Michael's Dispatches

American Arrogance

13 December 2010

There have been many comments about American arrogance.  During my travels to 48 United States and over [65] countries -- most of those states and countries multiple times -- some themes have emerged.

There is a pervasive sense in the United States that we are THE best.  I've seen this in four other countries: Canada, France, India, and China. While many Americans think they/we are THE best in the world (whatever THE best might be to the thinkers of those thoughts), significant numbers of Canadians and French will inform you they are superior to Americans (and to Germans and Brits), while Indians and Chinese are superior to all of us.  Oh, and don't forget Israelis who have a tendency to burst out saying they have the "Most moral country in the world!" (They say that with exclamation mark.) Israelis also say, "We have the most moral Army in the world!"  Wasn't so long ago that the Germans were likewise self-convinced.  Today the Germans are convinced they are superior to Austrians who are superior to Germans.  Both are superior to Turks and Americans, while Polish are superior to Russians who are superior to all their neighbors and to Americans.  Czechs are superior to Slovaks.  Many people accuse Koreans of a superiority complex.  Goes on—in fact, this thought could go on for hours. There are many Thais who feel superior to hill tribesmen, Cambodians, and plenty of others, and Chinese who are superior to Tibetans, (but that's redundant because Chinese are superior to everyone). Except Egyptians and Saudis, who both are superior to Indians and Chinese.  And let's not get started on religion—because the Hindus are convinced they are superior to all, and of course Jews have their own thoughts, as do Yezidis, Christians, and let's not forget Muslims, Mormons, and Rastafarians, all of whom are “the chosen people,” like those found in Saudi Arabia.  The first religion, and therefore most superior, is Yezidism, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism and only God knows what else.  Muslims look down on Sikhs.  The first people on Earth were Koreans, Africans, Yezidis, and Adam & Eve, though some scientists say we came from monkeys.   Many scientists believe all true science is superior to religions, but apparently this leaves, ironically, anthropology out in the cold, because anthropologists (isn’t that what this is all about?) can’t even make up their minds if they are scientists or not.  Arabs are superior to Persians.  But what exactly is an Arab?  Do you know?  I don’t.  I tried to figure out what an Arab is and got very confused.  In any case, Persians are superior to Arabs, and to Kurds, while Kurds also are superior to Arabs, though Arabs look down on Kurds.  Some Arabs are Sunni Muslims while others are Shia or something else.  Sunni think Shia are dumb.  All Arabs and Persians are superior to Afghans who are superior to Russians and to Pakistanis who in turn are superior to Indians (apparently not realizing that Indians are superior to everyone, except Egyptians, Saudis, and Chinese), while Nepalese are superior to Indians, but again, the Nepalese apparently don't realize the Indians don't care because they will soon surpass China in population! (Which Indians will also say with an exclamation mark.)  Inside Nepal, Brahmans are superior to Sherpas, though pretty girls prefer Gurkhas.  This generation is inferior to that, while writers look down upon photographers and staff are superior to freelance.  Newspapers were superior to bloggers.

Northern Europe is superior to the whole of Southern Europe.   Marines are superior to Soldiers. Oh Lord, I travel too much. Could go on for hours about all the arrogance out there. Just a little more: Aussies are superior to Americans and to Kiwis, while Kiwis are upset when we don't know where they are. Gators are superior to Seminoles, but there is actually truth to this because Seminoles actually are inferior to Gators.  Mammals are superior to reptiles.  And to birds.  And to fish.  Bacteria and viruses are superior to mammals but neither talks about it.

So there.  Top that!

Comments   

 
# Haakon B. Dahl 2010-12-13 01:26
http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_112497&v=CgASBVMyVFI&feature=iv

One week of every year is designated National Brotherhood Week. This is just one of many such weeks honoring various worthy causes. One of my favorites is National Make-fun-of-the -handicapped Week which Frank Fontaine and Jerry Lewis are in charge of as you know. During National Brotherhood Week various special events are arranged to drive home the message of brotherhood. This year, for example, on the first day of the week Malcolm X was killed which gives you an idea of how effective the whole thing is. I'm sure we all agree that we ought to love one another and I know there are people in the world that do not love their fellow human beings and I hate people like that. Here's a song about National Brotherhood Week.

Oh, the white folks hate the black folks,
And the black folks hate the white folks.
To hate all but the right folks
Is an old established rule.

But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
Lena Horne and Sheriff Clarke are dancing cheek to cheek.
It's fun to eulogize
The people you despise,
As long as you don't let 'em in your school.

Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks,
And the rich folks hate the poor folks.
All of my folks hate all of your folks,
It's American as apple pie.

But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
New Yorkers love the Puerto Ricans 'cause it's very chic.
Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can't stand.
You can tolerate him if you try.

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
And everybody hates the Jews.

But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
It's National Everyone-smile- at-one-another- hood Week.
Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you.
It's only for a week, so have no fear.
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!
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# Jesse 2010-12-13 01:34
And Starbucks is superior to...
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# Olavo Ferreira 2010-12-13 02:18
Mr. Yon,
This text above´s the most special demonstration that EVERYBODY´S WRONG....
It seems we´re living in a hospice. Would it be a kind of syndrome?
The only thing I believe it´s all about is...
When I created the world I didnt mean all this thing could hapen.
signed.... GOD.... lol (everybody has the right to be a little crazy, but we shall not abuse of it)
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+1 # Ernest Lane 2010-12-13 02:40
You're wrong about the Seminoles and Gators.
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# Rick 2010-12-13 02:41
fighter pilots are superior, any nationality or gender (except perhaps Egypt, in my experience)
.
;-)
..and we do the decent thing and try to protect you inferior types from each other
Cue the whining from the mud-movers.
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# Raine Walker 2010-12-13 02:41
Dear God,
If I could find heaven on a map I would come and take it.
~Raine, ROT
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# Kevin Baker 2010-12-13 02:47
Members of every culture - where "culture" is defined as a group of people in a geographic region sharing a set of beliefs - MUST believe theirs is superior to all others, or that culture will change. It's part of human nature. I, being a member of the American culture do indeed believe that ours is superior to all others. But I have evidence to support my belief: how many people are leaving America for China, India, Austria, Germany, England, France, Canada, etc. as opposed to people leaving their native lands to come here?
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+1 # Choi 2012-07-23 15:21
Pffft.. All those countries you mentioned except China and India have better living standard than US. And btw, that is the main reason behind immigration, not culture or whatever.
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+2 # Charles Maxwell, CDR, USN Ret 2010-12-13 02:51
Mike, Good post. I think you could sum up this most human of conditions like this; Man is the best defender of his own self interest! That removes the borders altogether. The same quote might also clear up a few myths regarding the political blame game we play respecting the two divergent economic philosophies we argue today. The argument goes something like this . . . All capitalists are greedy and that's why we are witnessing global economic collapse. In fact, the alternative, collectivism, is historically proven to be no better. Why? Because the two systems share a common core, human greed and arrogance! Those who be at the top of either system are no different even though they share a vastly different economic philosophy. To generalize . . . Both seek to improve their own condition at the expense of those less fortunate. The idea that seldom makes it into the dialogue is, man is his own best defender of self interest! Stay safe. CDR Max
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+1 # Jeff Stanley 2010-12-13 02:56
Our esteemed host and all his readers, in pointing out and recognizing the many conflicting superiorities that exist among the human race, truly give the world a glimpse of the inner workings of the best minds on earth... :P
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+1 # KingsKnight1 2010-12-13 02:57
The anthopoligists would tell you that the Arabs are those people who speak Arabic. But that's not very scientific.
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+1 # MAJ Tony 2010-12-13 03:00
...but unlike the Flyboys, we don't think we're God. We merely borrowed his "Smite" button. (I couldn't resist).
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+1 # dilligras 2010-12-13 03:02
If you look for the cause of this curious behavior, you have but to review the fundamental purpose of the human mind -- survival.

In order to survive, the mind perceives correctly that accuracy, or being right is paramount. Accuracy, or being right in the placing of things in their proper category, whether food or threat to life and limb. Accuracy in recognizing one's surroundings and circumstances, in order to best facilitate said survival.

It is in the striving for this "rightness" that we find the seed that will blossom eventually into the full-blown arrogance of self-imagined superiority, for surely, there should be some reward for having attained a higher level of this commodity than others.


I know, I know........... ... don't call you Shirley.
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+1 # Shari 2010-12-13 03:06
We could choose to call this arrogance, but I see it as a healthy sense of national pride. I can imagine the failure of any nation that sees itself as markedly inferior to everyone else. Whether it is measurably true or not, it is a good thing for peoples and nations to have pride in what they do and who they are. That is the drive that makes the world great. We could argue that in some sense, each nation is right in claiming they are the best. We all have gifts, talents, and superiority to bring to the table.
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# RE: American ArroganceAntonia Shusta 2010-12-13 03:08
Arrogance? hmmm, why is it that virtually everyone who wants to move anywhere wants to move to the US? I've found that when I lived in India, traveled to China, other parts of Asia, and Latin America. I was annoyed and then amused by vocal, often high ranking government officials who would criticize the US - and then I'd find out their children were studying, living, working in the US or trying to get there.
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+3 # RE: American ArroganceRoger Carroll 2010-12-13 03:12
We should never forget that the Yankees are far superior to the Red Sox.
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+2 # Pat Glass 2010-12-13 03:17
Michael, a brilliant illustration of the little discussed character defect known as False Pride... Pride in it's intended application is a good unifying emotion. The application of False Pride is in fact arrogance, a detestable character defect...someti mes masquerading as Patriotism.

Pat Glass
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+1 # dilligras 2010-12-13 03:19
How careless of me.

I forgot to mention the obvious, that Texans are indeed superior in every facet of human endeavor, to all others who endeavor to be human.

Of course, courtesy requires that I not indulge the urge to point to any possible candidates for the title of "best war correspondent," n'est-ce pas? ; )
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# nellie 2010-12-13 03:43
....it's just that extending this belief to imposing your values and culture on people that don't want either, is when the resentment (and worse) set in. You'll never win the heart & mind of a man whose house you have bombed flat because it was a good move tactically - strategically you lose whole communities that way. Likewise he doesn't want Western values plastered all over the place because they are held by the faction with the upper hand. Why not leave folk to sort their own counties out, and feel superior in their own way........?
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-1 # Jason Mann 2010-12-13 03:44
We can't forget the SEC is superior to all other conferences.
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# david 2010-12-13 03:48
America is a unique experiment. I believe it is the first created Republic. The American constitution, is the longest operating government in the history of the world. Sure monarchies have had long runs, but every new ruler was a new government. America was the engine of progress for the world for over a century, until we decided to start cutting our own throats.

So America was once the best, most prosperous, most free country in the world, we have been brought down over the decades by our own stupidity. We have the potential to raise again, but it won't be easy and it is not a given.
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# Steve Gough 2010-12-13 03:52
...that you don't know where we are because we are everywhere. Opsec, under the radar, just the way we like it. :-)
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-2 # Craig 2010-12-13 04:00
Very cute. I think, if you'll allow me to get serious for a moment, that it's important to differentiate people from culture. One people is not "better" than another, but cultures certainly are, and nations can be.

Arguably America is the "greatest" culture and country in history, because it's the first and only based on founding ideas rather than tribalism or geography, and because it has generated more health, wealth and freedom than any other. Clearly most Islam-based cultures are inferior due to their misogyny and antiquated beliefs.

What you've identified here is our basic tribal nature. Not surprising, since we evolved in tribes. We have to feel a certain loyalty and "espirit de corps" to make them work.
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# Doug Laybourne 2010-12-13 04:02
The truth is, that they are all very wrong. We, whatever race, colour or creed; are all equal. That's because we are all 'infinite consciousness' and as such are like but a drop in an ocean. Seen for a short 'time'; then once back in the ocean (Infinite Consciousness) - indistinguishab le from anyone or anything else.
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# ALDEN PYLE 2010-12-13 04:08
Point taken, Michael, oh, and one more thing, Marines ARE superior to soldiers, airmen and squids :-)
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# Gregg 2010-12-13 04:10
ROFLMAO........ ............... ............... ............... ............... ........
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# IronMike 2010-12-13 04:15
Some culture has to be superior to the others in a number of important ways. One way to decide the "who's better" question is to look at immigration patterns. Surely people would not move from a superior country to an inferior country. And who leads the world in immigration applications? Lets just say its not India or China. Or Canada or Germany (although they both do relatively well). And not South Korea, and certainly not North Korea (who have to kidnap Japanese to have any immigrants).
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+1 # William A Yon 2010-12-13 04:18
Every day AMERICANS are not arrogant anymore. We elected a manchild president and he has cornered the market on arrogance and narciissism.
He travels the world telling anyone listening of our arrogance. By the way you have been to 50 states in our great country, He said he has been to 57.
Without his teleprompter he is about as brilliant as Joe Biden.
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# woodNfish 2010-12-13 04:22
Why do you title this American Arrogance, when it is obviously a universal human trait that is not unique to Americans? You could have just titled it "I'm Better Than You".
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# Kevin Subra 2010-12-13 04:30
Excellent use of using the absurd to point out the absurd, Michael.

People are inherently prideful, in a wrong way. However, I think that the key difference is truth vs. fantasy (fiction, perception). There are absolutes which trump our perceptions. I might think I can fly and launch off a building, but gravity IS superior to that perception. What we think and what is true can be different, but our thoughts and perceptions do not affect what is true.

A fighter jet flies because of what is known to be true about physics, not by the ego of the fighter pilot. A nation can be great (morally superior) because of what they do or don't do (not how they think about themselves). Some care about people. Some couldn't care less.

America still has a residue of moral propriety in our international endeavors. We do our best to avoid civilian loss. We avoid attacking places of worship. We help to supply, to build, and to rebuild. That's worth something on the scale of measurement. It doesn't make each of us better by birth or DNA. It does make a difference in a way that those without such values cannot make.
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# May 15th Prophecy 2010-12-13 04:31
"He who exalt himself shall be abased, and he who abase himself shall be exalted"!
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# Neicey from CasaDelSol 2010-12-13 04:32
You had me until you got to the part where you mistakenly stated the Gators trumped the Seminoles. ::sigh:::: So sad to be so bright in many areas... yet so dim where it counts :-)

Proud as I can be of you and your accomplishments , Michael :-)
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# Mary 2010-12-13 04:37
You forgot one. Islam GUARANTEES Muslim superiority/sup remacy through Sharia law.
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# Claudia S. Brown 2010-12-13 04:52
Great post, and great comments too (though some are superior to others). I would only add that Britain also used to consider itself superior to pretty much everybody, and it was pretty much true. And even when the overstretched Empire began to shrink, it had taught the lessons of democracy to (and cricket) to every corner of the earth it had touched. Within today's increasingly Islamified Europe, Britain is probably unique in that its identity is threatened mostly because much of its populace is actively self-loathing regarding its imperial history. Very sad. On a more serious note, even my Navy son would probably admit that his Marine brother is in the superior service branch, but the Navy has flashier toys (including his personal F-18) and more room for his ego. Marine dress blues are definitely superior to all other military uniforms. And if you want to be part of my family, you will acknowledge that the New England Patriots are God's team.
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# Claudia S. Brown 2010-12-13 04:56
People who read Michael Yon are superior to those who don't. Or at the very least, have far superior knowledge of world affairs than anyone else in the world.
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# Kristi 2010-12-13 05:04
Diet Dr. Pepper is superior to Diet Coke and, in the all-important toilet paper battle, under is superior to over.

Love ya, Michael! :-)
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# Warren 2010-12-13 05:33
Is the fact that Marines are superior to soldiers still in doubt? I was surprised to find it on the list considering it's practically a physical law like gravity or the fact that the sun is hot. Cheers....
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# Russki Top 2010-12-13 05:35
Beautiful, brother.
Keep yer head down.
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# Paul in RI 2010-12-13 05:47
The book of Job is my favorite. Man is shown his place.
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# Patriot 2010-12-13 05:57
You forgot Texans my friend! Whether it's a Texan President, a Texan General, Texan Fighter Pilot... you get the idea.... if your Texan of course!
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# Bob Croft 2010-12-13 05:57
Perhaps the most reasonable way to sort it all out would be the defnintive "pretty girl test", as in "Inside Nepal, Brahmans are superior to Sherpas, though pretty girls prefer Gurkhas."
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# Bill Best 2010-12-13 06:05
And the DUCKS are superior to everyone and especially the Tigers! QUACK!!!!!
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# Radio Jiahd 2010-12-13 06:08
You want arrogance look no further than the 5th Pillar of Islam - the Hajj in Mecca. It is illegal for ANY non-Muslim to set foot in Mecca and Medina Saudi Arabia. The Qur'an supports this Islamic Apartheid and in fact requires it -“O you who believe! the idolaters are nothing but unclean, so they shall not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year; and if you fear poverty then Allah will enrich you out of His grace if He please; surely Allah is Knowing Wise.”
—Qur'an, Sura 9 At-Tawba, ayah 28

Extrapolate that out to most every Mosque in the U.S. and abroad that supports the Hajj Apartheid rules, most every Muslim accepts the 5th Pillar of Islam so they support the Mecca and Medina Apartheid. So give America a break and address this Islamic Apartheid as one of the worlds greatest hate events that dwarfs the South African Apartheid wrong that was finally obliterated as it should be.

America Akbar
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# RE: American ArroganceAnni Golden 2010-12-13 06:55
When I was 2 - 6 my playmates were African, Chinese, Indian, Dutch, and British. We admired each others' arrogance and enjoyed our differences.
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# Marggaret Foenander 2010-12-13 06:55
As A Mormon and an Aussie,I need to correct you on a few things.we have never said we are the chosen one and are told never to look down on others or think we are superior than other religions.
And yes,we are superior to the Kiwis,half of their country lives over here now.lol.
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+1 # Tony 2010-12-13 07:13
Anyone who feels a need to claim superiority is trying to prove something, whether to themselves or others and is therefore inferior.
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# Bill Brent 2010-12-13 07:24
Mr. Best is, at best, delusional. Methinks a duck can never be superior to a tiger.
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# Alaska 2010-12-13 07:50
Dear Texas,
Size does matter!
Sincerly, Alaska
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-1 # Tommy Barrios 2010-12-13 07:50
Having been to several turd world countries and seen what trash has come out of the rest of the world, this country, the US of A, is the best place on earth by far, PERIOD! I give second place to the Swiss;-)
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# Donald J.Wagner Jr. 2010-12-13 08:06
Michael, I think you have mis-labeled the subject. The United States of America is the best nation on the face of the earth. I grew up as a military dependent lived in taiwan, japan and italy. Spent four years in the US Army- vietnam and germany. My dad is a WWII and Korean war vet. I believe strongly that our country provides the best environment for a person to thrive and prosper. To paraphrase Bill Bennet, I also subscribe to the "open gate theory", i.e. if we opened our borders to everyone, what do you think would happen? We are exceptional...j ust ask the folks trying to come legally or through other means.
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# Todd Gates 2010-12-13 08:07
The bottom line? Us 'uns is better than you 'uns. It's just human nature
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# Andy Cawston 2010-12-13 08:19
(BIG GRIN!) Actually, Kiwi's don't mind at all people knowing where we are -- particularly Americans. It's the Rugby World Cup here in 2011 -- the largest world-class event we have ever hosted -- and even tho' America didn't qualify for the tournament, we want you lot out here, in the stands, cheering for the New Zealand All Blacks just the same. You will be most welcome!

We realize you Yanks have had difficulty finding us in the past -- the Japanese had the same problem during WW-II -- and you usually zig when you should have zagged, and usually end up getting lost somewhere over by Europe or getting stuck on West Island (there's nothing there, and the people don't speak English anyway: trust me.)

So to help you find us, just set your GPS for these handy coordinates:

Auckland 36, 52 S, 174, 45 E
Hamilton 37.47 S, 175.19 E
Rotorua 41.55S, 176.16E
Wellington 41, 17 S, 174, 47 E
Christchurch 43.33 S, 172.47 E
Dunedin 45.50S, 170.33E
Invercargill 46.26S, 168.23E

It's a long way from the United States to New Zealand, so drive safely!
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# David 2010-12-13 08:48
As long as we beat the aussies or English at rugby!!!!!! ;-)

Well said Michael and Andy Cawston
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# Chase 2010-12-13 08:50
To those of you who are saying the United States is superior to third world countries, places in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa...no shit, but there are also countries like Switzerland, Germany, Japan and others who are superior to those countries as well.
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+1 # RE: American ArrogancePeter 2010-12-13 09:09
"Arrogant" is the term we apply to others, that permits us to look down on them.

"They" are Arrogant.
"You" are Proud.
"We" are Confident.
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# larry.dean.dunbar 2010-12-13 10:20
Your first paragraph contained too much complexity to answer your question (was there even a question, I can't remember, ha), but luckily an inflection line opened-up, in this case called a second (or is it the 3rd I am too confused) paragraph, and, as the paragraph continued the inflection tangent to the first paragraph I found a question I could answer: "Bacteria and viruses are superior to mammals but neither talks about it." Although I suppose not really a question, the answer is that, no, multi-cell animals or plants, specifically mammals, are not superior to Bacteria and viruses, because Bacteria and viruses hold mammals in judgement, they are not our peers.
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# JOEL PICCHI 2010-12-13 10:33
PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN
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# Remudaboss 2010-12-13 10:39
The US Army Corps of Engineers is superior to everything because we can blow things up, then build them back again.
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# kellyb 2010-12-13 12:07
Superiority -- O Multi Zippered Sun God, remember who pumps your gas .....
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# RobT 2010-12-13 14:17
Like a planet full of boxers that all think they are THE best until the one day, in the ultimate way, we all find out that we were actually all created too close to equal to truly be better than one another. It's a sad reality that will one day leave a scattered portion of all nationalities left to comtemplate how trivial our differences really are. What a Downer!!
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# JonS. 2010-12-13 15:32
It is human nature and as long as we are human we will all suffer from it.
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# Jeff 2010-12-13 16:20
'Cos everybody's got to have somebody to look down on.
Who they can feel better than at anytime they please.
Someone doin' somethin' dirty, decent folks can frown on.
If you can't find nobody else, then help yourself to me.

Get back, John!

Egg Head's cousin Red Neck's cussin' hippies for their hair.
Others laugh at straights who laugh at freaks who laugh at squares.
Some folks hate the whites who hate the blacks who hate the clan.
Most of us hate anything that we don't understand.

'Cos everybody's got to have somebody to look down on.
Who they can feel better than at anytime they please.
Someone doin' somethin' dirty, decent folks can frown on.
If you can't find nobody else, then help yourself to me.

Help yourself, brother.
Help yourself, Gentlemen.
Help yourself Reverend.
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# Greatgrandmasue 2010-12-13 16:31
After God created the human female, He reached perfection.
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+1 # RE: American ArroganceCarolyn 2010-12-13 23:24
Michael,
I take your point, but - and there is a 'but'- you sabotage yourself when you present some of the characterizations.
I am going to take the time to explain misconceptions that cast doubt on your other characterizations.
First, the concept that the Jews believe themselves superior, because they are the " Chosen People," is widely
misunderstood. That designation was supposed to have been bestowed on the Jews by G-d to mean they are to be
held to a higher standard as an example of carrying out G-d's tenets He gave the Jewish People by which to live.
In other words, it is an additional responsibility. Jews are not always so thrilled with it, believe me.
Secondly, the Israeli Military has a Code of Ethics that is posted and adhered to vigorously.In fact, it can be said to have set expected standards, such as each life is precious, and each soldier's death is meaningful, counted, and published.Today , each American soldier killed is, also, counted. The trend towards developing waging war with high-tech equipment instead of placing soldiers in harms way has been a priority in Israel. But don't believe me, you should go to Israel and talk to Moshe Ya'alon, an exceptional military leader and human being. He is a realist , admits Israel's failings, and is a humble man, despite his accomplishments.
If you go, go to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Then, tell me about the morality and standards.
Why don't you read about Israel's initiatives in its Military, including its wars. They are, to say the least, from very interesting to extraordinary. As a military veteran and documentarian, I am sure, you will appreciate Israel's military record.However, also, read Ben Gurion's autobiography.I t's long, but explains what Israel went through in launching the Six-Day War.
Winston Churchill's son wrote a good account of it as well from an outsider's perspective. "Myths and Facts" by Mitchell G.
Bard is an excellent book for background, and if you really like history, read as many books by a formerly, internationally , renowned journalist and writer of the Twenties, Thirties, Forties, and Fifties, Pierre Van Paassen, including his " Forgotten Ally ."
I do think, the US is an exceptional country. Everytime I return from overseas, and see the Statue of Liberty my heart swells and I say a prayer of gratitude. It's not perfect, but as a Manmade construct, it is still the greatest country in history. I make no excuses for it.
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# Joe Six-Pack 2010-12-14 03:07
It is a natural thing to believe that you live in the best country, city or attended the best school: For you. It is easy to turn this into a belief that this is SUPERIOR. That is a problem, because it makes you better than everyone else. Many do not fall into this trap, but humans are fallible.

This is part of nationaism. Pride is good, but it can be a fault. Way of life is so important that many wars are fought to defend it. This is why so many 'Good' people can fight for evil. This is why so many 'good' Germans and Japanese fought for aggression in World War II. This is why so many 'good' southerners fought for the evil of slavery. They actually fought for the way of life that had been built up around that 'peculiar institution'.

It is human nature.
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+1 # madbaddad 2010-12-14 03:38
I am just superior to everyone else. If you disagree with me that just proves I am superior. Now that we have that out of the way, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone especilly you Michael.
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# D-square 2010-12-14 04:24
What a great article - so reflective of what I've encountered in my journeys...
Merry Christmas Michael - and Best Wishes for a Happy New Years!
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# D-square 2010-12-14 04:27
As my father-in-law likes to point out....if Marines are superior to Soldiers, than how come the MP's have to be Sailors? Does that make Sailor's superior to Jarheads?
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-1 # Fred Williams 2010-12-14 05:43
I recall a professor that said morale is being the best: Live in the best country, the best State, the best county, the best city, work for the best of the armed services, be in the best regiment, the best brigade, the best battalion, the best company, the best platoon, and be the best man in that platoon. Go get 'em Michael !!!!!!!!!!!
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# Michael Bednarz 2010-12-14 08:19
In the words of Ronald Maximus Reagan, we will change "Liberal" friends to "World" friends...The point being the same :-) "The problem with our "World" friends is they know so much that just isn't so......" Nice to see you still have your sense of humor after all the darkness you have witnessed Michael.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and God Bless....

Michael Bednarz
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# SRB 2010-12-14 17:10
Mike, I appreciate your perspective and mostly agree, with one expection. You are living IN THE PAST, the Noles are the best team in Florida right now!! I was in Tallahassee and witnessed the carnage first hand a few weeks ago. The Noles are back and now it's going to be OUR TIME!!

Seriously, I've traveled a bit myself and do see how arrogant we can come across at times. "The Best" is certainly a relative term. I like to believe we are the greatest nation on earth, but the whole concept of that is so subjective that it is pointless to argue. I do hope and pray however that we would strive to be the greatest force for good in this world, and at times I think we have been that. Not sure if we are today or not but we can certainly strive for that.

Appreciate you, even if you're a Gator! stay safe!
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# John M McCarthy 2010-12-15 00:42
Mike,
Brother, geez!
You're a journalist, not some drunken loser sitting at the corner bar at closing time. When the fingertips get that bitter, it's time to put a cork in the jug, put the bong dow, and close your eyes.
Tomorrow's another day.
Other than that, keep up the good work!
You're truly one of the good guys. Almost as good as me...
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# Right on 2010-12-15 05:45
That was exhausting... Now we can see how useless ego really is. Just think of the possibilities the world could make if we as humans subverted our egos for the holiday seasons.
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-1 # Mark Rapkoch 2010-12-15 08:34
Just remember:

Grunts are better than tankers who are better than jet-butts, who are better than squids, but ARTILLERY is the KING OF BATTLE!!
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-1 # Linda, Joes Stryker Mom 2010-12-16 17:35
Have you been drinking? :-)
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-1 # Hank 2010-12-17 01:01
The bes country in the world?????

The one you call Home!
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# devildog6771 2010-12-17 05:13
Great post Michael. there is truth in what you say. I agree with your commentors. All are valid reasons for this phenomonon known as "arrogance!" Now we just need to take this one step further. Since we all know we are the "best," we don't need to feel threaened when we deal with others. We simply need to look inside ourselves, remember not to blindly trust, compromise is not a bad concept if applied to both sides in a dignified and respectful manner, be honest in intent, put everything in writing, be open to the public, and, ..., wow people just aren't simple are they?

Still, somehow we manage to survive, we manage to keep trying to make the world a better place, we manage to keep hope alive, maybe we are better off then we think. Life certainly is perfect. There is room everywhere for improvement in the quality of life for many; but perseversnce will carry us all forward! You see I look at all of the above differences as a view of how much alike we people of the world relly are in the end, the good, the bad, and "the" ugly!

Merry Christmas, Michael. Be safe. Keep up the great job you are doing. Thank you for your personal sacrifices.

Sincerely,

Devildog6771
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# devildog6771 2010-12-17 05:16
p.s.... sorry I forgot to edit my post. But, I think everyone knows what I am trying to say!
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# Mae 2010-12-17 18:17
Shortly after meeting a handsome male who became a friend of mine, he said to me, "If you don't like being around men with big egos, you won't like being around me." I appreciated his frankness. And, yes, he did have a very big ego; but he was fun and always the center of attention and underneath it all, a sentimental sweetheart.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! AND A VERY HAPPY, HEALTHY, PEACEFUL AND SAFE NEW YEAR!
GOD BLESS THE U. S. A. (OK, let's say it: "It's the best country in the world!" LOL!!)
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# Brian H 2010-12-18 13:07
The problem with national pride and arrogance, IMO, is that it often takes the form of taking credit for achievements of ancestors about whom one actually knows little, and whose efforts went far beyond anything we would or could put forth ourselves. So it amounts to being proud of being lucky enough to be born someplace, not for personal qualities or performance.

There are many exceptions, notably among the military, of course.

There is a flip side to this: contempt for one's own country because one has "progressed" so far beyond the primitive and uninformed, parochial background and attitudes of the bumblers who came before. This is the arrogance of the liberal and the Progressive. As Mark Stein has noted, when challenged to actually demonstrate knowledge of that which they despise (domestic) and admire (foreign), the vast majority with such beliefs show abysmal ignorance, covered only with a thin film of flimsy generalizations , replete with self-contradict ory premises and conclusions.

It's parallel to the adage that one should never trust one who proclaims his honesty; truly honest people are too honest to claim to be honest. Similarly, genuinely knowledgeable and noble people are so knowledgeable and noble that they are aware of how far short they fall of perfection, and are notably humble. Observe the restraint and economy with which truly qualified people recite their attainments when required to do so, versus the unprompted elaborate elaboration and exaggeration emitted by those who wish to establish "altitude" and dominance.

All that said, Americans reside in and hold in their hands the "last, best hope of humanity". I say this as a Canadian. For all the wasted energy and human capital and nonsense that radiates from the nation, there is a core which is so powerful and creative that it can (generally) afford all that random noise and foolishness. The objective fact is that no nation since Rome has had as much constructive and liberating effects on mankind, not even GB, the closest contender. And without even a fraction of the force and corruption that lubricated those hegemonies. Those who assert otherwise are either lacking in historical perspective (a failure and lack actively cultivated among the marginally useful idiots who thoughtlessly follow the 'default liberal' line), or are deliberately pushing a Big Lie.

A wider perspective: http://www.estatevaults.com/bol/archives/2007/11/02/charles_mccarry.html
I won't entirely spoil that wonderful and enlightening account except to say that readers will be astonished at what comes from the mouth of a rural elder in Japan about the destruction of his homeland by America in WWII, spoken to the first American he had ever managed to meet.

There are a lot worse, and few better, things that can happen to a country than to be defeated by America.
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# Mae 2010-12-18 23:04
I tried to find any reference to the story about the rural elder in Japan and his claim that a single B-29 flew over Osaka and dropped not bombs but hundreds of little parachutes containing a gift—a mirror, a harmonica, a fountain pen which then blew off fingers, etc. of the Osakans. While it certainly may have happened, where is the proof? Just asking.
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# Lost in Mongolia 2010-12-20 15:28
... If you've never been to Mongolia Michael, boy.... I was there 8 years.I know the culture and language. I was shocked at what they think of themselves. I didn't think it was possible to think like they think and write books about themselves like they do. Still they all asked me for help to get to America. In a land of cultural corruption 'good' comes very slowly. And many want to get out.

LIM
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# mhill 2010-12-26 12:43
I'm happy! I found superior thinkers!
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-1 # bernie from Plancks 2010-12-27 17:22
I've also been to many, many countries, but only one has the least impediments to starting your own business, raising capital, hiring and firing workers, developing new products, making decisions, and speaking your mind. I do business with people from hundreds of countries and I have found that it is this almost frictionless business environment that has made us the most powerful force on Earth.

I wasn't being arrogant, I was just ticking off a list of true things.
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-3 # Jonny5 2010-12-29 09:04
I agree, bernie. For all our lack of freedom, we are still the most free and secure nation in the world, and that makes us the best. Anything you think is better about any other country you could find or make here if you wanted. That doesnt go in reverse.
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+1 # fp morales 2011-01-14 06:43
Can't top dat.

When I parked cars with Persians, they often told Turk jokes.

A cultural anthropology professor told my class of her graduate study experiences in Uganda. She said that lighter skinned Ugandans believed themselves superior to those of darker skin.

When I was in the army, Tex-Mexs believed they were superior to Chicanos.

When I was in the army in Korea, a lot of soldiers treated the Korean houseboys like, well, like dogs.

When I was growing up in Huntington Beach, California, a lot of us had a very low opinion of the people from Los Angeles who would drive down on the weekends and trash our beaches.

When I was in the bar at the El Torrito restaurant near El Toro Marine Base, a Japanese visitor told me that Okinawans were like Mexicans, and Koreans were like Blacks. The implications were not good.

Yeah, I guess you could go on & on. A few centuries ago it made sense to be wary of people who didn't look like you. What was once a useful behavior, is no longer. Adapt or go the way of the dinosaurs.
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# Rooster 2011-01-21 10:21
I think I'll do the Superior Dance.
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# Violette 2011-05-27 18:42
Just ONE regret : It is not a melting pot but a CHUNKY POT ...
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