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Author Topic: American Exceptionalism  (Read 10498 times)

CavScout

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2008, 03:35:38 pm »
Quote from: Haffrung;240686
Where American exceptionalism comes in is the widespread belief among American that their country does not act in the world stage in its own national interests - that it acts to defend universal human ideals. The citizens of other countries are skeptical of this altruism - not only because they don't feel the U.S. is a selfless actor on the world stage, but because they don't believe any nation is a selfless actor on the world stage.

That's why it makes so many non-Americans cringe when a president of the U.S. speaks of using force to defend freedom around the world, without any reference to American interests, especially when he uses the language and cadence of a preacher speaking to his congregation. It makes America at once hypocritical, and dangerously zealous.


Yeah 'cause no other country does this, currently, in the past or will in the future. Only those Americans....

"The envious die not once, but as oft as the envied win applause."  ~Baltasar Gracian

"Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own." ~Harold Coffin
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Pseudoephedrine

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2008, 03:35:59 pm »
Quote from: CavScout;240618
Utter nonsense. America does what’s in its interest when it can because it can. Just like every other nation does when they can. To pretend that no other nation acts in self-interest when ever it can is pure folly, unless one belongs to a nation so inept that they are truly at the behest of others.


Actually, the American government rarely acts in its nation's self-interest, except if "self-interest" is defined in crudest and stupidest way, or as the "self-interest" of its ruling elite.

Quote
It’s just like most things; the biggest guy on the block catches hell for being the biggest guy on the block. Ask Microsoft.


It is simply wrong to attribute the flack America gets to "ressentiment". Specifically, it is a failure of imagination and understanding.
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Pseudoephedrine

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2008, 03:41:26 pm »
Quote from: KenHR;240619
I think I'd disagree here, but it's been quite a while since I've delved into the history of the ancient Greeks (not to mention that we're veering way OT).  I do seem to remember Athens having a virtual empire built on forced tribute and export of its ideals and language throughout the Hellenic world.  The methods might have been more crude, but...


Er, no. For one thing, there were no serious state-sponsored attempts to export the Attic dialect of Greek to the other Greeks. There was also no attempt to export the ethos of the Athenian people (indeed, this would seem ludicrous and perhaps even impious to the Athenians and other Greeks). What the Athenians did do was sponsor democratic parties in other city-states against oligarchic factions which were seen as favouring Sparta (and, by the time of the Peloponnesian War, they weren't even doing this consistently; IIRC they were at one point supporting the oligarchic anti-Spartan party in Argos against the isolationist / de facto pro-Spartan democratic party).

The American empire really isn't like the Athenian one. It's much more similar to the British, and even then, it has many unique features derived from its apocalyptic, militaristic, capitalist character.
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Haffrung

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2008, 03:42:20 pm »
Quote from: wulfgar;240694
In Canada someone can be hauled off to jail for preaching that homosexuality is a sin.  




No, they cannot. Where did you hear that?
 

CavScout

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2008, 03:46:35 pm »
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;240699
Actually, the American government rarely acts in its nation's self-interest, except if "self-interest" is defined in crudest and stupidest way, or as the "self-interest" of its ruling elite.


Please… are you going to argue that the US has amassed its great power, wealth and influence by routinely acting against its own self-interests?

Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;240699
It is simply wrong to attribute the flack America gets to "ressentiment". Specifically, it is a failure of imagination and understanding.


It's not wrong; it is squarely on the mark. But then I assume you think Americans are too arrogant to understand the arrogant ramblings of those envious of the power, wealth and influence wielded by the US. Not to worry, when some other country takes on the mantle of superpower, and has amassed as much power and influence, we in the US will call them arrogant and self-serving when they act in their self-interests.
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Pseudoephedrine

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2008, 03:51:11 pm »
Quote from: wulfgar;240694

-In the US someone is free to deliver a religious sermon either in favor of or against controversial issues such as homosexuality.  In Canada someone can be hauled off to jail for preaching that homosexuality is a sin.


Actually, they can't be, you ignorant fuck.

For that matter, in Canada, a homosexual is free to get married and experience the benefits that accrue to that status. In America, only a few states allow homosexual marriages and they not recognised on a federal level.

America isn't really that free, from an outsider's perspective. Freedom is not just a set of formal declarations by the government, but rather a set of practices and abilities that individuals have. For example, in both Canada and America one is free to protest things, but in America, one can be confined to out-of-the-way "free-speech zones" and other holding pens legally while doing it, whereas in Canada one can pretty much march anywhere in public that one wants, whether outside a convention centre or down the streets of Toronto.

In Canada, I can say whatever I please, and so long as I don't say it at the work place, my boss can't fire me for saying it. In America, if my boss doesn't like what I say in my off-working hours, they can fire me. In Canada, if I want to smoke, I can. In America, my boss has the right to fire me for smoking because of the risk of increased costs accruing to him.

While it's not totally perfect up here, we do have a much healthier practice of freedom than Americans do.
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One Horse Town

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2008, 03:57:11 pm »
It's part of the lifetime of the empire or 'superpower', if you prefer. You can, therefore you do. You dominate, therefore you are best. You spread your views, therefore you are right.

Then when things are lost or degenerating, you become far more cynical. You can't, therefore you don't bother. You follow, therefore you are pants. You keep your views to yourself, therefore you are stagnant.

*all you's are general, not specific*

Pseudoephedrine

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2008, 03:57:40 pm »
Quote from: CavScout;240708
Please… are you going to argue that the US has amassed its great power, wealth and influence by routinely acting against its own self-interests?


No, you ignoramus. Read what I wrote, not whatever bizarre fantastical strawmen you find easiest to nitpick. I provided no account of how America amassed its "power, wealth and influence", and I consider it unimportant for our current discussion of how America badly uses that "power, wealth and influence".

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It's not wrong; it is squarely on the mark. But then I assume you think Americans are too arrogant to understand the arrogant ramblings of those envious of the power, wealth and influence wielded by the US.


Your assumption is incorrect, mostly because it has no basis in anything I've said. I'm also unsure what "arrogant ramblings of those envious of... the US[,]" you are referring to.

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Not to worry, when some other country takes on the mantle of superpower, and has amassed as much power and influence, we in the US will call them arrogant and self-serving when they act in their self-interests.


That is simply an abhorrent sort of moral relativism fit for the Chinese fascists and other sorts of scum. Is this the company you desire to be among?
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Joshua Ford

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2008, 03:57:43 pm »
Quote from: CavScout;240708
Please… are you going to argue that the US has amassed its great power, wealth and influence by routinely acting against its own self-interests?


Given the USA's current overseas commitments in the context of a struggling home economy and the alienation of allies you could say that it's against the self interest of many of its citizens.

I'm curious as to why you chose freedom of the press, religion and the right to bear arms in terms of America's exceptionalism. Writing as a European I'd certainly value health care/an effective welfare system above the third on your list. For me, the state has a responsibility to it's citizens if it expects loyalty and a commitment in return.
 

CavScout

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2008, 04:00:10 pm »
Quote from: Haffrung;240706
No, they cannot. Where did you hear that?


I don't know about jail, but they can be dragged in front of a tribual where
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"Truth is no defence, the absence of harm is no defence, there are no rules of evidence — due process is entirely subverted. The inquisitors of these kangaroo courts may ultimately reach any “judgement” they please, after months or years of playing cat-and-mouse with their selected victim."[1]

or

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"A British Columbian "human rights" tribunal did, however, decide that it had jurisdiction over what a Toronto-based magazine could publish, and the show trial against Maclean's continues there, with judgement awaited. The Alberta HRC continues to try Ezra Levant and his Western Standard magazine (now defunct in print) -- in proceedings that have gone on for more than two years. The Canadian HRC has taken 16 months in preliminary consideration of the case a gay activist brought against the small Toronto-based Catholic Insight magazine. Indeed: prolonged and arbitrary delays appear to be part of the method by which the HRCs bleed their respondents dry with legal and other expenses."[2]


or

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"In the case of the CPSO, the targets are doctors who refuse to perform abortions on healthy women, or refer them to abortionists, prescribe morning-after pills, help same-sex couples conceive children, and so forth. The idea is to strip a doctor of his licence, should he or she allow moral conscience to stand in the way of delivering any state-sanctioned "medical" "services.""[3]
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CavScout

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2008, 04:05:44 pm »
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;240719
No, you ignoramus. Read what I wrote, not whatever bizarre fantastical strawmen you find easiest to nitpick. I provided no account of how America amassed its "power, wealth and influence", and I consider it unimportant for our current discussion of how America badly uses that "power, wealth and influence".


So, when you say:
Quote
[T]he American government rarely acts in its nation's self-interest, except if "self-interest" is defined in crudest and stupidest way, or as the "self-interest" of its ruling elite.

You are really congratulating the American people on the surprising unique ability to overcome the nearly constant government that is working against the country’s own interests?
"Who's the more foolish: The fool, or the fool who follows him?" -Obi-Wan

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Pseudoephedrine

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2008, 04:07:59 pm »
The person who wrote that is unfamiliar with the actual processes by which HRCs function. They also seem unaware that they exist as an adjunct to the civil courts, not the criminal ones.
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CavScout

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2008, 04:10:48 pm »
Quote from: Joshua Ford;240720
Given the USA's current overseas commitments in the context of a struggling home economy and the alienation of allies you could say that it's against the self interest of many of its citizens.


Only when it got tough. When everyone thought it was going to be Gulf War '91 Redux the support was like 70%+.  In any case, you’ll be hard pressed to argue it is not in the US’s self-interest to maintain influence in that part of the world. You may not like it, which is not the same thing.

Quote
I'm curious as to why you chose freedom of the press, religion and the right to bear arms in terms of America's exceptionalism. Writing as a European I'd certainly value health care/an effective welfare system above the third on your list. For me, the state has a responsibility to it's citizens if it expects loyalty and a commitment in return.


Simply, as was stated, to show uniqueness. Then again, the American Constitution isn’t about earning the government the loyalty of the people. It is meant to limit the power the government can acquire.
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Joshua Ford

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #43 on: August 27, 2008, 04:13:25 pm »
Do you really want to raise the issue of abortion and a therefore a woman's right to choose? This seems to be increasingly less of a right in the US. Pseudo's already mentioned gay rights too.

The problem with a lot of the freedoms that certain people enjoy in the US is that they're not universal, varying from state to state.
 

Pseudoephedrine

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« Reply #44 on: August 27, 2008, 04:13:52 pm »
Quote from: CavScout;240728
So, when you say:

You are really congratulating the American people on the surprising unique ability to overcome the nearly constant government that is working against the country’s own interests?


Actually, yes. I consider Americans basically decently people who are hampered by being born into one of the most powerful regimes in the modern era, which directs that power to domination and regimentation, both internally and externally. I don't consider that unique to Americans though, to correct your statement. Most people are in such a situation, with the technologies of control being most refined in the developed West, but most freely and brutally applied in the various authoritarian regimes of the developing world.

You seem to be under the impression that I am some sort of state-loving socialist. Let me unambiguously remove that impression by stating for the record: I am not. I probably dislike the state more than anyone else in this discussion, certainly more than most of the "conservatives" in it.
Running
The Pernicious Light, or The Wreckers of Sword Island;
A Goblin's Progress, or Of Cannons and Canons;
An Oration on the Dignity of Tash, or On the Elves and Their Lies
All for S&W Complete
Playing: Dark Heresy, WFRP 2e

"Elves don't want you cutting down trees but they sell wood items, they don't care about the forests, they''re the fuckin' wood mafia." -Anonymous