The sword is mightier than the pen, at least when Americans are gauging their country’s accomplishments. As you can see from the chart below (excerpting a Washington Post poll), that’s just one respect in which our countrymen make distinctions when taking pride (or not) in the U.S. Predictably, incidence of pride in the American military is higher than before 9/11 and the subsequent rout of the Taliban. But so is pride in American art and literature. Still, the numbers suggest you’d sell more soap by using Norman Schwarzkopf than Norman Mailer as a celebrity endorser. A year of recession and corporate scandal has taken its toll on pride in America’s economic achievements, with the “very proud” tally off from 60 percent a year ago to 40 percent now. While the respondents presumably don’t wish for regime change in the U.S., fewer than half (49 percent) said they’re very proud of “the way democracy works” here. Fewer still (30 percent) take great pride in the nation’s “political influence in the world,” perhaps because they care little about the world’s esteem or lack thereof. Just 28 percent said they’re very proud of the country’s “fair and equal treatment of all groups in society.”