America in Decline: Why Germans Think We’re Insane

Tea PartyDemocrats Ramshield writes in Alternet:

As an American expat living in the European Union, I’ve started to see America from a different perspective.

The European Union has a larger economy and more people than America does. Though it spends less — right around 9 percent of GNP on medical, whereas we in the U.S. spend close to between 15 to 16 percent of GNP on medical — the EU pretty much insures 100 percent of its population.

The U.S. has 59 million people medically uninsured; 132 million without dental insurance; 60 million without paid sick leave; 40 million on food stamps. Everybody in the European Union has cradle-to-grave access to universal medical and a dental plan by law. The law also requires paid sick leave; paid annual leave; paid maternity leave. When you realize all of that, it becomes easy to understand why many Europeans think America has gone insane.

Der Spiegel has run an interesting feature called “A Superpower in Decline,” which attempts to explain to a German audience such odd phenomena as the rise of the Tea Party, without the hedging or attempts at “balance” found in mainstream U.S. media. On the Tea Parties…

Read More in Alternet

68 Comments on "America in Decline: Why Germans Think We’re Insane"

  1. JohnnyRotten | Dec 28, 2010 at 5:07 pm |

    If they all have universal dental than why do so many of them have messed up teeth?

  2. JohnnyRotten | Dec 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm |

    If they all have universal dental than why do so many of them have messed up teeth?

    • because Americans have a skewed perspective of “beauty”

      • many Europeans don’t have there women shave there legs and armpits to look like “little girls” either….

        • Paracelsus | Dec 28, 2010 at 1:27 pm |

          & indeed many of us here in Europe are sufficiently mature that they do not consider that they “own” women either.

          But on a more serious note, you don’t have to be German to find the US (or at least what the US media portrays as the US) totally batshit at the moment.

          • The fact is that our cities look like Third World hovels compared to Northwestern European cities, or compared to cities in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Our social safety net is nonexistent. We’re the only developed nation on earth without universal health care, and our job benefits are terrible.

            Something like a raise in tuition caused the Brits and the Italians to riot. Americans sat by and watched as the middle class was destroyed, as the poor got poorer, and as the top few wealthy folk got their tax breaks extended.

            The problem is we are ignorant sheep, more than willing to be controlled by our media and by our religiosity. We are, tragically, not insane. The insane have an excuse. The ignorant have no such excuse. Nearly half the population of the US are young earthers, and do not believe in evolution. What can you possibly expect from a people like that?

  3. The problem is, they think we’re doing it because we’ve lost our minds, but the truth is, the corporate rightwing media is helping to DRIVE this country insane.

    There are places in this country where the only voice — the ONLY voice — is of the Rush Limbaugh/Beck/Faux Nooz ilk.

    When that’s where you get your “news” from, it’s not any wonder that you are HORRIBLY misinformed.

  4. The problem is, they think we’re doing it because we’ve lost our minds, but the truth is, the corporate rightwing media is helping to DRIVE this country insane.

    There are places in this country where the only voice — the ONLY voice — is of the Rush Limbaugh/Beck/Faux Nooz ilk.

    When that’s where you get your “news” from, it’s not any wonder that you are HORRIBLY misinformed.

  5. down with the United state of corporate fascism!

  6. down with the United state of corporate fascism!

  7. because Americans have a skewed perspective of “beauty”

  8. many Europeans don’t have there women shave there legs and armpits to look like “little girls” either….

  9. Paracelsus | Dec 28, 2010 at 5:27 pm |

    & indeed many of us here in Europe are sufficiently mature that they do not consider that they “own” women either.

    But on a more serious note, you don’t have to be German to find the US (or at least what the US media portrays as the US) totally batshit at the moment.

  10. A typical take on America that completely misunderstands the situation. The EU states are all bleeding massive debt from the mentioned social programs. We’re bleeding massive debt from an unnecessary war, but our social programs are fairly decent when examined objectively, and to expand them to the EU level is not only impractical due to how the system would be flooded with people who are in poor health from poor lifestyle choices, but would place us into the same level of massive economic bleeding, even without the “war on terror”. If we didn’t have the war, the country wouldn’t be in the shitty state it’s in (and the EU would still be looking at us with wonder as to how we’re doing so well) and the first step in reversing this would be to pull back all the troops and say F the middle east.

    Don’t worry though, once EU states start implementing Sharia law, all these issues won’t really be a concern anymore.

  11. A typical take on America that completely misunderstands the situation. The EU states are all bleeding massive debt from the mentioned social programs. We’re bleeding massive debt from an unnecessary war, but our social programs are fairly decent when examined objectively, and to expand them to the EU level is not only impractical due to how the system would be flooded with people who are in poor health from poor lifestyle choices, but would place us into the same level of massive economic bleeding, even without the “war on terror”. If we didn’t have the war, the country wouldn’t be in the shitty state it’s in (and the EU would still be looking at us with wonder as to how we’re doing so well) and the first step in reversing this would be to pull back all the troops and say F the middle east.

    Don’t worry though, once EU states start implementing Sharia law, all these issues won’t really be a concern anymore.

    • “Debt” is our Sharia.

    • “…once EU states start implementing Sharia law, all these issues won’t really be a concern anymore.”

      A typical take on the EU that completely misunderstands the situation.

      • Considering the immigration and population growth of a sector of society that is actively and openly trying to transform EU states into Islamic societies, it’s pretty much the current expected future. It doesn’t have to be, but none of the states at risk will take any action to prevent it until it is too late.

        • You mean aside from the fact that implementation of Sharia laws for dealing with personal issues like divorce/marriage/lending practices etc…much like Orthodox Judaism (which is generally allowed to do the same and regulate itself and its members)…applied only to people of that particular faith rather than everyone else…

          …or do you mean the BS that retarded talking heads on TV babble over and over again without any background info on the subject?

          Sorry to sound a little harsh…but seriously man…if you’re gonna bring the real disinfo to the table like its a dangerous fact bomb instead of a dud…we’re all kinda honor bound to call you on it.

          Either way…I’m not really a fan of Sharia law…but lets not get into that habit of mis-characterizing the issue.

          • Sharia law is one of the greatest evils of this Earth, a brutal, backward, inhumane, and sexual code against women and peaceful people everywhere on Earth. Muslims who fail to reject Sharia law in modern society do so at their own risk, as it will fail them.

          • …but at least you’re coming at the subject from a completely unbiased perspective 🙂

          • Dearborn, Michigan is a hotbed of Sharia support. The moderate, educated Muslims in Dearborn, the largest Muslim city in America, cower in terror, afraid of the radicals in their mosques. Imagine Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Teachers, afraid of these thugs living in their own neighborhoods, right here in suburban Detroit.

          • Tuna Ghost | Jan 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm |

            Having lived in Detroit, I can say with full confidence that not only do Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, and Teachers have a great deal more to fear from all the other sorts of thugs in and around Detroit but also there’s a fair chance that Sharia law, terrible and backwards as it is, could actually make Detroit less of an utter shithole failure of a city.

          • justagirl | Jan 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm |

            doubt it.

          • I have no problem with people choosing alternative judgement for civil matters. Orthodox Jews are fine with this, and even though they also have laws on criminal activity, they are not calling for the Torah law to replace secular law in all aspects, and only implement their law legally over civil cases of their own accord. If Muslims want to monitor their internal monetary disputes under sharia law, that’s not a problem. Moderate Muslims are not the ones out there protesting calling for Sharia law as this level of observance already exists (at least in the US, I can’t speak for other western countries).

            What you should be worried about is stuff like this:
            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340599/WikiLeaks-1-3-British-Muslim-students-killing-Islam-40-want-Sharia-law.html (1/3rd and 40% of 600 students respectively)

            The kinds of sharia law that the extremists we’re worried about are promoting isn’t the nice “let people manage their own affairs” kind but the kind that insists on Sharia law being the last word for everyone where the Quran decides in all matters. Civil, Criminal, Non-Muslim, and Muslim.

    • Ironaddict06 | Dec 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm |

      I agree. The problem I have with a social health care system is I should not have to pay for people that live horrible life styles-smoking, drugs, etc..And shouldn’t those people pay more for health care? Then what about the millions of illegal aliens that will not have money taken out of their pay check for health care? I believe the problem is the COST of healthcare. There should be an open book policy to see exactly what the cost is of an operation, machines, and medicine the charge a certain %.

  12. Liam_McGonagle | Dec 28, 2010 at 6:04 pm |

    Well, yeah, they’ve got a point. But look at the broader historical perspective, and it’s hardly a wonder.

    Our ancestors escaped to the U.S. precisely to ESCAPE the European looney tunes that brought their public consciousness to its relatively more mature state. Thirty Years War, WWI, WWII–we got off light.

    That’s why Americans don’t get it. Cause up ’til this point, we have more or less been separate from the rest of the world, an ocean away. We’re still under a delusion of immunity that Europe was forcibly severed from decades ago via the hard lessons of massive depopulation and hardship.

    Before the sons and grandsons of Nazis and Fascisti get all in our face about how stupid we are (though as a nation, Americans are pretty fucking stupid), they should ask themselves why it took them so long to learn these lessons.

  13. Liam_McGonagle | Dec 28, 2010 at 2:04 pm |

    Well, yeah, they’ve got a point. But look at the broader historical perspective, and it’s hardly a wonder.

    Our ancestors escaped to the U.S. precisely to ESCAPE the European looney tunes that brought their public consciousness to its relatively more mature state. Thirty Years War, WWI, WWII–we got off light.

    That’s why Americans don’t get it. Cause up ’til this point, we have more or less been separate from the rest of the world, an ocean away. We’re still under a delusion of immunity that Europe was forcibly severed from decades ago via the hard lessons of massive depopulation and hardship.

    Before the sons and grandsons of Nazis and Fascisti get all in our face about how stupid we are (though as a nation, Americans are pretty fucking stupid), they should ask themselves why it took them so long to learn these lessons.

    • Right on, Brother Liam. We were shouting this in the streets in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but they didn’t get it then, and not enough get it still. It has come home to roost. Love and peace could have overcome evil and greed.

      Now we are at war with terrorists and nearing war with other nations over economics.

    • Maybe Germany looks at us like an AA member looks at a drunk stumbling towards the gutter. They’ve been there.

    • F'reelYankee | Dec 31, 2010 at 8:30 pm |

      I herez ya, bro! Isn’t it FG who sed,” Stupid iz az stupid duz?” Our Nation is the dullest knife in the drawer(gotta be), we’re as effervescent & bubbly as a flat bottle of bubbly on NY’s Eve(hic), we take the cake & everything else on the dessert table but can’t eat it ‘cuz our collective bloated bellies are too full(buurrrp)! BTW, I replied in full to the above article in an earlier comment(jez scroll dn 😉

  14. “Debt” is our Sharia.

  15. “…once EU states start implementing Sharia law, all these issues won’t really be a concern anymore.”

    A typical take on the EU that completely misunderstands the situation.

  16. Considering the immigration and population growth of a sector of society that is actively and openly trying to transform EU states into Islamic societies, it’s pretty much the current expected future. It doesn’t have to be, but none of the states at risk will take any action to prevent it until it is too late.

  17. Anonymous | Dec 29, 2010 at 4:54 am |

    We are more naive than insane. We believe most of what we are told. We don’t like change, we like comfortable illusions. Our country is relatively young compared to Europe. We don’t lnow how to lose with any grace. We trade dignity for beligerence and call it national security. We are stupid -its easy to mistake it for insanity.

  18. GoodDoktorBad | Dec 29, 2010 at 12:54 am |

    We are more naive than insane. We believe most of what we are told. We don’t like change, we like comfortable illusions. Our country is relatively young compared to Europe. We don’t lnow how to lose with any grace. We trade dignity for beligerence and call it national security. We are stupid -its easy to mistake it for insanity.

  19. It’s called corporate feudalism and it’s voted for because apparently, my fellow Americans really are a bunch of morons. From what I can see, the stereotype of Americans being idiots is only somewhat unfair.

  20. It’s called corporate feudalism and it’s voted for because apparently, my fellow Americans really are a bunch of morons. From what I can see, the stereotype of Americans being idiots is only somewhat unfair.

  21. Right on, Brother Liam. We were shouting this in the streets in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but they didn’t get it then, and not enough get it still. It has come home to roost. Love and peace could have overcome evil and greed.

    Now we are at war with terrorists and nearing war with other nations over economics.

  22. You mean aside from the fact that implementation of Sharia laws for dealing with personal issues like divorce/marriage/lending practices etc…much like Orthodox Judaism (which is generally allowed to do the same and regulate itself and its members)…applied only to people of that particular faith rather than everyone else…

    …or do you mean the BS that retarded talking heads on TV babble over and over again without any background info on the subject?

    Sorry to sound a little harsh…but seriously man…if you’re gonna bring the real disinfo to the table like its a dangerous fact bomb instead of a dud…we’re all kinda honor bound to call you on it.

    Either way…I’m not really a fan of Sharia law…but lets not get into that habit of mis-characterizing the issue.

  23. They have survived the financial collapse reasonably well…so its easy to sit back fat and sassy and snipe at everyone else…other than that…they elected Angela Merkel…they got nothing to brag about…but I have to admit that its unique to find ourselves as Americans sitting here being the people that other countries look at and feel vaguely sorry for because we’re poorer than ever, divided almost into a state of total paralysis, working like dogs to barely get by and have few collective bargaining rights left. This must be how it felt 40 years ago to be a country that Americans looked at and went “Tsk tsk…those poor folks…if only they had good leadership or at least the wisdom to elect good leadership they could get their lives together and make something of themselves.” I don’t like the feeling of it much…my only consolation is knowing that I’ve rallied and written and spoken and voted against almost every policy that contributed to this downhill slide for my entire adult life…not that it helped prevent anything.

  24. They have survived the financial collapse reasonably well…so its easy to sit back fat and sassy and snipe at everyone else…other than that…they elected Angela Merkel…they got nothing to brag about…but I have to admit that its unique to find ourselves as Americans sitting here being the people that other countries look at and feel vaguely sorry for because we’re poorer than ever, divided almost into a state of total paralysis, working like dogs to barely get by and have few collective bargaining rights left. This must be how it felt 40 years ago to be a country that Americans looked at and went “Tsk tsk…those poor folks…if only they had good leadership or at least the wisdom to elect good leadership they could get their lives together and make something of themselves.” I don’t like the feeling of it much…my only consolation is knowing that I’ve rallied and written and spoken and voted against almost every policy that contributed to this downhill slide for my entire adult life…not that it helped prevent anything.

    • Liam_McGonagle | Dec 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm |

      Ah, don’t get down on yourself, there. See, greedy impatience for immediate results is the crack binge that fuels Right Wing stupidity; a mature long-term, non-egocentric perspective is the nurturance of wisdom.

      I am certain that somewhere along the line, some action of yours, something you’ve written or some word you’ve spoken has inspired someone. And that inspiration may not necesarily directly result in some great policy shift or radical social transformation, but it’ll point that someone in the right direction.

      And further down the track, he/she will get further inspiration/reinforcement from someone else, and so-on and so-forth until the real social momentum has shifted toward progress.

      That’s probably the one real advantage progressive thinkers really have. We’re not dependent on the ghostly ephemera and chimera of a false ego state to guide us, but on the aggregate, empirical and historical experience of the human race.

  25. Sharia law is one of the greatest evils of this Earth, a brutal, backward, inhumane, and sexual code against women and peaceful people everywhere on Earth. Muslims who fail to reject Sharia law in modern society do so at their own risk, as it will fail them.

  26. …but at least you’re coming at the subject from a completely unbiased perspective 🙂

  27. Dearborn, Michigan is a hotbed of Sharia support. The moderate, educated Muslims in Dearborn, the largest Muslim city in America, cower in terror, afraid of the radicals in their mosques. Imagine Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Teachers, afraid of these thugs living in their own neighborhoods, right here in suburban Detroit.

  28. Maybe Germany looks at us like an AA member looks at a drunk stumbling towards the gutter. They’ve been there.

  29. I have no problem with people choosing alternative judgement for civil matters. Orthodox Jews are fine with this, and even though they also have laws on criminal activity, they are not calling for the Torah law to replace secular law in all aspects, and only implement their law legally over civil cases of their own accord. If Muslims want to monitor their internal monetary disputes under sharia law, that’s not a problem. Moderate Muslims are not the ones out there protesting calling for Sharia law as this level of observance already exists (at least in the US, I can’t speak for other western countries).

    What you should be worried about is stuff like this:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340599/WikiLeaks-1-3-British-Muslim-students-killing-Islam-40-want-Sharia-law.html (1/3rd and 40% of 600 students respectively)

    The kinds of sharia law that the extremists we’re worried about are promoting isn’t the nice “let people manage their own affairs” kind but the kind that insists on Sharia law being the last word for everyone where the Quran decides in all matters. Civil, Criminal, Non-Muslim, and Muslim.

  30. Ironaddict06 | Dec 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm |

    I agree. The problem I have with a social health care system is I should not have to pay for people that live horrible life styles-smoking, drugs, etc..And shouldn’t those people pay more for health care? Then what about the millions of illegal aliens that will not have money taken out of their pay check for health care? I believe the problem is the COST of healthcare. There should be an open book policy to see exactly what the cost is of an operation, machines, and medicine the charge a certain %.

  31. Liam_McGonagle | Dec 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm |

    Ah, don’t get down on yourself, there. See, greedy impatience for immediate results is the crack binge that fuels Right Wing stupidity; a mature long-term, non-egocentric perspective is the nurturance of wisdom.

    I am certain that somewhere along the line, some action of yours, something you’ve written or some word you’ve spoken has inspired someone. And that inspiration may not necesarily directly result in some great policy shift or radical social transformation, but it’ll point that someone in the right direction.

    And further down the track, he/she will get further inspiration/reinforcement from someone else, and so-on and so-forth until the real social momentum has shifted toward progress.

    That’s probably the one real advantage progressive thinkers really have. We’re not dependent on the ghostly ephemera and chimera of a false ego state to guide us, but on the aggregate, empirical and historical experience of the human race.

  32. The fact is that our cities look like Third World hovels compared to Northwestern European cities, or compared to cities in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Our social safety net is nonexistent. We’re the only developed nation on earth without universal health care, and our job benefits are terrible.

    Something like a raise in tuition caused the Brits and the Italians to riot. Americans sat by and watched as the middle class was destroyed, as the poor got poorer, and as the top few wealthy folk got their tax breaks extended.

    The problem is we are ignorant sheep, more than willing to be controlled by our media and by our religiosity. We are, tragically, not insane. The insane have an excuse. The ignorant have no such excuse. Nearly half the population of the US are young earthers, and do not believe in evolution. What can you possibly expect from a people like that?

  33. Maybe they see Beck as the next Hitler? Look at everything he’s had to say about George Soros.

  34. F'reelYankee | Dec 31, 2010 at 11:36 pm |

    The U S of A just may not have its act together(yet). Lord knows we’ve had more than eleven score years to tweak the b’geebers out of our venerable “system” while beneath our feet, rolling in their graves, lie the Founding Fathers wondering why we don’t ask, “What would THEY do?”

    “But we DOooo,” we moan, while poring over our dog eared copies of the Constitution. Yikes! Our guv’mint as been humming Yankee Doodle longer than the EU’s brand of pluralism has been ’round. And don’t ya think US heterogeneity would have an edge on the largely homogeneous EU Nation States in developing democratic principles? Nope! You can bet your fat retirement account on that(while yer at it, throw in yer health insurance policy, too).

    Oh yeah, I know we are truly blessed from sea to sea, it’s scaling the tall mountains & slogging thru the deep valleys in between that bogs us down. Right now we’re the Donner Party stuck in the Sierra Nevada cannibalizing our precious resources & eating each other in the bargain(ya think?).

    % of GNP. It all boils down to % of GNP! For pity sake, gimme a piece of the American pie, will ya? Hey, I’m all for taxes, after all I grew up in Taxachusetts. Ya won’t hear me screaming when Uncle Sam breaks open my piggy bank in April! And don’t you worry the conservative cats with a bit of fat around their middle will make sure they get theirs(DEFINITELY! Let’s give ’em what they deserve!).

    Ya really know when to quit writin’ when the reply is longer than the flippin’ article. Thanx fo’ yo time :]

  35. F'reelYankee | Dec 31, 2010 at 7:36 pm |

    The U S of A just may not have its act together(yet). Lord knows we’ve had more than eleven score years to tweak the b’geebers out of our venerable “system” while beneath our feet, rolling in their graves, lie the Founding Fathers wondering why we don’t ask, “What would THEY do?”

    “But we DOooo,” we moan, while poring over our dog eared copies of the Constitution. Yikes! Our guv’mint as been humming Yankee Doodle longer than the EU’s brand of pluralism has been ’round. And don’t ya think US heterogeneity would have an edge on the largely homogeneous EU Nation States in developing democratic principles? Nope! You can bet your fat retirement account on that(while yer at it, throw in yer health insurance policy, too).

    Oh yeah, I know we are truly blessed from sea to sea, it’s scaling the tall mountains & slogging thru the deep valleys in between that bogs us down. Right now we’re the Donner Party stuck in the Sierra Nevada cannibalizing our precious resources & eating each other in the bargain(ya think?).

    % of GNP. It all boils down to % of GNP! For pity sake, gimme a piece of the American pie, will ya? Hey, I’m all for taxes, after all I grew up in Taxachusetts. Ya won’t hear me screaming when Uncle Sam breaks open my piggy bank in April! And don’t you worry the conservative cats with a bit of fat around their middle will make sure they get theirs(DEFINITELY! Let’s give ’em what they deserve!).

    Ya really know when to quit writin’ when the reply is longer than the flippin’ article. Thanx fo’ yo time :]

  36. F'reelYankee | Jan 1, 2011 at 12:30 am |

    I herez ya, bro! Isn’t it FG who sed,” Stupid iz az stupid duz?” Our Nation is the dullest knife in the drawer(gotta be), we’re as effervescent & bubbly as a flat bottle of bubbly on NY’s Eve(hic), we take the cake & everything else on the dessert table but can’t eat it ‘cuz our collective bloated bellies are too full(buurrrp)! BTW, I replied in full to the above article in an earlier comment(jez scroll dn 😉

  37. WTF, don’t u worry that “Everything You Know Is Wrong?”

  38. F'reelYankee | Jan 1, 2011 at 12:50 am |

    Amen! We’re also known ’round the world as Ugly Americans :[

  39. justagirl | Jan 1, 2011 at 5:01 pm |

    what’s all this “we” stuff?? :)-

  40. Tuna Ghost | Jan 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm |

    Having lived in Detroit, I can say with full confidence that not only do Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, and Teachers have a great deal more to fear from all the other sorts of thugs in and around Detroit but also there’s a fair chance that Sharia law, terrible and backwards as it is, could actually make Detroit less of an utter shithole failure of a city.

  41. justagirl | Jan 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm |

    doubt it.

  42. Your no expert you forgot to tell us all how much Europeans pay in taxes for all of this.You freaking morons always tell the good but always leave out the bad.I will educated you 47% of there wages and they pay a higer vat sales tax than we do moron.You live in europe alright maybe the Europe in Epcot lol.

  43. Your no expert you forgot to tell us all how much Europeans pay in taxes for all of this.You freaking morons always tell the good but always leave out the bad.I will educated you 47% of there wages and they pay a higer vat sales tax than we do moron.You live in europe alright maybe the Europe in Epcot lol.

    • Your grammar and spelling prove you’re intelligent enough to call those you disagree with morons.

  44. Your grammar and spelling prove you’re intelligent enough to call those you disagree with morons.

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