Sylvain over at The Chicago Boyz has a good post on this subject (the post specific link doesn't work – damn blogspot). Here is my favorite part:
And then there is the Old Country, France. I can't be anything but a tourist there at this point. Every time I go back, and after the initial excitement of seeing the family again, catching up with people, events and stories, the national reality has a way to assert itself and spoil the party. The amount of wasted potential, be it economic, political, intellectual or professional is as overwhelming as the general state of denial.
But most frustrating of all are the ubiquitous reminders of the wealthy, powerful and influential past standing next to the dull, if comfortable, present while everything else promises a mediocre future. And the fact that so many, whether they can put it in words or not, seem to feel the same way yet either don't care anymore, or believe that's the way it is, the latter being more likely to be mad at the U.S. for constantly reminding them how wrong they are. So instead of dealing with the future, we spend the present arguing about the past and building up our accumulating weaknesses and mistakes into so many principles and virtues, watching hour upon hour of TV programming lecturing us on the living hell the American way of life supposedly is, all paid for by McDonald's, Gap and Disney advertising, of course. And nobody asks why so very few allegedly suffering Americans emigrate to Europe while our best young people leave by the tens of thousands for the US or the UK as soon as they have their degrees, as if the education system's motto was "Train The Best, Keep The Rest." When they don't go there to study in the first place.
It does make you wonder – if America is such a bad place, why aren't people moving out as soon as they can? I have been to 11 other countries, and spent significant time in Denmark. I love it there, but would never live there. After nearly 230 years, America is still the land of opportunity.