The United States: your positive and negative

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  • Thread starter Loren Booda
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  • #26
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America's foreign policies CANNOT be but those you are describing, haven't you read Machiavelli? You cannot judge Politics with Ethics, American people should be worried but happy with their power, we, in Europe, are rightly frightened by your arrogance, but I understand it is necessary.

USA have to mantain their empire, the sole way is to stretch their "longa manus" over "off-phase-working" countries, and obviously keep their own arm armed.

America has got a huge amount of natural resources, that is why you rule the world (and, of course, because Germany lost WWI... btw Is it true that in american schools is taught that the reason for USA to enter the war was the sinking of Lusitania?).

Moreover you enjoy the benefits of a really united people, unity made possible by democratic ideals, rather than other forms of mass-controlling.

I do admire these abilities.

I also like american art, since you are the dominant culture in the world you express modern reality at the deepest level, and the best way you found is film-making, think of Kubrick, Tarantino ecc..

I dislike popular american ideals: Christianity, Ethics, Possibility, Escatology, Tendency to simplifying reality, Engeneering-oriented activities rather than love for pure knowledge, pseudo-pragmatism (the original German-English pragmatism is much deeper), Nationalism...
 
  • #27
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The thing I despise about the US is its mainstream popular culture. How can the land which nurtures most of each year's Nobel prize winners also worship reality tv, MTV, wrestling, huge breasts, jocks, and all kinds of worthless celebrities?

Truly it is the land of extremes...
 
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  • #28
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If you call freedom extreme.
 
  • #29
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Don't say "freedom"
Say "perception of freedom"

Freedom means nothing.
 
  • #30
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Loren Booda said:
If you call freedom extreme.

freedom is extreme, and that is what I meant. In America you see the full spectrum of the human condition, from the most wondrous to the vilest. That makes it so beautiful, but also so tragic...
 
  • #31
rachmaninoff
Don't say "freedom"
Say "perception of freedom"

Freedom means nothing.

It means nothing until you've had it taken away from you. Then it's very, very real.
 
  • #32
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Uff...

Let's correct.

"You don't have that perception until you have the contrary one"

Don't simplify reality, it is not simple.

Anyway: give me a definition of freedom (I suggest not to try, it's useless)
 
  • #33
Maxos said:
Anyway: give me a definition of freedom (I suggest not to try, it's useless)

From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: free·dom
Pronunciation: 'frE-d&m
Function: noun
1 : the quality or state of being free: as a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : INDEPENDENCE c : the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous <freedom from care> d : EASE, FACILITY <spoke the language with freedom> e : the quality of being frank, open, or outspoken <answered with freedom> f : improper familiarity g : boldness of conception or execution h : unrestricted use <gave him the freedom of their home>
2 a : a political right b : FRANCHISE, PRIVILEGE
synonyms FREEDOM, LIBERTY, LICENSE mean the power or condition of acting without compulsion. FREEDOM has a broad range of application from total absence of restraint to merely a sense of not being unduly hampered or frustrated <freedom of the press>. LIBERTY suggests release from former restraint or compulsion <the released prisoner had difficulty adjusting to his new liberty>. LICENSE implies freedom specially granted or conceded and may connote an abuse of freedom <freedom without responsibility may degenerate into license>.

So the sticky part is:

"FREEDOM has a broad range of application from total absence of restraint to merely a sense of not being unduly hampered or frustrated."

which makes freedom somewhat subjective as a noun, but can take on a more specific role depending upon the context. It also says nothing about the intersection of two persons' freedoms - for that reason, political freedoms are usually spelled-out, such as in the U.S. Bill of Rights. Therefore, arguments like "well, we're not really free because we can't shout 'Fire' in a movie theater" don't hold water since that would infringe upon the freedoms of the other people.
 
  • #34
russ_watters
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I've never understood why people think words like "freedom" are that hard to define. :confused: Sure, you can get into complicated minutae, but the basics are pretty straightforward.
 
  • #35
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How can you be a Phisicist and not understand my need of definitions?

Well, you can be satisfied with an "operative definition" (is this phrase used in English, too?) That is, you are everytime able to state whether one is free or not, and, of course, that's what you're trying to tell me, I suppose.

This would brobably be the method:
I say I am free, then think of Vietnam and say they are not free at all, why? Because I say: my perception of freedom in Vietnam would be worse than here, because of their living conditions.

Then, at least three problems emerge:

1) Where to put the limit between freedom and its contrary (which, notice, has never been turned into a precise word by human languages, "slavery" is something else)

2) Relativity: you might be interested in sharing your statements with other persons, of course, if you stay within a small community, there is no problem of misunderstanding, but if you consider a much larger society?

3) Stability of the standards of measurement: are you sure that your perception of freedom would be entirely aware of the slow changes in your own life-situation, remain the same and reproduce the same measurements, examining unchanged external specimens?


Do you know what "libertates" were to Romans? And to which Romans?
There is nothing universal! Nothing! Everything is culture, fading away with time and social changes.
 
  • #36
Maxos said:
There is nothing universal! Nothing!

can you define what you mean by this?

If I call the following statement:

P: "nothing is universal"

then this includes the statement P itself, which means that P is not universal, and hence there are times when P is not true. If P is not true, then it becomes "everything is universal", which would make P true.

Your statement is both true and false, and therefore meaningless. Such is what happens when speaking in paradoxes trying to sound profound.
 
  • #37
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Hey Herr Godel, how do you do?
 
  • #38
Maxos said:
Hey Herr Godel, how do you do?

:smile:

If you are familiar with Godel, then surely you can appreciate this.

You could at least say "nothing is universal, except this statement" :wink:
 
  • #39
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loseyourname said:
That and the lack of notable artistic achievements. I love jazz and bluegrass music, but aside from these, the only thing I can think of is the Hollywood film.
No love for The Blues and Rock & Roll? What about great American playwrites like Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, or authors like Mark Twain and Ray Bradbury?

Positive: Being the first modern nation built upon the principals of liberty and democracy, and by influence, leading significant portions of the world towards governments founded in the same principles.

Negative: Having nearly wiped out the entire Native American population in order to achieve said liberty and democracy.
 
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  • #40
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Maxos said:
America has got a huge amount of natural resources, that is why you rule the world (and, of course, because Germany lost WWI... btw Is it true that in american schools is taught that the reason for USA to enter the war was the sinking of Lusitania?).
In American schools it is taught that the sinking of the Lusitania, along with the general continuation of unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany, was one of the many things that brought the USA to enter WWI. This and the Zimmerman telegram are cited as very significant reasons why the USA entered WWI.

Clearly it was in the USA's interest to not allow Germany to win WWI, but the sinking of the Lusitania and the Zimmerman telegram, it is taught, were necessary to convince the American people that it was worth it to enter into a European war.

Our first President, George Washington, spoke strongly against "entangling alliances". He, and many of America's founders, wanted America to stay totally neutral towards Europe, so as to remain independent of the power struggles of Europe and make sure that Americans would never be killed in a European conflict. This attitude prevailed among the American people for scores of years, and certainly was prevalent before America entered into WWI. Without things like the sinking of the Lusitania by Germany and the Zimmerman telegram, it might not have been possible for the USA to enter into WWI, for the public did not distinctly see the interests of America threatened by events an ocean away.
 
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  • #41
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the fact that you can't define or prove "love" does not make it any less real
 
  • #42
vanesch
Staff Emeritus
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Maxos said:
Hey Herr Godel, how do you do?

The paradox cited is in fact Russel's paradox...
 
  • #43
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Pros: Football!

Cons: Prison/law system, big corporations, rich politicians, transit system, dependence on oil, public school system (k-12).
 
  • #44
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Positive: A willingness to get things done; a concern with doing what is right; open doors for immigrants; the most benign empire in history; the best research institutions in the world.

Negative: A sick combination of the biggest porn industry in the world and an almost puritan attitude to sex in mainstream culture; a willingness to turn private, sensitive and/or medical issues into huge political battles (e.g. abortion, euthanasia, drug addiction); a breeding ground for the worst possible forms of Christianity: fundamentalist and evangelical; nothing is safe from being exploited for the purposes of making a quick buck: not children, not sex, not human fear, not art, not anything; one of the worst primary/secondary education systems in the developed world.
 
  • #45
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the most benign empire in history

ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah
 

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