Wednesday, August 17, 2005

America: Finland, but Worse

"Why can't we Americans be more like Finland?"

Why, indeed? I mean, except for the fact that we squander our blood and treasure on unnecessary wars. After examining the two nations, Robert G. Kaiser, an editor at the Washington Post, writes that,

In the end I concluded that Finnish society could not serve as a blueprint for the United States. National differences matter. Ours is a society driven by money, blessed by huge private philanthropy, cursed by endemic corruption, and saddled with deep mistrust of government and other public institutions. Finns have none of those attributes. Nor do they tune in to American individualism. Groupthink seems to be fine with most Finns; conformity is the norm, risk-taking is avoided - a problem now, when entrepreneurs are so needed... I was bothered by a sense of entitlement among many Finns, especially younger people.
These strike me as pretty banal conclusions. Groupthink and entitlement are problematic in Finland, but not here? Does Kaiser know that it's only now - nearly four years after 9/11 - that Americans are waking up the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks? What about Americans' love for shitty teevee and movies, speaking of groupthink? And entitlement? Has he never seen American entrepreneurs clamoring for government aid whenever the going gets tough or, say, the sun comes up?