It seems that the decidedly conservative network has a problem with Holland for being what they call "militantly secular", amongst other things:
Cheap legal cannabis, easily acquired casual sex, marriage equality for everyone and death with dignity: yeah, that place sounds like a real nightmare! I've personally been to the Netherlands and I have to say that I quite enjoyed myself there. In addition to the aforementioned amenities it's a beautiful country and the people are extremely polite and friendly to foreigners, so I decided to do some research to help explain the discrepancies between my own experiences there and FOX News' partisan condemnations.
Less than an hour on the Internets dredged up some very interesting information:
- life expectancy: Holland is 28th in the world; the U.S. is 45th
- per capita income: Holland is 10th; the U.S. is 15th
- percentage of the population living below the poverty line: Holland has 10.5%; the U.S. has 12%
- health care systems as ranked by the World Health Organization: Holland is 17th; the U.S. is 37th
- heart disease mortality rates per 100,000: Holland has 75.1; the U.S. has 106.5
- obesity rates: Holland is 20th with 10% of the pop. being obese; the U.S. is 1st in the world with 30.6% of the pop. being obese
- infant mortality rates per 1000 births: Holland has 4.7; the U.S. has 6.3
- teen pregnancy rates: Holland has 172 births per one million people; the U.S. has 1672 births per one million people
- murders per capita: Holland is 51st; the U.S. is 24th
- rapes per capita: Holland is 22nd; the U.S. is 9th
- firearm related deaths per capita: Holland is 22nd; the U.S. is 1st in the world
- divorce rates: Holland is 20th; the U.S. is 7th
- suicide rates per 100,000: Holland has 9.4; the U.S. has 11.1
- freedom of the press: Holland is tied for 16th with three other nations; the U.S. is tied for 36th with five other nations
- religious affiliations: Holland has 39% of the population claiming such; the U.S. has 83.1% of the population claiming such
- subjective well-being (happiness) ranking: Holland is 8th; the U.S. is 16th
The only significant statistics I could find where both countries basically tied were for literacy rates, alcoholism rates, drug abuse rates and STD infection rates, several of which would seem to defy the puritanical calls for harsher laws in the failed "war on drugs" in this country. But the obvious conclusion we can come to after processing all of this scientific data is this: The Netherlands needs more religion in their society! I mean, if they're only leading the most powerful nation in the world in each of these 16 categories with less than half as many religious citizens per capita then they're obviously failing as a country. Where's God to conveniently clean up their mess? I'm not sure but am I wrong here?
Now, am I saying that the Netherlands is a subjectively better country than the United States or that I'd rather live there than here? Fuck. No. I love my country and I absolutely love living in the lush, verdant bosom of Northern California. Now of course I'm not going to definitively say that this is "the greatest country in the world" in that knee-jerk fashion that conservatives and jingoists like to use because based on the percentages detailed above, how are they even logically coming to this conclusion? And for whom, other than their own obviously self-absorbed personas?
But I will say this: It's been the greatest country in the world for me to live in thus far and I've been to many other countries in my lifetime, so that's saying quite a bit. And might I suggest that what we as Americans need right now in relation to the rest of the world is a little less definitive declaration about how great we are and a little more measured qualification about how great we can become with a bit of hard work and some honest self-realization. We were once the shining city upon a hill and I truly believe that we can again achieve that goal, we just need a sufficient amount of measured humility and educated inspiration to show us the way. Proost!