In a previous article, I ridiculed the modern American Police State and the TV show COPS. Several people got very angry with me. Please, folks, don’t shoot the messenger boy when he points out the absurdity of what America has become. Whether you know it or not, whether you want to admit to it or not, the United States has become a very scary country. I’m an American and I believe that I’m telling you folks in America this for your own good. If you don’t want to face the hard truth, and you wish to continue living in denial, stop reading this article and go watch TV.
Some people complain that I never give advice; they say I only complain (I hear that from my wife a lot too). A few readers insisted that the Japanese police are just as brutal and out of control as the police in any big American city. I’m sorry but that’s completely ignorant and idiotic nonsense. I doubt that any country in the world carries the stigma of more police brutality these days more than the United States. Think Rodney King or that poor 60-year-old black man who was beaten by the police in New Orleans right after the floods.
Please bear with me as this might be a bit difficult to understand, but the police in America go out looking for trouble. The Japanese police don’t. The problem with looking for trouble is, as you all know, if you’re looking for trouble, you’ll find it. The bigger problem I can see with this is that when the police in the USA can’t find real trouble, they’ll make it. For example arresting people for minor offenses when a warning would be fine. Or beating people up for minor or trumped up offenses; or just basically turning a molehill into a mountain.
Recently, a friend of mine told me that he was in Tokyo for over 1 week and never saw one policeman. I can believe that. In the last two weeks I’ve come across the Japanese police twice. That’s quite an unusually large amount of times. Both times some foreigner was passed out on the subway platform. The police tried to awaken the guys, but couldn’t. I overheard the police say, "What are we going to do? We can’t just leave him here." They seemed at a loss. I walked up to them and said to the guy passed out on the floor, "Hey man. The cops are here. If you don’t get up, they might arrest you." Bam! The guy gets up real quick. The police ask me to ask him if he’s okay. He says he is. Do they ask for his ID? Do they give him a breath test? Do they give him a hard time? No. They just tell him, "Please don’t sleep on the subway platform. It’s dangerous." And they walked off. Now, you just know that the police in the States would have arrested these guys for something. In Japan, I gather that the police just don’t want people bothering other people. Or maybe it’s because they just can’t be bothered with the little stuff. That’s it. Is this the way things should be? I think so. But perhaps the American police cannot be blamed completely as it also seems a part of today’s American society to be very confrontational. That’s one thing I really like about Japan: Japanese people (and police) will generally leave you alone. Things here are much more relaxed. Japanese people are not "in your face" like Americans.
Whenever I point out just how messed up some things are in the United States, some folks always get indignant and angry. They often wonder why I don’t point out Japan’s faults for American people who might get their jollies laughing at others. Sorry, Mr. & Mrs. America, you’ve lived in a world of self-delusion for far too long; you’ve allowed yourselves to be tricked into believing that the United States is the best place to live in the world — bar none. This born and raised American boy has lived in and visited many countries. Personally, I think it’s laughable when Americans tell me that the United States is a better place to live and raise a family than Japan — especially Americans who have never been out of their own country except to visit Tijuana. I think I’ll save my criticism of the Japanese for the Japanese and reserve my right, as an American, to criticize my own country for the betterment of that country. I still have some most probably very deluded ideas (judging from the mail I get and the direction that the United States is heading), that there is still a small chance to open people’s eyes in the States so that they can judge fairly and wake up to see that the United States is not living up to it’s potential. How could the quality of life be better in Japan than in the United States? Japan has no natural resources; Japan has no space; what does Japan have that the United States doesn’t — or shouldn’t have? Nothing really. Yet statistics show that today’s Japanese lives at a far better standard of living and outlives today’s American by several years. Why?
Being a glutton for punishment, I write about these problems I see. And when I write, I always get hit by furious people who don’t think and consider what I have written; they just knee-jerk the standard response I’ve come to expect.
I can sum up the basic message behind all my hate mail in a few sentences:
Why do you hate America? Why do you hate Americans? Why do you hate the police and the military? America is still the freest nation on earth. If you don’t like it, you can just leave…
Sometimes the people who write to me can actually read my articles and will change the last sentence to:
Stay in Japan!
Well, with the way things are in the United States these days, I think I will. Thank you.
I’d like to clear the air and let it be known (to anyone who even cares) that I don’t hate America. I don’t hate Americans, generally speaking. I’ve come to realize that I can’t get angry at people who write hate mail to me because they just don’t know. Is that their fault? In a way, I suppose so. But that still doesn’t change the fact that they just don’t know any better. I guess Field Marshall Rumsfeld summed it up pretty well when he said:
"…there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know."
Wow! How prophetic. How totally "American."
Where is this all leading? Well, lots of people who write to me ask me to back up my claims with statistics and other facts. Personally, I don’t really like statistics too much as statistics seem to be kept by our masters for some purpose (I reckon in order to get more of our tax dollars). I’d rather depend on my own eyes. But my detractors want statistics. So here it is America, your handy-dandy guide that you can use to judge just how really screwed up — and un-free The Land of the Free really is. If you have the nerve and the guts to read on, I promise that your jaw will drop. The smarter people in the crowd will not be surprised, the Peanut Gallery in the audience will be all riled up and write hate mail to me. It’s okay, I’m used to it by now. Before you read on, keep in mind that these figures are from 1999-2001 so they are a bit dated. Researching of the actual up-to-date figures will show you that the quality of life in the United States today has seriously deteriorated under the presidency of George W. Bush. I’m sorry average America, but the United States is on the level of a third-world country these days. Read on.
Is the United States the best place to live in the world? Not if you want to live a long time. It’s not even close. Life expectancy in the USA is ranked a pathetic 48th among nations. Japan is 4th. The expected lifespan of the average American is even lower than the life expectancy of those flowing oasis countries known as Jordan and Israel. I read a UN report two weeks ago that said a child born in China has a 300% better chance of reaching her first birthday than a child born in the United States these days. Here’s a sample of the stats:
Life expectancy at birth is also a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarizes the mortality all ages.
1. Andorra — 83.49 years
2. Macau — 81.87 years
3. San Marino — 81.43 years
4. Japan — 80.93 years
10. Hong Kong — 79.93 years
40. Jordan — 77.88 years
47. Puerto Rico — 77.26 years
48. United States — 77.14 years
Puerto Rico at 47 and the United States at 48?! Makes you proud, doesn’t it? I figure that longevity in the United States is so short for many reasons. Mainly too many Americans are grossly overweight (look whose talking, I could stand to lose a few pounds). Americans eat too much junk. Modern American food, for the most part, is packed full of all sorts of chemicals and preservatives; and medical care in the United States is atrocious (thanks Uncle Sam).
But we all have to look for the silver lining, don’t we? It’s good that Americans don’t live so long, that way they can’t be taxed so much — and they become eligible for Death Taxes sooner. Oh joy! I think I’ll stay in Japan for now as taxes in Japan on average are 20% lower than the United States. (Japan’s retail sales tax is 5% by the way.)
The percentage of gross earnings given up in tax, including any social security contributions. Calculated for a single worker without children, earning 100 % of the average wage. Data for 2001:
21. United States 30%
22. United Kingdom 29.7%
26. Japan 24.2%
It might not be so bad today as George gave ya’ll a $300 dollar tax rebate a while ago. That’s good as you folks can use that money to fill up your car with a tank of gas. Everyone knows that England is a socialist nightmare. But wait a minute! Taxes in even the UK are lower than the United States. Hmmm? Go figure.
Snide joke time:
Q: How do you double the value of your General Motors car?
A: Put in a full tank of gasoline.
Oh, that joke just kills me every time. And speaking of killings, hey there’s the good old US of A ranked number 24 in murders! Japan comes in at number 60. I guess I can sleep much better at night in Japan than the United States when my kids are running around at night:
24. United States — 0.04 per 1,000 people
60. Japan — 0.005 per 1,000 people
I’m not too much of a math whiz (I went to public school in the United States) but this looks to me like a person has nearly 100 times the chance of getting killed in the USA than in Japan. Someone do the math for me and get me the exact number, please.
Well, with that murder rate so high in the good old States, I guess we’ll have to start imprisoning more and more of these desperadoes. And America comes through with shining colors here. Thank God that the Land of the Free imprisons more people than any other nation on the face of the earth.
1. United States — 715.0 per 100,000 people
127. Japan — 54.0 per 100,000 people
(I believe that the true figures for the United States today is somewhere around 957 per 100,000 people incarcerated.) But, according to our chart, the United States imprisons more than thirteen times the amount of people in the well-known crime-ridden country of Japan? Wow! The Land of the Free sure is free when you’re locked up in prison getting three squares a day at the public expense. You know, something’s wrong when the USA imprisons so many people, yet the crime rate is so astronomically high. Kind of makes you wonder if the ways things are being done is not really the best way to do things. You reckon?
There is still one area that the USA dominates the world; and that area is in military expenditures. I read somewhere the other day that, including these expenditures and the Iraq War that most Americans seemed so Gung Ho for just a few years ago (forgive them, they went to public school in the United States) the red ink that the US government has gotten you folks all stuck in is over $26,000 for every man, woman, and child living in the United States today. I figure that the US government can pay you folks back by giving you each an Abrahms tank. Oh, you all already drive SUV’s. Never mind.
Military Expenditures — Dollar figure (As of 1999)
1. United States — $276,700,000,000.00
2. China — $55,910,000,000.00
3. France — $46,500,000,000.00
4. Japan — $39,520,000,000.00
Please keep in mind that these figures were published in 2003 and account for US military spending as of 1999. In a recent article by scholar Robert Higgs, the actual dollar amounts the US spends on its military — including the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars — comes out to a conservative estimate of $754 billion dollars — almost 300% the 1999 amount.
The USA spends over $754 billion dollars annually on the military? The United States war machine spends more on its military than the other top one hundred nations combined? Are you people out of your minds? When are you going to put a stop to this insanity?
But, like I said, these kinds of statistics don’t really interest me all that much. If you want to see more for yourself, go to a site called Nationmaster. There you can look up whatever statistics you’d like. Go ahead America; knock yourselves out. But be forewarned, if you still believe that the United States is the freest, most wonderful country in the world, you’re in for a shock; because you’re dead wrong.
I had lived in the United States for 27 years — have been back to visit almost every year. And I’ve lived in Japan over these last 21 years. Like I said, I’m not too interested in statistics; I’m more interested in things I’ve seen with my own eyes. And I know that any traveled American would agree that the United States is going down the trash-can real quick.
I’ve seen both Japan and the United States. I consider myself a fair judge who has the experience and the facts. I have my preference and it’s an easy call: I’ll stay in Japan. In Japan, the people seem to have much more courtesy towards each other and common sense. This is reflected in the standard of living and the low crime rate. While I’m here in Japan, I’ll keep writing and warning you folks about what I see until either the United States goes down with a crash (which is what I fear is going to happen very soon because of what the anti-American’s — like George W. Bush — are doing to the country) or the American people wake up to reality and seriously work to repair their broken-down palace.
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has the distinction of being fired from every FM radio station in Tokyo — one of them three times. His first book, Schizophrenic in Japan, is now on sale.