Should we judge individuals based on their government's actions?

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I don't really know what to say to that.Ning: You should not criticize China if you have never been there.Me: Well, I am criticizing your government for its actions and policies, not your country or its people.Ning: But the government is the people.Me: No, the government is the government. The people are the people. They are not the same thing.Chao: I have an idea... I think that we should just not talk about these things.Me: Yeah, that's what I think too.In summary, the conversation was discussing the issue of generalizing about people based on the actions of their government. It was agreed that it is not fair to make blanket statements about entire
  • #1


I am not sure what I am all about on this one, so bear with me...

I think we should be careful about making generalizations about people based on teh actions of their government. All American's aren't stupid, all French people don't oppose the war, etc. Just because we don't agree with a country's policys, it doesn't mean we should hate or insult its peoples.

If I have made this mistake before, I apologise, and I will try to avoid it in teh future. I ask that you all do the same.
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  • #2

Heck the peoples of Canada and the United States have been friends for longer then most of those peoples, presently alive, have been alive, BUT, at present, the American Government had been making 'noise' (so to speak) about punishing the Canadian Government for their choice not to join in the war effort.

That is a part of politics, sadly, as the government officials seem to think it is O.K. to hold the peoples of other countries hostage, by way of there governments, as to effect their policies in those countries.

As it is said, "There oughta be a Law!"
  • #3
It's hard to have a high opinion of the French right now when they graffiti swastikas on British WW2 graves in Normandy.

Publicly the French Government criticised it.
  • #4
Originally posted by Mulder
It's hard to have a high opinion of the French right now when they graffiti swastikas on British WW2 graves in Normandy.

Publicly the French Government criticised it.

Hold on. The French graphittied something on a wall? France is a country of 61 million people. Did they all hold the can of paint at once, or did they pass it and touch it on it's way to the wall, or did each one have a can, and each painted a tiny portion?
  • #5
I imagine most of them cheered.
  • #6
Originally posted by Mulder
I imagine most of them cheered.

You seem pretty good at imagining time, imagine something a little less racist, ok?
  • #7
Beautiful rebuttals Zero,
I consider the problem to be that of collectivist thinking and Mulder has done an excellent job of demonstrating it. :wink:
This is why I am an individualist first and foremost.
  • #8
I agree boulder, the problem is with collective when a country displays predominant characteristics (such as American big boy strutting, or Frances leaning towards strong displays of racism statisticly speaking) there must be a way to discuss that without ignoring that it is an issue and that a large amount of the people do fit the description rather then just focus on the faceless "government" of these countries. I just don't know what that way is, and I really don't think it's okay to support the idea that the "government" or faceless companies are solely responsible in democratic countries.
  • #9
Well, Kat, isn't it better to blame government in cases of political debate, rather than the man(or woman) on teh street. Especially in America, where more people voted for the 'loser' in the last presidential, the government doesn't necesarily act in the way the majority would prefer.
  • #10
Well how many people actually represent the 280,000,000 peoples of the United States of America, 500? equals about 1 representative per 560,000 people, one rep per half mil, not exactly representative of the individual, now is it.
  • #11
Originally posted by Zero
Well, Kat, isn't it better to blame government in cases of political debate, rather than the man(or woman) on teh street. Especially in America, where more people voted for the 'loser' in the last presidential, the government doesn't necesarily act in the way the majority would prefer.

I might agree with you on this if it weren't for the fact that the majority of the people never even bothered to vote.
  • #12
Well... concerning the issue of people vs governments... I actually got into a pretty heated verbal argument the other day with two Chinese students who share my office space.

The conversation went something like this:

Ning: Do you support war against Iraq?

Me: No... but at this point I'm just hoping that the military will finish up what their doing and pull out as soon as possible.

Chao: But I think most Americans like war.

Me: No that is your falacy.

Chao: I read this information on a Chinese message board.

Me: Well, some people in your country like to spread rumors about the American public.

Ning: Then why did you vote for a president who wants war.

Me: I didn't... let's not go over this again.

Chao: I think that the leader of a country represents its people.

Me: Then I guess the people of China are to blame for the situation in Tibet.

Ning: You should not say that about China! Tibet was rightfully ours! Besides that happened over 50 years ago.

Chao: What is Tibet?

Ning: If you blame China for Tibet, then I think we should blame America for India.

Me: What the f*@# are you talking about?

Ning: Your country did the same thing to India.

Me: No, that was England.

Ning: Yes, but your country comes from England. England stole your country from the native Americans.

Me: Yeah, you obviously know what your talking about. Let's face it, in the words of Noam Chalmsky, "all government is evil," including China... especially China.

Ning: You should not say that about China.

Me: Face the fact, if the American government suddenly dissolved, China would invade Taiwan, Hong Kong, and eventually South Korea.

Ning: You have not been to China. You do not know what you are talking about. China is a good place.

Me: I know that in China there is a great deal of racism and classism. For instance, minorities who are born outside of cities are not allowed to enter the cities, they receive no education, and the only thing they can do for a living is collect garbage from those who live in cities and try to get some money by recycling it. That doesn't sound like such a great place to me.

Ning: Those people have no education. They know nothing. That is what they should have to do.

Me: Yeah, well in America we make an attempt at giving everyone an equal opportunity. Although, we do have flaws. Many people will tell you that the public schools in poor parts of cities do not receive the same funding as the public schools in rich parts of cities. So, there is an unbalance of equal opportunity... but at least we are making SOME attempt.

Chao: I have heard that in America, there is a dumbing down of the education system.

Me: Well, I suppose that is one of the draw backs of offering education to everyone. I know that in Germany, the elementary school decides whether a child is college material when he/she is in the fifth grade. Then that child is sent to a college prepatory high school. So, I suppose a German college bound high school student may receive a better education than an American college bound high school student.

Chao: It is also that way in China. Except, we do not bother to give any education to those who are not college bound.

Me: Well, you see the problem with that is that there is not an equal opportunity for individuals. What good is it to decide someone's destiny when he or she is in elementary school? What happens if someone is born into a lower class family which does not encourage that child to learn at a young age? That person will be given no opportunities later in life to better his or her situation.

Chao: In China, we have so many people who want to go to college only those who have perfect grades are allowed to go.

Ning: Yes, I think that in America you do not have to be as smart or hard working to go to college. Also, I think that American schools are unfair because they judge international students by higher standards than Americans. American students do not have to have good grades or have to take the GRE to get into graduate schools.

Me: Yes, we do.

Ning: I think that Americans don't even belong in American graduate schools.

Me: You are extremely ungrateful for the opportunity you have been given to study in our country.

  • #13
eNtRopY, what is your point?
  • #14
The joys of patriotism as instrument of the numbskulls, eh? The sense of our nation is the best is and has always been the primal tool of dictatorships, in china, in USSR, in Germany, and maybe one day in the US.
  • #15
Originally posted by Zero
eNtRopY, what is your point?

Individuals may be @ssholes, but they don't represent their governments; nor do governments represent individuals.

Plus, I wanted to rant about the ever-present, anti-American sentiment of many (not all) international students.

  • #16
but they were just misguided and it was nothing but talk anyway, the real buttholes are the ones who don't do their jobs like those in the governments that do not represent individuals. :wink:
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1. Should an individual be held responsible for their government's actions?

This is a complex question with no clear-cut answer. Some argue that individuals have a responsibility to speak out against their government's actions if they disagree with them, and therefore should be held accountable. Others argue that an individual's actions should be judged separately from their government's actions.

2. Is it fair to judge someone based on their government's actions?

Again, this is a matter of personal opinion. Some may argue that an individual is not directly responsible for their government's actions and therefore should not be judged for them. Others may argue that an individual's beliefs and values are reflected in their government's actions and therefore they should be held accountable.

3. Can an individual's actions be separated from their government's actions?

This is a difficult question to answer definitively. While an individual's actions may not align with their government's actions, their support and participation in the government may indicate some level of agreement or complicity.

4. How do cultural and societal factors impact an individual's responsibility for their government's actions?

Cultural and societal norms and values can play a significant role in an individual's views and actions. In some cultures, it may be expected for individuals to speak out against their government's actions, while in others, it may be seen as disrespectful or even dangerous. Additionally, societal pressure and propaganda can influence an individual's beliefs and actions.

5. Are there any exceptions to judging individuals based on their government's actions?

In some cases, an individual may not have a choice in their government's actions, such as in authoritarian regimes. In these situations, it may not be fair to hold individuals accountable for their government's actions. Additionally, individuals may actively resist or speak out against their government's actions, which could be viewed as a sign of their disagreement and disapproval.

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