Robert Jensen takes exception to a recent column by the National Review's Rich Lowry: "Yes, the Greatest Country Ever "Our greatness is simply a fact. "When the likes of Marco Rubio, the new Republican senator from Florida, say this is the greatest country ever, sophisticated opinion-makers cluck and roll their eyes. What a noxious tea-party nostrum. How chauvinistic. What hubris..." Jensen counters by saying "...any claim to being the greatest nation is depraved and dangerous, especially when made in the empire" "Sign of pathology Imagine your child, let's call him Joe, made the declaration, 'I am the greatest 10-year-old on earth.' "If you were a loving parent, interested in helping your child develop into a decent person, what would you say? Let's assume you believe Joe to be a perfectly lovely boy, maybe even gifted in many ways. "Would you indulge him in that fantasy? Most of us would not... "Now, if Joe makes it to adulthood and continues to claim he is the greatest, we would come to one of two conclusions (assuming he's not saying it just to hype the sales of his book or sell tickets to some event): Either he is mentally unstable or he's an asshole..." In his article, Jensen links to a pair of chapters in his book, "Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity." In order to bolster his analysis of claims to US national greatness that celebrate our history of coercion and violence: "Such claims ignore the complexity of societies and life within them. Even societies that do great things can have serious problems. "We are all aware that a person with admirable qualities in one realm can have quite tragic flaws in another. The same is true of nations. "Constant claims to being the greatest reveal a pathology in the national character. "Crucially, that pathology is most dangerous in nations with great economic or military power (which tend to be the ones that most consistently make such claims). "That is, the nations that claim to be great are usually the ones that can enforce their greatness through coercion and violence."