When people say America is the best country in the world, they are usually comparing it with some horrible dictatorship. America doesn't have to be that good to be better than that.
President Bush looks like a saint compared to some tin horn dictator, but Bush doesn't have to be very good to be better than them.
America could be even smarter than it is. It doesn't look as good when compared to places like Canada or maybe Holland. We still have room for improvement in some "quality of life" issues. Things like the murder rate, the gap between the haves and have nots, percent of population covered by health insurance and so forth make us look bad compared to places like Canada.
Comparing ourselves to tin horn dictatorships or terrorist bands does us a disservice. It allows us to stagnate in our own status quo as we so often compare ourselves to folks who are worse off.
We are like C students who feel we don't have to strive for anything more because the rest of the class is all F students.
* Today's posts are essays moved from another part of my web site as I reorganize things.