Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What We Believe Part VII: American Exceptionalism

Bill Whittle's final Part VII of the What We Believe series, explaining Tea Party/conservative beliefs:

Whittle wraps up the series, and hopefully those who've watched it have gotten a little more insight - possibly into their own views and how to express them.

Picking nits:
Folks used to statistics will note that his comparison of "science units" is not done per capita, as the other nations listed are smaller. Were it done per capita (rounding to nearest million in both cases) it would look like this:

UK:______.29 science units/person (18 million science units/61 million population)
Canada:___.27 (9sci/33pop)
USA:_____.24 (75/307pop)
Germany:__.18 (15sci/81pop)
France:___.16 (10sci/62pop)
Italy:_____.11 (7mil/60mil pop)
Japan:____.09 (12sci/127pop)

Considering the VAST size of the US population, that's pretty darned decent. Couple it with the fact that the UK benefits from many very well established science centers, and that Canada has no small benefit from being a partner to both the US and UK, it's not too much of a surprise that per capita, the UK and Canada are doing very well. And good for them - but by no means is their prosperity an indictment of the fact that the US is the shining beacon of science by volume, and a very strong third per capita. That the US, with a vast population to offset in per capita comparison, still eclipses other nations is perhaps a greater support of Whittle's point of American exceptionalism in science endeavors.

Now, there are other reasons for this as well that Whittle hit on in earlier videos. One is the rule of law. Individuals who discover or invent something are probably going to have their patents, inventions, or ideas respected. Discovery and invention are generally rewarded through prosperity, and only rarely thwarted by intellectual theives or seizure by the state.

Consider Mikhael. He invented a product that's used worldwide, was adopted by his own government, and is so famous and iconic as to be recognized immediately. You probably know his last name already, and undoubtedly the initials his invention is known by.

His invention is so famous it's even on the flag of Mozambique.

Did he earn anything from it the way an engineer in the US would have? He received a lot of medals, promotions, and state handouts, but nothing along the lines of what a US inventor would receive for such a prolific creation - with about 100 million units worldwide. If he were selling records, it'd be a decuple diamond album, topped only by another Michael. Except a record cost about thirty to fifty times less.

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