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Please no Bush-bashing, America bashing

  1. Jun 9, 2005 #1
    I found this interesting piece of Forbes. What do you think of it?

    http://www.forbes.com/global/2003/0721/017.html
    (may require registration)

    Please no Bush-bashing, America bashing, etc, etc. And if you want to make arguments, please support them with FACTUAL EVIDENCE.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2005 #2

    Art

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    Are you saying that you only want people to post replies that will reinforce your world view as seen through your rose tinted spectacles???
    As in the statement 'I'm better than you. Now refute that without mentioning me'
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2005
  4. Jun 9, 2005 #3

    PerennialII

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    What about the term itself .... the whole term has a flavor and odour in it that stinks ... I take it like one you could use in a sandbox, if someone is against an action or whatnot conducted by the US what is the point of calling that person an "anti-American", since he/she most likely doesn't oppose the US or the people, but rather a specific action .... which is simply a part of democracy (and labeling, say, European intellectuals or whoever with such a term in general is juvenile)... so discussion over this term seems kind of pointless since it seems to have lost any intelligent meaning by default. Another issue would be if it was applied to describe for example some sort of a "racial" slur .... but why would anyone even want to argue or respond using such premises since they've absolutely no point to begin with.
     
  5. Jun 9, 2005 #4
    "First, an unadmitted contempt for democracy."
    - No, more likely is first an entirely admitted contempt for propoganda. The association of anti-Americanism and anti-democratic views is just retarded. There are plenty of democratic countries suffering from a large anti-American vibe at the moment, including the UK. Is the UK anti-democracy?

    "The U.S. is the world's most successful democracy."
    - Only insofar as it is the world's most successful country and it is a democracy. This is more propoganda. By terming it in this way, it sounds like the US is better at democracy than anyone else. In fact, more than most democracies, there is much more scope in America for the majority opinion to be consistently over-ruled by smaller but more numerous states. Secondly, the American people seem to be less involved in the policy-making process than certain other democracies. Thirdly, I'm not sure you can call the American election process as a triumph of democracy. How many people in Bush's first election did not have their vote counted? Including those whose votes ended up stashed behind benches in churches?

    "It is this feature that intellectuals--especially in Europe--find embittering."
    - Europe? You mean, that continent comprising of democratic countries? This is just made up. He has already stated that this hatred of American democracy is unadmitted. If it's unadmitted, how did he get to know about it? This is neither journalism nor political commentary - this is an offended kid in school responding with: "Yeah? Well, you- You smell of POO!"

    "They scornfully, if privately, reject the notion that a farmer in Kansas, a miner in Pennsylvania or an auto assembler in Michigan can carry as much social and moral weight as they do."
    - I have never met a European intellectual who has held the view that anyone should be deprived of a vote in the electoral process. There are some, myself included, who believe that certain political decisions that require complete and accurate information should not be made by those lacking that information. The referenda on the EU consitution for one thing. The vast majority of people who voted in Frane, for instance, would have had little or no knowledge of the constitution, and most of those that did are unlikely to have read all 250 pages. And most those that did real it all are unlikely to have all the available information by which to judge its competency. I for one am glad I didn't have to vote on the issue. Political decisions should be made by experts, not tabloid-readers. Politicians themselves should be elected by everyone.

    "A populist is someone who accepts the people's verdict, even--and especially--when it runs counter to the intellectual consensus (as with capital punishment, for example)."
    - Is he still talking about Europe? Capital punishment is an American issue, not a European one. Most European countries have either abandoned capital punishment long ago or have been pressured to abandon it of late (Turkey, for instance). The intellectual and populist views on capital punishment in Europe are largely in synch. This is a very uninformed point.

    "Hence, the argument goes, the U.S. is not so much an "educated democracy" as it is a media-swayed and interest-group-controlled populist regime."
    - The problem is not with people being media-swayed; it is the quality of the medium in question. If the populist opinion is based on incomplete or misleading information from a medium, such as this article, then the populist opinion will be ill-advised, however popular. The intellectual opinion is not made by people considering themselves intelelctual, but by people who are basing their opinion on a relatively complete and accurate picture. Splitting the intellectual and populist opinions in this way is stupid. The populist opinion is, by its very nature, one consolidated view. Intellectual opinion may be completely divided. On any one issue, intellectual opinion may be both at odds with and at one with populist opinion. This is because intellectual opinion does not depend on numbers. This article suggests a united intellectual opinion which is utterly fictional. There are intellectual arguments for and against captial punishment, for instance.

    "The truth is, on the European Continent there is little experience of working democracy."
    - Yes, America was the first democracy. Maybe in American history books.

    "France is not a democracy; it is a republic run by bureaucratic and party elites, whose errors are dealt with by strikes, street riots and blockades instead of by votes."
    "In a French-style pseudodemocracy, intellectuals have considerable influence, at both government and street levels."
    - This is just French-bashing.

    "Elements of the French system are being imposed throughout the EU, even in countries such as Denmark and Sweden that have long practiced democracy with success."
    - Really? But they're European countries, aren't they, so cannot have long-practised democracy - a relatively new European concept! No one country imposes rules on another within the EU - it is the EU as a whole, with representatives from each and every country, that determines common policy. This is called democracy.

    "An astonishingly high proportion of European elites know very little about U.S. history or culture and even deny that they have a separate existence apart from their European roots."
    - What? By nature of it being the most powerful country in the world we cannot escape information on the US. We get taught American history in school. Do you get taught Swedish history? And believe me - very few still think of Americans as anything remotely related to Europeans.

    "It is strange that those seeking to bring about a European federal state or union have at no stage sought to study the lessons Americans learned during the creation of the U.S. in the 1780s."
    - Really? I wonder where the idea came from then. I guess we independantly came up with the notion of a federal police force, very similar to the FBI too.

    "What these Euro-elites particularly abhor is the way in which the framers of the Constitution made every effort to involve the population through the process of public debates, town meetings and ratification votes..."
    - Yeah, Europeans hate that. They would never do something so dumb as let the people decide on a constitution. Oh, hang on...

    "The European intelligentsia gets its notion of America chiefly from Hollywood, TV soaps like Dallas and fiction."
    - Is that America's idea of intellectualism? I think he over-rates American television. If someone deems themselves intellectual and yet bases their opinion on fiction, I don't think they'd get far in an intellectual argument. What this basically says is that European intellectuals in fact have no real information - all their views on the US are based on fiction. No-one actually reads or learns history, watches the news, etc. Hmmmm.

    "Middle America is unexplored territory."
    - Is this a particularly European problem? I lived with some Americans for a few months years ago and they seemed to be of the opinion that local news about outside states was rather slim. I imagine New York has the same deficit of information about Ihio that France does. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that was the consensus reached by an American microcosm.

    "The fact that the U.S. has proved a highly efficient crucible for melding different peoples into a human sum greater than its constituent parts is seen as a misfortune in Europe because it produces a cultural stew that lacks purity of any kind and is therefore at the mercy of commercial forces."
    - Woah! This is rather incredible. Lots of countries have a history of conflict between races and religions, but none so much as America. Take a walk around London, then take a walk around Manhatten, and tell me which city is a true melting pot. You will not find so many residential 'districts' dedicated to persons of a certain ethnicity in London. It's too old to restructure itself around ethnic groups. The breakdown is too functional.

    "Third, European elites tend to look at Americans as a subcivilized mass, whose function is to be obedient consumers in a system run by big business."
    - This is a growing problem everywhere, and seems to be sourced mainly from America. Almost every universally desirable consumer product is American. It's success in Europe largely depends on it's success at home. Europe inherits America's product-infatuation. It's a human thing, but seems to prosper so much more in the states.

    "... because competition is something Continental Europeans like to keep to a minimum and under careful control."
    - What?!? Competition is controlled by the EU, yes, but not to keep it to a minimum - to keep it to a maximum. Anyone aware of the recent conflict between Europe and Microsoft will be aware of this.

    "Although Americans are seen as highly materialistic consumers, they are also despised and feared for their spiritual interests, their participation in religious worship and their subscription to creeds of morality."
    - On the creeds of morality issue, no European pop artist sings about slitting their ex-wife's throat. On the other issues, religious beliefs in generally are no less tolerated by Europeans as they are by the atheistic US contingent. Zealous, fundementalist beliefs are feared and looked down on. Of course, no American would hold a similar view about, say, Muslim fundementalism?

    "Anti-Americanism is factually absurd, contradictory, racist, crude, childish, self-defeating and, at bottom, nonsensical."
    - He says, following a series of factually absurd, contradictory, racist, crude, childish, self-defeating and, at bottom, nonsensical statements about Europeans.

    "It is based on the powerful but irrational impulse of envy--an envy of American wealth, power, success and determination."
    - They may envy America's wealth, but I don't think it's safe to say Europeans envy Americans themselves, just as the Spanish may envy the UK's farming subsidies, but are probably glad they aren't British.

    "It is an envy made all the more poisonous because of a fearful European conviction that America's strength is rising while Europe's is falling."
    - Is European strength falling? I'm not sure who believes that. Even with a failed EU constitution, the future is optimistic.

    All in all, that article came across as intellectual insecurity. Particularly, singling out the French as a target for animosity is somewhat hypocritical in an article *****ing about anti-Americanism. What's amusing is that this heightened anti-French (and anti-German) atmosphere is a consequence of the French refusal to endorse the war in Iraq. Thing is, there was almost no public support for the Iraq war in European countries, so the French and German decision reflected the populist public opinion, an approach this article says is lacking in European policy. Those countries that did support the US, such as the UK and Spain, did so in spite of public opinion. Surely the UK more than any country would have been a viable target for such an argument... oh, but they're on America's side.
     
  6. Jun 9, 2005 #5
    Yes, the insistence on factual evidence in reposte to an article so blatently lacking in it is somewhat silly. Actually, a thread dedicated to this article is silly.
     
  7. Jun 9, 2005 #6

    vanesch

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    Ah, is that a fact ? I remember during the discussions on the war on Iraq that in france, Bush and his administration was not liked, but a clear distinction was made with the American public as such (by the public here, but especially by intellectuals). One cannot really say that the other way around ! What was it again ? Freedom fries ?

    But maybe less technical insight into the matter. And concerning the war in Iraq, yes, you guys were right, weren't you. Iraq is now a blossoming democracy, weapons of mass destruction have been found and eliminated, the world is safer now and terrorists are gone. The domino effect is at work, and right now there is an uprising in Syria and Iran of the people demanding the same fate as their Iraqi brothers. Indeed, 300 million people cannot be mistaken :biggrin:

    Next time the author of that article needs some medical advice, he'll ask the people to vote what treatment to take.

    No, that's not the definition of a populist here ; a populist is someone playing on simplistic (and hence wrong) ideas to become popular with the masses, like: "it is all the fault of the Jews, let's burn them". Been there before.

    Uh, and the US is ... ?

    In a true populistic democracy, ruled by plebicite, the arguments of intellectuals are usually not heard (because I take it that intellectuals are not the majority) over the simplistic arguments of populists. That's the entire difference between direct democracy and representational democracy: the people say WHO, the representatives say WHAT.

    I don't think that, as much amongst the European population in general, or the intellectuals in particular, you will find an important fraction who would like to build a copy of the US in the "United States of Europe", no thank you.

    uh, when was that again ? 1776 ? Does 1789 say something ?

    :rofl:

    If only they could be paganly unethical for a change and put that bible aside...

    Penis-envy ?

    I didn't have the impression that America's strength is rising. Unfortunately, Europe's is indeed falling. Guess we're in the same boat. Better learn mandarin quickly :biggrin:

    I'm glad I gave up my subscription to Forbes many years ago!
     
  8. Jun 9, 2005 #7
    This intolerance of intellectuals... where have I heard this before? It's on the tip of my tongue... com-something. Comedy? Maybe it's all a big joke.
     
  9. Jun 9, 2005 #8

    vanesch

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    Condoleeza ? :tongue:
     
  10. Jun 9, 2005 #9
    :surprised [shudder]
    I've always wanted to know... there was a story in the press a while ago that when the Bush administration admitted that the intelligence stating the existence of WMDs in Iraq was misleading, the British government, who were now left holding a very hot potato, tried to get them to back-track. Condoleeza's alleged response was along the lines of: "Our politics are our politics, yours are your own."
    While, in that instance, the Bush administration did the right thing while Blair's did not, I thought that was a hell of a knife in the back of the US' biggest supporter and ally in the Iraq war.
     
  11. Jun 9, 2005 #10

    vanesch

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    I could not agree more :approve:

    Athens was the first democracy. A long, long long time ago.

    Apart from being French-bashing, it is wrong. French government (and French society in general) has problems partly because the real power is not with the government, but in workers unions (the responsables for all these strikes): their method being pre-emptive go-on-strike (maybe that's where Bush got some inspiration :tongue:) : next week already, we'll have a strike here in public transport to WARN THE NEW PRIME MINISTER not to think about proposing to change the laws on employers rights ; the guy didn't even have an idea ! They just go on strike to warn him not to have a idea ! Now I'd think that worker's unions are slightly more "populist" than the prime minister :-)
     
  12. Jun 9, 2005 #11
    Yea well your all fat and stupid!

    So if the US isn't a media swayed nation then why did you start this thread? Wasn't by any chance because of that forbes article was it?
     
  13. Jun 9, 2005 #12

    Art

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    As a general statement; 'you're all fat and stupid'; is rude and insulting and really has no place here on this orum. However I thought I'd reseach your hypothesis re the correlation between fat and stupid and I came across this source.
    Do they still have lead plumbing in the White House. It could explain a lot. :rofl:

    http://www.drapplebaum.com/Fitness Rants/Rome, USA.htm
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2005
  14. Jun 9, 2005 #13
    You know I was being ironic, right?
     
  15. Jun 9, 2005 #14

    SOS2008

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    The OP/article is a good example of the belief system of core Bush supporters. It is sad, frightening, mind-boggling, etc. That Dubya is completely unqualified to be president of the U.S. should be obvious to all by now. We have reviewed his education, military record, business history, and his brief stint as Governor. His poor performance as president is the natural result of not having any merit what so ever--I mean did people watch him in the recent press interview with Blair? Horribly embarrassing. Yet, the Bush supporters continue to defend him and his destructive policies--putting down intellectuals, which leads me to conclude they prefer we all listen to stupid people (like Bush). And since I, and other people point these things out, we are anti-American. Maybe we want our country to remain intact because we love it and want to continue to have pride in it--and point these things out to preserve democracy (heard of the word?).
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2005
  16. Jun 9, 2005 #15
    Tomorrow in forbes:

    "Anti-Americanism is the prevailing disease of intellectuals today, and like any other disease or form of cancer it must be erradicated, We should take all intelectuals to concentration camps and show the europeans that they irational and racist form of thinking won't pass like nothing before the brillant and best in the world american people"
     
  17. Jun 9, 2005 #16
    Though it has been some time since I read the guidelines for PF, I have noticed a few things, one of which is members dictating rules on the forum. To the best of my knowledge, no member has such authority.

    The "request" for no opposing, dissenting views, and correlation between Bush bashing and anti-Americanism is in itself very disturbing. Where are the conservative members, and why are they not "irritated" by this anti-democracy post? I thought people had moved past the "If you don't support the war, you don't support the troops" faulty logic/reasoning, but it seems this kind of mentality just won't end.
     
  18. Jun 9, 2005 #17

    Pengwuino

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    Considering we're on a forum about science... isnt it somewhat natural to demand factual information and not anti-bush lies perpetuated throughout the left? I've seen multiple threads closed on this forum because their theory or idea was factless. And oddly enough, why does the request for "facts" bring to your mind "no opposing, dissenting views" :rolleyes: . And dont act stupid when you say "Whats the correlation between Bush bashing and anti-americanism?". We know there is none but as a few of the left have already demonstrated on this thread, topics about America will amost invariably slip into the Bush this, Bush that argument so the request has some legitame concerns related to it.
     
  19. Jun 9, 2005 #18

    Pengwuino

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    All in all, your post came across as intellectual in security. You seem to have very little understanding of even American culture. Or well, let me pose it in a different and ironic manner. Oddly enough, the people who are the cause of most of the problems in the US (Especially the reference to "popular" music and Hollywood) are the ones on the left who absolutely adore Europe and make it almost a second job to bash America and put Europe on a pedastal. Makes you think eh...
     
  20. Jun 9, 2005 #19

    selfAdjoint

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    If you're so devoted to facts, provide some evidence for that.
     
  21. Jun 9, 2005 #20

    Art

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    Penqwuino I have read a lot of your mails and cannot think of a single 'fact' you have stated that stood up to even cursory examination (remember liras for example :smile: ). And as for sources, I often wonder how you communicate with this forum. One would think you had no access to the internet given the lack of sources quoted in your posts. Don't be offended but on reflection you must agree that for you to berate others on facts and sources is the height of hypocrisy,
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2005
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