I stumbled across some expats discussing an online article on a forum recently. The article was one of those snarky expat bowel movements you see all over the internet with a title like “10 things I hate about _________”. You can fill in the blank with Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, or basically any country in the world.
The response to this article was predictable. The people from whatever country was being disparaged were saying things like, “Hey, if you don’t like our country, go back to the USA!”
The expats, on the other hand, were putting on a lofty and superior attitude like they were above the petty pratfalls of emotion and had evolved into beings of pure logic. They were saying things like, “although this article is a bit confrontational, I do believe a person has a right to express their displeasure with whatever shortcomings they perceive in their immediate environment.”
It was amusing because you could almost see the expats writing these comments sitting down and composing them like they thought they were Thomas Jefferson scribing some vital historical document for prosperity before slapping it up on Facebook. The residents of the slighted country would provide completely reasonable arguments as to why it was inappropriate for snarky expats to write “10 worst” lists about their home, but the expats never relinquished their sanctimonious, superior air. All it takes is a little, “I see why you’re offended and you have a right to be” line to keep the peace, but these guys were overtly antagonistic under the guise of being paragons of courtesy, virtue, and high morality.
So, I thought it might be fun to test whether or not these expats are hypocrites. If they really believe the argument that a person has a right to point out the shortcomings of their immediate environment, surely they will have no problem with an article critical of expats. After all, I’m only following their behavior, and it’s done with a sincere hope of improving the world for everyone. That’s a cause we can get behind isn’t it? To be offended by this article, is to admit arguments defending “10 worst” articles are intellectually dishonest. I have so much faith in my fellow Americans, I’m sure this article will create no controversy whatsoever. Yes, they’ll be able to see that although the USA does some things better than foreign nations, there are also certain areas where the US could look abroad and learn some lessons. That’s just common logic isn’t it?
It goes without saying that the contents of this article don’t apply to all expats. However, I’m sure most of the people who are going to flip out haven’t bothered to read this far. For those of you who are chuckling now, rest assured nothing in this article applies to you.