I believe many Americans are ignorant of Euopeans Language, and Culture not because we are smug and arrogant. It is obvious that we get enough entertainment here in the US. We don’t desire to be like the Euopeans. I think they know our language because the want to do business with us (we got stuff they want). They know our culture and history because they are jealous of us. 300 years and we surpassed them as leaders in industry and tecxhnology. We are the #1 power in the world. All little kids who are jealous of the cool kids cut them down so they feel better about themselves.
But I digress!

Are Americans Dumber Than Europeans.

A couple of observations regarding the OP. It is certainly an advantage for Europeans who wish to trade with America to learn English, if it isn’t their native language in the first place. It also true that the US has products and services which Europeans find desirable. However, it is worth noting that trade is a two-way street, and the last time I looked the US had a trade deficit with the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. I therefore assume that Europe has stuff Americans want in addition to the reverse of the case.

On a personal note, I know something of US culture and history not because I am jealous of Americans but because I am interested in these matters. I believe such knowledge to be essential to my continuing life education. Perhaps that’s just me, but somehow I don’t think so…

Finally, and based on a sample of two, Europeans can spell better than Americans.

In so saying, I hope I illustrate the gross stupidity of wanton generalisation.

I also know quite a bit about the languages (varying degree), cultures and histories of Russia, China, South Africa, Egypt, Argentina, Japan, Tanzania, France, Germany, Canada, Mexico, India, and so on and so forth.

But of course I live in a country that tends to be in the top section of every list of preferable places to live, work, make money, have babies, be a human, so it’s only natural I’m jealous of the rest of the world…

According to the World Values Survey, directed by Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, Denmark has the world happiest people. The U.S. ranked in 16th place – actually behind Puerto Rico, Colombia and El Salvador.


The survey compiled data from 350,000 people in 97 countries and has been doing so since 1981.

Another survey from a couple of years ago with different ways of measuring also put Denmark on top. Part of the reason was their excellent health care system. If I recall correctly, I believe they also have a lower infant mortality rate than the United States and a longer life expectancy. I know that they have a very high standard of living.

That sounds like a liberal agenda to me!

We might want to rid ourselves of our delusions that we are at the top of everything as we used to be. I love my country in spite of the faults, but I’m not going to turn a blind eye and claim that it is something it’s not. Sixteenth place is not too bad.

Are you refering to football ? Or bowling ?

As a matter of fact, we learn English in Europa because we want to trade with China.

American culture ? The first thing that comes to my mind is McDonalds.

Ah, you have an history ? Mhh… Yes, I see, you mean Far West, cow-boys. Cute indeed !

10 years and China surpassed you.

Do you mean military power ? Or economic power ? :smiley:

As a matter of fact, I’m French. So I’m not jealous, just arrogant ! :wink:
Btw, speaking of being childish, I’ll have some more Freedom Fries.

And me too ! Sorry for making fun of you americans, as a matter of fact I have more esteem than that for US… but Trad gave me such a beautifull opportunity, I could not waste it !

A column guaranteed to bring out morons from both sides of the Atlantic.

And those on airplanes and ships crossing it.

If we are the happiest people in the world - then I pity the rest of the world :D, anyway happiness isn’t intelligence.
I don’t know, I think Cecil is right that the smaller European countries has a lot to do with our, well, less insular world-view.

Trad, I think USA is a great country to be from, far far away from ;).

I think one important reason for our (Americans’) cultural ignorance is that we have such a large country. If I travel 200 miles in any direction but east, I haven’t even left Minnesota. In most of Europe, you’ll find yourself in a country with a different language, different government, different ethnicity if you do the same. It’s literally a thousand miles from here to anyplace that doesn’t consider English its first language.

Tough to develop a real appreciation for, or knowledge of, things unlike one’s own experience; unless you’re quite well off, you can’t even FIND anything more other-cultural than an Asian grocer or a weekend ethnic festival.

Exactly, if I travel 300 km I can reach Sweden, Germany and Poland, three countries with very different languages, governments and customs. I’ll stay in EU but there are more differences than between Arizona and Maine (except climate, of course).

Yes, because it’s impossible, if you live out in the boondocks, get only Fox news and CNN on the TV, and no newspapers in the next village, to turn on the internet and surf to other newspapers and TV on the internet, or chat with people from other countries about how’s life there. Yes, no way you can learn about other cultures.:dubious:

There is a difference between being able to learn something, and being all but forced to deal with it.

There is also a bit of history here. From the Revolution to WW1, most Americans believed in keeping well away from Europe, and even until WW2, it was still something strongly believed by many. In fact, now that I think of it, it goes back to a hundred years before the Revolution. The Widow Ranter (1690, set in 1676), by Aphra Behn (an Englishwoman, but she regarded herself as an American when it pleased her) ends:

Come, my brave Youths, let all our Forces meet,
To make this Country happy, rich and great;
Let scanted Europe see that we enjoy
Safer Repose, and larger Worlds, than they.

And consider the debate in Dunlap’s André (1798, set in 1780), generally regarded as the first great American play.

Three thousand miles the Atlantic wave rolls on,
Which bathed Columbia’s shores, ere, on the strand
Of Europe, or of Afric, their continents,
Or sea-girt isles, it chafes.—

O! would to heaven,
That in mid-way between these sever’d worlds,
Rose barriers, all impassable to man,
Cutting off intercourse, till either side
Had lost all memory of the other.

What spur now goads thy warm imagination?

Then might, perhaps, one land on earth be found,
Free from th’extremes of poverty and riches;
Where ne’er a scepter’d tyrant should be known,
Or tyrant lordling, curses of creation;—
Where the faint shrieks of woe-exhausted age,
Raving, in feeble madness, o’er the corse
Of a polluted daughter, stained by lust
Of viand-pamper’d luxury, might ne’er be heard;—
Where the blasted form of much abused
Beauty, by villainy seduced, by knowledge
All unguarded, might ne’er be viewed, flitting
Obscene, ’tween lamp and lamp, i’th’midnight street
Of all defiling city; where the child——

Hold! Shroud thy raven imagination!
Torture not me with images so curst!

Soon shall our foes, inglorious, fly these shores.
Peace shall again return. Then Europe’s ports
Shall pour a herd upon us, far more fell
Than those, her mercenary sons, who, now,
Threaten our sore chastisement.

Thus explaining the huge number of people emigrating from the USA to the countries higher on the list and the absence of people trying to get into the USA.

In 2003 the happiest country was Nigeria. BBC NEWS | Africa | Nigeria tops happiness survey

Thus explaining why everyone connected with the survey and everyone citing it have given up most of their own material goods and led a simpler and more frugal lifestyle.

I’ll believe that when those people act like they believe that.

Non-sequitur. The findings say nothing about Americans knowing that they would be better off living in Denmark.