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The error of comparisons

Posted by Hajduk on Wednesday, February 10 2021 at 8:10:29PM
In reply to In my experience posted by Butterfly Kisses on Wednesday, February 10 2021 at 00:56:00AM

Comparisons teach things, but they are neither perfect nor scientific in isolation.

Most academia most everywhere in the world has a left wing bias, other than colleges or think tanks explicitly founded on right wing principles. This is even logical. Academics don't depend on the free market to be successful. They always have buyers for their product and they don't compete to improve quality or price of their services. The more that subsidies intervene in education, the more so. In the case of the U.S.A. this still happens as loans cannot be bankrupted on.

"More educated" Questionable. The public school system at lower levels is generally better in Europe. However there are huge variations in quality in the U.S. anyway, and the U.S. has the two additional problems of having to educate a large number of pupils who don't speak the majority language; and of handing out a larger number of non academic (sports) scholarships. Mind you, I generally approve that schools have sports teams and make sports leagues, but it causes other problems too. Both of these are rare in Europe. As for higher education, it's easily disproven. What's the demand for European degrees by Americans, and what's the demand for American degrees by Europeans? Except for stuff which you would need to study specifically in Europe (European history and archeology, art and literature, or biology and natural science) the flux is westward, not eastward.

"More wealthy" Questionable. The U.S. are more unequal all right. But upward mobility is easier in the U.S. and especially so in trades and through the armed services. It is also helped by being a large country in both population and land territory: you can move internally thousands of miles and still be in the U.S. In Europe you would change countries more than once in the same distance. Even assuming you learn the other language (and yes, Europeans are a lot more multilingual than natively English speaking Americans) you still face cultural, legal and social changes larger than those you would usually find the U.S. unless you move from a top 10 metro to a town of 100 people 20 miles away from the next, or vice versa. There are more mega companies in the U.S. too, however, I don't count that because to a point it's also a product of a larger population and territory. However, it is easier to start a family business in the U.S., which provides yet another way to be upwardly mobile.

"More healthy" You would need to define it better. The lower average indicators in the U.S. are led by homeless and illegal populations. Europe has fewer illegals in percentage even now it is receiving many from the Middle Eastern and African war zones; and in several European jurisdictions homelessness is illegal. The sore point of the U.S., overweight and its consequences, is a product both of a more caloric diet driven by culture and by abundance itself, that is, relative wealth.

"More free" I left this one for last because it really boils down to what values you defend. Europeans are more tolerant of restrictions on speech, on religious practice, on food technology, on environmental issues, and, sure enough, on civilian gun ownership, than Americans. Americans however are more tolerant of restrictions on drugs including alcohol, though funnily enough tobacco is the opposite; of a harsher approach to law and order and, lest we forget, on what sex can be legal. Even liberal Americans: the legal cases against the D.C. protesters and Trump would probably not happen or be softer in Europe. Of course, needless to say, Americans are way more pro free markets and lower taxes than Europeans; the only countries even close being the historic bourgeois republics of Switzerland and the Netherlands. There are other oddities: a much larger percentage of Americans are pro life than Europeans except for the most strongly Catholic countries: Poland, Malta, Ireland; but abortion is legal until birth in the U.S. and is week limited in Europe. Sex selective abortion is also legal in the U.S. but not so in parts of Europe (this is enforced by having doctors not release the baby's sex to parents upon running ultrasounds or gene tests). So, it simply is complicated.

To me the main defect of the U.S. is also the biggest virtue it has. The U.S. are uniquely founded on optimism and the conviction that humanity has a bright destiny. Europeans, probably for historical reasons, don't have such an unqualified faith in individual humans.

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