Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Blowing your own trumpet

As I sit here in my home in the so-called greatest nation on earth, I think, 'who says that about themselves?'

Americans. Many Americans say it, and with absolute confidence. A couple of weeks ago I was at a Habitat For Humanity build for veterans, and in the opening remarks the speaker said 'thanks for coming etc, let's build houses for some military veterans, to say thanks for their service and for helping make this the greatest nation on earth'.

I paraphrased the first bit, but that last part is word for word. Most of the people nearby whooped in agreement. Only a couple looked embarrassed. But seriously, who says that about their own country?!

There's nothing wrong with a bit of heartfelt patriotism. But at some point it starts to feel a little blinkered, and rather braggadocious.

As it happens, America might have a good case for claiming to be the greatest nation on earth. After all they did get a man on the moon first, and they have won the most Olympic medals, not to mention invented a bunch of major lifestyle conveniences (garage door opener, the iPhone, etc). It's probably the most desirable place for those in developing countries to immigrate to. Or, as TLOML is always telling me, 'everyone wants to move to America'.

But China is literally greater, by about 1 billion people. The Japanese live longer. The French arguably have the best way of life, by which I mean red wine and cheese. According to this site, Germany is the best country on earth. And there are plenty of countries where veterans don't depend on charities to provide them housing (although apparently not Germany).

Anyway, I've gone down a bit of a rabbit warren there. Never mind about that. Let's just say for the sake of argument the US IS truly the greatest nation on earth. Can they just show a little humility, and let someone else say it for them?

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