By Peter Kaufman
Let’s face it: Americans love being number one. It seems that wherever we turn, we are reminded of whom or what is the best. In sports, we have fans touting foam #1 fingers, fervent chants of “we’re number one,” and a barrage of statistics telling us who outshines everyone else. In schools, we have honor rolls, valedictorians, and distinctions such as best dressed, best looking, and best musician. And in politics, it is seemingly impossible to run for office without regularly invoking the phrase, “America is the greatest country in the world.”
Given our collective infatuation with greatness, it is fair to say that we are number one in proclaiming we are number one.
Unfortunately, not all things that Americans excel at are cause for celebration. For all of the presumed accomplishments that put us at the top of the list, there are also many dubious distinctions on our “better-than” list. Here then, is a list of seven categories in which the United States leads the industrialized world.