document updated 2 months ago, on Dec 15, 2023(a newer webpage of mine can be found here)
Issues where the United States really stands alone, either among developed countries, or among almost all countries.
- Adoption of the metric system — Liberia and Myanmar are the only other countries that haven't adopted it. (this includes Fahrenheit⇒Celcius, Feet⇒Meters, Pounds⇒kg, and Gallons⇒Liters (or cubic meters))
- Legal drinking age (map) — the US is the only Western country that hasn't reduced its drinking age to 18. Only 10-15 other countries have a drinking age of 21 or over.
- Capital punishment — the US is the only Western country that hasn't outlawed the death penalty. While the death penalty is used by many parts of the world, it's mainly confined to half of Africa, and Asia and the Middle East.
- Universal health care — the US is the only Western country that doesn't have universal health care.
- Incarceration rates — the US incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than even the most repressive regimes, and outdoes Europe five-fold.
- Trying children as adults, when it results in life imprisonment
In its sentencing of juveniles, as in many other areas, the legal system in the United States
goes it alone. American law is, by international standards, a series of innovations and
exceptions. From the central role played by juries in civil cases to the election of judges to
punitive damages to the disproportionate number of people in prison, the United States is an
island in the sea of international law.
Other changes I'd like to see made
In addition to the above obvious changes, I personally advocate for the following changes: