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Old 07-07-2003, 12:57 PM   #1
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10 Things for the USA to be Proud Of

[Q]
1) America provides an amazingly good life for the ordinary guy.
2) America offers more opportunity and social mobility than any other country, including the countries of Europe.
3) Work and trade are respectable in America, which is not true elsewhere.
4) America has achieved greater social equality than any other society.
5) People live longer, fuller lives in America.
6) In America the destiny of the young is not given to them but created by them.
7) America has gone further than any other society in establishing equality of rights.
8) America has found a solution to the problem of religious and ethnic conflict that continues to divide and terrorize much of the world.
9) America has the kindest, gentlest foreign policy of any great power in world history.
10) America, the freest nation on earth, is also the most virtuous nation on earth.
[/Q]

Before I get lynched, someone emailed me a link to this article. I thought it would spark some good discussion in here. I would read the article to understand where the author is coming from.


http://www.nationalreview.com/commen...ouza070203.asp
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Old 07-07-2003, 12:59 PM   #2
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It's at least good for a chuckle. Some items may be on the mark, others are so far off, it's hard to know whether this person(s) can take themselves seriously. For example, how does one qualify for measuring themselves as the "most virtuous" ??
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:04 PM   #3
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[Q]America, the freest nation on earth, is also the most virtuous nation on earth.This point seems counter-intuitive, given the amount of conspicuous vulgarity, vice, and immorality in America. Indeed some Islamic fundamentalists argue that their regimes are morally superior to the United States because they seek to foster virtue among the citizens. Virtue, these fundamentalists argue, is a higher principle than liberty.

Indeed it is. And let us admit that in a free society, freedom will frequently be used badly. Freedom, by definition, includes the freedom to do good or evil, to act nobly or basely. But if freedom brings out the worst in people, it also brings out the best. Themillions of Americans who live decent, praiseworthy lives desire our highest admiration because they have opted for the good when the good is not the only available option. Even amidst the temptations of a rich and free society, they have remained on the straight path. Their virtue has special luster because it is freely chosen.

By contrast, the societies that many Islamic fundamentalists seek would eliminate the possibility of virtue. If the supply of virtue is insufficient in a free society like America, it is almost non-existent in an unfree society like Iran. The reason is that coerced virtues are not virtues at all. Consider the woman who is required to wear a veil. There is no modesty in this, because she is being compelled Compulsion cannot produce virtue, it can only produce the outward semblance of virtue. Thus a free society like America is not merely more prosperous, more varied, more peaceful, and more tolerant it is also morally superior to the theocratic and authoritarian regimes that America's enemies advocate. [/Q]
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:07 PM   #4
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an interesting commentary that might be related.

Quote:
America: Love It but Don't Leave It

By Zack Exley, AlterNet
July 3, 2003

Patriotism is love of country. But love comes in many forms: deep, permanent and unconditional, as well as superficial, fleeting and with strings attached. Too often in America, expressions of patriotism seem to flow from our perceived status as "#1 in terms of military might, wealth, freedom, and democracy.


Our leaders remind us in nearly every speech they make that we live in the "greatest, freest, most just nation on Earth." They remind us so often, that one can't help but wonder if they really do believe it. That is a patriotism borne of fear, confusion and insecurity.


What if America wasn't or isn't number one? Would we still love our country then? Suggest American fallibility, and you may find yourself labeled a traitor. But how, then, are we to find our way to a better America, if this superficial, insecure patriotism prevents us from naming problems that need fixing and traits that need changing?


The solution is to reject false, jingoistic patriotism, and to embrace a patriotism based on the unconditional love of one's country. Note: that's unconditional love, not unconditional approval. Like a parent loves a child, or a child a parent, we love our country because it is our country. Period.


Beware: This type of patriotism brings with it much more responsibility than the kind based on superficial, conditional love. Once you accept responsibility for your country in the way that a parent does for a child or a child for a parent then you're really committed. When your country misbehaves, you can't just roll your eyes as if you had nothing to do with it.


Too many on the left have tried to absolve themselves of responsibility for their country by saying "that's my government, not me." Too many on the right have tried to erase the responsibility governments have to represent all the people by saying, "Love it or leave it!"


Perhaps as old political categories such as left and right lose their relevance, we can aim for a new political unity based on a new kind of patriotism. Let's leave behind the hollow patriotism which is based on disdain for and fear of others. Instead, let's define a new patriotism one that expresses our unconditional love for America and lives up to our responsibility to our fellow Americans.
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:20 PM   #5
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Re: 10 Things for the USA to be Proud Of

1) America provides an amazingly good life for the ordinary guy.

In comparison to the average around the world, I would tend to agree. But this "amazingly good life" is no more amazing than many other places in the world.

2) America offers more opportunity and social mobility than any other country, including the countries of Europe.

Strongly disagree.

3) Work and trade are respectable in America, which is not true elsewhere.

Please. Work is not respectable in Canada? In Sweden? What garbage.

4) America has achieved greater social equality than any other society.

Utter nonsense. You mean like the social equality that permits gay marriage? Or the social equality that makes sure a kid in Birmingham has the same education as one in Beverly Hills?

5) People live longer, fuller lives in America.

That's just incorrect. Regarding longer lives, people live longer in Canada and I am sure in a number of other countries. Fuller lives? Disagree.

6) In America the destiny of the young is not given to them but created by them.

Yes and no, but the family you are born into can put you at a great advantage OR disadvantage right at the start.

7) America has gone further than any other society in establishing equality of rights.

I don't agree. There are countries far more progressive when it comes to equality regarding women, gays, etc.

8) America has found a solution to the problem of religious and ethnic conflict that continues to divide and terrorize much of the world.

This is hard to comment on. America consists of (mostly, apart from the Africans) people who came there voluntarily to make a good life for themselves. Therefore, you don't have a history of centuries of ethnic strife and warring parties like in Eastern Europe or Africa, for example. There, the cycle of violence prevails today and the hatreds are old and ingrained. That's not present in America, although some of the moves towards evangelical, right wing Christianity in the USA, particularly in the government worry me.

9) America has the kindest, gentlest foreign policy of any great power in world history.

I am not a history student, and am not too familiar with the foreign policies of the ancient world. But frankly, if we want to pat ourselves on the back for being better than Atilla the Hun, by all means.

10) America, the freest nation on earth, is also the most virtuous nation on earth.

This deserves a rolleyes smilie.
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:22 PM   #6
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I like the idea that "coerced" virtue is not virtue at all. If a woman is wearing a veil against her will how can that be called "modesty"? Baloney. Virtue has to be chosen. I would argue that the U.S. made the same sort of mistake with Prohibition. Thank God enough people saw the sheer uselessness of Prohibition. BTW two members of my mother's family became alcoholics during Prohibition! Virtue my foot.
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:32 PM   #7
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Is that article a joke? If it wasn't that it's from National Review I would suspect it of being a parody.

Firstly, it's factually inaccurate: the US doesn't have the world's highest life expectancy therefore people don't live longer lives in the US. But besides that, it's a pile of unsubstantiated ranting! How does a person judge which country is "freest" or most "virtuous"? Surely that is a matter of interpretation. One person might consider a society which prioritised healthcare and education for all to be the most virtuous as it would attempt to ensure nobody was denied essential services due to their financial situation. Another person might consider a society which imposed no taxes to be virtuous as it would theoretically allow people to spend their money as they wish, etc.

And as for the rubbish about work not being respected in other countries, I invite the author to come and visit the UK and see how much work is respected here. I invite him to come and tell me that just because I live in the UK I don't value working for the things I want.

I could go on for so much longer but I actually can't be bothered, lol.
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:34 PM   #8
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This line amused me:

[Q]They arrived at the same perception that I witnessed in an acquaintance of mine from Bombay who has been unsuccessfully trying to move to the United States. I asked him, "Why are you so eager to come to America?" He replied, "I really want to live in a country where the poor people are fat."[/Q]
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
Is that article a joke? If it wasn't that it's from National Review I would suspect it of being a parody.


I could go on for so much longer but I actually can't be bothered, lol.
Wow....dissing the article like that and all....

I do not think the author said that work is not appreciated in other countries. He said:

[Q]Historically most cultures have despised the merchant and the laborer,[/Q]

I also think the point of the list is that it would be difficult to name a country that is near the top in all 10 areas.
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:52 PM   #10
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I talked about the author's assertion that "work and trade are respectable in America, which is not true elsewhere. " I think it's utter rubbish.

And the reason I "dissed" the article is that I just find it laughable. I'm fine with articles I disagree with but which are based on some sort of fact or some basis in reality. That article is basically a right-wing ideologue rant and personally I have no time for it. I appreciate other people here probably love it but I think it's nonsense.
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees

And the reason I "dissed" the article is that I just find it laughable. I'm fine with articles I disagree with but which are based on some sort of fact or some basis in reality. That article is basically a right-wing ideologue rant and personally I have no time for it. I appreciate other people here probably love it but I think it's nonsense.
You did see the wink right...like I was teasing you in jest!!!!
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
I talked about the author's assertion that "work and trade are respectable in America, which is not true elsewhere. " I think it's utter rubbish.
And, in the article the very opening sentence that the author uses to back up his point is

[Q]Work and trade are respectable in America, which is not true elsewhere: Historically most cultures have despised the merchant and the laborer, regarding the former as vile and corrupt and the latter as degraded and vulgar. Some cultures, such as that of ancient Greece and medieval Islam, even held that it is better to acquire things through plunder than through trade or contract labor. But the American founders altered this moral hierarchy. They established a society in which the life of the businessman, and of the people who worked for him, would be a noble calling. In the American view, there is nothing vile or degraded about serving your customers either as a CEO or as a waiter. The ordinary life of production and supporting a family is more highly valued in the United States than in any other country. Indeed America is the only country in the world where we call the waiter "sir," as if he were a knight.[/Q]
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Old 07-07-2003, 02:34 PM   #13
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He's comparing the US to ancient Greece and medieval Islam, not to any present-day society. He could find the sort of respect for work he describes in most countries today, it's certainly not unique to the US.
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Old 07-07-2003, 02:36 PM   #14
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Oops, clicked enter before I'd finished. What I wanted to say was the he could say "the US has the best healthcare in the worlds because if we look at medieval Europe we see a life expectancy of thirty-odd years and people dying from diseases which we can treat today." That comparison is clearly inaccurate and so is his comparison with ancient Greece.
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Old 07-07-2003, 02:53 PM   #15
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I don't think the guy answers the criticism that the U.S. is a very materialistic society. I'll be damned if it's the only country on the planet with a materialism problem. But it does have one and this article doesn't address it. I think it's one of, if not our biggest problem.
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