"Baby, You're the Greatest"

On a news program several weeks ago, a conservative pundit said that the United States is by far the best country on earth. Now I’m not some pinko, but it really bothered me that she used the words “by far.” To say we’re “the Greatest,” like Ralph would always say to Alice, is fine, but to say “by far” implies that we can objectively measure “greatness,” and that the U.S. would come out on top in every category.
She wasn’t the first person I’ve seen to say that. A lot of Americans seem to feel the same way (by contrast, aside from New Yorkers, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who claims that the city he grew up in is the greatest). And perhaps British, Australians, and French say the same about their respective nations.
Is this a standard remark most people make about their countries?

yes.

and as far as i remember the data points to people in scandinavia have better quality of life than anyone else.

it’s standard, but all the non-USAers are wrong.

Yes pretty standard, it’s known as jingoism:

jingoism
noun
DISAPPROVING
the extreme belief that your own country is always best, which is often shown in enthusiastic support for a war against another country
“Patriotism can turn into jingoism and intolerance very quickly”

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=jingoism*1%200

The UN says Canada is the best country to live in and That Vancouver,BC is the second best city in the workd to live in. As a Canadian I must agree.

I do not think that citizens of other countries necessarily or even commonly believe this. (And I dont hold that view as an American either). I think that feeling “at home” and acculurated in your little corner of the world where your friends and family most likely reside should not be confused with thinking your land is “the greatest by far”. Some folks are wary of saying such a thing (many Germans, for example) based on history and their desire NOT to be perceived as nationalistic. Many French would consider expressing such an attitude to be in very poor taste if not rude.

Personally, as an American I am very uncomfortable with all the expressions of “BYTG” because of the perception that Americans actually DO think they are the best and this gives us some kind of carte blanche to impose our will on the rest of the world. Not me. You can keep your flags.

When she said that the USA is the greatest country in the world by far, did it sound like she meant it? Are you sure she wasn’t just rattling off some commonly used expression? Saying ‘by far’ means absolutely nothing to my ears.

I fit’s the Human development Index you’re talking about then Norway is number 1.

A conservative pundit? I’d be willing to BET she meant it.

bettybad writes:

“A conservative pundit? I’d be willing to BET she meant it.”

Yes. She meant it.

I would distinguish between believing that the US is the best country (which, depending on whose lots you are comparing, I pretty much do) and screaming it, loudly and insecurely, at the top of my lungs, which I rarely feel a need to do.

Isnt the discussion point whether other nation’s experience this “greatest by far” thing?

I think we all pretty much agree that most US citizens “believe” this and many “scream” it as well (an increasing number).

Those of you who think you live in the greatest country…by far are really annoying those of us who do:D