by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
By any genuine measurement, America is the most tolerant place on earth. This is an easy fact to forget for those who experience it. And these days, it’s also an unfashionable thing to say. But the level of peaceful cooperation between people of truly diverse backgrounds, faiths, and creeds — or anything even approaching it — is wholly unprecedented in human history.
Though the European Union was conceived to maintain peace on the Continent and compete with the United States, it has never come close to replicating the comity of American life. No single country in Europe has come close to replicating it. Certainly not in the past, and definitely not today. Despite perceptions, minorities in Europe are worse off. Anti-Semitism is reaching dangerous levels — again. European policies have made it nearly impossible for immigrants to assimilate successfully. In nearly every Western European nation, as well as many Eastern and Central European ones, these problems have sparked ugly nativist reactions.
None of this is to contend that prejudice doesn’t exist in America. Such a claim would be preposterous. Still, many Americans live under the false notion that the United States is — by its nature, its founding, its destiny — an inherently racist and xenophobic enterprise. And so do many Europeans.
According to polls, at least seven in ten adults living in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom believe racism is “a major problem” in the United States. That might be an understandable position if more than a tiny percentage of those Europeans believed the same of their own nations. “To the World, We’re Now America the Racist and Pitiful,” reads the headline of a 2020 piece by a race-baiting Robin Wright in The New Yorker. These days, says the essayist, apparently unacquainted with the ethnic and racial animus in places such as India, China, the Islamic world, and the banlieue ghettos of France, “the United States is destroying the moral authority it once had.”