do so, but those are works in progress. The U.S. isn't the best at every category- nowhere near it.  But it is ranked high enough in each category that I think the sum of the parts means it is the "best" nation in the world.

I'm not doubting that there's better countries to live in.  Just because a particular country is better to live in doesn't necessarily make it a better country overall.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: SnackDog on February 17, 2015, 02:57:16 AM
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-10/u-s-retirement-security-isn-t-getting-any-better (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-10/u-s-retirement-security-isn-t-getting-any-better)

This sums it up pretty well, although Europe does not rank as high on my list as Australia or Canada.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Grog on February 17, 2015, 05:26:19 AM


6.  Economy

The U.S. currently has the first (or second) biggest economy in the world.  It alone surpasses the size of the entire economy of the continent of Europe and is nearly the same size as the Chinese economy which has over 3x the citizenry.  The U.S. may not be on top forever, but it's economy will remain a major force worldwide for years to come. 


you did a good resume and I'm not attaccking your conclusion, I just wanted to point out that this assertion is just not true:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)

And this includes only European Union, it doesn't include the GDP of continental countries like Switzerland.

The US have a far larger capitalization in the stock markets, but Europe has many company that are not publicly traded so is better not to confuse the world stock capitalization with GDP.

Or did you intended something else with "economy"?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Albert on February 17, 2015, 11:05:53 AM
Since when bigger means better anyway?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: greaper007 on February 17, 2015, 11:14:52 AM
Since when bigger means better anyway?

Hmmm, you'll have to ask your girlfriend about that one...

(hackneyed, yes but if you toss me softballs I have to swing)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: lisahi on February 17, 2015, 12:16:16 PM
The United States is the largest heavily diverse nation in the world. Yes, other countries are larger, but none are larger and more diverse. Despite the melting pot of religions, culture, race, national origin, etc., America is stable and, overall, prosperous. That is a big deal. Because with so many differences amongst its citizenry, it's not easy to stay on course. The U.S. is a nation of immigrants (and it's also one of the most welcoming of immigrants still, despite what some people say about U.S. immigration laws). That means there are a lot of disagreements, a lot of different ideas, and yet America is still plugging along as the most powerful (politically) in the world. I think that's something to be proud of, even if America is not the "best" in every area.

The U.S. is also a country where you can find the near-perfect home for you. Don't like ultra-liberal parts of California? Move somewhere less liberal or somewhere ultra-conservative -- there's plenty of states (and even cities in California) to choose from. Don't want the farm life? Move to one of the thousands of urban environments. Don't like the cost of living? Move somewhere cheap. There is a near-perfect place for almost everybody. In fact, because of the Federal/state division of power, you can even switch states because you don't like the marriage laws, or the state health care laws, or the animal welfare laws, or criminal laws, etc. You can find diversity in living styles in other countries (especially large ones), but not to the same degree. I've lived in Hawaii, Northern California, Washington and Texas. Each very different from one another in lifestyle, pace, expense, political atmosphere, and which "personal freedoms" are deemed most important.

There is a lot about the U.S., when taken in totality given its size, populous, and makeup, that makes it great. Now, is it "the best"? There is no such thing, factually. But I don't begrudge anybody from thinking that their own country is "the best." It's an opinion and nothing more. Believing America is "the best nation in the world" does not mean you shut off your brain and believe it's the best in every single area (obviously, it's not). But when Americans make that statement, they aren't thinking of the parts, they're thinking of the whole.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Chuck on February 17, 2015, 12:59:45 PM
There are several reasons that the USA is the "best":

We are the most free. Individual liberty here is unmatched anywhere else in the world. We have the greatest mixture of personal (self defense and the means to it are not prohibited by the state), economic (low taxes, low redistribution), and political (very, VERY few controls on any kind of speech) freedom.

We are the most significant. We combine the greatest military with the most productive economy, and this grants us power that is unparalleled in the modern world.

We are the most inclusive. Anyone born in America is automatically American. Do you know how rare that is in the modern world? Any American can sponsor any number of relatives to also become American, making becoming a permanent resident (and eventually a citizen) a very simple affair. Even if you don't meet the generous qualifications, and choose to come here illegally, what do we do? Nothing. Mexico, France, Russia and any other number of other states are very, very harsh in their treatment of illegal immigration, but not us.

So yeah, we are the biggest, strongest and most important. At the same time we reserve powers for the individual that nearly all other nations hold as exclusive domain of the state. Oh, and the S&P500 always goes up.

We kick ass.

Sorry for interrupting the Democratic circle-jerk.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: jackiechiles2 on February 17, 2015, 01:14:22 PM


6.  Economy

The U.S. currently has the first (or second) biggest economy in the world.  It alone surpasses the size of the entire economy of the continent of Europe and is nearly the same size as the Chinese economy which has over 3x the citizenry.  The U.S. may not be on top forever, but it's economy will remain a major force worldwide for years to come. 


you did a good resume and I'm not attaccking your conclusion, I just wanted to point out that this assertion is just not true:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)

And this includes only European Union, it doesn't include the GDP of continental countries like Switzerland.

The US have a far larger capitalization in the stock markets, but Europe has many company that are not publicly traded so is better not to confuse the world stock capitalization with GDP.

Or did you intended something else with "economy"?

Yeah, you're right.  There's some articles out there I read that the US had surpassed the EU back in 2013.  It looks like it did in PPP, but that's just one model

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29

In any event, the two economies are very close in size, which is incredible when you think the US has 330 million people compared to the 507 million people in the EU.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Schaefer Light on February 17, 2015, 02:14:21 PM
Because football > futbol.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: libertarian4321 on February 17, 2015, 03:06:01 PM
There are several reasons that the USA is the "best":


Quote
We are the most free. Individual liberty here is unmatched anywhere else in the world. We have the greatest mixture of personal (self defense and the means to it are not prohibited by the state), economic (low taxes, low redistribution), and political (very, VERY few controls on any kind of speech) freedom.

Not really.  Might have been true 80 years ago, but sure as Hell isn't true now.  We are losing our freedoms at a rapid pace, and, like the frog that sits quietly in the kettle as the water heats up, most Americans are blissfully unaware of it.

Though it started before 9-11, that incident, in particular, has led to a MASSIVE reduction in individual rights in the USA, and turned the USA into much more of a police state.

Even "Rah, rah, USA is great!" security state organizations like the Heritage Foundation no longer rank the USA near the top (they have us at 12th).  Organizations with a more libertarian bent rate the USA significantly lower.

http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking

The security/police state favored by Republicans, and the anti-capitalism attitude of the Dems have the USA becoming ever less free.

Quote
We are the most significant. We combine the greatest military with the most productive economy, and this grants us power that is unparalleled in the modern world.

Yup, we spend RIDICULOUS amounts on our military.  MORE THAN THE REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED!  That, my friend, is insane.  Who the Hell are we so afraid of?

In fact, calling it "defense" is insane.  We went waaaaaay beyond "defense" decades ago.  We now have a military designed for, at best, being a global enforcement agency, at worst, designed for global hegemony.

The downside?  ITS EXPENSIVE!  Our military is a HUGE DRAIN on the USA.  It's a huge part of our government debt.  It hurts our economy.  Yes, we still have the largest economy (though not on a per capita basis).  Keep blowing Trillions on the military, and that won't be the case for a whole lot longer.

And FYI, I ain't no liberal peacenik.  I spent 30 years in the Army, active and reserve.  But I'm appalled at how much we spend on so called "defense" 25 years after the Cold War ended.


Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 17, 2015, 03:11:33 PM
Yup, we spend RIDICULOUS amounts on our military.  MORE THAN THE REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED!  That, my friend, is insane.  Who the Hell are we so afraid of?

I agree with your general point about the massive amount of money we spend on defense, but we don't spend more than the rest of the world combined. A few years ago it was more than the next 20 countries, but recently it has dropped to somewhere between 10-15, IRC.

Still a very high amount.

I also agree that we're letting our rights slip away for the promise of security. Unfortunately, this is happening in other places, too. Terrorists are so weak in comparison to the military might of developed states, yet they cause us to restructure our society since we are uncomfortable with the risk inherent to freedom. By all means, fight them, but don't let them change who you are.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Chuck on February 17, 2015, 03:46:27 PM

Not really.  Might have been true 80 years ago, but sure as Hell isn't true now.  We are losing our freedoms at a rapid pace, and, like the frog that sits quietly in the kettle as the water heats up, most Americans are blissfully unaware of it.

Though it started before 9-11, that incident, in particular, has led to a MASSIVE reduction in individual rights in the USA, and turned the USA into much more of a police state.

The security/police state favored by Republicans, and the anti-capitalism attitude of the Dems have the USA becoming ever less free.
Less freedom? In what way, and as compared to whom?

Remember that warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention and constant surveillance are not exclusive to America. Furthermore, and I hate to burst your bubble here, these things all existed in America a long time prior to 9/11. All the Patriot Act did was codify practices already utilized in the War on Drugs and repurpose them to combat terrorism.

The perception that you are now "less free" is a result of opposition to those practices, largely politically driven and (as Obama's practices have shown) insincere, arising in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election.

In short, them good old pre-9/11 days you are pining for never existed. I agree that there is injustice in that, and certainly ways for us to improve in this regard, but so it goes with the rest of the world. We are tied with some, but vastly superior to many thanks to the controls and accountability that we do have in place.

However, our nearly absolute freedom of speech is unique in the world, where either personal speech (hate speech) or political speech is often restricted. These rights continue to expand, as campaign finance laws that restrict speech continue to be knocked down.

Likewise, our right to personal defense continues to expand. In the last 25 years, the right to carry a firearm for your own personal protection has gone from novel and rare to nearly universal in this country. Even prior to this, we were and are one of the few nations that allows it's citizenry to own many types of firearms, and to employ lethal force in defense of one's body and property.

Finally, in regards to our economic freedom ranking, we are largely (almost exclusively) hampered by our excessive corporate tax rate. I agree that this is an issue. However, on a personal level, the picture looks much better. Personal tax rates, and our rock bottom tax rate on capital gains (one of the main reasons ER is so easy in America) speak in our favor. Remember also that investing in tax deferred accounts is severely limited in many parts of the world- to the point where many force you to buy annuities or some other such shit. Here our freedom to invest in equities and reap the benefits of that investment are unparalleled.


Quote
Yup, we spend RIDICULOUS amounts on our military.  MORE THAN THE REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED!  That, my friend, is insane.  Who the Hell are we so afraid of?
I'm surprised you have to even ask that question. Here goes:



Those are just the four big ones. That isn't even counting the little things like the Philippines melting down, allowing communist extremists to take power in the north and Islamic extremists to take power in the south.

None of them are presently likely, precisely because our military is present or implied to respond to each situation.

WWIII is a very real possibility. It can happen. It doesn't happen because half the world is scared of us, and the other half is allied with us (and uses our heavy defense spending to cut their own- see: Canada.)

Quote
The downside?  ITS EXPENSIVE!  Our military is a HUGE DRAIN on the USA.  It's a huge part of our government debt.  It hurts our economy.  Yes, we still have the largest economy (though not on a per capita basis).  Keep blowing Trillions on the military, and that won't be the case for a whole lot longer.
Yes, it's quite expensive to keep the world from killing it's self. WWIII is not an acceptable alternative... and I fail to see how any of this takes away from the idea that we are the best. The fact that we have assumed this burden, voluntarily, is to our credit imo.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: libertarian4321 on February 17, 2015, 06:02:31 PM

Less freedom? In what way, and as compared to whom?

Remember that warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention and constant surveillance are not exclusive to America. Furthermore, and I hate to burst your bubble here, these things all existed in America a long time prior to 9/11. All the Patriot Act did was codify practices already utilized in the War on Drugs and repurpose them to combat terrorism.

The perception that you are now "less free" is a result of opposition to those practices, largely politically driven and (as Obama's practices have shown) insincere, arising in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election.

In short, them good old pre-9/11 days you are pining for never existed. I agree that there is injustice in that, and certainly ways for us to improve in this regard, but so it goes with the rest of the world. We are tied with some, but vastly superior to many thanks to the controls and accountability that we do have in place.

However, our nearly absolute freedom of speech is unique in the world, where either personal speech (hate speech) or political speech is often restricted. These rights continue to expand, as campaign finance laws that restrict speech continue to be knocked down.

Likewise, our right to personal defense continues to expand. In the last 25 years, the right to carry a firearm for your own personal protection has gone from novel and rare to nearly universal in this country. Even prior to this, we were and are one of the few nations that allows it's citizenry to own many types of firearms, and to employ lethal force in defense of one's body and property.

Finally, in regards to our economic freedom ranking, we are largely (almost exclusively) hampered by our excessive corporate tax rate. I agree that this is an issue. However, on a personal level, the picture looks much better. Personal tax rates, and our rock bottom tax rate on capital gains (one of the main reasons ER is so easy in America) speak in our favor. Remember also that investing in tax deferred accounts is severely limited in many parts of the world- to the point where many force you to buy annuities or some other such shit. Here are freedom to invest in equities and reap the benefits of that investment are unparalleled.


Quote
Yup, we spend RIDICULOUS amounts on our military.  MORE THAN THE REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED!  That, my friend, is insane.  Who the Hell are we so afraid of?
I'm surprised you have to even ask that question. Here goes:


  • China attacking Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and eventually threatening Australia.
  • North Korea attacking South Korea, triggering a counterattack that causes the above to start occurring much sooner.
  • Russia attempting to annex Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia and eventually Poland, the last forcing the EU to declare war.
  • War between Israel and Iran.

Those are just the four big ones. That isn't even counting the little things like the Philippines melting down, allowing communist extremists to take power in the north and Islamic extremists to take power in the south.

None of them are presently likely, precisely because our military is present or implied to respond to each situation.

WWIII is a very real possibility. It can happen. It doesn't happen because half the world is scared of us, and the other half is allied with us (and uses our heavy defense spending to cut their own- see: Canada.)

Quote
The downside?  ITS EXPENSIVE!  Our military is a HUGE DRAIN on the USA.  It's a huge part of our government debt.  It hurts our economy.  Yes, we still have the largest economy (though not on a per capita basis).  Keep blowing Trillions on the military, and that won't be the case for a whole lot longer.
Yes, it's quite expensive to keep the world from killing it's self. WWIII is not an acceptable alternative... and I fail to see how any of this takes away from the idea that we are the best. The fact that we have assumed this burden, voluntarily, is to our credit imo.

Quote
Remember that warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention and constant surveillance are not exclusive to America. Furthermore, and I hate to burst your bubble here, these things all existed in America a long time prior to 9/11. All the Patriot Act did was codify practices already utilized in the War on Drugs and repurpose them to combat terrorism.

They weren't "non existent" before 9-11, but 9-11 was used as an excuse to take them to obscene levels.  I never said the USA was truly free before 9-11, it surely wasn't.  The USA is, in many ways, far more repressive than many other nations in a variety of ways, and was even before 9-11.

The insane, failed "War on Drugs" being a great example of ineffective police state activity in the USA before 9-11, resulting in the USA having the highest incarceration rate in the civilized world, much of it for victimless "crimes" like smoking marijuana or hiring a hooker, "crimes" which are non-existent in much of the civilized world.

I've lived overseas, and traveled extensively.  If you think the USA is "more free" than most of the western world, you are delusional or uninformed.  I'm not saying any other country is perfect, either, but it's insane to claim that the USA is the "freest country in the world."

Quote
Finally, in regards to our economic freedom ranking, we are largely (almost exclusively) hampered by our excessive corporate tax rate. I agree that this is an issue. However, on a personal level, the picture looks much better. Personal tax rates, and our rock bottom tax rate on capital gains (one of the main reasons ER is so easy in America) speak in our favor. Remember also that investing in tax deferred accounts is severely limited in many parts of the world- to the point where many force you to buy annuities or some other such shit. Here are freedom to invest in equities and reap the benefits of that investment are unparalleled.

There is a WHOLE LOT more to "economic freedom" than just tax rates.  Ridiculous and burdensome REGULATION hugely impinges on economic freedom.  And the USA is big on ridiculous and burdensome regulation.  Not the worst, but nowhere near the best, either.

Quote
Quote
  • China attacking Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and eventually threatening Australia.
  • North Korea attacking South Korea, triggering a counterattack that causes the above to start occurring much sooner.
  • Russia attempting to annex Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia and eventually Poland, the last forcing the EU to declare war.
  • War between Israel and Iran.

Those are just the four big ones. That isn't even counting the little things like the Philippines melting down, allowing communist extremists to take power in the north and Islamic extremists to take power in the south.

None of them are presently likely, precisely because our military is present or implied to respond to each situation.

WWIII is a very real possibility. It can happen. It doesn't happen because half the world is scared of us, and the other half is allied with us (and uses our heavy defense spending to cut their own- see: Canada.)

Wow, you really buy into the scare tactics used to keep the military industrial complex humming along.  My Boeing stock thanks you for not questioning the BS.

After the Cold War ended, the military industrial complex really, really, really needed a Boogeyman to replace the Soviet Union.  They haven't really found one, but by "throwing enough shit against the wall" they've managed to convince enough Americans like yourself to "live in fear" of a whole bunch of bad (though highly unlikely) scenarios all occurring at once to keep the "defense (yeah, right)" dollars flowing.

BTW, I would point out that most of those "scare" scenarios you listed are HIGHLY UNLIKELY, and even less likely to occur AT THE SAME TIME.  And, frankly, some of them are none of our damned business/not our problem.

South Korea is twice the size of North Korea, and vastly more wealthy.  It ain't our damned job to defend South Korea from it's smaller, impoverished neighbor.

If Israel and Iran start something, why would that require the USA to have 10 carrier battle groups, and millions of soldiers?  Not our problem.

I'm particularly fond of the way those that benefit from the military industrial complex have tried to turn China into the big, bad, aggressor.  You know how many wars China has engaged outside it's borders in the past 150 years?  Three.  Vietnam (a two week scuffle in 1980), Korea and Tibet.

Guess how many the USA has been involved in?  Dozens, large and small, including an invasion of China, BTW.

Just since 1898, we've fought the Spanish, Philippines (twice, not including the Spanish American War), China (Boxer rebellion, I won't count the time we bombed their embassy in the '90s), Mexico (1915), invasions and occupations of Haiti (multiple times)- Dominican Republic (multiple times)- Nicaragua,  World War I, Russian Civil War (another one which most Americans are blissfully unaware of), World War 2, Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Lebanon (multiple times), Grenada, Panama, Gulf War, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and now Iraq/Syria against ISIL. 

Good God, man, we shouldn't be worried about China, China and the rest of the world should be worried about us, because we have been involved in more wars, by far, than any other nation in the past 120 years.

We would be just fine, even in your (highly unlikely) "scary" scenarios, with a standing military half the size of what we currently have.

In conclusion, I'd like to see a USA with more personal freedom (there are PLENTY of nations with as much, or more, than we have), less government regulation and more economic freedom (we aren't the worst, but we sure aren't the best), and a less war like stance (costly as Hell- let South Korea, Japan, Germany, etc provide their own defense, they ain't poor- as long as the American taxpayer agrees to foot the bill, they will NEVER take care of themselves).
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Hedge_87 on February 17, 2015, 08:14:48 PM
Because football > futbol.
Yep....
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Ricky on February 17, 2015, 09:54:09 PM
Just as a preliminary, I haven't read past the first couple of posts. Anytime you throw ambiguous words like "best" around, all you're ever going to get are opinions. Too many variables for one.

I don't hear "America is the best country" as much as "New York is the greatest city in the world". But I'll address the former.

American pride comes in part from how much has been achieved in a relatively little amount of time. Though the land is as old as the earth itself, the USA is a relatively young country. People take pride in all of the innovation here. Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, etc. There is no other Microsoft in the world. It happened in America.

Also: film, television, games. America is great because it's not a bunch of hicks screaming "hell yeah, country!" It's a diverse group of people coming together to make amazing things. There's no where else with as much diversity.

I'm not using this information to purport superiority, just giving reasons as one might (possibly naively) perceive America as the best.

America also has the highest economic throughput in the world, leading one of the best standards of living due to high productivity.

Achievements and superiority in technology and movies doesn't necessarily make you the best though, so there are still areas for concessions.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: jackiechiles2 on February 18, 2015, 07:28:57 AM


 
Good God, man, we shouldn't be worried about China, China and the rest of the world should be worried about us, because we have been involved in more wars, by far, than any other nation in the past 120 years.

We would be just fine, even in your (highly unlikely) "scary" scenarios, with a standing military half the size of what we currently have.

In conclusion, I'd like to see a USA with more personal freedom (there are PLENTY of nations with as much, or more, than we have), less government regulation and more economic freedom (we aren't the worst, but we sure aren't the best), and a less war like stance (costly as Hell- let South Korea, Japan, Germany, etc provide their own defense, they ain't poor- as long as the American taxpayer agrees to foot the bill, they will NEVER take care of themselves).


I'm not saying we need to be defending Germany, South Korea, or Japan, but your statement that the US has been involved in more wars than any other country in the last 120 years is totally incorrect.

The UK served as the Superpower prior to WWII.  Wars it has been involved in since 1890s

Anglo-Zanzibar War (1896)
Boxer Rebellion (1899) 
Second Boer War (1899)
Invasion of Tibet (1903)
WWI (1914)
Russian Civil War (1918) (although I'm not sure why you are separating this from WWI since the main interest was Russias participation in the war)
Turkish War of Independence (1919)
Third Anglo Afghan War (1919)
Irish War of Independence (1919)
Somaliand Campaign (1920)
Great Iraqi Revolution (1920)
Great Arab Revolt Palestine (1936)
British Zionist Conflict (1938-1948)
WWII (1941)
Indonesian National Revolution (1945)
Greek Civil War (1944, but could be part of WWII)
Vietnam (1945)
Malayan Emergency (1948)
Korean War (1950)
Suez Canal Emergency (1951)
Mau Mau Uprising (1952)
Cyprus Emergency (1955)
Suez Crisis (1956)
Border Campaign with Ireland (1956)
Indonesian-Malaysian Confrontation (1962)
Dhofar Rebellion (1962)
Aden Emergency (1963)
Falklands War (1982)

Then all the Gulf and European campaigns with the US since the 1980s. 

Other European colonial powers have many additional wars that you're not thinking of since you seem solely focused on the US military history.


Again, I'm not saying we need military bases in first world countries anymore, but the US military spending and size of its force are what allow those other countries to spend to little on their military and have greater freedom or standards of living in the US.

Also, for all the "bad" things the US has done involving itself in foreign affairs, I think it's safe to say extremes are limited by US own moral code/concern about public opinion.  It's unlikely appealing to the Russian or Chinese moral codes would be as strong a restraining force on the exercise of power as it is in the US should those countries ever ascend to the global position the US currently occupies.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 18, 2015, 10:31:50 AM
(http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/imported_assets/2285382/well-thats-just-like-your-opinion-man-gif-the-dude-lebowski.gif)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Schaefer Light on February 18, 2015, 02:46:24 PM
In the words of Denis Leary...

"Two words, nuclear fucking weapons, okay?
Russia, Germany, Romania
They can have all the democracy they want
They can have a big democracy cake walk
Right through the middle of Tienanmen square

And it won't make a lick of difference
Because we've got the bombs, okay?"


Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: RetiredAt63 on February 20, 2015, 08:11:09 AM
That was interesting - Canada was 6th, top in the North America, the U.S. was 12th.   And our score has dropped because of labour issues, there has been some rather restrictive legislation on unions recently.

And no union bashing, please - unions do well (membership numbers, activity) when they are needed, and they are usually needed.  If they are not needed at a particular company or industry, then they tend not to form.

http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: SK Joyous on February 20, 2015, 08:54:59 AM
Ha, this is a really thought-provoking thread. I have totally been brainwashed from youth, because it's way too easy for me to automatically think, "yeah! America's the best!!" without thinking, wait, why?? I think the default for a lot of people is "freedom": free to be anything you want, free to succeed, free to voice your beliefs, etc... but, uh, pretty sure you're free to do all those other things in other first-world countries with decent governments as well (e.g. most of Europe). So that's a pretty dumb reason.

So I guess it's not the best, I just really like it because I grew up here. I will say that one thing I think is really cool/"the best" about the U.S. is the awesome cultural/climatic/physiographic diversity within our borders, just by virtue of being so huge and having a history of diverse immigration (which itself is linked to the hugeness/natural resources). Off the top of my head I can't think of any other first-world countries that are similarly diverse, and I think it's a pretty neat feature.

Canada.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Chuck on February 20, 2015, 09:06:52 AM
Ha, this is a really thought-provoking thread. I have totally been brainwashed from youth, because it's way too easy for me to automatically think, "yeah! America's the best!!" without thinking, wait, why?? I think the default for a lot of people is "freedom": free to be anything you want, free to succeed, free to voice your beliefs, etc... but, uh, pretty sure you're free to do all those other things in other first-world countries with decent governments as well (e.g. most of Europe). So that's a pretty dumb reason.

So I guess it's not the best, I just really like it because I grew up here. I will say that one thing I think is really cool/"the best" about the U.S. is the awesome cultural/climatic/physiographic diversity within our borders, just by virtue of being so huge and having a history of diverse immigration (which itself is linked to the hugeness/natural resources). Off the top of my head I can't think of any other first-world countries that are similarly diverse, and I think it's a pretty neat feature.

Canada.
Uh, dude. It's called the Great White North for a reason, mang.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: SK Joyous on February 20, 2015, 10:46:59 AM
Sorry, but those are not the only interpretations of those parts of history.

Lol. No kidding.

Shows up late to war. Takes all credit.

+1
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Chuck on February 20, 2015, 11:00:05 AM
Sorry, but those are not the only interpretations of those parts of history.

Lol. No kidding.

Shows up late to war. Takes all credit.

+1
This is a common refrain.

Who made most of the ships, planes, bullets and bombs that were being used prior to our arrival again?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: 2lazy2retire on February 20, 2015, 11:07:20 AM
Sorry, but those are not the only interpretations of those parts of history.

Lol. No kidding.

Shows up late to war. Takes all credit.

+1
This is a common refrain.

Who made most of the ships, planes, bullets and bombs that were being used prior to our arrival again?
+1 - America is the best when it comes to wars
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: SK Joyous on February 20, 2015, 12:36:06 PM
Ha, this is a really thought-provoking thread. I have totally been brainwashed from youth, because it's way too easy for me to automatically think, "yeah! America's the best!!" without thinking, wait, why?? I think the default for a lot of people is "freedom": free to be anything you want, free to succeed, free to voice your beliefs, etc... but, uh, pretty sure you're free to do all those other things in other first-world countries with decent governments as well (e.g. most of Europe). So that's a pretty dumb reason.

So I guess it's not the best, I just really like it because I grew up here. I will say that one thing I think is really cool/"the best" about the U.S. is the awesome cultural/climatic/physiographic diversity within our borders, just by virtue of being so huge and having a history of diverse immigration (which itself is linked to the hugeness/natural resources). Off the top of my head I can't think of any other first-world countries that are similarly diverse, and I think it's a pretty neat feature.

Canada.
Uh, dude. It's called the Great White North for a reason, mang.

Sure, the snow (and dang it is cold right now :) - but we are also a huge country founded on immigration, and have at least the same (and it could be argued, more, due to more of a 'mosaic' mindset rather than a 'melting pot' mindset) cultural diversity as the U.S.  I like visiting the 'States - I like the people, the sights, etc - and it isn't a culture shock to visit there quite as much as it was to visit Italy and France (although Georgia's southern hospitality was a bit of a shock, even for a super-friendly Canadian).  I'm not knocking the U.S., but I do reserve the right to mock the 'U.S. is the best, full stop' attitude that sometimes comes from south of us :)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: SK Joyous on February 20, 2015, 12:43:39 PM
Sorry, but those are not the only interpretations of those parts of history.

Lol. No kidding.

Shows up late to war. Takes all credit.

+1
This is a common refrain.

Who made most of the ships, planes, bullets and bombs that were being used prior to our arrival again?

Yep, you build stuff good...

Joking aside, yes, the U.S. was a part of the British-mobilized worldwide human, industrial, capital, and armament ramp-up that allowed the Allies to fight the Axis.  However, they were not the only part, and they were definitely late to the party of fighting the war itself (actually, both world wars).  Again, not knocking the U.S., just poking a bit at the 'we are the very best' mentality that seems to end the conversation.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 20, 2015, 12:46:23 PM
Ha, this is a really thought-provoking thread. I have totally been brainwashed from youth, because it's way too easy for me to automatically think, "yeah! America's the best!!" without thinking, wait, why?? I think the default for a lot of people is "freedom": free to be anything you want, free to succeed, free to voice your beliefs, etc... but, uh, pretty sure you're free to do all those other things in other first-world countries with decent governments as well (e.g. most of Europe). So that's a pretty dumb reason.

So I guess it's not the best, I just really like it because I grew up here. I will say that one thing I think is really cool/"the best" about the U.S. is the awesome cultural/climatic/physiographic diversity within our borders, just by virtue of being so huge and having a history of diverse immigration (which itself is linked to the hugeness/natural resources). Off the top of my head I can't think of any other first-world countries that are similarly diverse, and I think it's a pretty neat feature.

Canada.
Uh, dude. It's called the Great White North for a reason, mang.

Sure, the snow (and dang it is cold right now :) - but we are also a huge country founded on immigration, and have at least the same (and it could be argued, more, due to more of a 'mosaic' mindset rather than a 'melting pot' mindset) cultural diversity as the U.S.  I like visiting the 'States - I like the people, the sights, etc - and it isn't a culture shock to visit there quite as much as it was to visit Italy and France (although Georgia's southern hospitality was a bit of a shock, even for a super-friendly Canadian).  I'm not knocking the U.S., but I do reserve the right to mock the 'U.S. is the best, full stop' attitude that sometimes comes from south of us :)
The reports about diversity in countries actually do put Canada at #1. Australia is somewhere in the top 5. I am not sure that the US makes it to the top 10 - but it's a while since I have read the reports.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: SK Joyous on February 20, 2015, 12:47:19 PM
I really love Canada (my home and native land), and I also really like the U.S. and its people - I hope to see even more of it over the years, but at least we've visited a pretty good cross-section so far.  I also really enjoyed the parts of Europe that we've visited; haven't been to Australia yet but am definitely looking forward to it!  I don't really care who is the 'best' - heck, I don't even dispute anyone from any country's right to claim it!  I do, however, reserve the right to poke fun at people who walk around claiming 'absolutes' based solely on personal opinion :)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 20, 2015, 12:53:56 PM
Sorry, but those are not the only interpretations of those parts of history.

Lol. No kidding.

Shows up late to war. Takes all credit.

+1
This is a common refrain.

Who made most of the ships, planes, bullets and bombs that were being used prior to our arrival again?

Yep, you build stuff good...

Joking aside, yes, the U.S. was a part of the British-mobilized worldwide human, industrial, capital, and armament ramp-up that allowed the Allies to fight the Axis.  However, they were not the only part, and they were definitely late to the party of fighting the war itself (actually, both world wars).  Again, not knocking the U.S., just poking a bit at the 'we are the very best' mentality that seems to end the conversation.
Since it was Russia who are usually credited with "beating the Nazis" in WW2, I'm not sure than America made "made most of the ships, planes, bullets and bombs" that beat the Nazis. Recent analysis of WW1 by US war historians and others appears to agree that WW1 would have ended about 6 months later than it did if the US had not entered it because by that time, people in the field had finally worked out to actually fight the war.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 20, 2015, 12:54:43 PM
I don't really care who is the 'best' - heck, I don't even dispute anyone from any country's right to claim it!  I do, however, reserve the right to poke fun at people who walk around claiming 'absolutes' based solely on personal opinion :)
+1
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: mak1277 on February 20, 2015, 01:00:01 PM
I don't really care who is the 'best' - heck, I don't even dispute anyone from any country's right to claim it!  I do, however, reserve the right to poke fun at people who walk around claiming 'absolutes' based solely on personal opinion :)
+1

Deborah doesn't care...she's only posted 700 times in this thread trying to say America's not the best.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 20, 2015, 01:00:34 PM
I love Canada and Canadians, but diverse? The population is over 75% white. The next 15% is Asian.

I was surprised how high the Asian number was, FWIW.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: SK Joyous on February 20, 2015, 01:05:04 PM
I love Canada and Canadians, but diverse? The population is over 75% white. The next 15% is Asian.

I was surprised how high the Asian number was, FWIW.

Not sure where you're getting your information (or your position that skin colour is directly related to diversity), but here is the info from Stats Canada:

Immigration

    In 2011, Canada had a foreign-born population of about 6,775,800 people. They represented 20.6% of the total population, the highest proportion among the G8 countries.

    Between 2006 and 2011, around 1,162,900 foreign-born people immigrated to Canada. These recent immigrants made up 17.2% of the foreign-born population and 3.5% of the total population in Canada.

    Asia (including the Middle East) was Canada's largest source of immigrants during the past five years, although the share of immigration from Africa, Caribbean, Central and South America increased slightly.

    The vast majority of the foreign-born population lived in four provinces: Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta, and most lived in the nation's largest urban centres.

Ethnic ancestry

    More than 200 ethnic origins were reported in the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS). In 2011, 13 different ethnic origins had surpassed the 1-million mark.

Visible minority population

    Nearly 6,264,800 people identified themselves as a member of a visible minority group. They represented 19.1% of the total population. Of these visible minorities, 30.9% were born in Canada and 65.1% were born outside the country and came to live in Canada as immigrants. A small proportion (4.0%) of the visible minority population was non-permanent residents.

    Combined, the three largest visible minority groups-South Asians, Chinese and Blacks-accounted for 61.3% of the visible minority population in 2011. They were followed by Filipinos, Latin Americans, Arabs, Southeast Asians, West Asians, Koreans and Japanese.

    As was the case with the immigrant population, the vast majority lived in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta. Seven out of 10 lived in the three largest census metropolitan areas: Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver.

    The visible minority population had a median age of 33.4 in 2011, compared with 40.1 for the population as a whole.

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-010-x/99-010-x2011001-eng.cfm


Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 20, 2015, 01:19:49 PM
Some people have adjusted Canada's official numbers to put a race to them, showing a larger white population in Canada. Add history to the mix and this is not a difficult conclusion.

At any rate, it doesn't matter. I like Canada and Canadians and do not care about their race or origin. I think both the US Census and the Canada statistics to have questionable classifications.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 20, 2015, 01:37:35 PM
I don't really care who is the 'best' - heck, I don't even dispute anyone from any country's right to claim it!  I do, however, reserve the right to poke fun at people who walk around claiming 'absolutes' based solely on personal opinion :)
+1

Deborah doesn't care...she's only posted 700 times in this thread trying to say America's not the best.
Actually that's not quite correct. There are so many different ways to define "the best" that I can't imagine anywhere being "the best" on more than a few measures. I think the US is good - like a lot of other countries. It has been a lot of fun poking holes in some of the statements. And I don't really care (that is why it has been FUN!)

On a more serious note, this thread has taught me a lot about how some people think. Who would have thought that ANYONE would write that their country was "the best" because it allows people to carry guns everywhere - in the same time period that babies are accidentally killing their parents because of this. It has also introduced me to strange ideas like "American Exceptionalism".

I still have a hard time getting my head around the thought that the US is more diverse than any 52 other countries because all its states are as different as countries. The same state - federal dichotomy applies to Canada and Australia (before federation the states were considered to be separate nations - and so we still have the National Gallery of Victoria for example). We have different state laws, school curricula (although a national one is being developed)... But I would never have thought we were as different as Germany and France - because our states have the same language and similar cultures. I still think this must be the case for the US as well.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: SK Joyous on February 20, 2015, 02:48:19 PM
Some people have adjusted Canada's official numbers to put a race to them, showing a larger white population in Canada. Add history to the mix and this is not a difficult conclusion.

At any rate, it doesn't matter. I like Canada and Canadians and do not care about their race or origin. I think both the US Census and the Canada statistics to have questionable classifications.

It's all good, I too like a lot of people from a lot of countries - in fact, I can honestly say I have no blanket 'dislike' for any nationality of people, I think our differences and diversity are very interesting and add some spice to interaction (how boring would it be if we were all the same!)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: MoneyCat on February 20, 2015, 02:56:48 PM
Canada is the world's best country because they have great national healthcare, good universities, a very stable economy, a good national pension program, plus they always win gold medals in hockey.  It's a lot easier to make a living there than the USA.  Canada has even taken over most "Hollywood" productions in star-studded Vancouver.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: aspiringnomad on February 20, 2015, 03:31:19 PM
Canada is the world's best country because they have great national healthcare, good universities, a very stable economy, a good national pension program, plus they always win gold medals in hockey.  It's a lot easier to make a living there than the USA.  Canada has even taken over most "Hollywood" productions in star-studded Vancouver.

Also the most bubblicious real estate market in the world, with a price to rent ratio approached only by NZ and HK. Speaking of which, since there are a lot of Canadians and Kiwis on this board and this thread is prime for hijacking, it would be interesting to get thoughts on those two real estate markets. If you own in Canada or New Zealand (or even Australia to a lesser extent), are you at all concerned about a bubble? My plan is to FIRE in NZ in less than a decade, and if there's no correction to that ratio between now and then, there's no way I will buy a place when I can rent for 57 cents on the dollar. Maybe a discussion for another thread :).
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: NICE! on February 20, 2015, 05:51:37 PM
Some people have adjusted Canada's official numbers to put a race to them, showing a larger white population in Canada. Add history to the mix and this is not a difficult conclusion.

At any rate, it doesn't matter. I like Canada and Canadians and do not care about their race or origin. I think both the US Census and the Canada statistics have questionable classifications.

It's all good, I too like a lot of people from a lot of countries - in fact, I can honestly say I have no blanket 'dislike' for any nationality of people, I think our differences and diversity are very interesting and add some spice to interaction (how boring would it be if we were all the same!)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: marketnonsenses on February 26, 2015, 02:26:47 PM
Canada is the world's best country because they have great national healthcare, good universities, a very stable economy, a good national pension program, plus they always win gold medals in hockey.  It's a lot easier to make a living there than the USA.  Canada has even taken over most "Hollywood" productions in star-studded Vancouver.

It is weird how Canada doesnt have to spend much on Military things. I wonder why. Their space program and list of world changing innovations are on par with super powers like North Korea and Kenya. (I am just causing trouble, I love Canada)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: RetiredAt63 on February 26, 2015, 03:16:03 PM
For our population size we spend a fair bit.  However, the HarperTM government keeps saying they support the military but keep cutting the % of GDP that goes to the military.  Not to mention cutting support for veterans (and after Afghanistan we have young veterans who need support). So, yeah.  Plus don't expect to see a lot of basic science research from us for a while - lots of issues there too.

Space program - well there was Anik1 way back when, and the Canadarm, and Chris Hadfield (I know, a person, not a thing) at the ISS.  Remember our population is just over 35 million (less than that of California).  We are more like Australia than the US, in that we have a small inhabitable land area (for us the southern edge of the country, for them the continental margins ) and the rest is tough (for us the North, for them the interior).  Shorter growing season for agriculture, more winter conditions to cope with, more work just going into the basics.

We like it here anyway - Glad you like us  ;-)

It is weird how Canada doesnt have to spend much on Military things. I wonder why. Their space program and list of world changing innovations are on par with super powers like North Korea and Kenya. (I am just causing trouble, I love Canada)
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Jon_Snow on February 26, 2015, 04:58:53 PM
The winter conditions experienced east of the Rockies should automatically remove Canada from contention. Sorry. I am Canadian, and proudly so, so I feel I can say this without prejudice.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: RetiredAt63 on February 26, 2015, 06:06:35 PM
"The winter conditions experienced east of the Rockies should automatically remove Canada from contention. Sorry. I am Canadian, and proudly so, so I feel I can say this without prejudice."

Yes, and if we all moved to Lotus Land the whole continent would tilt   ;-)

It makes us tough, eh?  Plus it gives us an incentive to see foreign lands and cultures (especially those in the Caribbean in January-March).
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: totoro on February 26, 2015, 06:22:10 PM
I have not read through the whole thread but I vote Canada but only for Vancouver Island or the Okanagan.  Canada has some crazy cold spots and a lot of wide open undeveloped areas that you'd have to be an into the wild type to truly love.  Hit the sweet spots and there really is no better place on earth imo.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Al1961 on February 26, 2015, 06:37:09 PM
Canada is high on the list of desirable countries to live in. We just have a climate problem.

The problem is that we have a deplorable excess of climate.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: RetiredAt63 on February 27, 2015, 05:56:30 AM
Climate -> seasons -> almost winter, winter, still winter, construction/mosquito season.  At least when we have the polar lows it is sunny - cold and damp and dreary is worse (November, I am looking at you).

I still think we should have brought in the Turks and Caicos as the 11th province when it was proposed back in the 70's.  They would have certainly improved our climate situation.

Canada is high on the list of desirable countries to live in. We just have a climate problem.

The problem is that we have a deplorable excess of climate.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Albert on February 27, 2015, 10:17:51 AM
US is good for many things, but it's not exactly blessed with a good climate either. There are only handful of places in continental US with a pleasant climate. Top of the list is probably Southern coastal California. After that I'm not even sure. Perhaps some areas higher up in the mountains in Colorado (never been there, though). Everywhere else is either too cold in winter, too rainy in winter or too hot in summer.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: marketnonsenses on February 27, 2015, 10:28:22 AM
US is good for many things, but it's not exactly blessed with a good climate either. There are only handful of places in continental US with a pleasant climate. Top of the list is probably Southern coastal California. After that I'm not even sure. Perhaps some areas higher up in the mountains in Colorado (never been there, though). Everywhere else is either too cold in winter, too rainy in winter or too hot in summer.

The US has one of the most broad climates for one country. It has everything from Swamps to Rain forest, Arctic and one of the hottest places on earth. California alone has more diversity than most countries.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Albert on February 27, 2015, 10:43:21 AM
The US has one of the most broad climates for one country. It has everything from Swamps to Rain forest, Arctic and one of the hottest places on earth. California alone has more diversity than most countries.

Lot of diversity indeed, but not many places pleasant year round. Just in case you wonder I've lived in US for eight years and know your country fairly well. California has by far the best climate in US, but the most desirable spots are now marred by very high cost of living.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: jzb11 on February 27, 2015, 12:08:25 PM
I've been to twenty five different countries. I'm currently living in South America. I'd say the USA is the best place to live for anyone who wants to live in the suburbs and own a home hands down. You simply can't find the kind of affordable housing in the USA in Europe.

Other than that:

Less bureaucracy than EU nations by far
Low cost of living, cheapest food/goods/gas/housing (EU can't touch this)
High quality/affordable goods 
Comfort/convenience - 24 hour shopping centers/restaurants/etc.
ABUNDANCE - there is a lot and it is inexpensive
If your hobby is firearms, you can't be the USA, especially if you live in a less restrictive State.

Talking about suburban life, I think the USA is king. City life? I'm not so sure, I've never really lived in a city in USA or EU.

I am living in South America at the moment, and there's no comparison. The USA is paradise in comparison.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 27, 2015, 12:26:50 PM
Well, according to the 2015 Global Retirement Index the USA is 19th - Switzerland, Norway, Australia. See http://ngam.natixis.com/global/1422746034925/Global+Retirement+Index+Report - other places mentioned here also rank above the USA - NZ is 10th and Canada is 12th.

Who wants to live in a place where people are so afraid of one another that mothers carry guns in their purses to shopping centres?
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: mak1277 on February 27, 2015, 12:30:50 PM
Well, according to the 2015 Global Retirement Index the USA is 19th - Switzerland, Norway, Australia. See http://ngam.natixis.com/global/1422746034925/Global+Retirement+Index+Report - other places mentioned here also rank above the USA - NZ is 10th and Canada is 12th.

Who wants to live in a place where people are so afraid of one another that mothers carry guns in their purses to shopping centres?

I'd much rather live in a place where I have the freedom to choose whether or not I can carry a gun than a place where that freedom has been stolen from me. 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: OSUBearCub on February 27, 2015, 12:36:05 PM
Well, according to the 2015 Global Retirement Index the USA is 19th - Switzerland, Norway, Australia. See http://ngam.natixis.com/global/1422746034925/Global+Retirement+Index+Report - other places mentioned here also rank above the USA - NZ is 10th and Canada is 12th.

Who wants to live in a place where people are so afraid of one another that mothers carry guns in their purses to shopping centres?

Again, Deborah? Again?

We get it.  Australia is a solid nation with a lot to be proud of. 

The "mommies with guns" trope is both trite and a wild misrepresentation of what the US is all about.  That's like me saying Australia blows because every member of the animal kingdom in Australia is trying to kill you.  The dingo ate your argument.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 27, 2015, 12:59:49 PM
Well, according to the 2015 Global Retirement Index the USA is 19th - Switzerland, Norway, Australia. See http://ngam.natixis.com/global/1422746034925/Global+Retirement+Index+Report - other places mentioned here also rank above the USA - NZ is 10th and Canada is 12th.

Who wants to live in a place where people are so afraid of one another that mothers carry guns in their purses to shopping centres?

Again, Deborah? Again?

We get it.  Australia is a solid nation with a lot to be proud of. 

The "mommies with guns" trope is both trite and a wild misrepresentation of what the US is all about.  That's like me saying Australia blows because every member of the animal kingdom in Australia is trying to kill you.  The dingo ate your argument.
No, I really think the mommies with guns argument IS what the US is about - several people have commented in this thread making their point that FREEDOM = GUNS (including the post IMMEDIATELY before yours)- and as I have stated before there are loads of good countries. Brown snakes (second most venomous land snake in the world) are very common and I have seen several this year. But I will leave you with a picture that I took yesterday of the wildlife of Australia:
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: mak1277 on February 27, 2015, 01:03:28 PM
Well, according to the 2015 Global Retirement Index the USA is 19th - Switzerland, Norway, Australia. See http://ngam.natixis.com/global/1422746034925/Global+Retirement+Index+Report - other places mentioned here also rank above the USA - NZ is 10th and Canada is 12th.

Who wants to live in a place where people are so afraid of one another that mothers carry guns in their purses to shopping centres?

Again, Deborah? Again?

We get it.  Australia is a solid nation with a lot to be proud of. 

The "mommies with guns" trope is both trite and a wild misrepresentation of what the US is all about.  That's like me saying Australia blows because every member of the animal kingdom in Australia is trying to kill you.  The dingo ate your argument.
No, I really think the mommies with guns argument IS what the US is about - several people have commented in this thread making their point that FREEDOM = GUNS (including the post IMMEDIATELY before yours)- and as I have stated before there are loads of good countries. But I will leave you with a picture that I took yesterday of the wildlife of Australia:

Freedom to own guns is a freedom...it's not the only freedom or the most important freedom, but it's an example.  I could also say that I would rather live in a country where I have the freedom of religion vs. a country where I do not.

You're focused on "guns"...you should be focused on "freedom".  As it relates to guns, I neither carry nor own a handgun, but I'm damn sure glad I have the option to do so if I want. 
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: OSUBearCub on February 27, 2015, 01:11:15 PM
Well, according to the 2015 Global Retirement Index the USA is 19th - Switzerland, Norway, Australia. See http://ngam.natixis.com/global/1422746034925/Global+Retirement+Index+Report - other places mentioned here also rank above the USA - NZ is 10th and Canada is 12th.

Who wants to live in a place where people are so afraid of one another that mothers carry guns in their purses to shopping centres?

Again, Deborah? Again?

We get it.  Australia is a solid nation with a lot to be proud of. 

The "mommies with guns" trope is both trite and a wild misrepresentation of what the US is all about.  That's like me saying Australia blows because every member of the animal kingdom in Australia is trying to kill you.  The dingo ate your argument.
No, I really think the mommies with guns argument IS what the US is about - several people have commented in this thread making their point that FREEDOM = GUNS (including the post IMMEDIATELY before yours)- and as I have stated before there are loads of good countries. Brown snakes (second most venomous land snake in the world) are very common and I have seen several this year. But I will leave you with a picture that I took yesterday of the wildlife of Australia:

That sea lion is clearly plotting a murder...
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: lizzie on February 27, 2015, 01:26:43 PM
Well, according to the 2015 Global Retirement Index the USA is 19th - Switzerland, Norway, Australia. See http://ngam.natixis.com/global/1422746034925/Global+Retirement+Index+Report - other places mentioned here also rank above the USA - NZ is 10th and Canada is 12th.

Who wants to live in a place where people are so afraid of one another that mothers carry guns in their purses to shopping centres?

Again, Deborah? Again?

We get it.  Australia is a solid nation with a lot to be proud of. 

The "mommies with guns" trope is both trite and a wild misrepresentation of what the US is all about.  That's like me saying Australia blows because every member of the animal kingdom in Australia is trying to kill you.  The dingo ate your argument.
No, I really think the mommies with guns argument IS what the US is about - several people have commented in this thread making their point that FREEDOM = GUNS (including the post IMMEDIATELY before yours)- and as I have stated before there are loads of good countries. Brown snakes (second most venomous land snake in the world) are very common and I have seen several this year. But I will leave you with a picture that I took yesterday of the wildlife of Australia:

I just want to pipe up here and say that I've never even seen a gun in person much less owned one, I don't have any close friends or family that own guns, and I've lived in the USA my whole life.

ETA: OK, since I've seen police officers with holsters on their belts I suppose technically I've seen a gun. But that's it.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Schaefer Light on February 27, 2015, 01:37:31 PM
US is good for many things, but it's not exactly blessed with a good climate either. There are only handful of places in continental US with a pleasant climate. Top of the list is probably Southern coastal California. After that I'm not even sure. Perhaps some areas higher up in the mountains in Colorado (never been there, though). Everywhere else is either too cold in winter, too rainy in winter or too hot in summer.
There aren't many places in the world that don't have at least one "bad" season.  Personally, I think the US has a lot of places that enjoy nice weather most of the time.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 27, 2015, 04:28:30 PM

That sea lion is clearly plotting a murder...
Yes, he has a gun under each flipper. And if the fishermen cleaning fish don't throw him more they had better watch out!

I'm not sure whether the sea lion or the pelicans would be more dangerous.
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: scottish on February 27, 2015, 08:53:13 PM
Darn, that's a good picture.     Did you really just happen upon that scene and take that picture Deborah?

You can also get pictures of sea lions in Canada, but you have to kayak way up the west coast to find them.

I think the best countries have to have sea lions.   Preferably unarmed sea lions.


Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: deborah on February 27, 2015, 09:07:28 PM
Darn, that's a good picture.     Did you really just happen upon that scene and take that picture Deborah?

You can also get pictures of sea lions in Canada, but you have to kayak way up the west coast to find them.

I think the best countries have to have sea lions.   Preferably unarmed sea lions.



Thanks for that! Yes I did just happen on it. Yesterday I went to Mallacoota for lunch on my way home from Lakes Entrance, went to the wharf and there it was - I took a couple of other pictures there but that is the only one of the sea lion - see http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/post-fire/post-fire-picture-thread/msg571361/#msg571361
Title: Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
Post by: Kriegsspiel on February 27, 2015, 09:30:17 PM
Well, according to the 2015 Global Retirement Index the USA is 19th - Switzerland, Norway, Australia. See http://ngam.natixis.com/global/1422746034925/Global+Retirement+Index+Report - other places mentioned here also rank above the USA - NZ is 10th and Canada is 12th.

Who wants to live in a place where people are so afraid of one another that mothers carry guns in their purses to shopping centres?

Again, Deborah? Again?

We get it.  Australia is a solid nation with a lot to be proud of. 

The "mommies with guns" trope is both trite and a wild misrepresentation of what the US is all about.  That's like me saying Australia blows because every member of the animal kingdom in Australia is trying to kill you.  The dingo ate your argument.
No, I really think the mommies with guns argument IS what the US is about - several people have commented in this thread making their point that FREEDOM = GUNS (including the post IMMEDIATELY before yours)- and as I have stated before there are loads of good countries. Brown snakes (second most venomous land snake in the world) are very common and I have seen several this year. But I will leave you with a picture that I took yesterday of the wildlife of Australia:

Seal-Rick-James wants to ingest that fucking bird.