Kim du Toit nails it in a whole bunch of ways.
Look, I lived in Japan for five years in the latter half of the ’80s, when their economy was smokin’ and Americans and Europeans were reading books about how the Japanese were conquering the world financially. Still, I knew a national inferiority complex when I saw it, and they had it. Then they found out how inferior they were when their economy went all to hell. It was no surprise to me. All it took was a few visits into any sort of office–government or private sector–in Japan in the late 1980s to see the sort of full-employment scheme they had going for themselves. Superiority? Pure fantasy.
Perhaps that’s why, when I moved to the south of France in January of 1990 to live there for two years, the Europeans didn’t fool me for one goddamned second with their faux superiority–and that’s from Naples to Brussels, from Brussels to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam to Marseilles.
And you know what? Once my eventual friends got to know me, they didn’t lay that crap on me any longer.
I’ve been to dozens of countries around the world. There isn’t a single one that has it on the ball like America does–not even close. Don’t believe otherwise for a goddamned second.