Peter Baldwin of TNR has put together a very intriguing slide show that helps debunk the America is from Mars, Europe is from Venus myth by showing that on some very key measures (market regulation, public education, social policy, health care, crime, and the environment) we are very much alike.
Slide 4 (to see the others, copy "Are America and Europe Really All That Different?" and paste it into A Blue View's search box at the top right):
Crime. It is true that a horrendous number of murders take place in the United States, almost twice the per-capita rate of the nearest European competitors, Switzerland, Finland, and Sweden. It's also true that the United States locks in prison a far higher percentage of its population than any of its peers. But, in most other respects, America is a peaceful and quiet place by European standards.
The percentage of the population victimized by property crime, for example, is lower than in the UK and Italy. For assault, the rate is in the middle of the European pack. Drug use in the United States is also well within the European scale; opiate abuse is at the center of the European spectrum, as is the rate of white-collar crimes such as fraud. When it comes to the fraction of the population victimized by all forms of crime, the United States figures in the bottom half of the European scale. In other words, the contrast across the Atlantic is not as great as one might think.