View Poll Results: Is America the greatest country on earth?

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Thread: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

  1. #91
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    Does a mediocre nation send men to the moon, and then get bored of it? If any other nation were capable of sending a man to the moon, they would have done so. We did it 50 years ago.
    Yes, we did it 50 years ago. 50 years ago many of the things you outlined were true. Today, not so much. We were great, but we have been in decline for, well, probably 50 years...

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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by upsideguy View Post
    Yes, we did it 50 years ago. 50 years ago many of the things you outlined were true. Today, not so much. We were great, but we have been in decline for, well, probably 50 years...
    Interesting to hear a progressive say that, as the nation has undoubtedly become more progressive in the past 50 years.

  3. #93
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    No argument from me on anything you've said. I wouldn't want to live in America's lower class either. Your point about healthcare is especially poignant; Capitalism, as practiced in America, has a way of pushing down those who are ill, those who are disabled, those who are born less intelligent or with mental problems. This is the dark side of capitalism and proof that no system is perfect.

    I still would rather live in America than anywhere else on earth. I am a dual American/Swede by the way. I was born intelligent (I like to think anyway) and smack in to the middle class. I've had every opportunity here to make it big, only confined by the limits of my own ambition and craftiness. In Sweden, this would not have been possible.

    For example, I have an uncle in Sweden who is a teacher, but his real skill is fixing up houses. He knows everything there is to know about building and fixing houses, the man is very talented. He is also very independent minded and hardworking. In Sweden, he is lower-middle class. In America, he would be a millionaire, I have no doubt about that. He would not be a teacher here, he would take his love of houses and build them for a living.

    As for comparing countries, I think, as you say, it comes down to what you value. The European ethos seems to be, as you have stated, that greatness is measured by whether a country provides a good life for the maximal portion of its population. The American ethos is that greatness is measured by whether any man has the opportunity to achieve his maximal potential.

    I tend to side with the Americans on this, even while knowing that, as you pointed out earlier with the healthcare, the American system isn't perfect. While some poor people are poor due to no fault of their own, the vast majority are poor because they deserve to be poor. I cannot support a system that enables and rewards people who want to sit on their couch all day, smoke marijuana and play nintendo. This, while putting a glass ceiling on people who are crafty, inventive, and want to work hard.

    I like believing that there is hope to achieve something great, and I like that the poor are given every opportunity to be great if they want to... but if they choose the path of laziness, then we will not coddle them either beyond providing for basic necessities like food, care, and basic assistance.

    That's the way I see it.
    This strong belief in the own prospect of achieving when just working hard, is a good thing without doubt (regardless how realistic it is). This belief alone causes many people to make the best of themselves. It's a great incentive to work hard, which is beneficial for everybody in your society.

    But as you say, it has that bad flipside that people who don't make it are easily looked down upon. They're labeled "losers" even when they did their best but didn't make it for reasons that were beyond their reach. Most won't believe it isn't their fault. That's unfortunate, IMO, because there are indeed many cases when people can't be blamed for not achieving.

    What about not-so-bright people? I think it is unfair to say that trash collectors, factory workers or people with three McJobs are "not working hard". Yet, when they're not really bright enough to do much else, they won't have as a good life in America.

    And I'm not sure that the situation is *that* different in Germany: Just being lazy, sitting on your couch and playing Nintendo won't get you anywhere in Germany either. Much more than mere survival in a ****ty home in a ****ty neighborhood with ****ty cheap food isn't in for you either, in Germany (except you still get general healthcare). So it's not that we don't have incentives.

    It's also true that when you're really brilliant at what you're doing, the reward is not as high in Germany as in the US. In the US, you can easily become a millionaire, a super-star. In Germany, you'll just get pretty wealthy.

    However, I do think that the majority of people -- those who do work fairly hard, who are good at what they're doing but not brilliant at all -- are better off here. Maybe you easily get an Ivy League stipendium when you are a brilliant kid in a poor environment -- but what about those who are *just okay*, say, poor B-graders? I think those are the people who are better off in Germany.

    (...)
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

  4. #94
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    (continuation)

    That's where I see myself. I like to think I'm pretty good at what I'm doing, and my university apparently thinks so too, but certainly not brilliant. My skills are not sufficient to become a top-performer or super-star, neither is my health condition. I'm a A-/B+ student, not one of the super-scary A-graders with lots of extras in their curricula who'll be chosen first. But it should be sufficient for a nice middle-class job that feeds my family, and a reasonable amount of wealth.

    Also, I'm not very fond of competition, at least not when it's about everything or nothing, about a really good or really bad life. Also, competition often makes people enemies who could be friends, when the stakes are high. I find that rather uncivilized, although I cannot deny the positive effects that come with it (like I said above, it really encourages people to give their best). I'm more a cooperation-type of person.

    So, that's why I think I'm better off in Germany. It's unlikely I will ever be a top performer, but middle-class. And I think the middle class is better off here, generally speaking.
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

  5. #95
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    We're arrogant, if anything. We're also riding the coattails of past successes. If we were starting from scratch today, we'd be effed.
    If you claim sexual harassment to be wrong, yet you defend anyone on your side for any reason,
    then you are a hypocrite and everything you say on the matter is just babble.

  6. #96
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    (continuation)

    ...Also, I'm not very fond of competition, at least not when it's about everything or nothing, about a really good or really bad life. Also, competition often makes people enemies who could be friends, when the stakes are high. I find that rather uncivilized, although I cannot deny the positive effects that come with it (like I said above, it really encourages people to give their best). I'm more a cooperation-type of person.

    So, that's why I think I'm better off in Germany. It's unlikely I will ever be a top performer, but middle-class. And I think the middle class is better off here, generally speaking.
    I agree with you, somewhat, that the structural differences between the American and European systems are not that profound. I think it comes down, more than anything, to something we both have touched upon: the belief most Americans have that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. I don't think this is anything that can be engineered - I think this is something inherent in the American psyche that has been there for many generations.

    In the 19th century, in particular, immigrants flocked in to the United States from Europe with the dream of striking it rich. Germans in particular, as I believe the largest ethnic group in the United States is German. But this mindset of enterprise and the goal of winning the rat race is part of the fabric of our culture.

    I think the most successful Americans see capitalism as a game to be won. Making money is like scoring goals in football. The one with the most competitive drive and with the most skills for playing the game will win.

    You talk about trash collectors and it makes me think, what would I do if I were a trash collector? I would start my own trash collecting business. I would go around and sell my services, I would hire other trash collectors. When I made a profit, I would use that money to buy out my competitors and become the largest trash collection service in the city. That would be the dream.

    The first company I worked for, the president started out as a factory worker when he moved to America. He was from Austria. He did not have a high school education even. He became a factory manager, then he moved up the ranks all the way to president. Now he's a millionaire. He's the epitome of a "self made man," he read books every day, and he is insanely hard working and crafty.

    As for who has the better middle class, that's a matter of debate I think. I agree that to be poor in Europe is much better than to be poor in the United States. I will agree that to be lower-middle in Europe is much better than to have the same in USA. I think the middle is a tossup. Maybe I give a small edge to Europe, just because I think Europe's cities are so pleasant, but by the time you're middle class in USA you have healthcare and everything else you have in Europe so at that point it's just a matter of where you prefer to live.

    I think the problem European companies have, from a competitive standpoint, is the middle-upper. The upper-middle managers at your corporations. They don't get paid much less than the senior presidents (at least, not compared to USA), so I think at that level is where you see people start to get comfortable in their "good enough" position, and focus more on family and life outside work than furthering their accomplishments. But that's just an opinion based on a little observation and practical experience.

    At the end of the day, I think it's just a matter of personal preference and belief. My uncle has never entertained the idea of starting his own home-building business. It seems that way with a lot of Europeans - they just don't have the self-belief that THEY can be the one to start that business that makes it big. Some have that confidence, but not the average guy, and that's very different from America, where everyone seems to think they are a little bit brighter and more capable than their neighbor.

    I hate to hear you say that you don't think you'll be a top performer - because if you believe that then it will be as you believe. The only limit you have in life is that which you place on yourself with your beliefs. I personally think you have the potential to be a very great man if you want to be. You're highly intelligent, and from what I know about you, you have a love for knowledge, especially in politics and religion, you deal well with people and are very fair-minded and personable. Those are qualities that can take you to the moon, but only if you believe it.

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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    We're arrogant, if anything. We're also riding the coattails of past successes. If we were starting from scratch today, we'd be effed.
    Why is arrogance a bad thing in this context?

  8. #98
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    This is seen as nearly axiomatic in some circles. In others, it's seen as misguided arrogance.

    I want to know whether the maxim rings true with you, and your reasoning.


    Focus specifically on these areas, if at all possible...... 1.) Freedom 2.) Diversity 3.) Opportunity
    Yes, indisputably. We have the greatest combination of wealth, power, and freedom. We are the axis upon which the world turns.

  9. #99
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    My thoughts: Yes, this is the greatest nation on earth. Below are some of the reasons....

    - We're the richest. We have more money than any other nation on earth and it ain't close.
    - We're the smartest. We have something like over half of the world's Nobel Prize winners. Our universities are the top ranked in the world.
    - We're the most industrial. Modern industry as you know it was invented and perfected in the US of A.
    - We kick ass. Most powerful military in the history of human civilization relative to our contemporaries
    - We're not sissies - looking at you, France
    - We innovate. We invented pretty much everything in existence in the modern world, and that trend is continuing.
    - We sent a man to the moon for christ's sake. That was 50 years ago. No other nation has yet to be able to do it, even today.
    - We don't have stupid royalty or aristocracies. America is the only country on earth where going rags to riches is truly seen as possible.
    - We dominate the global political scene. If America wants something done, such as a treaty, it gets done.
    - Other nations need us more than we need them.
    - We utterly dominate popular culture and the arts - Hollywood baby. ALL the movies that seen by a broad audience are American. We invented rock and roll, the blues, rap, hip hop, and all the modern media. We invented television, and pretty much everything that goes on it.


    I could go on, but that's a start.
    Specific to:

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    - We dominate the global political scene. If America wants something done, such as a treaty, it gets done.
    Well, except for needed Status Of Forces Agreements, nuclear weaponization talks with Iran, red lines we draw with Syria, leading from behind in Libya.
    Yeah, I could go on.

    We certainly were the greatest nation on Earth, but we haven't been recently.
    We certainly will be the greatest nation on Earth one again, should be ever bother to get our house clean and working properly once again.
    Disinformation campaign? The Russian collusion meme pushed by the 'news' media, behaving as a political propaganda organ, hell bent to destroy a legitimately elected president to implement his agenda per the votes of the same electorate. Reference The Big Lie Reference Goebbels

  10. #100
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    Re: Is America the greatest nation on earth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    Interesting to hear a progressive say that, as the nation has undoubtedly become more progressive in the past 50 years.
    Which is certainly part of the reason that the going got so tough in other important areas.

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