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Is American society more placid than ever?

  1. May 19, 2005 #1
    I'm a young guy, so my historical perspective is not that great, hence I was wondering if some of you older people could shed some light on this question I have. What I want to know is if currently American socieity seems more calm than it has been in the memorable past. From my knoweldge of history (which is all recently aquired, and from limited sources, and therefore very likely to be wrong), it seems that there has generally been alot more strife, misfortune and disenfranchisement in general than there has been in my memorable lifetime.

    When was the last time there was even a big riot in any American city; was it the L.A. riots in 1992?

    Just from general impression, it seems that one the economic boom of the 90's got under way, that American society has been really peaceful and orderly in general (save the oklahoma city bombing). There have been lots of massive protests in relation to recent political events (something like half a million people marched through NYC to protest Bush this august), and yet even with all these huge protests, there really wasn't much violence or property damage or anything that one generally attributes to large angry crowds of people.
     
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  3. May 19, 2005 #2

    loseyourname

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    Well, I know that the LAPD, ever since the LA riots in 1992, has grown extremely cautious with how it treats large crowds of people, especially people that are protesting. People complained a good deal about the containment of protests against the DNC here in 2000, but given what the city has seen when it allows angry mobs to roam freely, one can understand that the police force doesn't want to take chances. There were actually minor acts of vandalism in 2000 after the Lakers won the NBA championship, but the police force that time did a very good job of responding quickly and containing it.
     
  4. May 19, 2005 #3

    Pengwuino

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    Yah i heard abuout that stuff with the lakers... i think i did a lil vandelizing ;) lol jk
     
  5. May 19, 2005 #4

    russ_watters

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    One thing that happens during times of peace and prosperity is crime and dissent go down. The economy is as strong as its ever been and the dissent over the Iraq war is kiddie stuff compared to the dissent over Vietnam.
     
  6. May 20, 2005 #5

    Lakers fans are evil. There is something wrong with a city when its team wins the national championship and they have to call out the riot squad. Damn LA. Of course the fact that I am a Kings fan has nothing to do with it :biggrin:
     
  7. May 20, 2005 #6

    SOS2008

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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7899754/

    NBC/WSJ poll reveals 'angry electorate'

    By Mark Murray
    Political reporter
    NBC News
    Updated: 10:39 a.m. ET May 19, 2005

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0505/19/ldt.01.html
    Aired May 19, 2005 - 18:00 ET

    Yeh, everything's rosy.
     
  8. May 20, 2005 #7

    Astronuc

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    The economy is a mixed bag. It seems to be doing better than ever. However, when one starts looking through the cracks, the US economy is in a precarious situation - e.g. the economy is highly leveraged, and that provides an inherent instability.

    Total debt - government, corporate, consumer etc, is on the order of 83% of the aggregate wealth of the US. I'll have to dig up the source to support this, but this is what I figured out based on report from Market Place on NPR.

    Much of the 'wealth' create recently is 'virtual' wealth - e.g. on paper like stocks. Meanwhile, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) the US infrastructure is in terrible shape, and with tax cuts and restricted budgets, it will only get worse - until it simply collapses.

    So what about the complacent population. Well, my experience, as I travel around the country, is that people are simply overwhelmed by just struggling to get by - and that basically means the standard/quality of living in the US is tenous for many people.

    Given the increasing levels of obesity, we should start to see a decrease in mean life expectancy in the US - and don't count on the medical industry to solve the problem.

    Am I being pessimistic or alarmist? Perhaps. But I also see significant problems and warning signs - and they are not being addressed.
     
  9. May 20, 2005 #8
    I agree. What you said reminded me of a report I read a while ago on this site..
    You also reminded me of something I read in an old Krugman article, a man that I'm sure many would classify as an alarmist. Nonetheless:
     
  10. May 20, 2005 #9

    Astronuc

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    It's not only Krugman, but also Thomas Friedman, both considered liberals. But there are warnings from key conservative businessmen like Warren Buffet and Stephen A. Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group.
     
  11. May 20, 2005 #10

    russ_watters

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    Well, yes, that's the rub - riding high may just mean driving toward the edge of a cliff. And, of course, whoever is in power at the time (Bush now, but it applied to Clinton and the internet boom as well) will try to convince you that it isn't a cliff. Trouble is, you can't really know for sure until you drive over it.
     
  12. May 29, 2005 #11
    Cheeseburger in Paradise

    As a real estate agent once told me," If people can have thier .99 cent cheeseburger, video games and other addictions they are quite happy not to riot." Americans do rebel in the form of being "all Gansta," by playing out the "wanna be thug" role or actually being a straight up thug. Then there is also the government conspiracies. Remmeber the Montanta Freemen? They are the ones who studied American banking laws for 20 years and used the rules of the government against the government. What ever happened to them? Did they even get a trial or were they just put somewhere where no one could listen to them? Then there is how children are "dumbed down," in the school system. Do you think that the "No child left behind act," really helps children learn about history? Then finally, people just don't care anymore about what takes place with the government, because they are in their own little world, in which only geeks like us care about these issues.
     
  13. May 30, 2005 #12
    Hi, this is my first post.

    I was wondering exactly what it is that No Child Left Behind really does.

    I took the sophomore test for it earlier this year and it was really easy. I aced the entire test, but I know some people who failed parts of it.
     
  14. May 30, 2005 #13

    The 'No Child Left Behind' Act that requires the 22,000 high
    schools receiving federal funding to turn over the names, phone
    numbers, and addresses of all students to military recruiters. The act
    authorizes recruiters to make unsolicited calls, send direct-mail
    recruitment literature, and visit students' homes without the consent
    or knowledge of their parents.

    "This so-called education reform bill is really about leaving no child
    behind when we send our troops to invade another country," said Pete
    Looker, a Green activist in Saratoga Springs, New York, whose daughter
    attends high school. "Parents are aghast to learn that schools are
    sending their children's contact information to military recruiters.
    It's an invasion of students' right to privacy, it interferes with
    parents' right to guide their children in career choices, and it
    undermines local community control of schools. Some schools have
    recognized this, and their refusal to participate is entirely
    justified."

    http://groups.google.com.ar/group/m...left+behind+act&rnum=2&hl=es#7a3337513de42ba0
     
  15. May 30, 2005 #14
    Left behind on History

    These facts I am not disputing. I had not been aware of these actions of the U.S. Military. In the state I live in, teachers have been complaining that more time is spent preparing for these tests than actually teaching the students. It's almost like when the Nazi's used to teach students their agenda, and the students were not that bright. Today Students don't really know about history. Even alot of teachers don't know whose on the dime. Not only that but in my state, alot of the politicans in charge of directing what the teachers can teach don't know. In the local High school in my city history is only required for two semesters. When I went to Natick High school from 84-88 we had to take a history class every semester! From your basic to the studies of Native American Culture and even a Senior class on the 1960's. The no child left behind act is really distracting teachers from teaching what they want to instruct and in fact is influencing a number to stop teaching. We had alot of good teachers retire because my state forced them to pay and get thier finger prints done for a background check. This was really unconsitutional, not matter how ggod theri intent was. So basically students will have to attend college just to make up the stuff they misssed in high school.
     
  16. May 30, 2005 #15
    Thanks for the information. It seemed to me that having both STAR test and the No Child Left Behind test is pointless.

    I read the rest of the article Burnsys put a link to. It seems to me (granted, I have limited knowledge) that the US is headed toward a fascist state. As people become more apathetic to the policies of our leaders, more freedoms can be taken in exchange for "protection" from terrorists.

    From what I've seen and heard, Americans really are becoming more placid. I'm guessing this is because most people focus on their daily lives and feel that their votes don't matter at all. The threat from terrorists has caused some Americans to rally behind president Bush, accepting whatever laws he implements.

    Bush might actually awaken Americans to world politics, however, since he's angering so many people.
     
  17. May 31, 2005 #16

    russ_watters

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    No Child Left Behind has nothing to do with military recruiting. That bill just happened to be a good place to stick that provision.

    I have several teacher friends and for the most part they don't like it because it is largely putative - it doesn't attempt to fix problems, but rather punishes schools (via taking away funding) that don't measure up.
     
  18. May 31, 2005 #17

    BobG

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    They have one large, legitimate beef. Student performance is a lot more dependent upon the economic class of their parents than the quality of the teaching. Schools with low income families are punished instead of given extra resources to deal more difficult problems than schools with high income families have to deal with.

    To be viable, the testing has to have some serious indexing to account for the difference in the economic class of the students from school to school. Coming up with an index agreeable to all is a pretty controversial issue even where it's tried. If schools are rated in comparison to other schools of similar economic class, there will be at least one upper middle class school rated as substandard even though they rate near the top in raw scores. It's not politically smart for school board officials to let things like that happen.
     
  19. May 31, 2005 #18

    selfAdjoint

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    Aside from economic class, there is the invisible elephant in the room, the IQ gap between blacks and whites. It's a demonstrated fact, and the act just ignores it, which means that schools with a majority of black students get punished more than schools with white majorities.
     
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