D! U! M! B! Everyone’s Accusin’ Me!

In an off-blog intra-ChicagoBoy email, Sylvain mentioned that in Ireland, where he is now, “If you agree with America on something, your IQ is assumed to be low – how else could anyone agree with something an American has to say?” It is regrettable that it in Europe it has apparently become automatically hip and expected to think the USA is stupid. Our boneheaded entertainment products are probably the biggest part of the problem. People abroad have a wildly incorrect idea of what we are actually about over here. Far from being a bunch of Rambos or J.R. Ewings or Pamela Andersons, we are a nation of people who work our asses off all day every day for what we have, who know that there is no (or not much) “safety net”, and who have to scramble every day to keep our jobs and to keep the kids fed. And we are a nation of people who take risks for money and risks to improve our lives and risks to be our own boss and risks to make a decent life for our families. And we are not a nation that looks at something bad going on with a shrug and resigned sigh, we are a nation that demands that things work right and if they don’t we demand that they be fixed, or we fix them ourselves. The Euros look at some fat guy on vacation in one of their decrepit countries, and they want to spit on the ground at the sight of the ugly American. That fat guy sits at a desk or is out on the road, and there is another guy a half mile down the street who will take his clients if he rests for a moment. He’s got a mortgage. He’s struggling to stay current and do what his customers need done. He may well have his own business, and he has probably more than once stared financial ruin in the face, and had to go home and smile for his kids so they didn’t know how scared he was. And if he is rich now, he probably didn’t start out that way. He may be fat, but he is not soft, not stupid, not lazy, he knows his business and he probably doesn’t have patience for idiocy. He’s probably a pretty faithful friend and good neighbor. And our hypothetical Joe American expects and demands that his government will destroy any threat to him and his wife and kids, his neighbors, his town, his country. That’s what it’s there for. That is the America I know. It might be good if the smart-asses in Europe did. Maybe a few of them would wake up. Then again, probably not. They are happier and more comfortable with their self-congratulatory lies. (Less excusable is the small but influential minority of American academics, journalists, politicians, clerics, movie actors and other self-appointed cognoscenti who have just as much contempt for most of us here in America. But that is a rant for another day.)