No nation in the entire history of earth has ever been so blessed as we.

Over the course of the political season, it's easy to fall into a spirit of complaint.  From even a cursory glance at the running field, one could easily assume that the United States is deluged by fools and knaves beyond any reasonable expectation.  Why must we suffer thus?

But it's simply not true.  In fact, no nation in the entire history of earth has ever been so blessed as we.

Our government allows a mass invasion of foreign maids and gardeners, but other governments have failed to repel armed invasions which want to turn the citizenry into their own maids and gardeners.

We must jump through ridiculous paperwork hoops to add a shed to our house on our own private property, but in many countries, our house would be a shed, and it wouldn't be on our own property at all.

The taxes we pay are outrageously high, but our tax bill alone is an amount ten times larger than most people throughout history have ever seen.  Not even King Solomon could afford air conditioning.

The depth of government dependence grows every day, but there are many countries where the government is feared.  Our country has borne the weight of dozens of incompetent programs and processes that should never have been started, yet we still remain healthy and wealthy. Not wise, perhaps, but 2 out of 3 ain't bad at all.

The left rejects and demeans the war we're fighting, but forty years ago, it was our common soldiers whom the left spat upon and derided.

Except for 9-11, we haven't suffered any deaths due to enemy action on our home soil since the war of 1812.  Complain about the military as you will, but remember, their term "force projection" means we fight in some other guy's back yard; not in mine.  They have a world-class track record; they can fight my wars any time.

The choices presented to us for the presidency are not all we might hope for, but it's our right to choose as a people, and choose we shall.  In America, we count the votes.  In much of the world, the count votes.

We complain about health care and about the environment, but our average life span keeps increasing.  Our bodies aren't evolving to have longer lives, but it's clear that from a public health and safety standpoint, we're doing more things right than we're doing wrong.  Be grateful.

Be really grateful, life spans are increasing in spite of people doing life-shortening things like smoking and eating too much.  Gotta hand it to our public health people - they're helping us live longer in spite of all the dumb things we do.  How much longer would we live if we took care of ourselves?

Be really grateful, our medical research is so advanced that we can afford to try to solve medical problems in poorer parts of the world.

We're so wealthy that we can afford to be concerned about animals.  In most parts of the world, people have so little to eat that they'd rather kill an elephant or gorilla than look at it.

We gripe about not having enough money and we gripe about people who're wealthier than we are, but by world standards, there are no poor people in America.  The people whom our government calls "poor" so they can throw money at them have more air conditioners, cars, VCRs, microwave ovens, and other toys per capita than the entire population of Europe.

We gripe about the excesses of capitalism and about increasing income inequality, but the number of poor people in the US keeps going down no matter how hard the bureaucracy tries to up the count so they can justify a bigger budget.  On poverty, we're doing more things right than wrong.

Wal-bangers gripe about successful enterprises like Wal Mart, but, starting with mass marketers like Sears Roebuck, our merchants have delivered an immense flow of consumer goods which keep getting better.  Prices go up because all governments always debase the currency as a form of hidden tax increase, but the number of hours we have to work to pay for, say, a car, or a watch, or a TV keeps going down.  Pocket calculators once cost $150; now they give them away.

We gripe about China, but the Chinese are joining the middle class which gives them hope.  When the masses have hope for the future, it's a lot harder for the leadership to get them to go to war.  By encouraging Chinese to get rich, Wal Mart is a force for world peace.

We gripe about the excesses of materialism, but in most of the world, the idea of having your own iPod or Wii is unimaginable.  Hopefully, the One Laptop Per Child program will address this, but for now, if you're an American, be thankful.

We gripe about the mortgage crisis and forget that in most parts of the world, very few people own their own homes.  In the US, many blue-collar workers own second homes.

Last of all, and perhaps most important, although we have many complaints, the volume of those complaints itself speaks to the greatness of America.  There are many, many countries where we would not dare to air them, much less to hope of a chance for improvement.  Free speech allows to be optimistic about the future; to dream of a "more perfect Union."

From everyone at, Happy Thanksgiving!

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

Didn't we have deaths on American soil in 1941 (Pear Harbor)?

But yeah, that wasn't during wartime.  We're pretty good.

November 23, 2007 12:27 AM

Thanks to YOU guys at Scragged for keeping us in the good stuff.  Keep up the good work.  I've told everyone I know about your material.

November 23, 2007 7:49 AM

Relative to what Chimp said:

Hawaii did not become a state until 1959.  It was a territory at the time of the attack.  We'd be peeved if someone attacked, say, Puerto Rico, but since it's a territory and not a state, it wouldn't be quite the same.

I have a friend who has a lot of Canadian friends.  They could NOT understand why we went into Afghanistan and Iraq over a mere 3 kilodeaths, after all, that's less than .1 years worth of traffic fatalities.  He explained, "They pissed us off.  Not a good career move."

I don't think his friends had a clue what he was talking about.  Do any non-Americans understand?

November 23, 2007 10:38 AM

If someone attacked Puerto Rico, I dare say we would absolutely go to war.  They are a commonwealth of the US and basically a state.  I would hope so.  Otherwise, what's the point?  They have no army of their own.

The Thanksgiving holiday, actually, addresses this matter very well.  It embodies the difference between Americans and Non-Americans - a difference of attitude.  We work hard, we play hard, we're thankful for the ability to do both.

November 23, 2007 12:59 PM

Yet another thing for which to give thanks.  

Liberals keep whining and moaning how everything that goes wrong all over the world is America's fault and we have to elect them so they can be nice to everybody again.  The president of France visited the US, addressed the House, and said a LOT of nice things about America which our presidential candidates ought to be saying.  Here's a transcript of part of his speech:

As I see if, any candidate who put over the same message would get elected hands down.  Comments?

November 23, 2007 5:02 PM

I'm sorry, this was unbearable.  

Just because life for some is great doesn't mean that it's necessarily just.  Assuming that one lives in the best of all possible worlds simply because one lives one of the most comfortable lives in the world shouldn't be an option for an American citizen.  

Thankful or not for how precious life is, Wal-Mart is not one of the things people should be thankful for.  If creating a free-market destroying monopoly in one society justifies the mere hint of a possibility of raising the standard of living in another... Well, I don't know- maybe it is I have lost my way in the pursuit of capitalism.  

While I'm the last person to suggest government hand-outs, it's rather selfish to assume that the impoverished people in this country have it any better off than poor people in Europe.

Poverty is poverty, and while they may be able to afford air conditioners, just remember how much it costs to pay for things like insurance, not to mention the high price of taxes in cities.

Hell, what about that military you are so proud to support?  I've seen more Vietnam veterans sleeping on the street than any other type of individual.  Sure, you're proud to let them fight your war, but damn them if they should ask for retribution after returning home.

I'm sorry, again.  I don't normally get upset by conservative values, but this kind of rabid individualism and sheer acceptance of globalization is what has led our country down the wrong path for so many years.


November 26, 2007 5:10 PM

There's really only two things that need be said in response to James.

1.)  Do you live in the United States?  If so, then 'nuff said - you have every right to move elsewhere, and since you have freely made the choice not to, clearly it's not so bad here.

2.)  Have you ever visited a truly poor country?  Africa?  Most parts of Latin America?  Some corners of Asia?  If so, then please describe how it is that the average American life - in fact, the life of even the very poor in America - is inferior to that of the ordinary citizen of the Third World.  And if you have not visited these places, please do so.  It'll be an education you won't get in our colleges, that's for sure.

Oh, concerning Wal-Mart - hate to say it, but have you by any chance read a newspaper in the last 10 years?  About how the masses in China are becoming... richer?  Any connection there maybe?  They now have jobs that pay better than mucking about in rice paddies, and we - yes, even including poor folks - can afford much more easily to buy clean underwear and toys for our kids.  How is that a bad thing, again?

November 26, 2007 5:52 PM

1.  Yes, I live in the United States.  I never said it was bad.  I don't intend on moving, either.  I can't even begin to understand why you are questioning my loyalty to this nation, this has nothing to do with that.

2.  I did not say that the average American life was bad.  I actually said that the American lifestyle is comfortable.  That said, what is most comfortable for one's own self interest isn't necessarily the best route for a free market economy or a democratic society.  The author claims that we should be thankful we can afford to own i-pods and video games.  I agree with a few of his points, our civil rights and capitalism specifically.

Oh, concerning Wal-Mart.  Have YOU ever been to a truly impoverished town?  Maybe one of the old coal towns in the Rust Belt?  Corporations like Wal-Mart take over local markets.  Small businesses go bankrupt because they can't compete with the availability of products that corporations of nearly limitless wealth provide.  There are no expensive, brand name stores either.  These higher-end products can't compete in a market where the people, who have been forced to shut down their previously competitive small businesses, are only wealthy enough to afford cheap, standard Wal-Mart products.

I'm thankful for being independent.  I'm thankful to be allowed to live in a nation where I'm an individual.  But I am not, not, not, thankful for large scale corporations that establish wealth in communist nations overseas and essentially shut down capitalism at home.

November 26, 2007 10:37 PM

James said:

"That said, what is most comfortable for one's own self interest isn't necessarily the best route for a free market economy or a democratic society"

In fact, that is precisely what is the best route for a free market economy.  There is no better fuel for any economy than self interest.  Americans use to understand and be ok with that.  Now our liberal elites tell us that sharing, personal conservation and human interest is more important because they lack a sense of history.

Forget visiting another country.  Try picking up a basic economics book.

November 27, 2007 7:46 AM

Jason K is RIGHT ON in saying, "There is no better fuel for any economy than self interest."  Adam Smith's genius was to notice this fact and write a book about it.  

Ever since the Communist revolution in 1917, the Communists held all property in common and people worked for the common good.  The theory was that they would harness human altruism for the betterment of society.

In our system, we make no bones about harnessing human greed for the betterment of society.  

The Soviet Union had a level of technology comparable to ours, a pretty big population, and arguably more natural resources, yet we stomped 'em economically.  Why?  Because they bet on altruism and we bet on greed.  

The evidence would suggest that there's more greed out there to be harnessed than altruism.

Adam Smith was right, go read his book:

November 27, 2007 8:28 PM

"Individualism is a calm and considered feeling that disposes each citizen to isolate himself from the mass of his fellows and withdraw into the circle of family and friends; with this little society formed to his taste, he gladly leaves the greater society to look after itself...  Such folk owe no man anything and hardly expect anything from anybody.  They form the habit of thinking for themselves in isolation and imagine that their whole destiny is in their hands."  

Alex de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America"  

James Madison himself believed that the chief danger to limited government was the emergence of factions that might gain control of governmental power and use it in their own self interest and against that of the rest of society.

That said, the fall of the Soviet Union goes far beyond a simple statement such as "they were too altruistic."  This was a nation that essentially jumped from a third world peasantry to a super power employing one of the most nubile and fragile forms of government known to man.  The public could not support socialism for a variety of reasons, but they were definitely not too altruistic.  This was a nation ruled by such dictators as Stalin and Andropov.  The masses lived in paranoia, and thus the motivation to succeed was driven to the ground.

Seriously, when you just think about it, this was a nation where the populace was generally illiterate when one of the most radical forms of government ever created was established.  We're not talking the kind of ignorance that American farmers had back right after the War for Independence-- These people already had very little property rights, let alone education on the basic theories of John Locke.

All I'm saying is, being positive you're right all of the time is going to lead to tragic downfalls.  Any good democratic society keeps a close watch on their government.  Yeah, communism sucks, I really agree with that.  But this nation has steered too closely to a pluralist democracy, and away from the more ideal participatory or even democracy.

November 28, 2007 12:38 AM

James was ABSOLUTELY right to quote Mr. Madison, "James Madison himself believed that the chief danger to limited government was the emergence of factions that might gain control of governmental power and use it in their own self interest and against that of the rest of society."

That is what we have today.  The Sugar farmers ask for, and get, massive subsidies so that we pay 3 or 4 times the world price for sugar and poor farmers who can grow sugar cheaply can't find a market.  The same is true for peanuts, cotton, and many other crops.

Don't even THINK about ethanol.

Other factions demand that certain jobs be reserved for themselves, others demand that old-age pensions be paid to rich people, and on and on.

Mr. Madison was absolutely right.  The guys who wrote the constitution did such a good job that it took 200 years to get to this point, but we're where Mr. Madison said we'd be.

November 28, 2007 8:45 AM
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