Americans Rule

Americans have some weird sense of inferiority towards Europe. I keep hearing that “Europeans aren’t parochial like we are, they speak languages, they are interested in what happens in the world, I heard everybody in Europe speaks several languages.”

But that’s not true. I’ve never met people who are collectively more interested and engaged intellectually with the world than Americans. When I was in Spain last month, literally nobody evinced even 5% of the interest in Ukraine that I routinely get in the US. The guy who works at a local Dollar Store knows enormously more about the situation in Ukraine than all the academics I spoke to in Spain combined. This is a young fellow who has such complex, interested view of foreign relations that I haven’t seen in many Spanish professors. And Americans over the age of 60 are better informed than many European political commentators. I’m talking about regular people, not scholars or politicians. I get more enjoyment from talking about foreign policy with my plumber than any academic from Germany, the UK or Spain.

And it isn’t only the war in Ukraine. Americans ask more questions, they are more curious. And more likely to modify their views when they receive new information. They are excited to get new information like nobody else.

American position of leadership in the world is a direct result of this curiosity and openness.

And by the way, most people in Europe (like everywhere else) speak only their own language, and not extremely well at that.


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