The measuring of America was more or less finished by the 1930s. Parts of Alaska remain unsurveyed. Perhaps they never will be now. America, to its foreign critics at least, has become less the world's great rational civilisation and more a sort of neurotically religious semi-democracy, where creationism is taught in school instead of science and family dynasties occupy the White House. Linklater is too optimistic and pro-American to say it, but these days, someone surveying the American wilderness from a hilltop might be arrested as a terrorist.