American Myths – American Exceptionalism

For this Question Everything Friday I want to bring you another dangerous myth that is ingrained into our country. That is that we are so exceptional that you can’t be compared to any other country.  Here is my quote for the day about that.

We can’t compare America to any other country! Especially not strange, dangerous countries like Scandinavia or France! We can’t? Why not? How else do you suppose that nations make progress — if not by learning from one another? Americans have been told that other places are “homogeneous”, so America can’t be compared to them — but “homogeneity” is not the reason they are successful societies. There are many more “homogeneous” societies which are failures than successes, just look at Asia and Africa — so homogeneity can’t be why some societies succeed, self-evidently. This myth is exceptionalism, only in a negative form — no comparison is possible. But it is a comparative analysis which teaches us the most when it comes to political economy. Have you ever wondered why you don’t know (probably) how exactly the French retirement system works? How the British healthcare system works? How the Swiss government works? Americans still haven’t learned this stuff because no one teaches it to them — and no one teaches it to them because the myth of exceptionalism says there’s no reason to learn it. 
via Eight Myths Americans Need to Unlearn About America

The way I personally learn almost everything is to see how others are doing it better them me and to try at one level or another to emulate them. If you have been around for a while you have probably noticed that the general format and look of RJsCorner seems to frequently change. I do that because I am constantly looking for ways to make the site more pleasant to visit and to give you my view of the world in more concise stories. If I didn’t have something to compare this site to improvements would be far less frequent.

In that same vein, we as a country need to constantly look at others who do things better than we do. Our reluctance to do that greatly hampers us from creating better and better processes. It has allowed other countries to leapfrog around us when it comes to healthcare, retirement systems and such. It was almost an epiphany to understand we are never taught to look outside our country for ways to do things better.  That is a lesson we MUST learn…

More Myths Americans Need to Unlearn About America

Let’s face it, we can’t simply ignore the problems and hope they go away. That seems to have worked for a long time but in reality, it has just allowed the problems to fester and get worse.  America is collapsing and if we don’t do something about it soon, it just may be too late. Just because we have gone-to-the-edge before and survived doesn’t mean it will happen again. Here is the myth for today that we need to unlearn:

Myth:    America isn’t collapsing!!!

Life expectancy is falling, the vast majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, they can’t raise $1000 for an emergency, mass shootings are a regular event of daily life, people have to crowdfund basic medicine, suicides are skyrocketing. I could go on. If your bar for collapse is Mad Max meets the Strain, then, sure, America hasn’t collapsed yet…to that point.

But it has collapsed in three key ways, which are the real, genuine and true kinds — not the stuff of science fiction end times.

◉  As a rich society — most Americans don’t live in one anymore.

◉  As a democracy — it doesn’t really represent people accurately anymore.

◉  As a society — Americans have no social contract, really, that unites them, as we’ve discussed — because virtue has not culminated in the public good .

In those three ways, collapse is as real and lethal as climate change. You can disagree with me, sure — but reality doesn’t care about what I think, or you think. It laughs at we “think”, and goes on being what it is.

Source: https://eand.co/eight-myths-americans-need-to-unlearn-about-america-560fa10ddba6

I wonder if Rome ever recognized that they were in decline? How about the Great British Empire, do superpowers ever know it when it happens? What was originally known as the Middle Class has evaporated from our country.  Yes, there are 10% of us who are doing pretty well. We went to college or trade school and obtained skills needed in the 21st century. We are doing OK.

But there is the almost 60% of us who now stuck in low paying, soon to be automated,  jobs that pay low wages.  Many continue to dream that somehow they will find their golden egg and get rich but in reality that is also a myth.

They have gerrymandered and restricted the vote so much in recent years to pretty much guarantee they cling to power even if they can’t manage to get the majority vote. 

Maybe the worst thing is our social fabric is disintegrating. We are locked into our clans and will simply not listen to anything else.  If that is not a fundamental threat to our democracy I can’t imagine what is.

I pray that it isn’t too late yet , but somehow something needs to happen… and soon.

Myths Americans Need to Unlearn…

Umair Haque over at Medium.com certainly gives me much to think about lately. His recent blog post about the myths Americans need to unlearn will be the centerpiece in coming posts here are RJsCorner. I want to start out this series with the end of his post.

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Source:  Eight Myths Americans Need to Unlearn About America

I certainly get my share of those screamers who call me names and tell me if I don’t love this country then I should GET OUT!!! Some think I am a bleeding heart liberal and others, believe it or not, think I am a Trumpster? They evidently feel so threatened by what I have to say to get them to attack me for one reason or another. I, like Umair, want to pronounce here that I am no threat to them. I am just an old guy who is primarily an observer of life with no power whatsoever to change what I am observing other than my single vote at the ballot box. Yeah, I have some loyal readers who might be swayed to a very small degree but that is about it.  You don’t need to feel that I am threatening to you. Now on to the topic at hand.

2018-10-28_11-02-50.png“We don’t need to listen to people who are critical of America! They’ll never help us!!” Some people consider progress and particularly the change almost always associated with it to be a bad thing. I do believe that the last couple of years are the most tumultuous of my life as far as social things are concerned.  We seem to have lost our ability to tolerate anyone with different views than ours.  The second most agonizing period that I have lived through was the 1960s but I was much younger then so I could tolerate it better than I do now. More than 50,000 of my generation lost their lives in a seemingly meaningless war.  There were riots in many major cities, soldiers killing kids on a college campus, African-Americans being attacked by police dogs and high power fire hoses. Some were dragged through the streets by white supremacists all because they were demanding their civil rights.  If ever there were a period where people were critical of America, it was during those years.

But look what came out of that same period and see many great accomplishments.  More on that in a near future post.