View Poll Results: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

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  • Yes, America is the greatest Country.

    36 62.07%
  • I agree with Will.

    22 37.93%
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Thread: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

  1. #161
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    Re: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    I tend to keep rather proactive company, so I don't see so much of the cynicism. But my point really was that "greatest" is simply so subjective and everyone's opinion would be based on wildly different criteria that it's not a very good question to ask. I would even dispute the character in the video's notion that this country used to be greater than it is sometime in the past. I also dispute the assumption that this was ever the greatest country in the world, because I don't think you can really tell. I don't like blind patriotism and I certainly don't like nostalgic views of the past that are almost always inaccurate.
    Hmmm I understand what you are saying, but I will respectfully disagree on some points of yours, while maybe agreeing with your overall point.
    There are things America was in the past, that really were quite remarkable, and resulted in it being the worlds largest Militarily/Cultural/Economic superpower... we became that for a reason, and to admire those reasons or admiring the US as it's place in the history of the human race- I don't think is a bad thing nor a thing that is inaccurate or unjustified. The history books 1000 years from now will look back at America as the one of the Greatest/Most Influential countries in the history of the world with quite a story to tell-among the greatest in human history. Like Rome/ England/etc etc. I don't think that in inaccurate.....Is that what you consider great? Maybe not, but that is what a lot of people mean when they say great.



    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    The greatest country, to me, is the one that strives the hardest to be the greatest. Greatness is a process, not a status. And we certainly don't strive very hard, anymore. When it became public knowledge that our government tortured prisoners, and the reaction wasn't universal outrage, we weren't striving to be the most moral people in the world. When people actually argue that it's alright for police to perpetuate a culture of violence against blacks, we aren't striving to care for our own people. I don't know if we ever were the greatest in this regard. I don't know if we're really better or worse than anyone else. I do know that we're not doing very well, in some regards. We strive pretty damn hard towards personal liberty. The United States has some of the strongest free speech protections in the entire world. That's pretty great. Other countries make it a crime to deny the Holocaust. We would consider that unthinkable, and that's how I think it should be. Does that make up for all the black kids murdered by police every year? Or how we ration healthcare only to those with money? I don't know. Because I don't think greatness comes from your achievements. I think greatness comes from never being satisfied with your achievements. And right now, we are a people that is entirely too satisfied.
    I agree with this for the most part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    So, I neither think that this is the greatest country, nor do I think it can be proved that it ever was, nor do I agree with Will McAvoy that we used to be greater and have lost something, and I certainly don't that mine is the worst.
    Does this not contradict your statement above? "The greatest country, to me, is the one that strives the hardest to be the greatest." "We certainly don't strive anymore" , America in past was a much more changing country, and the Cultural Powerhouse of the world, from The Independence, to the Civil War to end slavery, to the first to enter the Atomic Age to woodstock to the technological boom in the 80s... America was changing/adapting/and striving... The cultural impact of America can not be understated.
    Continued....

  2. #162
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    Re: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    Our problem isn't cell phones, nor sexual freedom, nor even cynicism (I would argue that a lot of that cynicism is well earned). Our problem is complacency. There are fools in this country who really do think that racism is over. Or who think that equality and egalitarianism really means tearing down white males or Christians or heterosexuals in favor of someone else. Or who think that our society already does that. Too many Americans think that we've already hit the ideal and now there's nowhere to go but down. Some claim that we're the world's superheroes because of World War II. Some claim that the lofty words of men who died two centuries ago make us experts in liberty who can do no wrong.
    The race issue is a complicated one, with many people thinking differently on how to solve it. The differences in opinion on how to solve the race issue, I think, should be recognized and NOT something that is taken as not taking racism seriously. I honestly don't know a single person who thinks racism is over... I know those who think it has been dramatically reduced and the battles for it have largely been won, but I know of no-one who thinks it's gone.
    For example, I think continuing the concept of race is the poison, it will always be there as long as that's there. It divides people. Race is a social construct, I think, we should make every effort of wiping out.... or at least have efforts to try to. There are many who disagree with me on that, I honestly believe the concept of race and the thought that you belong to some kind of human breed, is the poison. It would take a lot of effort, but I think we should start now..... it;s a noble cause.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    I think we are not actually in decline as a nation. We're improving. But our rate of improvement has slowed because of this complacency. Maybe that's the cynicism you're seeing. I see some who have lost hope because they've been ground down by a system that squeezes every last drop it can out of everyone it can for the benefit of the wealthiest of this country. But it's complacency that makes us not do something about that system. We're complacent in our little tiny piece of the pie so we won't risk it to help those with even tinier pieces, or virtually no piece at all, and we make excuses for why a hundred million share an eighth of the pie while a hundred thousand have three quarters of it and the last eighth goes to two hundred million. We're complacent in the invisible privileges we enjoy because of being male, white, Christian, or heterosexual so we won't accept any discomfort for ourselves to help those without those privileges, and make excuses for why they really have the same deference and opportunities we have but squander them.
    Seem to be contradicting yourself again, to you, greatness IS striving to be Great.... and complacency is the opposite of that. America was striving harder to be great in the past, was it not? .... though given, in the past, they had a longer way to go(since we have built ourselves on the past)

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    If Americans could be a bit less self-absorbed and get off of our asses and expect better of ourselves, we could be pretty great. But we're too wrapped up in our own personal gain and wanting to feel superior to other people to risk making any kind of real difference that could change our country and society for the better. We can only become great when we actually realize that we aren't and decide to do something about it. Instead we pat ourselves on the back for past achievements and shout patriotic slogans and pretend that we're done with the process and greatness is a cushion we can sit on instead of a mountain perpetually to be climbed.
    I think those are more reactionary statements rather than the true belief superiority and arrogance. What's wrong with a little nationalism? What's wrong with a little Pride? .... arguably, it actually motivates people to make America great.... otherwise if your always shooting her down, you just end up with bitter people arguing with you not recognizing what America IS great for. You hurt peoples feelings talking bad about any country they reside from, it makes them think you don't valuing the country like they do.

    This is obviously the emotional response of the common people, and if you wish to inspire them, I would consider a different approach... because I don't think what you are saying is entirely wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    In short, "Great" is a thing you do and keep doing, not a thing you are.
    agreed
    Last edited by celticwar17; 05-05-15 at 10:23 AM.

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    Re: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglo-scot View Post
    The British perspective has been that, in Western Europe, we stood alone against Germany after the rest of Europe had fallen (or remained neutral) between 1941 and 1943. We could say that we were alone while the USA was trying its best to find reasons to stay out of the war, given the very strong German ethnic influence in the USA. The British were also in the Far East in WW2 though admittedly in much smaller numbers than the US and with little success. We also often forget the Eastern Front and Russia's massive contribution. But like I said to Ahlevah, the US's contribution to the defence of Britain and liberation of Europe was massive and we should be forever grateful for it.
    Personally, I take great inspiration from Britain's defiance, e.g. during the London Blitz. And Britain over the years has been a steady ally--in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and so forth. When it comes to allies, I place Britain and former possessions such as Canada and Australia in a whole other category.
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    Re: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglo-scot View Post
    I agree that colonisation was and is wrong and that Britain should never have done it. However, I don't claim that my country has ever been the "best" or "greatest" by any objective standard, which I am astonished to see that some Americans really do believe about their country.
    You shouldn't be so astonished. At the height of the British Empire, Brits overwhelmingly believed that their country was the "best" and the "greatest" and many other such things. Rudyard Kipling even wrote poems about it. It's only in today's post-imperial Britain that the trend of multi-polarism has become somewhat fashionable. However, talk to many conservative Brits even today and they'll be happy to tell you all about how Britain is God's gift to the world.

    I think it's normal for any superpower to be a bit cocky. I think America's cockiness is mild in comparison to that which preceded it.

  5. #165
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    Re: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

    As a side note, Americas racism is overblown in comparison to most of the world and even most of Europe, The Scandinavian countries are the only ones more racially tolerant. America is on the same level as Canada and the UK.THIS DOES NOT MEAN that racism is not something we should all actively fight and strive to improve, it's just a matter of perspective....I hear a fair amount of people from around the world, because of the media, think America is some rampant KKK powerhouse.... when in fact that is not the case, America is a extremely diverse and accepting country in comparison to MOST countries in the world INCLUDING Europe.

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    Re: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    (List of conflicts in Europe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
    Your points about USA's involvement in WW2, ending with:
    "It was the moment that gave rise to the birth of a superpower."
    Thank-you for the information. You write well and I enjoyed reading it.

    I am sure the Canadians were heavily involved in WW2 but I don't know when their involvement started.

    I'm really not doubting that the USA made a huge contribution to the defeat of the Nazis and it's something we should never forget. I don't know exactly what commemorations will take place for VE Day this week (70th anniversary) but I hope that the USA has a big role - they certainly should.

    The only thing that jarred was your final sentence, about the birth of a superpower. But by common definitions of "superpower", if we must use the term, then I accept that the USA has been one since WW2. But why you should want to use the terms begs many questions.

    Going back to the thread, it really is for history to judge if one country was the "greatest" or the "best" in any period and, even then, arguments are bound to rage because of the arrogance of any such claim. What I am picking up from this thread is that there is a strong current in American thinking that it is important that they acknowledge that they are the "best" or the "greatest" country. This is very worrying. As soon as this thinking starts to take hold, people move into an unreal world where they are the good guys and they must sort the good guys from the bad; it also makes it harder to accept mistakes humbly and learn from them. A nation that thinks this way about itself will cast itself as having the "burden" of resolving major world problems, according to some God-given mandate. Ultimately, these beliefs lead to thinking that the lives of the people in their country are more important than the lives of other people. As I say, this is an extremely familiar mentality for Brits and, by no means have we recovered from it. If any Brit made similar claims as to how we were ever the "best" or "greatest", he or she could expect a similar response.

    I'll hold back on specifics as to how America's best" and "greatest" mentality has led to horror for many people around the world for now. But if the thread continues in this vein, then expect some reality checks along these lines.

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    Re: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    You shouldn't be so astonished. At the height of the British Empire, Brits overwhelmingly believed that their country was the "best" and the "greatest" and many other such things. Rudyard Kipling even wrote poems about it. It's only in today's post-imperial Britain that the trend of multi-polarism has become somewhat fashionable. However, talk to many conservative Brits even today and they'll be happy to tell you all about how Britain is God's gift to the world.

    I think it's normal for any superpower to be a bit cocky. I think America's cockiness is mild in comparison to that which preceded it.
    America's cockiness is just as dangerous as that of Britain's of the past, perhaps more, because of sheer devastating firepower. You'll never find me harking back to the greatness of Britain's colonial past - though many Britons sadly still do. The Americans were right to insist that Britain relinquish the empire after WW2, but are wrong to copy this mentality, as though it was their turn. The chickens have long been coming to roost as a result.

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    Re: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglo-scot View Post
    On the first point, describing your country as the "best" in the world is good for a laugh but to do it seriously is evidence of huge vanity.
    If the description were only based on opinion, then I could see your point. But why can't we establish objective criteria to determine a nation's "greatness"? For example, if scientific achievement is a determinant of greatness, what's wrong with counting up the number of Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine? In total, the U.S. has won more than three times as many Nobel Prizes (353) as the next largest winner, Britain (115).

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglo-scot View Post
    Like I said, colonial Britain did this sort of thing in the past so I know the mindset. But it's a mindset worth shaking off if you want to cultivate good relations with other countries.
    Nobody likes a braggart. I get that. On the other hand, if you keep kicking a giant in the nuts no one should be surprised if he blows your eardrums out when he screams. Quite frankly, I'm getting a bit annoyed at this idea that the U.S. is all washed up, like Sylvester Stallone by the time he got to the fourth Rocky sequel.
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    Re: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahlevah View Post
    Personally, I take great inspiration from Britain's defiance, e.g. during the London Blitz.
    As a Londoner, (and also a son of Glaswegians whose city was also bombed) thanks for this particular comment.

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    Re: Is America the greatest Country anymore? Or do you agree with Will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahlevah View Post
    If the description were only based on opinion, then I could see your point. But why can't we establish objective criteria to determine a nation's "greatness"? For example, if scientific achievement is a determinant of greatness, what's wrong with counting up the number of Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine? In total, the U.S. has won more than three times as many Nobel Prizes (353) as the next largest winner, Britain (115).



    Nobody likes a braggart. I get that. On the other hand, if you keep kicking a giant in the nuts no one should be surprised if he blows your eardrums out when he screams. Quite frankly, I'm getting a bit annoyed at this idea that the U.S. is all washed up, like Sylvester Stallone by the time he got to the fourth Rocky sequel.
    On Nobel Prizes, if the issue arises as to which country has won the most, then it's fair enough to quote the stats and leave it at that. But there's no need to induce that this is evidence of the USA's "greatness". Let non-Americans pay you that compliment, if they choose.

    If you rejigged the results table pro rata according to the world's population or GDP, perhaps both our countries would be well down the list. If you excluded European emigres, then perhaps the USA would again fall down the list. Jewish people could claim that their race is the greatest if you looked at the ethnic origin of the winners. In any event, there's just no point trying to use these kind of stats to make a point about the USA being the "greatest". If you do, then expect others to keep kicking your country in the proverbials until it learns a little humility.

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