American freedom, American values

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Main Question or Discussion Point

American "freedom," American "values"

Do these ideals of what Americans apparently believe for themselves represent their practice around the globe?
 

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  • #2
selfAdjoint
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Loren Booda said:
Do these ideals of what Americans apparently believe for themselves represent their practice around the globe?
Sometimes yes sometimes no. Even in Iraq, some good things are happening, and not all the bad things happening in Iraq are the fault of the Americans on the ground there (they may well be the fault of the Presidential administration with the connivance of Congress).
 
  • #3
loseyourname
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Do you mean to ask whether or not the United States' foreign policy falls in accordance with the stated ideals of the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution?
 
  • #4
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loseyourname
Do you mean to ask whether or not the United States' foreign policy falls in accordance with the stated ideals of the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution?
Yes, and whether we have the freedom (right) to enforce our values (e. g., "women's rights") upon another people just because we believe to have achieved them for ourselves. When was the last time the U. S. acquiesced to change its moral code from the demands of a third-world country?
 
  • #5
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RE: "Yes, and whether we have the freedom (right) to enforce our values (e. g., "women's rights") upon another people just because we believe to have achieved them for ourselves."

Then you must really hate JFK. If anyone tried to enforce American values of freedom on third-world countries, it was JFK. He got 70,000 of our boys killed doing it too, along with hundreds of Cubans.

And LBJ. And just about every other President we have ever had.

The only recent presidents who refrained from such activity were Ford and Carter, and both are viewed as weak presidents.

American has long maintained that certain rights are inalienable to all people, and that any government that supresses those rights places itself in conflict with America. That is why we attacked Serbia, and Viet Nam, and Grenada, and Iraq, and...

So this is not a new thing. Like it or not, the United States views itself as the world's policeman. And most of the world would have it no other way.
 
  • #6
russ_watters
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Loren Booda said:
loseyourname Yes, and whether we have the freedom (right) to enforce our values (e. g., "women's rights") upon another people just because we believe to have achieved them for ourselves.
Are you familiar with the concept of the "Moral Imperative?"
 
  • #7
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russ,

Please define, and who typically enforces it? Can't any country have a "Moral Imperative"? (Same prefix as "Imperialism," but sounds somewhat like Star Trek.)
 
  • #8
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Do these ideals of what Americans apparently believe for themselves represent their practice around the globe?
No, really Americans could careless about anyone else in the world, esspecially those who suffer. Only when it's too there advantage will they start pushing there ideals on others.
 
  • #9
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Entropy said:
No, really Americans could careless about anyone else in the world, esspecially those who suffer. Only when it's too there advantage will they start pushing there ideals on others.
I see.
If you are American, you must live in a box.
If you aren't American, your ignorance atleast has an excuse.
 
  • #10
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I'm American. What makes you think I live in a box?
 
  • #11
russ_watters
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Entropy said:
What makes you think I live in a box?
Just a guess on phat's meaning, but in light of our actions in Somalia and Yugoslavia, and earlier Etheopia, its hard to believe that we care not at all for those in need.
Loren Booda said:
russ,

Please define...
Basically, a moral imperative is the concept that if you see someone acting in a way that is morally wrong, you are duty-bound by your own morality to correct it(if you can), otherwise, your own moral convictions are suspect.

Again, Hitler is an example: seeing the Holocaust, the moral imperative required the world to step in and stop him. After WWII, the allies looked back and decided their response was insufficient. The slogan "never again" is an embrace of the moral imperative.
...and who typically enforces it?
Well, here of course, is where it gets tricky. In the world today, thats one duty of the UN. The US has obviously seen the UN's response as insufficient in many cases and has taken it upon herself to act in many cases. This begs he question: what if we're wrong? Again, the duty falls on the UN to step in and stop us if we are wrong.

JohnDubya said "Like it or not, the United States views itself as the world's policeman" (and thus, designated enforcer of the moral imperative). I'd put it a little differently: Like it or not, the US is the world's policeman. The actions of other countries tell me that the rest of the world, by and large, does like it that way.

In light of recent events, how can I say that? Pretty much the entire group of western countries has dismantled their militaries over the past 10-20-50 years. Canada the best, but by no means the only example. They had a large contribution to WWII - they even had their own beach at Normandy. Today, their Navy is roughly the size of our Coast Guard and their army is a fraction of the size of our Marine Corps. The reason for this is simple: they know we will protect them if necessary. They have ceded their national defense and international power projection to us. They keep a small military out of pride and a sense that they should contribute at least a little when necessary.
Can't any country have a "Moral Imperative"?
Certainly. From the thread on morality in war in General Philosophy, it seems like some people believe Hitler thought that way. I'm unconvinced about the veracity of his beliefs, but his actions do tend to support the assertion that he was operating on a moral imperative to impliment his Final Solution.
 
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  • #12
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I'm American. What makes you think I live in a box?
In general, Americans are ignorant to other cultures and countries, and sadly, ignorant to themselves.

Americans want others to become more like they are especially when it comes to Government. A reason why lots of Americans despise Communism.

Americans are known to be arrogant.

They tell other countries what to do, but rarely point out their own faults.

Stuff like that, makes others think you live in a box. At least it's a very nice, rich, box.
 
  • #13
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RE: "No, really Americans could careless about anyone else in the world, esspecially those who suffer. Only when it's too there advantage will they start pushing there ideals on others."

Nothing could be further from the truth. We had little to gain materially by protecting South Korea and South Vietnam. In fact, almost none of our military actions have been for material gain (conspiracy theories aside).
 
  • #14
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RE: "In general, Americans are ignorant to other cultures and countries, and sadly, ignorant to themselves."

Sounds like you are ignorant to Americans.

America IS the melting pot. We understand a lot of cultures because those cultures reside within our borders. How many Germans really understand the Hmong? But I have three Hmongs in my class, and I can tell you a lot about their culture because I talk to them about it all the time. We understand the Hispanic and Asian cultures a lot better than most Europeans.

When people disagree with others, they tend to pin the "stupid" label on them.
America is largely CONSERVATIVE relative to Europeans. Therefore Europeans think we're stupid. It's basic human nature. (Americans don't have a lot of respect for Europeans either. They tend to consider Europeans weak-willed.)

I watch a lot of Al Jazeera. (I don't speak Arabic -- my wife translates.) If you want to see ignorance, check out Arabic tv. The claptrap they fall for boggles the mind.

RE: "Americans want others to become more like they are especially when it comes to Government. A reason why lots of Americans despise Communism."

Americans despise Communism for a number of reasons. First, they consider it a threat to the notion of freedom and liberty. Second, they notice that nearly every Communist country has had enormous problems with basic lack of freedom and institutionalized cruelty.

RE: "Americans are known to be arrogant."

As opposed to, say, the French?

All cultures are arrogant. You sound arrogant, as a matter of fact, when you call Americans ignorant.

RE: "They tell other countries what to do, but rarely point out their own faults."

No country criticizes itself more than the United States. In fact, the situation with self-criticism has gotten so completely out of hand that I question whether we could win a world war today. While most countries sweep their problems under the rug, the US splashes it in headlines and takes its shots. Which is why we are taking heat for the treatment of prisoners in Iraq.

Let's consider some examples.

How critical have the Japanese been to the atrocities they committed in WWII?

How critical have many Arab nations been to their own inability to govern without fostering ultra-violence?

How critical were the Swiss towards their own involvement with the Germans in WWII? THEY SOLD OUR HIDES!

And what about the Italians and their attacks on North Africa?

And what about the FRENCH? They fired on our troops that were trying to liberate them. (Our first Medal of Honor winner in WWII was shot and killed by the French when he drove up to a French checkpoint waving the white flag of truce.)

Treachery and barbarity exist all over the world. In most countries, such actions are soon forgotten. ("Oh, that was fifty years ago!") The US is one of the few countries that reminds itself of its sordid pasts.
 
  • #15
russ_watters said:
JohnDubya said "Like it or not, the United States views itself as the world's policeman" (and thus, designated enforcer of the moral imperative). I'd put it a little differently: Like it or not, the US is the world's policeman. The actions of other countries tell me that the rest of the world, by and large, does like it that way.
In that case you guys would be very surprised at the general lack of support for the Bush administration (note: not the US in general) amongst people in the UK, and the UK is your staunchest ally. In fact Blair is likely to be forced to stand down as leader of the Labour Party before the next elections here because he is percieved as a vote-loser due to his enthusiasm for what was always a very unpopular war. I wonder what the grass-roots level feelings are in less friendly parts of the world?

Anyway, what's the difference between an unelected policeman and a vigilante?
 
  • #16
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RE: "In that case you guys would be very surprised at the general lack of support for the Bush administration."

I'm not surprised at all. Support would require other countries to stick their necks out to Saddam Hussein and terrorism. We have already learned from the Spanish that many countries don't have the nads to hang in there when the going gets tough. So we go it alone.

What were the foreign countries proposing to do about Saddam Hussein's brutalization of his people and his disregard for UN sanctions? No matter how you phrase it, the answer always comes up "Nothing." (Unless you consider enriching Saddam's coffers with the oil-for-food program a real blow to Saddam's power structure.)

Actions speak louder than words. What exactly have countries like France done to force Saddam Hussein to abide by UN sanctions and to stop worldwide terrorism? I am not asking about their positions on issues, but rather what have they DONE?

These countries were AFRAID. They were afraid of Saddam Hussein. And they are still afraid of terrorism. They figure that since the US will always bear the brunt of El Quaida, it isn't their problem. And as long as Saddam wasn't murdering Brits, well... so what?
 
  • #17
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JohnDubYa said:
... to stop worldwide terrorism?
John ... why is there worldwide terrorism? Tell me.
 
  • #18
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RE: "John ... why is there worldwide terrorism? Tell me."

Because there are a lot of sick people who know that smashing the weak in the mouth hard enough will get them what they want. Extortion is hardly difficult to understand.
 
  • #19
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You sound arrogant, as a matter of fact, when you call Americans ignorant.
Have you seen CBC's popular show, Talking to Americans? Do you know what it portrays?

American ignorance.

I suggest you watch that before making any comments about America understanding other cultures.

There is a reason why so many countries mock the USA. Simply look at history-social study classes offered at most High Schools. State history, US History, Civics. All US oriented.

I bet most Americans don't even know how many Provinces and Territories Canada has. Or even the capitol of Canada.
 
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  • #20
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Nothing could be further from the truth. We had little to gain materially by protecting South Korea and South Vietnam. In fact, almost none of our military actions have been for material gain (conspiracy theories aside).
Vietnam was a futile effort to try and gain allies against communism because people were paranoid that Russia would take over the world. Seeing that 2 million Vietnamese died in that war, I'll wager are causes for warring weren't that noble. And besides I'm refer to more modern day America.

I bet most Americans don't even know how many Provinces and Territories Canada has. Or even the capitol of Canada.
Like anyone cares about Canada! You know what fact makes me really proud of American schools: Most high school students in America couldn't point to the Pacific Ocean if you showed them a globe. :surprise:

As an American high school student I can tell you our school system sucks. Last year I got out of IB courses because I'm not good at foreign language. So I got in AP physics and maths and the rest of my coarses were honors. Let me tell you I slept almost everyday in those classes because they were so damn easy (of coarse I got great grades in all of them). Seriously, this was 11th grade and people needed to review what nouns and verbs were. Argh talk about hell on Earth. Still schooling is a little better up north. But regular and honors classes in America are ridiculous. AP level or IB can still give you a pretty good education, but since you're not forced to take them only students who are serious about their education ever learn anything.
 
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  • #21
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JohnDubYa said:
RE: "John ... why is there worldwide terrorism? Tell me."

Because there are a lot of sick people who know that smashing the weak in the mouth hard enough will get them what they want. Extortion is hardly difficult to understand.
Do you suppose that's the only reason?
 
  • #22
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RE: "Do you suppose that's the only reason?"

That's all that is necessary.
 
  • #23
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RE: "Have you seen CBC's popular show, Talking to Americans? Do you know what it portrays? American ignorance."

I stated a clear, detailed explanation as to why Americans are not as culturally ignorant as the world suggests, and what do I receive in return? References to a freakin' tv show.

Is that how they teach you to debate in Canada?

If the US featured a tv show called Talking to Canadians that was designed to show how stupid Canadians are, Americans would rightly condemn it as an arrogant display of xenophobic masturbation.
 
  • #24
Robert Zaleski
Dagenais said:
Have you seen CBC's popular show, Talking to Americans? Do you know what it portrays?

American ignorance.

I suggest you watch that before making any comments about America understanding other cultures.

There is a reason why so many countries mock the USA. Simply look at history-social study classes offered at most High Schools. State history, US History, Civics. All US oriented.

I bet most Americans don't even know how many Provinces and Territories Canada has. Or even the capitol of Canada.
Apparently you ersatz French from Quebec don't have anything good to say about the remainder of Canada either. By the way, would you like me to identify Quebec as a province of Canada or as a separate nation....you're still trying to secede, aren't you?
 
  • #25
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Emphasis on the word "trying."
 

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