Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
American military strength is another of our national myths. The US has the ability to destroy any spot on earth it wishes, but it can't use military means for political ends anymore.

Since the end of WWII there hasn't be a single successful large scale engagement where the US has prevailed. I suppose one could argue that forcing Iraq out of Kuwait was a win, but this was a fight over a very small territory.

We failed in Korea, we failed in Vietnam and we seem to be failing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even our client states in Latin America no longer obey our wishes. To top it off we haven't even been able to topple Castro after about 50 years of trying.

Military strength that accomplishes nothing politically is useless and our saying that we are the only remaining superpower is just more self delusion.

It has a bad effect, however. It permits policies which divert needed domestic investment into infrastructure and human services to go instead into militarism.

As to religiosity, I've been reading up on this a lot recently and I've come to the conclusion that the polls are incorrect. There is a well-known effect of social bias when conducting polls which means that people won't give answers that they think will be frowned upon. So one of the common statistics that is quoted is that church attendance is about 40% (as self reported), but when the numbers are checked by doing counts of people in attendance the figure is more like 20%.

So many people answer affirmatively when asked about belief or adherence to doctrine, but they don't really let it be a meaningful part of their lives. This isn't to say that the US isn't still the most religious of all the developed economies, just that the numbers aren't as big as thought.

I can't be sure, but it seems that there is a new mindset emerging. The religious critics like Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett are starting to make it acceptable for people to acknowledge their unbelief. In addition with people like Dobson leaving the stage the religious are turning more to good works and away from politics. Having been promised social changes for 60 years (from abortion to sex education to gay marriage) and having seen none of these programs delivered in any meaningful way they are becoming disillusioned.

Finally the younger generation is much less religious than their parents. About 50% of the children of evangelicals drop out as adults, for Catholics the numbers may be even higher.

I did post a diary the other day about the image of atheists in the US:
Can Atheists be Trusted? which didn't get much comment here, but did get a lot on dailykos. This makes sense since Europeans have no idea what the fuss in the US is about.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Tue May 22nd, 2007 at 04:56:33 PM EST

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