The Myth of American Unexceptionalism Part 3: Social Issues

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Despite the obsessive fascination of the liberal media and academia with the rest of the developed world’s moral progressiveness and tolerance, the reality is that, on a social level, the rest of the world is not as warm and fuzzy as some would like to think.

photo-1418225162054-0f773a996f9eEven if one were to view today’s moral shift towards acceptance of virtually all ethical paradigms favorably (with the lone exception being an unacceptance of unacceptance itself), the regions that are doted upon by the “enlightened” academics and liberals are not as accepting and open-minded as they would like to think.

The last two posts in this series focused on countries of the Nordic region (given their popularity in liberal conversation), so it seems fitting to maintain the same focus while mentioning a few others just for posterity. Of course, this is not meant to bash any given country for the sheer sake of bashing. The intended purpose is to give the reader an appreciation for our imperfect, yet great country, the United States. There are things to be learned by the rest of the world, but the idea that the United States has fallen behind the world in terms of social development is a myth that must be dispelled.

Scandinavia: Sociological Porridge

As is noted in The Guardian, The New York Post, and The Telegraph, the countries of Scandinavia are seen as happy utopias full of organic food and sexually liberated orgies. However, the joyous, bubbly portrayal which the Scandinavian countries often receive is not accurate.

Danes are very much aware of their status as “The Happiest Country on Earth,” but in the words of Kyle Smith in the aforementioned New York Post article, the surveys which yield that reputation are “bunk.” Saying that one is not happy in Denmark is utterly taboo (like a more extreme version of an American saying they are doing well every time they are asked how they are doing). The people of Denmark are not as joyous as the surveys claim. Rather, they are a nation of people with struggles just like the rest of us, but are forced by society to blend in with the rest of society and put on an air of false pleasantry under all circumstances (that often comes across as entirely dull). Hence Denmark’s extensive alcoholism and use of antidepressants.

The people of Sweden have a similar reputation to those of the Danes, except they are thought to be wealthier. But, as is stated by the aforementioned article from the New York Post, “As for its supposedly sweet-natured national persona, in a poll in which Swedes were asked to describe themselves, the adjectives that led the pack were ‘envious, stiff, industrious, nature-loving, quiet, honest, dishonest and xenophobic.'” The article goes on to describe the portrayal of Swedish culture as oatmeal (inspired by the Swedish satire “Together”): bland, boring, and indistinguishable. Meanwhile, Norway’s oil prosperity has made it “asocial.”


The homogeneity of Denmark and Sweden has caused issues of racial tensions which are also mirrored in Norway. Denmark is notorious for xenophobic media which has been known to depict minorities as primitives with bones through their nose. The Danes, according to the aforementioned Guardian, are “aggressively jingoistic” (nationalistic to a fault). The people of Norway are not as prone to blatant racism; however, they, as well as Sweden, are known for taking in a dismal percentage of asylum applicants due to their desire for social cohesion. Sweden’s problems, however, are more deeply rooted, stretching back to the Third Reich. Hate crimes, specifically assault, is horrifyingly common  against Sweden’s 200,000 or so black community. This problem extend across Europe from Germany to Spain (surprisingly, regional differences have little effect on flawed human nature).

Mental Health

The aforementioned article from The Guardian writes that the suicide rate in Finland is far higher than any other Nordic country, and alcohol abuse is the leading cause of death among Finnish men. Drinking problems in Sweden became so severe that the government mandates that all bars close at 7 p.m., which has effectively created situations in Sweden that are reminiscent of American prohibition. The suicide rates in Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway are all higher than that of the United States. Sweden is described as a place in which people must keep to themselves to the extent that crying at a funeral can be enough to garner judgment from others.

Crimes Against Women and Minorities

This is a major problem in Sweden, in particular. The aforementioned article from The Telegraph writes, “In 2007, the US State Department recorded 6,192 cases of child abuse in Sweden by November of that year. It also reported homophobic crime was on the rise, and tens of thousands of rapes and domestic violence incidents in a population of just nine million. “Violence against women remains a problem,” its report concluded. Likewise, a 2006 report from the group Global Monitoring on the commercial sexual exploitation of children found systemic faults in Sweden, including allowing child pornography to be viewed, although not downloaded, and failing to care properly for children caught up in sex trafficking.”

In Conclusion:

The United States is by no means alone in its social issues. Despite the best attempts by the “enlightened” to trace major social issues in the United States to Christians or Conservatives (though some in these circles certainly deserve the reputation along with some in the ranks of atheists and liberals), the global phenomena suggest that human nature does not change based upon demographics, economic models, or systems of government. The United States is far from antiquated, and has been on the forefront of many fights for humanity. The United States can certainly learn from the global community, but it would be a mistake to see the United States as inferior.


Kyle Huitt
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Kyle Huitt

Part of the multitude that has lost their faith, but part of the few that has returned to it. This blog is my attempt to describe why I returned to the faith, and to maybe prevent somebody else from leaving it in the first place. Studying philosophy and history at Hillsdale College. Member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity.
Kyle Huitt
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