Why do some Americans think the rest of the world is jealous of them?

Don't get me wrong, I love America and I certainly think it's a great country (foreign policy aside). I also know that most Americans don't think they're better than anyone else; I actually think European media gives Americans a lot of undeserved stick for their supposed ignorance of other countries.

However, I was watching Obama's acceptance speech and he finished by claiming that 'America was the greatest country in the world'. If a politician did that in Britain, he'd probably be forced to resign, along with any French, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese politician. What's more, no-one in the audience seemed to question him; they just applauded. Also, from the general vibe I get from some Americans online (certainly not a majority, but a large minority) is that apparently the rest of the world is jealous of America in every way. What makes these minority of Americans think that way? In all honesty it's kind of annoying.

Certainly America's the most powerful (as of the present), but does that make it the greatest? What exactly is 'great', or more to the point, exactly who defines 'greatness'? Americans, please do not think this question is a sugar-coated attack at you or your country. I genuinely want to know why SOME of your population thinks in this supremacist way, when I know almost no-one from anywhere else does the same (I know there are nationalist supremacists in all countries, but there's nowhere near as many nor do they get anywhere near the same level of acceptance).

I love America, and actually I think Americans in general are unfairly represented, at least in my country. But this minority of people who claim America is better than everyone else kind of lets America as a whole down. Why do they think other nations are jealous of them? And don't claim that Obama is to blame for saying that in his speech, because I know Romney would be even worse if he won.

Also, I know there have been loads of questions with this sort of topic; I wanted to ask it again, because previous questions consisted largely of angry, anti-American Europeans insulting America, and a load of hurt Americans responding. I want a proper debate, no insults, not hurt feelings, just some well-reasoned responses from real Americans. Thankyou.


David : - Scientific and technological development began in Rennaissance Europe, was largely advanced by the Industrial Revolution in Britain, and was then carried on by Americans.

The defeat of Hitler was a JOINT allied effort.

And Britain banned slavery 60 odd years before America, and was largely responsible for patrolling the African coast and arresting Spanish, Portuguese and American sailors who were looking to capture slaves.

Please don't comment with historical evidence if that evidence is simply not true.

Update 2:

Also, David, I forgot to mention, democracy began in Greece and was used by many European city states and nations centuries before America, and classical liberalism began in Britain and was eventually transported to America.

11 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    1. Most Americans are not insular. The USA has its fair share of dumb, ignorant, lazy, and fat people just like in European and Asian countries. Most Americans are generally intelligent, knowable of world events, and worldly. But you will never see this on most (95%) American TV shows, American movies, and American news (TV, newspapers, and the internet) because these entities are anti-American starting about fifty years ago. Most Europeans and Asians do not realize this.

    2. Most American TV shows and movies do not portray Americans accurately. And the internet only exacerbates this with all the anti-American websites.

    3. As I said many times before, there is no superior or greatest nation in the world. There never was and never will be. The reason for this is one word – resources. That is another story so I will not get into this now. Most Americans know this but you never hear them talk about it.

    4. The average American gets about three weeks of holiday (vacation) while their counterparts in developed European nations get about five weeks of holiday. That is just the way it is.

    5. The USA is very large and for most Americans to travel to Europe and Asia is just more expensive proportionally than Europeans traveling in Europe. Plus, the US dollar is weak and will continue to be so for many years. This kind of travel is really for upper middle income Americans and up. Most Americans (between 22 and 67 years of age) would like to travel to Europe but it just too expensive as compared to their European counterparts. This is why you see more old American tourists in Europe than young American tourists. The older ones have more money.

    6. The average American (young to middle age) is not rich.

    7. Most Americans do not have a self esteem or an inferiority complex with its country. They are realists and practical. They know what is, what was, and what may be when it comes to national and international problems.

    8. Progress in science and engineering is, was, and will always be an international thing. Ask any American scientist, engineer, medical doctor, technician, or nurse and they will tell you so because that is how they are taught.

    9. The American education system is not standardized with high standards throughout the country. In general, it is better in middle income and rich neighborhoods than poor and lower income neighborhoods. In general, the British do a better job in teaching science at the secondary education level than Americans.

    10. The USA does have an ugly history but so does the rest of the world.

    11. The concept of democracy was developed in ancient Greece but was not put into practice in the USA until 1965. However, there is now abuse in democratic practices that is now harming the USA – thanks to a mislead government, evil special interest groups, illegal immigration, Islam, organized crime, negative foreign influence, and central banks.

    12. The USA has contributed in the joint effort in WWI and WWII. The USA only got involved militarily in South America, Vietnam, and the Middle East because the government thought it was necessary at that time. Yes there were mistakes and disasters, but the government at the time thought the objectives were achievable. Just take a look at the French in Vietnam, the British in Northern Ireland, Iraq invading Kuwait, Japanese invading China and Korea prior to WWII (which resulted in 10 million plus Asians murdered by the Japanese), European colonization of Africa, etc.

    13. The USA has made contributions in science, technology, business management, agriculture, and commerce.

    14. Most Americans do realize that the largest military or economy is not necessarily the best thing. It depends in what is really needed in the country at a particular time.

    15. The US gives about $30 billion to $70 billion per year in foreign aid that is funded by US tax payers. And a lot of the so called countries the US has contributed to in foreign aid are anti-American and abuse the aid. This makes a lot of Americans angry.

    So to answer your question in why some Americans think the rest of the world is jealous of them, well I can only give you an answer based on what I have been exposed to. Bear in mind this is a not really objective because a lot of research is needed (reading different sources, scientific polls, surveys, etc.) and very lengthy (several years).

    Based on my readings and talking to about thirty Americans over the age of forty, I would say most Americans think the rest of the world is not jealous. They know when the government says a thing like the USA is the greatest country in the world then the government is just “blowing hot air”. The reasons for this are because there are still some sociable and economic problems that have not been solved yet and they go back at least 150 years.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    As an American, I can say that most all Americans do not have that attitude. In fact it is a very vocal minority of American that have that attitude. Most of these people have no knowledge of other cultures and societies. For reasons that escape logic, world history is not taught in our schools, except for wars that the US participated in. There may be some political reasons behind this. These are the people that that believe places like Bethlehem and Jerusalem have not changed in 2000 years, and other idiotic things. These are the people that think every one in the world wants to come to the USA. They tend to be egotistical and display a false national pride. They can't seem to understand the concept of the Nacirema .. the backward Amarican, so rather than admit to the faults of our leadership and society, they assume the anyone else in th world is jealous of our society,

  • 4 years ago

    A paid survey is a kind of study that allows you to share your thoughts and viewpoints about brand names and their products in exchange for a reward, such as a reward or cash.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Largest Economy, military and producer with many freedoms but their are many Americans that are sitting in Costa Rica living a great simple life. Best is an opinion not a fact.

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  • Janian
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Americans are insular and generally know very little about other countries. They are told that the USA is the best country in the world and they believe it.

    The average American only has a few days off work per year so they don't get to travel as Europeans do.

    @ David - you prove my point perfectly. Simply no clue about the outside world. American exceptionalism at it's best!

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    America has fallen so far back, I doubt the rest of the world is jealous of it. Look at how much the country has fallen apart in the last four years.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Obama is a bullshitter, that's why.

    After 4 more years of Obama, we will be jealous of third world sweatshop workers because at least they have a job.

    Which is exactly the plan....

  • Ranger
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    It is called Self Esteem. If you have a choice of saying someone is jealous of you, or saying someone dislikes you because you screwed up. Which would you pick, Self Esteem or Inferiority Complex?

    Source(s): rc
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    America is the greatest country in the world.

    Everything positive that has happened in the world over the last 4 centuries has originated in the US.

    Science and technology.

    The concept of democracy and individual rights.

    Defeats of dictators and totalitarian governments like Hitler and the USSR.

    All the wealth of the world.

    Feeding the poor and hungry of the world including hundreds of billions of dollars to nearly every country in the world.

    Ending slavery (the movement started in the US)

    Without the US most of the rest of the world would still be living in jungle tribes. The US is the modern world. Everyone else is just following.

  • 8 years ago

    The use of "greatest" in this context is just rhetoric. Like anyone who says that their football team is the greatest.

    What kind of reception to his speech would it be if he said "The US is a so-so country"?

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