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 5 (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):
Reading and thinking. Simone de Beauvoir was convinced that "in America … no one needs to read because no one thinks." Thinking, of course, is hard to quantify--and there's no accounting for some parts of New Jersey--but Americans certainly do read. The percentage of illiterate Americans is average by European standards. There are more newspapers per head in the United States than anywhere in Europe outside Scandinavia, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. Due to the longstanding tradition of well-funded public libraries in this country, the average American reader is better supplied with library books than her European peers, everywhere outside of Scandinavia and a few other small nations. Americans also make better use of this reading material: The average U.S. citizen borrowed more library books in 2001 than most of her European peers. What's more, Americans write--or at least publish--more books per capita than most Europeans, and they buy more books per head than any Europeans for whom we have numbers.