Not exceptional. It’s strange.

Here are examples where America is different from other countries...


American exceptionalism is the theory that the United States is inherently different from other nations. This stems from its emergence from the American Revolution, becoming what the political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset called “the first new nation” and developing a uniquely American ideology.  But some of the things that have developed in the U.S. are downright strange.  Here are examples where America is different from other countries:

1.  Our paper money is all the same color and size (most other countries have different colors and sometimes sizes for their bills).  We also have a confusing coin system.

2.  We use America to describe our country.  But “America” includes all the other countries in North and South America.  And other countries use the term “United States.”  E.g., United Mexican States.  

3.  We write dates beginning with the month while most other countries start with the date.

4.  We advertise prescription drugs all over the place.  This is a part of the commercialization of our healthcare system.

5. We hang U.S. flags everywhere.  Americans talk about their freedom as if they’re the only country in the world who has it.  Children do the pledge of allegiance every morning at school.

6.  We still don’t use the metric system of measurement.  (We use a system that was abandoned in Britain years ago).

7.  We bombard ourselves with advertising.

8.  We use a huge amount of water in our toilets.  We tend to waste a lot of things.

9  We eat giant portions of food (no wonder we’re obese).  So we give out doggy bags.

10.  We pay sales tax on practically everything we buy.

11.  We send our children into debt to go to college.  Education in the U.S. is very expensive.

12.  We work constantly with little vacation time.  Well, of course: salaries are low and expenses are high.  You can thank capitalism for that.

13.  We have extremely long highways (only Canada has similar routes).

14.  Kitchen garbage disposals are common (they are banned in many places in Europe).  This comes from the tendency to waste resources.

15.  We are obsessed with college sports.

16.  We have excessive patriotism

17.  We have spray cheeses.

18.  Commercialism gives us 24 hour stores.

19.  We treat pets like children.

20  We have American Black Friday (more commercialism)

21.  Many ads for weight loss.  (We eat too much).

22.  People tend to be loud.

23.  We use Fahrenheit to measure heat and cold.  For some reason, we can’t transfer over to the systems used by most of the rest of the world.

24.  You can’t legally drink alcohol in many public places.  There are strict alcohol laws.

25.  People in the U.S. talk about other countries as if you’re from another planet.

26.  Books are very expensive.

27.  Getting medical treatment is insanely expensive.  Antibiotics are very expensive.  You may have to file bankruptcy because you went to the hospital.  Ambulance rides costing money seems pretty absurd to people from other countries.  People are actively avoiding healthcare visits/checkups because if there’s something wrong and you don’t have the money to pay for treatment, then you’d rather just not know.

28.  Americans drive too much.

29.  We play strange games.  (We invented baseball, basketball, and American football).  Not played a lot elsewhere.

30.  We wear shoes indoors (many other places take them off at home.)

31.  We are nosy about people’s careers.

32.  We identify with our past history – where our forebears came from.

33.  Whereas other countries emphasize being practical, compact and concise, Americans often prefer large and luxurious.  (Cars, houses, etc)

34.  We eat on the run, plus do a lot of take out eating.

35.  The idea of being self-sufficient is valued highly in the U.S.   American Corporations have convinced us our work culture is totally normal.

36.  We we have two 12 hour cycles during the day instead of one 24 hour cycle.

37.  We rank next to last in vacation time offered by countries with advanced economies.

38  We eat dinner very early, compared to many places.

39.  We sell milk in huge gallon jugs.  USA is third in per capita in cow juice consumption.

40.  Guns are everywhere. (In Switzerland, almost everyone is a member of the militia and has a gun in the closet, but it isn’t a big deal).  Americans are shooting each other all the time. 

41.  There is a strong movement to ban abortions

42.  We hold a “world series” for many sports, even if only American teams participate.

43.  We eat a lot of pumpkin.

44.  We hold baby showers.

45.  We require “personal space.”

46   We do Trick or treat for Halloween.

47   We sit in back seat in taxis (in many countries the passenger sits with the driver).

48.  We have cheerleaders at sporting events.

49.  There are drive throughs for everything.

50.  We are always running air conditioning.   

51.  We put ice in water.

52.  Lawyers, doctors and other professionals advertise.  More commercialism.

53.  Deep frying everything.

54.  We put eggs in the refrigerator.

55.  We sell pills for every sort of ache and pain.

56.  We’re among the most wasteful people on the planet.

57.  We waste energy.

58.  A strong majority of U.S. adults — 74 percent — believe in a god.

59.  They are superstitious.  42 percent of Americans believe in ghosts, 26 percent in witches and 24 percent in reincarnation.

60.  Crackpot ideas.  7 percent of Americans believe the moon landing was faked.

61.   Despite less-than-stellar education rankings, the United States is the global leader in scientific publishing.  However,  the U.S. was ranked 27th in science out of 64 countries, and an even more middling rank of 35th in math.

62.  According to a 2014 survey of 11 rich nations by the Commonwealth Fund,  the United States ranked dead last in overall health care performance and in metrics such as equity of care, efficiency and “healthy lives.”

63.  Low life expectancy.  U.S. is around 40th worldwide, at 77.97 years overall, breaking down by gender as 75.35 for men and 80.51 for women.

64.  U.S. is the most overweight country on Earth.  (And you wonder why we have poor health!)

65.  The U.S ranks low for developed nations, with only 2.5 doctors per 1,000 people (2005 data); most European countries, for instance, have more than three. Cuba, famously, has tons of doctors — 6.7 per 1,000 people (2010 data).  No wonder medical care is expensive.

66.  Lack of belief in climate change.  Just 54 percent of Americans agree that ongoing climate change is largely the result of human activity, according to a 2014 survey by U.K. market research company Ipsos MORI.

67.  United States had 809 motor vehicles per 1,000 people in 2011.  This is the highest of any normal sized country.

68.   The United States incarcerates more people than any other country.   We still execute people.

69.  Among developed nations with complete, reliable statistics, the U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate.

70.  Although most nations have abolished capital punishment, over 60% of the world’s population live in countries where the death penalty is retained, such as China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, as well as in Japan and Taiwan. China has the highest execution rate.

71.  Gratuitous violence in entertainment is normal.  We find sex, nudity and language offensive, but violence and gore are acceptable.

72.    When you are 18 years old, you can be shipped to a foreign country to kill humans, but you are not allowed to drink alcohol.

73.  We pay people less than minimum wage. 

74.  We have only two major parties: Republicans and Democrats. 

75.  America goes to war everywhere.  Only 15 years out of the entirety of the 244 years the United States has been in existence have been peaceful. Only 15 years without conflict.

76.  America eats unhealthy food. 

77.  Strict ID rules.  On the internet, always checking passwords and IDs.

78.  Everything is open on a Sunday and no ‘siesta’.

79.  Everyone sues everyone for everything.

80  With all that plastic surgery, all boobs must be fake.

81  We call each other by our first names instead of last names.

82.  Americans have terrible issues with racism.  That is one of the defining issues in our society.

83.  Americans are arrogant.  They truly believe that they are exceptional.


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