Five things America does right
Barbaric prisons, for-profit healthcare, the death penalty, the imperial system of measurements–my country is uniquely horrible among industrial democracies in a hundred ways. But what do we do right?
No monarchy. Monarchy is not an “outdated institution”. The regulatory bodies governing telegraphs are outdated institutions. Monarchy was a swindle from the start. There was never a time when “God says I get to rule over ya’ll, and also my kids do too” should have been a compelling argument. C’mon, say its defenders, the constitutional monarchies don’t actually rule anymore. But that’s just defending the crown by saying it’s pointless.
No titled nobility. Hell if I’m calling any other human being “Lord”. I’m still pissed Senator Ted Kennedy accepted an honorary knighthood.
No state church. Another decision by the founders to cut the feudal bullshit.
The first amendment. We have one of the most liberal free speech regimes in the world. I think some countries have reasonable restrictions on speech given their histories (Germany bans Nazi imagery, Rwanda bans ethnicity-based polemics), but I’m happy erring on the side of freedom here.
E pluribus unum. Strength in diversity is built into the national motto. I’m not saying immigrants are treated with the dignity they deserve, just that nation-of-immigrants rhetoric is mainstream and minaret bans are not. Birthright citizenship means we don’t have third-generation immigrants who can’t vote. I’m worried for homogeneous nation-states in a world of quick travel and climate change.