This is one of the best critiques of American culture I’ve seen to date. The problem with ruling classes that adopt a “Let them eat cake” attitude is that they tend to not come to a happy ending. Ask the Bourbons and the Romanovs.
By Alex Bash
America Does not Tolerate Losers!
As General George Patton prepared the Third Army for the invasion of Sicily, he famously observed “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser!”. While Patton’s speech was well-regarded by the troops, some of his colleagues judged him to be vulgar and unprofessional.
Love him or hate him, you cannot deny that Patton was a uniquely American character. America was founded by people who were courageous enough to leave the comfort of their old life in Europe. To do this, they had to abandon the aristocracy, tradition, and order of their European country of origin. Upon arriving in the colonies, Americans not only claimed their independence but also pursued a relentless Westward expansion, which forms a key component of America’s core identity: manifest destiny. Galvanized by this belief, Americans aggressively pursued an expansionary foreign policy, as they continue to do so today. Questions about whether this is right or wrong aside, an aggressive foreign policy is a core component of the American identity: that cannot be changed, nor should it be.
The liberals may deride Jackson’s “trail of tears” and “manifest destiny”, but what they fail to understand is that the nation’s core identity cannot be changed. In the “Significance of the Frontier in American History”, Fredrick Jackson Turner showed how the frontier mentality fostered the character of American rugged individualism.
(https://www.historians.org/about-aha-and-membership/aha-history-and-archives/historical-archives/the-significance-of-the-frontier-in-american-history). In doing so, the Frontier Mentality bolstered entrepreneurship, promoted risk-taking, and cultivated a certain directness that the American national character is famous for.
In “Hell’s Kitchen”, Chef Ramsey demonstrated a deep understanding of the American identity by berating the losers of his show. He had no reservations about embarking on obscenity-laced tirades to show the incompetent contestants just how pathetic they were. By contrast, he had a similar show in the UK, where he criticized the underperforming cooks in a more tactful manner. There is no way of telling which of Ramsey’s approaches personas is the “best”, it is simply a matter of cultural differences.
Many of his British viewers would say that they prefer for him to criticize the participants in a respectful manner, as behaving the way he does on the American show simply isn’t decorous. On the other hand, they have no problem chastising the hypocrisy of the mealy-mouthed upper-class British people and their “stiff upper lip”. Would it truly be terrible for Chef Ramsey to scream that you “FUCKING SUCK AT COOKING!”? Would you truly rather have him pat you on the shoulder with a phony smile and a contrived dignified posture, as he admonishes you “You can do better, best of luck, mate!”?
Clearly, even most of the British people see value in the American candor. There is a certain honesty in simply calling things the way they are. Words may be offensive, but they do not constitute an offense. Nobody has ever died from having their pride hurt or from simply being insulted, especially when the derogatory comment is nothing more than a badly needed reality check. An aspiring chef who simply lacks the talent and the dedication to be truly excellent needs to be advised on this matter as bluntly as possible. He would be better off knowing this as soon as possible rather than making that discovery the hard way. Would he not rather know what he is capable of so he can keep his expectations in check instead of wasting over a decade of his life to realize that all of his work has been for naught?
Surely, Chef Ramsey can’t tell you that you are a fundamentally worthless person and if he does, there is no good reason to listen to him. Yet, he can tell you if you have what it takes to make it in his field. Yes, it would be a good idea to seek a second opinion, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking Ramsey’s word for what it is: an expert opinion. It may be a mere opinion, but one that you can certainly use as a guiding light. Based on that, you are more than welcome to seek out other expert opinions and once you receive all of the necessary information, you may conduct your own assessment. However, a simple wake-up call from a knowledgeable, but remarkably blunt specialist in the field can certainly be a good start: you simply cannot go wrong from there. The worst case scenario is not bad at all: you will simply realize that cooking isn’t your true calling, which means that you are free to pursue any number of other vocations.
To be certain, it makes excellent sense to welcome constructive feedback, no matter how unpleasant or even crass it may be. By doing so, you can save plenty of time, energy and frustration. There is value in simply understanding the reality of the situation, whatever it may be. Regrettably, much of the American left has no interest in that at all: that explains why they are so resolutely opposed to the blunt nature of the core American identity. The Political Correctness of the American left represents little more than a denial of reality, it is an attempt to stifle honest communication that is necessary in order for a fruitful discussion to emerge. Whether the discussion centers on your career plans, an exchange of political ideas or a brainstorming session, it is necessary for all involved parties to be forthright. While there is no reason to be needlessly offensive, it is more important to communicate the reality of the situation than it is to be tactful, otherwise, the entire exchange becomes artificial and self-defeating. If the choice has to be made between being tactful and being frank, it is always better to err on the side of the latter.
In light of the fundamental reality of the unique American culture, we may now examine the common criticisms of the American national character that are often voiced by the Democratic Party and the left-leaning public figures of the European Union.
- It’s hard to be poor in America.
In the “Conscience of a Liberal”, Paul Krugman observed that while the French middle class pay much higher taxes than their American counterparts do, it is easier to be poor in France. Krugman also noted that although France has a broader middle-class, more Americans belong to the upper-middle class.
However, there is one critical point that Krugman has conveniently overlooked: the local purchasing power of Americans is much higher than that of the French.
The United States ranks 2nd in the world on Local Purchasing Power, with Switzerland being the only European nation that outranks the U.S. The reason for this is simple: the dynamism of their market-oriented economy. Despite the stereotypes suggesting that all European countries welcome massive taxation, Switzerland has consistently outperformed the U.S on the Index of Economic Freedom.
Switzerland is currently fifth and has been in the top ten for the last decade, while the U.S has declined precipitously. Under the leadership of Barack Hussein Obama II, the U.S lost its standing in the top 10, plummeting by nearly a dozen positions, which is why the U.S is now 17th!
By contrast, France is 64th, which puts it on the lower end of the “moderately free” category. On the local purchasing power, France came in 26th, which means that the salaries of the French afford them a much lower purchasing liberties than the salaries of Americans do. While the French may think that their social services are free, the reality is that they are paying for them in the form of their diminished purchasing power. While they may work shorter hours, receive maternity and paternity leave, use public medical services and pay less for education, they are less likely to attain the material possessions that have long been regarded as symbols of the American dream. Even after the 2008 financial crisis, Americans are much more likely to be able to buy a home or own multiple vehicles. While these hallmarks of the American dream may be accessible to much of the American upper-middle class and even parts of the middle-class itself, they are only accessible to the truly rich in France. Much of the French middle class will have to make do with renting an apartment and using public transportation, with only faint hopes of owning a small apartment of their own in the distant future. Yet, owning a two-story house with a white-picket fence is simply out of reach for much of the French middle class. The same goes for most of the European welfare states, whose residents are happy to sign away their opportunities to fight for their equivalent of the American dream in exchange for greater economic security, wider middle-class, lower wealth disparities and better living conditions for the poor. While that trade-off may be acceptable to most Europeans, it is repugnant to most Americans: it goes against the grain of the fundamental elements of the American culture that General Patton expounded upon.
There is a clear-cut economic reason why America remains the world’s most popular destination for immigrants, by a wide margin.
About one in five of international immigrants live in the U.S, no other nation comes close in this regard. The reason is simple: immigrants are like Patton’s followers, who as “real Americans” are “playing to win all the time”. These newcomers are willing to play for high stakes and accept greater rewards. They are hardly concerned about the high costs of health-care and education, they see it as an acceptable cost of doing business in America. While they may be dismayed to see an abundance of homelessness, they know full well that if an immigrant with minimal skills and only rudimentary knowledge of the English language can find a roof over his head, there should be no excuses for the people living on the streets. To be sure, these immigrants know full well that the truly indigent people of their country had fewer opportunities than the most destitute of Americans.
As callous as that may sound to the liberals and the proponents of the EU model, this is the reality of the American way of life and it cannot change. America was founded by people who took enormous risks to re-invent themselves in the new world: by its nature, this is a venture with high-risks and high rewards. The well-being of the average person, the size of the middle-class, the wealth of the 1% or let alone the immiseration of the poorest Americans are simply irrelevant. Patton had it right, “real Americans love to fight” and “play to win” all the time. There is no room for “losers” or mediocrities, which would explain why the complacent middle class of Europe no longer have much interest in trying their luck in America.
Doing so would be a lateral move for a middle-class Frenchman or a German and the rewards would not justify the risks, as it makes little sense for them to give up a secure life they had at home.
It is not a coincidence that the U.S no longer is a country of European immigrants. At the beginning of the 20th century, all of the leading foreign-born ethnic groups in the U.S were European, but today, the most well-represented ethnic groups are Mexicans, Indians and the Chinese. These are the “real Americans” who “will not tolerate a loser” and “play to win all the time”. These are gifted and industrious people from countries without much of a middle class, so they would much rather take enormous risks in America in order to have a half a chance at breaking into the upper middle-class rather than being condemned to a life of mediocrity in a welfare state. For these “real Americans”, there are no half-measures, nor should there be. This is how the colonial Americans have always thought, the tradition endured through Patton’s time and the newcomers from China, India and Mexico are happy to maintain it. While many of them may vote Democrat, the most successful of them are as reluctant to pay high taxes as are their accomplished peers of European heritage.
- America’s Immigration Policy is Tough
That may be true, as it is much easier to sneak into the European Union or even Canada than it is to start a new life in the U.S. Yet, one fundamental misconception is that the U.S is extraordinarily accommodating to highly skilled immigrants. The U.S has an abundance of visa programs to recognize the talent of foreign professionals. These exceptional individuals often prefer to be in the U.S than in Europe because they would prefer to pay lower taxes and find an environment most conducive to the actualization of their potential. Despite that an overwhelming proportion of blue-collar jobs has been outsourced to China and India, this cannot be done with the highly skilled white-collar jobs. In that respect, there is a reversal of the migration trend: instead of sending the jobs to Indian and China, the U.S welcomes the intellectual capital these countries offer. It is close to impossible to find a robust alternative to the Silicon Valley and for good reasons, most software developers would prefer to be there rather than somewhere in the EU. Likewise, the tristate area of New York is a phenomenal choice for accountants, financiers and other professionals employed in the finance sector.
Consistently with Patton’s dictum that America doesn’t tolerate losers, it makes good sense for the U.S to be receptive to the highly skilled immigrants, but disinterested in the newcomers who are less accomplished. Clearly, the latter would be better off in a more secure environment of the EU or even Canada, where one can comfortably settle into the complacent environment of the middle class. To do so, one does not need to be exceptionally gifted or hyper-industrious. These may be the requirements of the American upper-middle class, which is the prerequisite for the achievement of the American dream, but such a milieu is no place for mediocrities.
- America’s Foreign Policy is Belligerent
Again, Patton had it right: America does not tolerate losers. The expansionary foreign policy is a result of the Frontier Mentality, which Fredrick Jackson Turner discussed in “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”. While one may critique the undue intervention of the U.S military in foreign conflict, it is impossible to alter the core component of the nation’s culture. America does not and never will tolerate losers: the only way the sphere of American influence abroad can be curtailed is if a foreign power emerges as a challenger to the U.S global hegemony. The left may continue to insist that the U.S military budget should be diminished sharply and redistributed among social service programs. Yet, that is a futile endeavor: it is fundamentally anti-American and it is impracticable for that reason.
- Health-Care and Education Are a Disaster
While progressives bemoan how America is only 28th on the Index of Social Progress, they overlooked that the very idea of social progress is antithetical to the American way of life.
As it has been noted in the same report on America’s decline that the U.S is the world leader in quality education and health-care, however, it is 97th and 91st in access to health-care and education.
Most of the left-leaning citizens of the EU would describe health-care and education as public goods that should be provided by the government, but such a point of view is un-American.
America does not tolerate losers, period. The fact of the matter is that the U.S is number 1 with respect to the quality of these institutions is what defines the American identity, it is simply irrelevant whether ordinary people are able to access them. To suggest otherwise would be un-American and such recommendations are better suited for the European Union, where economic security matters more than opportunities to become fabulously wealthy.
American politics are by and for the wealthy, with the upper-middle class being the lowest threshold of eligibility. Anyone who is not prepared to accept enormous sacrifices in order to break into the upper-middle-class would be well advised to consider starting their life in Europe. It is much easier than it may seem, as most EU nations have far more lenient immigration policies than the U.S did. In fact, there are tens of thousands of Americans living in Europe already.
- Donald Trump is uncouth
Donald Trump is not applying for a job at a think tank, nor is he looking to participate in a ceremony where he is to be knighted or let alone accepted as a king. He should not be expected to be a refined European gentleman who acts in a classy manner with impeccable table manners, exquisite taste in the arts and who voices his highly educated views in a stilted manner.
Such classism is simply un-American, nor will it ever be. The most important thing to know about Donald Trump is that he is an authentic American every bit as much as Patton was. He represents the true American culture and he resists the influence of those who try to impose a European way of life upon the U.S, which is fundamentally repugnant to the American values. Far from being seen as uncouth, Trump’s pugnaciousness should be regarded as an embodiment of Patton’s observation that “real Americans love to fight” and “America will not tolerate a loser”. For all his flaws, Trump persevered to preserve his fortune, maintain his controversial public persona and above all, become president in a uniquely American way by underscoring the core attribute of the American character: Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. While the left may deride Trump for his “strongman” posturing in the style of John Wayne, they overlooked the fact that America demands men like Trump. They represent the core American identity that has been passed down since the colonial era.
Above all, Patton’s timeless words must be remembered for generations to come “All real Americans love to fight! Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser!”. America is not Sweden, nor is it Germany. This is not a place for a massive social safety net, nor is it a place where an average person can “live with dignity”, as the left would suggest. The American middle class will continue to decline, but a sizable portion of ordinary Americans will join the upper-middle-class. Nonetheless, there is truth to the observation that upward mobility has declined in the U.S, as the middle class shrunk and the majority of ordinary Americans who worked in the blue collar field have struggled to achieve upward mobility. Donald Trump has taken note of that and vowed to “bring the jobs back”. At the face of it, bringing the jobs back certainly seems like a tall order, as it’s extraordinarily difficult to reverse the decades’ long trend of outsourcing that emerged in a globalized market. Although it remains an open question as to whether Trump will be able to keep his promise, from the standpoint of the American identity, it is simply irrelevant. America does not tolerate losers, never did and never will.