by Frank Li
This is the eleventh article of the series: “Towards An Ideal Form of Government”.
After (1) Top-10 American Misconceptions about China and (2) Top-10 American Misconceptions about The World, it is time for me to try to help my fellow Americans understand America better with “Top-10 American misconceptions about America”.
Top line: This is largely about America’s domestic policy, for which I personally hold two groups accountable for the major failure:
- The left-wing extremists for practicing destructive socialism at home.
- The career politicians for “getting re-elected ad nauseam”, including pandering to the unions on the left and mixing religion with politics on the right.
Misconception 1: America is not in decline
Here is an excerpt from President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Address:
“Anyone who is telling you that America is in decline does not know what he is talking about.”
It’s false; it’s misleading; and it’s brainwashing!
What was the basis for President Obama’s outrageously false assessment? Watch this: Is U.S. Committing Superpower Suicide against China? According to Christiane Amanpour, it was from Robert Kagan, who has a lot of influence not only over the Obama administration but also over Mitt Romney’s campaign!
Here is the plain truth: America has been in a steep decline over the past decade, although you rarely hear the American media-political complex say or admit it. Any doubt? Face the truth: our national debt is over $15T and rising rapidly. It has already exceeded our annual GDP! In other words, we are becoming the next Greece! Still unconvinced? Read: USA in 2012/2016: An Insolvent and Ungovernable Country.
Misconception 2: We are in trouble, but everything will be all right
Why? “Because America has always come out all right when facing crises before, right?” Wrong! Prayer might have worked before, but not any longer for two reasons:
(1) Foreign competition. The China factor is totally different from before as follows:
- Economically: Unlike America’s former competitors (e.g. Germany and Japan), China has both the size and weight to provide real competition for America. Additionally, China now has the momentum.
- Politically: Unlike the East vs. the West before the Cold War ended in 1989, the Chinese political system today is, in my view, slightly better than the American political system.
(2) Self destruction: Two extreme groups have been, purposely or not, severely undermining America over the past two decades, at least:
- The extreme left: they promote destructive socialism (Democracy and Communism: Are They Really The Same?).
- The extreme right (i.e. neo-cons): they promote imperialism with out-of-control military spending and naked aggression against other nations (e.g. the Iraq War).
Here is a quote from Abraham Lincoln:
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Lincoln was right!
Misconception 3: Religion is important to America
No, religion is not (supposed to be) important to America, although it may be important to us individually. As a matter of fact, many Europeans sailed to America a few hundred years ago to escape religious persecution in Europe.
Church and State do not mix! Neither should impose on the other!
Misconception 4: If I work hard, my American dream will come true
Everybody can work hard and anybody can have wonderful American dreams, but only a small percentage of us can actually make it to the top – You must be good and lucky! Any doubt? Just look at NBA: You have little chance if (1) you are less than six feet in height and (2) you are not a black (e.g. not quick enough, not strong enough, or simply not good enough). For more, read: Pyramid Theory I.
Very importantly, some American dreams are not good for America (Read: American Dreams vs. America).
Misconception 5: If I get a college education, I can make it
History shows that a society needs and can only accommodate about 35% of its population college educated. Additionally, it’s important that you major “correctly” in college (e.g. engineering and business vs. philosophy and history), in order to maximize your employability in this increasingly competitive world. For more, read: America: From Public School to Government, What’s Wrong?
Misconception 6: We are the richest country on earth
This claim is arguably still correct. But it’s dangerous when used by the left-wing extremists to spend and spend like there is no tomorrow.
According to a recent report (Today’s Reckless Spenders Enslave Future Generations): “the new federal debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion will likely be reached just after Election Day”. What does that mean? Our days are numbered, if we stay the course. Any doubt? Read: Debt slavery: why it destroyed Rome, why it will destroy us unless it’s stopped.
Misconception 7: America’s government is of/by/for the people
Think again! Two perspectives:
- Are our children and their children people too? If yes, do you still think it’s right that we spend their financial futures like there is no tomorrow?
- If Congress is of/by/for the people, why is its disapproval rating at 87%?
Misconception 8: Our government is the best form of government
Democracy, as we know it today, does not work any more! The entire West is now on the verge of bankruptcy. Several European countries are already there, with more to follow, including America.
The Chinese political system is, in my humble opinion, slightly better than the American political system. Any doubt? Just look at this simple fact: China is the largest foreign creditor of both America and Europe.
Misconception 9: A big government is necessary for America today
Look at China: Its government is much bigger than ours. Because China seems to be doing better than we (e.g. booming economy and high-speed rail), we need a bigger government to match with China, right?
Wrong! A big government in China is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing, because of China’s unique culture (e.g. vetting for the government “elites”). It’s a curse because of its communist past, when everything belonged to the public.
America is very different from China. America thrived largely because of rugged individualism and unfettered capitalism. America has been in a steep decline, largely because of destructive socialism and an out-sized government.
Misconception 10: America is finished
Here are two recent assessments by two friends of mine:
- “I’m afraid we have already passed the threshold of no return”.
- After reading my post (American Democracy: What Went Wrong and When?), a gentleman friend simply replied: “Since 1964, one person, one vote”! In other words, if we define democracy strictly as one-person, one-vote, American democracy was, according to this gentleman friend, wrong from day 1!
I disagree with these pessimistic assessments! I do not think it’s too late for America yet, and that’s why I have been relentlessly trying to save America with my pen over the past few years!
About the Author
Frank Li is the Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action.