We're number -- 16?
Americans are still number one in one thing -- our capacity for denial and disbelief. That we may be the most superstitious nation amongst the worlds 'developed' countries makes it all the stranger, but about half us of seem to believe that in the beginning there was something other than the expansion of the universe from an infinitesimal singularity and more of us angrily assert that only our God can change the weather. We're as likely to hold to a superstitious idea of our place in the community of nations as our place in the cosmos. To very many Americans not only is the universe about Man, the Earth and its history is about the United States of America.
Michael Porter appeared on Fareed Zacharia's GPS the other day. That's the Michael Porter who is a professor at the Harvard Business School and Director at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, and as Zacharia introduced him:
"a hard core capitalist, a registered Republican. He is said to be the most cited scholar in economics and business in the world."
Porter will inevitably be dismissed as a Liberal and probably as a Socialist simply because there is no other way to explain away the results of “The Social Progress Index”, a new report that ranks countries on how well their citizens live. We're number 16, far too low on the scale for there to be a descriptive hand gesture. Of course he's anything but a Liberal whereas the countries at the top of the heap; the countries where people live the best, the longest, the healthiest and perhaps the happiest seem to be just that. Is it too much of a stretch to look for a correlation between hide bound commitment to unfettered, unrestrained, unregulated Capitalism with massive political power and nearly full 'personhood' for corporations with a quality of life and level of opportunity that barely rivals Iraq and puts us at number 70 in terms of health and wellness? Where does that put those who snark and mock and snicker and make up lies about Canada and it's "Socialist" health care sucking the life out of their economy when we're told the Canadian Middle class is expanding as ours is shrinking and that middle class Canadians are richer then we are? It puts us in a locked room, sucking our thumbs, listening to Fox News and whining.
Perhaps if we weren't number one in self delusion and gullibility there might be some major changes coming in short order, but we are and there probably aren't going to be. In our own minds, if I can use that term without irony, we're always number one.