Europeans are often surprised to discover that Hollywood totally misrepresents the reality of the USA. Far from being populated by attractive slender people with functioning intellects, the USA is, aside from the thin slivers of coastal population, largely obese and both physically and intellectually indolent. This indolence contributes to the astonishing degree of superstition/religionism one finds across the USA, making the nation more akin to places like the Congo and Indonesia than to the civilized nations of northern Europe. The general backwardness of the USA, and its appallingly low standards of education (in California, for example, 25% of students leave High School functionally illiterate and 40% leave functionally innumerate; figures are far worse elsewhere) contributes to not only social but economic decline. The vast majority of Silicon Valley jobs have now for decades been filled by qualified Europeans, Russians/Ukrainians. Indians, and Chinese. 80% of PhD students in STEM subjects like physics are foreign-born. Religionism is at the root of US educational impoverishment. So either the USA needs to grow up, or it will ultimately collapse under the weight of ignorance. It's encouraging to see the trend moving slightly towards the former, but with Republicans in the ascendant the risk is that it will be all too easy to lurch back into the latter.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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