America, Home of Delusional, Prudish, Selfish Religious Nuts.



Kali Holloway has an article at AlterNet about how America compares to the rest of the world.

…The conservative American notion that people with far better healthcare, civil rights laws and gun control “hate our freedom” is a wishful imperialist delusion. Worse, it’s not fooling anybody at this point.

That said, if all the world’s a stage, America is a prime player: a rich, loud, attention-seeking celebrity not fully deserving of its starring role, often putting in a critically reviled performance and tending toward histrionics that threaten to ruin the show for everybody else. (Also, embarrassingly, possibly the last to know that its career as top biller is in rapid decline.) To the outside onlooker, American culture—I’m consolidating an infinitely layered thing to save time and space—is contradictory and bizarre, hypocritical and self-congratulatory. Its national character is a textbook study in narcissistic tendencies coupled with crushing insecurity issues.

How to reconcile a country that fetishizes violence and is squeamish about sex; conflates Christianity and consumerism; says it loves liberty yet made human rights violations a founding principle? In conversations with non-Americans, should the topic of the U.S. come up, there are often expressions of incredulity and bewilderment about things that seem weird when you aren’t from here. Talk and think about those things enough, and they also start to seem objectively weird if you are from here, too.

That perception is held even by countries that share similarities with America. The Pew Research Center rounded up surveys from recent years that point out some of the ways American and European attitudes diverge, not infrequently widely. Obviously, there’s plenty of cultural difference among European countries, and surveys aren’t necessarily nuanced in describing how the citizens of entire countries see the world. But these polls do tell us something about the things large swaths of those countries agree on, as well as how those popular ideas tend to differ from pervasive notions and sensibilities within America.

The Full Story is Here.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    Delusional, Prudish, Selfish Religious Nuts

    You could make a game out of adding qualifiers to that. Rich, violent and entitled are my first three nominations.

    The most common delusion I observe when dealing with USAians online or IRL is that they believe -- really, truly believe -- that they live in the greatest country in the world and that everyone else (secretly) wants to live there too, whereas given the opportunity I’m pretty sure most Europeans would politely decline.

  2. says


    Rich, violent and entitled

    Some rich people. Certainly not all -- a great deal of uStates is stuffed full of people who are a long, long way from rich. Rich assholes who run everything? Yes. Rich assholes who trod all over the rest of us? Yes.

    The most common delusion I observe when dealing with USAians online or IRL is that they believe – really, truly believe – that they live in the greatest country in the world and that everyone else (secretly) wants to live there too

    Yeah, I run in to that, and it just makes me shake my head. Delusional doesn’t cover it. I’d like to be living just about anywhere else right now.

  3. johnson catman says

    I’d like to be living just about anywhere else right now.

    My wife and I have had discussions about what we would do if we won one of the multi-million dollar jackpot lotteries. One of the things we discussed is where we would want to live. First choice is almost never the US. It is not that we hate the country or even where we live. It is the attitudes of religious bigots that pushes the decision in that direction. It is simply infuriating how they want to control everyone’s life with respect to issues that DO NOT affect their lives at all.

  4. blf says

    The most common delusion I observe when dealing with USAians online or IRL is that they believe — really, truly believe — that they live in the greatest country in the world and that everyone else (secretly) wants to live there too

    Assuming they are capable of understanding my point (I’ve run into a few who aren’t), it usually deflates them quite quickly to point out I haven’t lived in the States for multiple decades now, and have not even visited for over a decade — despite carrying a USAian passport, having friends and relations there, and being educated there — and to-date have been quite happy to avoid the place.

  5. says

    Johnson catman:

    It is not that we hate the country or even where we live.

    I have no love for uStates, this is one seriously fucked up country, and it always has been. It’s not about to get better now. I’d like to live in a place where people think social safety nets are a good thing. I’d like to live in a place where people don’t have heart failure if bits of the human body are seen. I’d like to live in a place that places a premium on acceptance. I’d like to live in a place where people value education, and think all people should have access to such. I’d like to live in a place with actual fucking healthcare, without a draconian government hanging overhead constantly sniffing for drugs. I’d like to live in a place where cops aren’t allowed to indulge in wholesale murder. And so on.

    I know that no one place is perfect, but in comparison, a lot of places leave uStates looking like just another entry on a 3rd world list.

  6. johnson catman says

    Caine @5:
    Most of those things you mention are dependent on people, not the actual place. I agree with you about all of those conditions. That is basically the qualifier that I included. There is nothing wrong with where we live particularly except the bigoted republicans doing their best to ruin the lives of too many people. And there are some great people here. It is just that the screaming bigots make it bad for everyone else. That is what I meant by the statement you quoted. :-)

  7. says

    Johnson catman:

    There is nothing wrong with where we live particularly except the bigoted republicans doing their best to ruin the lives of too many people.

    I disagree. The continuous clutching of the constitution, the refusal to update anything, the insanity of guns, the lack of social reform in any way, and so much more, cannot be pinned on republicans. It can be pinned on all Americans, regardless of political affiliation. The rot is bone deep in this country, and even if you got rid of every fucking republican, you wouldn’t see an end to it.

    Yes, people make the place, most of the time. That doesn’t happen here, because of the fractured nature of this fucking mess of a country.

  8. says

    And, adding to mine @ 7, a great deal of the fucking rot in this country comes from what Sonofrojblake mentioned, this delusion of exceptionalism in America. That delusion is shared by most Americans, and from where I sit, it’s both disgusting and dangerous. It’s at the root of a lot of the rot, too. America, colonialism at its finest.

  9. johnson catman says

    Caine @7&8:
    I see your point. I guess I am too much of an optimist and I know too many truly good people to want to abandon it totally or burn it down. It has probably skewed my perspective, but I am lucky to have those good people around me. I have lived with privilege, and I wish that everyone could be as fortunate.

  10. Lofty says

    And before you lot think that the USA is somehow special, it’s not. Australia’s conservative government has read the polls and decided to call an early election on the strength of them. Support for the bigots and liars party runs as near as dammit to 50%. Definitely depressing. I wish that people could be educated to care for other people, but it seems to have stopped working. I blame Murdoch, who coincidentally grew up in this very city and started his empire from daddy’s small town conservative newspaper.

    I spent 6 years living 20 miles away in a conservative country town, always aware of the constant frisson of the “which church do you belong to?” interest. As an atheist married to a nominal Anglican we belonged to a tiny fringe, the major churches being Lutheran and Catholic. We were glad to eventually escape to an outer urban area where the neighbours hardly ever bother you. All I can see from my seat by the window is trees and sky, which are quite indifferent to the flavour of my politics. I shudder at the though of having to live with nosy bigot neighbours ever again.

  11. lorn says

    IMHO, while there is a lot of truth to the article their are two mitigating factors that need to be taken into account. The first is that we are a large, populous, and quite diverse country. Yes, we have prudes and bigots and gun fetishists galore, but we also have a whole lot of really good people. Most of which I think could easily become full-fledged humanists if they could find their way out from under the habit of religion and cultural narrowness.

    The other part has a lot to do with language. The claim ‘They hate us for our freedom’ is clearly nonsensical as most of us thing of freedom, as an individual thing referencing choices in such things as how we talk, bodily autonomy, and who we hang with. Those types of individual freedoms are always under threat and they deserve to be talked about and protected. We take them for granted at our own risk.

    There is a less well used meaning of ‘freedom’. If you keep up with the investor class they spend an awful lot of time talking about freedom. Yes, they like their individual freedoms but given their typical level of wealth, and the sorts of deferential treatment wealth grants them, they seldom worry about such things. Individual freedoms and privilege are the water they swim in so they seldom think about them.

    Of course, when they speak of freedom they aren’t talking about the Bill of Rights sorts of freedoms. Mostly they are talking about the freedom to do as they will with money. The freedom to sock money away where there is no accountability to any nation of government . The freedom to avoid taxes. The freedom to drop huge sums of money into small markets, pump them up, and dump them while making huge profits on both the up and down sides. The freedom to avoid controls or even complaint as such activity destroys the economies of smaller nations by alternately bloating and starving their domestic economy.

    In this context, where freedom is a matter of a presumed right to manipulate markets and nations through unregulated capital investment while avoiding taxation and accountability is indeed one of the reasons people hate us.

  12. says

    That comment is weak sauce. Attacking the US for being prissy and silly is chickenshit, when the US is ruthlessly murderous, exports more terrorism than any other country on earth, proliferates nuclear weapons like they are going out of style, and will kill you if you stand up to them. Saying the US is “contradictory and bizzare” is like saying the Philadelphia police are “awkward” regarding race relations.

    Here’s a shorter form:
    “The US is like Rome, only less honest and more violent.” -- Me. And you can quote me on that, if you like.

  13. Bob Seawright says

    Halloway’s rant is a powerful one. But the data suggest that it’s a minority opinion, and not just to Americans. The USA is the world’s top immigration destination and the most desired destination by those hoping to migrate (by far).

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