Maher: U.S. Could Be a European Country, But ‘Surrounded By a Bunch of Rednecks’

by Andrew Johnson

The United States could be like Europe if it weren’t for “a bunch of rednecks” and the nation’s relative youth, as compared to the Old World, says Bill Maher. “Our culture is shallow; we’re proud of it,” Maher told CNN’s George Stroumboulopoulos on Friday night.

Maher lamented America’s intellectual and cultural inferiority to Europe, blaming it on the country’s size. “A European country is — like Germany, France, England — those countries are between 60 and 80 million people,” he explained. “We have those 60, 80 million smart people . . . but we just have more people.”

“There’s a great, smart European country in America; it’s just surrounded by a bunch of rednecks.”

Later, Maher claimed that Europe’s system of governance is the fruit of its antiquity; America, meanwhile, is a teenager.

“Civilizations literally do grow up,” he said. “[Europeans] do have that sort of wisdom and that savvy, and they don’t get excited: ‘Oh my god, we’re becoming a socialist country.’ So what? If it works, that’s all that matters. Let’s just do what works.”

Of course, Maher did not mention the European Union’s ongoing economic woes, among which are record-high unemployment rates.

Maher also echoed MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry’s controversial ad calling for a “collective notion” of child-rearing: He criticized the “‘every man for himself’ philosophy that governs this country, much more than most other Western democracies,” and advocated a “we’re all in this together” approach.

Our failure to “concentrate on [education] in this country” perpetuates the former mindset, he argued—although the U.S. spends more per pupil than nearly any other country.

“Politicians will always say, ‘If we only had a government as good as the people,’” said Maher. “Well, our big problem is that we do have exactly a government as good as the people.”

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