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Author Topic: American Exceptionalism  (Read 10494 times)

Koltar

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #570 on: September 02, 2008, 09:41:54 pm »
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;243413
Koltar hasn't called me an anti-semite yet. He has insinuated that I am, but he's far too cowardly......


I haven't called you that - because I honestly don't know if you are one or not.

It is true that in the past when I've seen the terminiology that you used in an erlier post - its usually an indicator that the person is anti-semitic.  (Ususually a well-educated one...but still an anti-semite)

So it has nothing to do with "cowardice" , I just don't have all the facts about you yet.  Tho I am starting to remember you were that guy with the bald-headed avatar that spewed a lot of nonsense in the Roleplaying section last spring.


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droog

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #571 on: September 02, 2008, 09:45:08 pm »
Take care when you argue with lamebrains lest you become a lamebrain yourself.
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CavScout

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #572 on: September 02, 2008, 09:57:10 pm »
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;243451
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I'm glad you find me so worthy of emulation. Unfortunately, you are a publicly reviled and scorned tumour on the foreskin of this forum, a calcite accretion of idiocy in the forum's bladder, an utterly vile person who wastes electrons with every tap of his keyboard, and therefore, while it is hilarious to everyone else and myself that I am insulting you, no one really finds your replies particularly funny. They are too clearly the actions of an ape.


You twisted collection of unimpressive knob cheese. Your just an anti-American race-card-playing Canadian pissed they are not a state in our Union. Get over it.
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James J Skach

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #573 on: September 02, 2008, 10:00:16 pm »
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;242917
The American empire tends to emphasise economic control of polities rather than political control. It has in the past been more interested in political control though (following the Spanish-American war and during the Cold War).

See this right here? I have no problem with "economic empire" or other such modified versions. I think the difference is that you don't see a difference between political (re: enforced) control, and economic "control." I see a world of difference - depending on the level of economic "control."

Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;242917
In the modern day, Afghanistan is an example of an imperial possession of America where direct political control is exercised, because its government exists only at its behest (One could point to the popular joke that Hamid Karzai is the "mayor of Kabul"). It requires American money, American soldiers, and American expertise (Hamid Karzai and other members of the Afghani government are American-educated) to continue to operate. While the American government will respect some requests from the Afghanis, the Afghani government cannot make the Americans actually do anything unless the Americans want to.

Is it picking nits to point out that it's actually NATO, under the auspices of the UN, that runs Afghanistan?

Forgive me if I don't get into some of the aspects given the degeneration of the discussion from both sides. But thanks for the attempt at answering some of my questions.
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Pseudoephedrine

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #574 on: September 02, 2008, 10:39:28 pm »
Quote from: James J Skach;243463
See this right here? I have no problem with "economic empire" or other such modified versions. I think the difference is that you don't see a difference between political (re: enforced) control, and economic "control." I see a world of difference - depending on the level of economic "control."


I would agree that's a key distinction between our points of view.

Quote
Is it picking nits to point out that it's actually NATO, under the auspices of the UN, that runs Afghanistan?


It's the same situation as with the Afghani government. The American presence is essential to the existence of the mission itself. No Americans would mean no NATO deployment, partly due to American hegemony in NATO, partly due to various problems or gaps in the militaries of the other NATO members. American electronic surveillance (from drones, satellites, etc.) is of tremendous value to the other militaries, for example. If something exists and acts only due to the actions of another thing, that second thing is in control, even if it chooses not to exercise its control fully and arbitrarily.

Quote
Forgive me if I don't get into some of the aspects given the degeneration of the discussion from both sides. But thanks for the attempt at answering some of my questions.


No worries. I am a bit sorry that CavScout popped in to poison the discussion.
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himsati

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #575 on: September 03, 2008, 12:12:01 am »
I'll stick my 2 cents in to answer the original question...
 
EDIT: Okay, there's about 25 cents here after I finished, apologies...
 
What makes the USA "different" from other countries, and in a way that might cause a certain attitude to develop by US Citizens and also by other countries in how they view the USA?
 
I have some thoughts on how it got that way...
 
1) This is a country that is only a few hundred years old, made up entirely of immigrants (aside from Native American Indians who were here thousands of years ago).
 
2) This is a country that when it was just an itsy bitsy colony decided they didn't like the rule of the then currently governing country and basically said "screw you".  Taking a few bits and pieces of government they like, they came up with something rather different than anything else currently in play.  They overthrew the government and put into play this new system.
 
3) They went on to expunge any debts they had with other countries and several of those countries temporarily wound up in debt to the US until the US expunged such records.
 
4) This is a country that set a certain bar (for good or ill).  The vast majority of other countries compare their military, their money, their healthcare, etc. to the USA.  If their money is worth more against the dollar they feel they are doing well, if their healthcare is considered better than the United States, they are doing well.  It isn't so much that the USA is best at everything, but for the longest time in the last few centuries it quickly became the standard for measurement of prosperity and how well-off a country is in many areas.
 
5) This is a country that stepped in during two World Wars and from overseas managed to do quite a lot.  WWI seriously increased US economic power, including lots of loans to the Allied Powers.  WWII setup the US as a major world player and a lot of advances that the USA got the benefit of...  of course, the USA didn't stop at WWII and other conflicts did not go as smoothly (Vietnam for example) and several more recent incursions where the USA has "stepped in" to work with other countries ... Yeah, the USA has a rep as a "buttinksy" but it was a rep developed by other countries originally asking the USA to step in numerous times.
 
6) This is a country that has people with radically different ethnic/cultural/philosophical/religious backgrounds and beliefs living and working in the same community.  More so than any other country in the world... Many of these different belief systems have often led to war between groups in other parts of the world; and though it has at many times led to violence in the USA, it has only once led to the kind of warfare seen in so many other countries hosting these same belief systems (the US Civil War).
 
7) This is a country that loves to liberally "borrow" from any other culture that has an impact on it.  I find it funny when my fellow US Citizens make fun of other cultures and then it has to be pointed out that we begged, borrowed and stole about a half a zillion ideas from them and incorporated them into the melting pot of US culture.  We have the hardest language in the world to learn because every rule has about a million exceptions, but almost every culture on Earth can find a few words of American English that they know and identify with.  This is a big part of our freedom here, we liberally take the best of what we find from every other culture, country and religion on Earth and incorporate it into our own melting pot; there is no restrictions against it, nothing that says if we do this we will burn, go to a bad place, or that it is illegal to do so.
 
The USA has, like it or not, done a whole lot in a relatively short period of time (the regions of Canada and the USA as civilized cultures have the shortest history on Earth, along with Australia I believe).  Some of it probably was pure luck, some of it was the same attitude that was called on to assist other countries early in the 20th century and that may have given a lot of us "Americans" a rather big head certainly.
 
So the USA is a young upstart, a rebel, an "indie" if you will (not trying to start that thread into here, just the statement seems to fit), so yes there are those Americans who take their national sense of pride to heights residents of other countries tend to think is more than a little nuts.  
 
Personally, I'm an "American" and pretty darn proud of that.  I love the fact that the majority of my fellow citizens get the concept of seeing greatness in other places around the world and accepting that into our own unique culture.  I love the fact that my neighbor and I can have completely different worldviews and yet I'm not worried about him declaring war on me tomorrow or blowing up my house one day this week in the name of a belief that is simply different from mine.  I'm not especially proud of the fact that my country butts in everywhere it can, especially when it is asked not to do so (I get why we do it, I just don't think we go about it the best way possible perhaps, and we could use to be a little less "slick" in our approach).  I'm not thrilled that USA pride sometimes goes WAY overboard, or that we can't decide whether or not we like immigration and that we often forget that we all came from somewhere else, and that a piece of that exists within who we are even today.
 
So I'm as proud to be an American as I hope every Swedish, Dutch, British, German, French, Australian, Canadian, Turkish, New Zealander, Armenian, Columbian, Peruvian, Czech, Egyptian, Grecian, Haitian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Lebanese, Macedonian, Ethiopian, Estonian, Moroccan, Micronesian, Nigerian, Romanian, Swiss, Zambian and more (hope I spelled them all at least close to correct) are of their own countries.  We ain't no better, but we ain't no worse!
 
Sorry for the length, just got to writing... and ... Wow, I feel all patriotic and shiny, I need go play a superhero game ... :D
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macd21

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #576 on: September 04, 2008, 03:45:13 am »
Quote from: himsati;243515

1) This is a country that is only a few hundred years old, made up entirely of immigrants (aside from Native American Indians who were here thousands of years ago).

 
True. Though there are plenty of other countries that are as young or younger and many (South America) mostly consist of immigrants. I'm also not sure what is so special about that?

Quote from: himsati;243515

2) This is a country that when it was just an itsy bitsy colony decided they didn't like the rule of the then currently governing country and basically said "screw you".  Taking a few bits and pieces of government they like, they came up with something rather different than anything else currently in play.  They overthrew the government and put into play this new system.

 
Again, true, but the same could, again, be said of most of the coutries in the world today, including some of the western ones. Most of the world was colonialised, most of the countries defeated their colonial masters and created new governments.

Quote from: himsati;243515

3) They went on to expunge any debts they had with other countries and several of those countries temporarily wound up in debt to the US until the US expunged such records.


Er, so? Thats just normal economics and politics.

Quote from: himsati;243515

4) This is a country that set a certain bar (for good or ill).  The vast majority of other countries compare their military, their money, their healthcare, etc. to the USA.  If their money is worth more against the dollar they feel they are doing well, if their healthcare is considered better than the United States, they are doing well.  It isn't so much that the USA is best at everything, but for the longest time in the last few centuries it quickly became the standard for measurement of prosperity and how well-off a country is in many areas.


America is the most powerful country in the world. Of course other countries compare themselves to the US. This has only been the case since the fall of the British Empire, before that people compared themselves to the UK. People used to compare their military to that of the USSR. Also, few countries compare their healthcare to that of the USA, most look to European countries. As the US has increasingly become just one power among many, more and more people compare their countries to the Chinese, the EU and now (again) Russia.
 
Quote from: himsati;243515

5) This is a country that stepped in during two World Wars and from overseas managed to do quite a lot.  WWI seriously increased US economic power, including lots of loans to the Allied Powers.  WWII setup the US as a major world player and a lot of advances that the USA got the benefit of...  of course, the USA didn't stop at WWII and other conflicts did not go as smoothly (Vietnam for example) and several more recent incursions where the USA has "stepped in" to work with other countries ... Yeah, the USA has a rep as a "buttinksy" but it was a rep developed by other countries originally asking the USA to step in numerous times.


Yes, America fought in two world wars. Their participation in the second one is something to be proud of. They came out of both wars as winners (moreso than any other country).

Quote from: himsati;243515

6) This is a country that has people with radically different ethnic/cultural/philosophical/religious backgrounds and beliefs living and working in the same community.  More so than any other country in the world... Many of these different belief systems have often led to war between groups in other parts of the world; and though it has at many times led to violence in the USA, it has only once led to the kind of warfare seen in so many other countries hosting these same belief systems (the US Civil War).


Yes... much like the UK. Which hasn't had a Civil War caused by racism.

Quote from: himsati;243515

7) This is a country that loves to liberally "borrow" from any other culture that has an impact on it.  I find it funny when my fellow US Citizens make fun of other cultures and then it has to be pointed out that we begged, borrowed and stole about a half a zillion ideas from them and incorporated them into the melting pot of US culture.  We have the hardest language in the world to learn because every rule has about a million exceptions, but almost every culture on Earth can find a few words of American English that they know and identify with.  This is a big part of our freedom here, we liberally take the best of what we find from every other culture, country and religion on Earth and incorporate it into our own melting pot; there is no restrictions against it, nothing that says if we do this we will burn, go to a bad place, or that it is illegal to do so.


English was spread across the globe by the English, not America. Cultural borrowing is nothing new. And while the American ideal may be to freely incorporate many cultures, American society has again and again resisted such fiercely, trying to keep outside influences to a minimum (see building of fence between US and Mexico and previous attempts to keep out the Chinese, Irish, Slavs, Mediterraneans etc etc in previous generations). Its no different than any other society that receives a large influx of immigrants (see UK, France, Germany, Saudia Arabia).

Quote from: himsati;243515

The USA has, like it or not, done a whole lot in a relatively short period of time (the regions of Canada and the USA as civilized cultures have the shortest history on Earth, along with Australia I believe).  Some of it probably was pure luck, some of it was the same attitude that was called on to assist other countries early in the 20th century and that may have given a lot of us "Americans" a rather big head certainly.


Which is due to colonialism. The USA, Canada and Australia... the South American countris (mustn't forget them, just because they have slightly darker skin than us!) were found later by the 'civilised' cultures, then conquered, any native cultures butchered and/or subjugated. Again, nothing really unusual here.
 
Quote from: himsati;243515

So the USA is a young upstart, a rebel, an "indie" if you will (not trying to start that thread into here, just the statement seems to fit), so yes there are those Americans who take their national sense of pride to heights residents of other countries tend to think is more than a little nuts.  

 
American patriotism isn't really unusual either, for all the complaining people do about it. Lots of countries have patriotic populations, especially powerful ones. See the Chinese, the Russians... the French. When the British Empire was at its height, they believed they had the right to conquer the world and civilise it.

Quote from: himsati;243515

Personally, I'm an "American" and pretty darn proud of that.  I love the fact that the majority of my fellow citizens get the concept of seeing greatness in other places around the world and accepting that into our own unique culture.  I love the fact that my neighbor and I can have completely different worldviews and yet I'm not worried about him declaring war on me tomorrow or blowing up my house one day this week in the name of a belief that is simply different from mine.  I'm not especially proud of the fact that my country butts in everywhere it can, especially when it is asked not to do so (I get why we do it, I just don't think we go about it the best way possible perhaps, and we could use to be a little less "slick" in our approach).  I'm not thrilled that USA pride sometimes goes WAY overboard, or that we can't decide whether or not we like immigration and that we often forget that we all came from somewhere else, and that a piece of that exists within who we are even today.
 
So I'm as proud to be an American as I hope every Swedish, Dutch, British, German, French, Australian, Canadian, Turkish, New Zealander, Armenian, Columbian, Peruvian, Czech, Egyptian, Grecian, Haitian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Lebanese, Macedonian, Ethiopian, Estonian, Moroccan, Micronesian, Nigerian, Romanian, Swiss, Zambian and more (hope I spelled them all at least close to correct) are of their own countries.  We ain't no better, but we ain't no worse!


See, thats the thing - just about everything you've said in the above can be said about residents of every other country. There are patriotic people in just about every nation in the world. The main difference seems to be the (perceived) American assumption that they are 'different' (by which they mean superior) and unique, whereas many people look at America and see a society they do not want to copy. Americans are perceived as trying to lord their cultures over others, ignoring the many huge flaws in American society. It annoys people when Americans claim their way of doing things is superior, when they see so much in America that they don't like.

himsati

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American Exceptionalism
« Reply #577 on: September 04, 2008, 09:37:20 am »
Quote from: macd21;244110
True. Though there are plenty of other countries that are as young or younger and many (South America) mostly consist of immigrants. I'm also not sure what is so special about that?

I should have clarified in my original post, sorry. The USA is historically often referred to within and by other countries as a "melting" pot. Few countries have such a large and diverse range of interacting cultures, religions, ethnicities all under a single form of government and economic structure (for good or ill). Any one of the majority of the other 200+ countries, territories, etc. can geographically fit inside of one of the larger states (provinces) of the USA. It is a huge geographic area, with a hugely diverse population. There are other really large countries yes, and there are other very diverse countries, but how many are both and to such a large extent?
 
Quote from: macd21;244110
The main difference seems to be the (perceived) American assumption that they are 'different' (by which they mean superior) and unique, whereas many people look at America and see a society they do not want to copy. Americans are perceived as trying to lord their cultures over others, ignoring the many huge flaws in American society. It annoys people when Americans claim their way of doing things is superior, when they see so much in America that they don't like.

I sincerely doubt anyone (myself included) will argue those points there, but my post had nothing to do with "explaining" what exceptionalism from the USA was or defending the American attitude. It was just providing information for those from outside the USA that may not be familiar with some of those historical factors.
 
In reference to the other parts of your response; you are also correct, many countries have experienced (or still do) some of the various specific parts of my posting. But it is the unique way in which the USA experienced them together that I'm pointing towards as part of how the "USA" attitude got to where it is. Not defending it, and not saying no one else experienced any of it, not saying that other countries don't have many of the same bits and pieces of what I mentioned in their own ways.
 
Hope that helps clear up my intention a bit...
« Last Edit: September 04, 2008, 09:39:08 am by himsati »
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