What’s great about the United States?

Happy July 4th!

To have complete sovereignty over our own country, we killed a lot of people, enslaved millions more for an extra generation (the British freed most slaves in their empire in 1833), and stole a ton of additional land from the Native Americans (west of the Proclamation Line, which the British had honored).

Let’s talk about the dividends from this sacrifice (mostly paid for by others!).

Readers: What do you think is great about the U.S. compared to other countries, especially the UK?

My personal vote is our aviation infrastructure. On a recent trip to Canada, we landed at CYHM (Hamilton, Ontario), which has a 10,000′ runway, no 100LL fuel, and, despite imposing a CAN$50 ramp fee, no chocks sized for a Cirrus. We then repositioned to CYSN (near Niagara Falls), where the FBO has only one person on staff to pump fuel and run credit cards. The woman who was working on the Friday when we arrived said that she had never added oil to an aircraft.

Compare to the U.S., where the 100LL truck may pull up to the airplane before you’ve gotten out and where the line personnel push to learn and do everything that they can. No plane? We have a higher density of flight schools and rental clubs than anywhere else in the world.

How about innovation? At a small airport here in Massachusetts, I stumbled on a hydrogen-powered hexcopter that seats five and is close to ready for tethered flight. The energy density of hydrogen is much higher than today’s best batteries (Toyota has placed huge contrarian bets on hydrogen fuel cells for cars, where weight is much less of an issue), so this aircraft can have vastly superior range and payload to a battery-powered plane or multicopter. Flight control is accomplished by varying the speeds of the six motors (not blade pitch, as in a conventional helicopter). If things go truly south, there is an airframe parachute, as with the Cirrus. The full-scale carbon fiber test vehicle is impressive and the company, Alaka’i Technologies, seems to have ample funding (big boost received in 2018) and a full slate of industry veterans.

Readers: What do you love about the U.S., especially things that are different from the U.K. or a result of our being an independent sovereign nation?

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12 thoughts on “What’s great about the United States?

  1. The invention of quantitative easing. Europe had a brief, failed flirtation with austerity while US started the printing press. Startup valuations are now averaging $1 trillion instead of $100 million. Credit is now an investment in the future rather than a liability, allowing the government to lower interest rates in 3 weeks despite having 110% of its GDP in debt. The modern world wouldn’t be possible if we had to save money instead of printing it at will.

  2. With all the political mess, crimes, over crowded jails, homelessness, to name some — and you can pile anything you want to the list — you cannot appreciate the USA enough or see how fortunate you are for living in the USA till when you either live and work (for a living) in a different country (any country I would argue) or have a close relative in a different country that you are in constant contact with.

    With that said, as a legal immigrant, my family and I are grateful and thankful to the USA for giving us the simplest thing that we want in life: Dignity.

    Happy 4th of July everyone.

  3. The right to keep and bear arms, of course! Do I need to elaborate? I should think that the readers of this blog wouldn’t need the lesson to understand why it’s so important to millions of Americans. Tens of millions of your fellow citizens exercise that right every single day, year in and year out, and aren’t ashamed to be armed citizens despite the mendacity and lack of respect shown to them.

    Our current media and cultural environment may label me a pariah, but I’m not afraid of people calling me names based on a twisted, biased, and ignorant interpretation of what the 2nd Amendment really means to the average person. To me, it means that our country values the individual so much that ordinary people are trusted to own and keep weapons that belong to them. It’s a fundamental statement of the worth of the individual and it just can’t be overstated. I think everyone will miss it greatly if it ever stops being so.

    Happy Independence Day!

    • 10-15: Why does every person have to advocate for everything?

      Elizabeth Warren today says she wants to force government contractors (25 percent of the economy) to pay women of color (such as herself, perhaps coincidentally…) more ( https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-warren-color/us-senator-warren-proposes-executive-action-on-women-of-color-pay-gap-idUSKCN1U01AI ). Is it illegitimate for her to focus on this one group to receive extra benefits from the central planners in D.C.? (Maybe her sign will be “Some Black Lives Matter More than Others”!)

      A friend has two political issues about which he cares: protecting his 2nd Amendment rights (he is a gun nut, not to put too fine a point on it) and protecting developing humans who would be viable outside the womb from being aborted (he would say “babies” and “killed” or “murdered”). Why does he need to adopt Elizabeth Warren’s cause(s) as well? Isn’t part of the American system that different people and groups will lobby on behalf of different interests?

  4. It’s a privilege to be a citizen, but the partisanship is awful.
    We have become several countries and the immigration mess is creating a few more. Your descriptions of Boston are a totally foreign to me in the Florida panhandle, where we will be recovering from our storm of the century for a generation. A very muted Independence Day here.

  5. I think in personal interactions I still see lots of optimism, even here in Miami, a city with many problems.

    When I’ve visited France or Spain, people do have a very high standard of living. They seem to spend lots of time in cafes and other activities. But my overall impression is that there’s a bit of an emptiness to all the leisure time.

    So my personality is better suited for our lifestyle.

    Recent immigrants from Venezuela have complained to me about our focus on work. They miss the party culture (and cheap servants). Of course they don’t miss how horrible it has become now.

    Smart Americans have created some amazing projects through hard work, not lazily lounging in plazas. It’s worth celebrating.

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