Well, this week’s post was going to be a service piece about organizing an international move. But after I read a recent blog post by “internationally known author, consultant, and futurist” Ian Morrison, that plan went into the bin. I have to respond.
You’ll find his post here: http://ianmorrison.com/french-lessons/
Initially I was pleased by the “just ask them” statement in the first paragraph because it foretold a sense of irony and led me to believe that the author was not going to take this thing too seriously. Ah, not so.
The remainder of Mr. Morrison’s post seems to be a mixed bag of the, oh so tired “France good/America bad” screed, and thinly veiled quips and backhand generalizations about the French. Witness the stinky cheese comments, and the fact that everyone is named “Jean Claude” and “Madame”. Why not just get it over with and bitch about all the berets and “zee snooty Franch accents” while you’re at it?
But the thing that gets under my skin most is his Morrison’s so veiled assertion that ANY one country “does it best”. For someone who seems to disdain most things U.S., he seems to have a firm grasp of that pain in the ass American predilection for competing with everyone about everything.
As I’ve said here before I/we did not move to Ireland to escape from anything. We were very definitely running toward something. But I will say that the one thing that was really starting to piss me off living in the United States was the subtext behind the notion that “America is the greatest nation on Earth”. How do you even begin to quantify such a statement? Don’t get me wrong.
America is a great place where amazing things do happen for millions of people on a daily basis. But to bandy it about like it’s some competition is to miss the point of greatness.Yes, it’s a great place, so America is (and should be) expected to do great things with all it has, and not wave its greatness in people’s faces in some post-Super bowl, “woo hoo, we won”, “it’s good to be the king, now peel me a grape” bacchanal.
Living well is not a race that you win. That’s how wars get started, every time, plain and simple. When you make living well a competition, nations (specifically the politicians and corporate executives who have all the power) start prioritizing resources, and pretty soon there aren’t enough of them to go around and some jackass lobs a nuke on Brussels so he can secure all the Twinkies and cheap blue jeans for his spawn.
To take up Mr. Morrison’s post again, he’s fallen victim to the “this country does it right, and that country does it wrong” mentality. Instead, Mr. Morrison, please show us what both countries do well. There are lots of things that France does well, and lots of things the U.S. does well. Stop competing and allow yourself to learn from the other guy without letting your self-esteem get in the way. That, Mr. Morrison, can, should, ought, and could be the future
I know it’s not great television, and likely doesn’t sell books or contribute to calling yourself an “internationally acclaimed futurist”, but as a Scotsman, who (I believe) has emigrated to the United States (I don’t know for sure that he lives in the U.S. full time, but at several points he refers to the “United States” as “we”) I’d like to think that the rhetoric of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty would have found its way into his worldview. Is he in the U.S. to plunder the economic advantages made available to him and his, or because this is the right place for them to build a better life?
I know this smacks of the, “if you don’t like it here, go home” argument with which I’ve been hit. But that’s really not what I’m saying. I challenge Mr. Morrison to find a plaque with the words “people came seeking the best life…”
It’s about finding a better life, not the best life. Let’s not start that kind of comparison. It leads us all to something less than a better life. As a futurist Mr. Morrison, you should know this.
Things to look forward to in upcoming posts:
- Planning & Executing An International Move