STORY BEHIND THIS STATUE
Freedom of speech and expression is a religion even between Americans who hate each other's views. And when you see American soldiers going off to Iraq it's always with the proviso (not just from the President but from everyone across the political spectrum) that they are going to ‘spread our values'. Which is pretty much what religious crusading has always been about, coupled of course with ‘securing markets', so that the crusading nation has enough money to keep up its lifestyle back home, thus providing a billboard for the values it wishes to spread.
That 98% of white America claims to be Christian while in Europe the figure is around 30% becomes more understandable when you realize that Americans are already believers anyway - believers in ‘being American'. It's this which so easily allows them to welcome strangers into their culture, for it isn't a culture as Europeans know it, of language and manners, but simply of assent.
America is a church - ‘being American' is a religion - to become American the newcomer simply needs to convert.
This explains why Americans, anywhere in the world, whether soldiers or tourists or businessmen, are always so intrusive. It's because they are missionaries, full of righteousness and zeal about who they are. The European and Asian tradition has been to travel more unobtrusively. (OK, I know the exceptions - busloads of beer-drinking Germans, football-supporting Brits, floor-spitting Chinese, but, hey!- don't mess up my argument.)
Nowadays, as Europe becomes less religious it becomes increasingly difficult for its inhabitants to continue to believe in America.
But, if America is a ‘religion', what is France, or Britain, or Germany?
France, with a language which always ends in phrases with an upwards inflection, seems to be a question. While Italy, undoubtedly, is a family lunch, with babies crying, cousins flirting and relatives arguing.
Germany is a noise - mechanical, efficient and un-pretty, like its language. Japan is a huge bath-house to which foreigners aren't admitted. Holland is a slice of clean flavourless cheese; Andorra, an unreachable itch in the middle of your back; China, a loan shop; Thailand, a wet dream; and Australia, a gloriously rude fart.
England is still what it always has been - a big whinge.
> On American morals, by GK Chesterton
> Attention all citizens living in God's country without his permission - a special invitation from the Department of Faith to become a real American
> The meaning of American citizenship
> The Italians, by AA Gill
> www.fart.fm - why Australia needs a new energy policy
> How to tell if you're French
> Mind your manners when in Germany
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