Cultural Differences in Thought

I’m fairly sure, in the depths of socio-cultural academia, that any number of people have made entire careers based on the differences in the culture of the U.S. as opposed to any number of different countries in the world, particularly the European countries.

But, two different things came together tonite to give me a realization that there are truly unique to the United States.  They may be true of some of the other countries in the world whose borders enclose more than 3 million square miles. The use encompasses 3.797 million mi2, while Russia encompasses 6.602 million mi2 and China 3.705 million mi2.

Russia has similar cultural opinions about their country as we Americans do. Many Russians — in general — are highly individualistic, somewhat strongly insular and in some ways just as fanatically loyal to their government as Americans — in general — can be.

So, what was this realization?

I came upon one of those random “people on Reddit…..” posts.  And, I was curious, so I clicked.  This one was essentially what some of the rest of the world is surprised about being a “norm” in America.

And one of the answers was that the person was surprised that we, as a nation, have “bounty hunter” as a real job.  It kind of stood out in my mind and became a brain-worm (a.k.a. ear-worm).  Then, later in the evening, I started watching The Imitation Game.

The film is set during the early years of WWII, and is centered in England.  Therefore, as they were starting the story, a commander speaking to Mr. Turing referenced Berlin as being 600 miles away.

The brain-worm and this information collided.  It sent me out on a bit of a research jag.  I collected the approximate miles between London and the assorted capital cities of many of the European nations.  And I compared them with distances between New York, NY and assorted cities, to give a general comparison.  You can see this below:

European Cities Distance
(in miles)
American Cities Distance
(in miles)
London to Brussels: 225 New York, NY to Washington DC 226
London to Paris: 282 New York, NY to Hampton, VA 283
London to Amsterdam: 330 New York, NY to Erie, PA 330
London to Dublin: 369 New York, NY to Buffalo, NY 373
London to Berlin: 678 New York, NY to Sumter, SC 674
London to Warsaw: 1,012 New York, NY to Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN 1,014
London to Madrid: 1,074 New York, NY to Jackson, MS 1,068
London to Rome: 1,158 New York, NY to New Orleans, LA 1,169
London to Moscow: 1,785 New York, NY to San Antonio, TX 1,822
London to New York, NY: 3,470 New York, NY to Cobán, Guatemala 3,440

If you think about it, in many smaller countries, it is less likely that the government would need a bounty hunter. Why? Because of the size of the country, the assorted police institutions would be enough.

However, after the Louisiana Purchase (1803) to the time when the last mainland state was created in 1912, the distances even between town to town was so great that it took quite a bit of time to traverse.  Why? The best transport was the horse, which unless you’re willing to kill the horse, limits the rider to 20 miles a day. Even when the first transcontinental train was completed (1869) it would take 4 weeks to get from New York to Los Angelos.

If you expect your detectives to be able to clear more than one case per month (as most larger cities laugh at, because there are so many pressures on detectives), you will not have used them until flight was available.  And even then, only specific agencies in the country have the ability to fly all over.  In fact, that’s why many of them have many offices in the major cities, so that each agency can cover a more reasonable area.

If you think about it, a country our size requires the use of dedicated men (and more modernly, women) who have been essentially deputized (if they were not, then each and every one would be guilty of kidnapping) and expected to go out and find (and bring back) assorted fugitives.

I don’t know what Russia or China do, but I would imagine they have developed some similar job.

European countries are just too small for the average citizen to get away with many of the things that many average citizens in America can.  There is a greater percentage of people on the ground versus regular citizenry in many of the European countries.  I’m not denegrating the police of any other country.  It’s just a numbers game.  Larger population = more difficulty catching a criminal “in the act.”  Doesn’t mean that our police are better or worse than your own.  Just different.

Not a mind-blowing or world-shattering realization, I know.  But, it distracted my mind from physical frustrations for a few hours.


Categories: General Contemplation | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Cultural Differences in Thought

  1. Pingback: “You’re A Mutant!” | The Demonized Other

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