What is most striking about the US is just how unexceptional it is compared to other developed nations.
There is a YouTube clip doing the rounds with the title ‘The Most Honest Three and a Half Minutes of Television EVER’. It is taken from the US television series The Newsroom and features a news anchor, played by Jeff Daniels, contemptuously dismissing the suggestion that America is the greatest country in the world. With a string of statistics (‘we’re seventh in literacy, twenty-seventh in math…’ etc), he crushes his audience’s patriotic faith in American exceptionalism.
The speech has been viewed over three million times and might well appeal to Howard S Friedman, whose book The Measure of a Nation aims to inject some sober, and sobering, statistics into the discussion of America’s status in the world - a discussion that too often flies between the extremes of Glenn Beck jingoism and Naomi Klein self-laceration…
This is a preview of the September edition of spiked plus, our exclusive ‘magazine within a magazine’ for readers who make invaluable contributions to spiked‘s fundraising drive. To read the rest of the article, sign in, or sign up, to spiked plus here.