I was in Canada recently. I live in Vermont and Montreal is a short drive north, but even though we're right next door, Vermonters talk about how things are better in Canada. Affordable health care, less crime, less bigotry, more accessible higher education, more progressive politics, etc. Even their football fields are longer. All of those opinions are debatable, but I did notice a few things of interest.
In many ways, Canada really does seem more advanced. I'll give you one concrete example: traffic signals. All around Montreal, the familiar red, yellow and green traffic lights have been replaced with lights that have red squares, yellow triangles, and green circles. It looks like this (if they were all on):
You can determine the signal by color, position, or shape, which I'm sure is appreciated by people with color blindness. Also, if you have a green light before the opposing traffic does, it blinks rapidly to let you know it's safe to turn across the lane.
Yes, a very small thing, but it's ubiquitous and you're forced to pay attention to it. When you add this innovation to Canada's superior currency and their use of the metric system, it's not that hard to come away thinking, "Wow, the US is so backwards."
Today, my 13-year old son said to me "We're so stupid here in America." Indeed, for the last decade, that's how it's felt. I had to explain to him that we're not a stupid people, that every country has it's ridiculous problems, and that he is fortunate to live in such a great country.
I told him about Canada. It looks great.. it IS great, but it's far from perfect.
An example: I went into a pharmacy (I love unusual candy, and they have a lot of it. Winegums!!) and on the shelf I found the familiar homeopathic "remedies," Kalms and Oscillococcinum, at ridiculous prices. Hanging on a rack nearby were magnetic bracelets, including Q-ray knock-offs.The herbal supplement aisle was long and well-stocked.
These things are for sale here, because Canadian's buy them. Just like Americans do. And the British do, and most everyone else in the developed world.
If you ask Randi if the U.S. is somehow more "woo-woo" than the rest of the world, he'll answer with a decided "No" and explain how other countries simply have different versions of the same old thing.
Because the JREF is in the US, you'll see us write about many of the woo-woo beliefs here, but never think that belief in the unreal is an American problem: It's a global problem.
If you're from a country that is not the US, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a comment regarding your country's most popular delusion. I'm very curious to see what the results will be.