Trip, I am definitely a curmedgeon; no apologies, though.
Even though I have lived and travelled all over the world; I still think the USA is the best country on earth. What makes the USA exceptional is our individualism. When we start thinking that others can make decisions for us, we become dependent. I never want to be dependent on anyone. Therefore, I either make decisions myself or choose my advisor carefully.
Henry, many years ago I was in Colombo, Sri Lanka. I shared a rickshaw taxi with a young Naval officer. Although we had been very specific with our destination, the taxi driver, looking for a little extra money, dropped us off in a part of the city where every kid has a "white sister." This young Ensign couldn't get past his anger at the cab driver. Me, I realized what had happened, and started walking towards where we wanted to go. Two six foot young americans are not going to be physically attacked because it would be self defeating for the locals.
I know there are places I don't want to walk on my own in NYC, DC, or Chicago or many other places up north. Still, I think I can make my own decisions instead of having someone, whether an individual or the government, telling me where I can or cannot go.
Sorry for the long post. I was too flippant and negative in my last post which was justly deleted. This time, I thought it would be worthwhile to provide a sensible explanation.