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wow Americans are stupid... and so is the whole world!
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Strange Famous Forum > Social stuff. Political stuff. KNOWMORE

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August Spies



Joined: 09 Aug 2002
Posts: 1979
Location: D.C.
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futuristxen

I don't think the United States concretely falls into the same formula as past superpowers. I think that the 20th century has marked a change in how things are done.

of course not. No global power came about through the exact same mold. I did not mean they did. I meant merely that super powers come about through power relations, military might, and things like that. You can't look at the United States withoug looking at the historical events that led to its rise.

And I showed you that it became a superpower for the same reasons tht the United States did.
just as a side comment when you say things you don't show them. I mean all you said was "the USSR had resources and organization" well... this isn't really showing anything, its not really comparing it to other countries etc...

I dunno, im a philosohpy major and it always annoys me how philosophers will be like "as ive shown already..."

but you're not even attempting to understand the reasons why certain historical events have favored us. oh I am. but they were mostly international things. Therefore, analyzing america too much is pointless. OBVIOUSLY some things about american society allowed it to fill the power vacuum, but I see no reason to believe any other capitalist republic in workign order wouldn't have done the same if they hadn't all been involved in WWII

because if worse came to worse we could just pull up the drawbridge and go back to isolationist politics.
and we would again cease to be a real power. Whats your point?

"American" is everybody--

Maybe just to play devil's advocate I will say quite the opposite. American is NO one. It is the faceless consumer. Its the abscense of self. Its the rejection of culture. To be french or vietnamese or hungarian implies positive (not meaning good) aspects. To be an american is mostly to a negative thing, in the sense of absence.

this has desirable aspects to it. It means we are less prone towards ethnic pride and violence (although... maybe blacks and hispanics would argue with that). But it also means in a sense we become less than human. (though id say this is due more to capitalism than "america", but america just has little else than capitalism.

:)
Post Sun Nov 24, 2002 5:55 pm
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August Spies



Joined: 09 Aug 2002
Posts: 1979
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NOTE: I hope you dont' get insulted at my tone. I really get too caught up in debates and unintentionaly take... arrogant tones? I dunno. I just like discussing and debating things.

peace out
Post Sun Nov 24, 2002 5:57 pm
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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haha--yeah America is no one as well as everybody. It's the same coin.

as opposed to "as I've shown already", you can read, as I've said already. But I think you understood that intention. Obviously I'm not doing the type of in-depth analysis on this topic that it would require to convince someone who hasn't read or heard the same things as I have of those things. I am basing my claims on things, I had a class last year on Latin American dictators that was basically a 3 hour discussion class-and more often than not we ended up talking about the united states and what it takes to build a superpower.

but I see no reason to believe any other capitalist republic in workign order wouldn't have done the same if they hadn't all been involved in WWII
the fact of the matter is, though, that there were no other capitalist republics in working order--and really there hasn't been one to great success ever.

Despite what our government tries to tell us, Capitilism does not work everywhere. Democracy barely does. Our system for various reasons--some having to do with us--is a failure everywhere but here. Maybe there is only room for one United States at a time?

My point about having the ability to withdraw back into ourselves--is that that gives us a certain confidence and feeling of superiority to the rest of the world. This is the epitome of US arrogance. It's the whole, we're gonna take our ball and go home. It's why the UN is little more than a joke to us--becaues we feel we are right, and can afford to be wrong. This swagger obviously is a lot of trouble, but it's one of the characteristics of our superpowerdom. And it also has a lot to do with geography.

as far as arrogant tone--yeah you do come off with that tone, but I realize it's just a discussion, and I respect your opinions and views enough to not take any of it personal. Like I said, this has been enjoyable. I'm actually planning to use some of this now for a paper on gertrude stein of all things now that I have to write next week. So the process has already paid huge dividends.
Post Sun Nov 24, 2002 6:18 pm
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darianluv



Joined: 08 Oct 2002
Posts: 350
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if worse came to worse we could just pull up the drawbridge and go back to isolationist politics.


I highly doubt it. The reason The U.S. can spend money it doesn't have is because it plays such an important role in the world economy, We are past the point of no return, not that that in particular is a bad thing. If our economy was to go then the whole world would suffer and vice versa, just like many of the other countries. For some people this would be a good thing. It just seems like this civiliaztion is in its decline.
_____________________________________________________________________

I have to say that america is pretty damn diverse, diverse in its broader meaning, as far as culture... well spies has gotten me confused. Just the difference between MA and Fl is astounding, not just by the environment but but the way people live, and think that'd be considered culture. I'd probably say that different regions have different cultures and people coming into those adapat to that culture, or you could say that they lose their culture, but then thats somewhat of "the glass is half full" debate.

Spies-I'm a little confused on what the point of your argument was. no offense.
Post Sun Nov 24, 2002 6:21 pm
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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yeah when I originally made that statement about the isolationist idea, I was only speaking about the time when were just starting toward super powerdom. You're correct that finacially we are intertwined with the world too much to pull out now.

That said, our economy is definitely the dominant one worldwide, we feel the effects of this worldwide recession, but it is small and nowhere near the tidal waves that would to other countries that rely on us when our economy is doing poorly(thank you Mr. Bush.)

As a side rant. . .It's fucking frustrating as hell to watch some asshole completely undo all the progression of the previous administration. This is completely fucking insane, dude nobody even elected is almost single-handedly destroying this country.

To everyone outside of the United States--I'm sorry we're acting like complete assholes, honestly we tried to elect the other guy.

Like I said, I'm from Missouri--and am proud to say I voted for the dead guy, Mel Carnahan, over that psychotic asshole Ashcroft--you think that would be a strong message to Bush and the rest--but now dude is Attorney Fucking General.

Seriously August--I have to look at these other aspects and try to keep a postitive spin on it, otherwise there is no fucking way I could get up in the morning--it's so goddamn depressing.
Post Sun Nov 24, 2002 6:42 pm
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darianluv



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Not just financially... but ya. I'm not sure if the US economy is THE dominant economy, they are really all meshing togethor, but i think if one of the other dominant countries economy crumbled it would have a great effect on us. I hate the fact that this country consists mostly of fat slobs (sorry, no offense to anyone) it really says something about the american way. Maybe thats why its so "special."
Post Sun Nov 24, 2002 6:51 pm
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califunky



Joined: 06 Jul 2002
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August Spies:  Reply with quote  

Please give me the concrete definitions of culture and therefore cultural diversity you are working with so that we are all on the same page...

[edit: ie the northern italy/southern italy dichotomy]

then i'll explain why your wrong ;) (just to get on the arrogant prick bandwagon)

c
Post Sun Nov 24, 2002 7:49 pm
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EsherOne.



Joined: 26 Oct 2002
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Sometimes i feel like america isnt really a country at all atleast not by the same definitions the rest of the world plays by and as such alot of things are differant. i know thats a glimmering generality but if you apply the thought to some of the things you guys are speaking about it answers alot of questions. at least for me.
Post Sun Nov 24, 2002 9:50 pm
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August Spies



Joined: 09 Aug 2002
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that there were no other capitalist republics in working order--and really there hasn't been one to great success ever.

well as pointed out all the great capitalist nations were involved in the War, and were devestated by it. But it was merely a matter of their location and such. I have no idea what your second sentence means. Sorry.

Our system for various reasons--some having to do with us--is a failure everywhere but here.

uh... what? Most first world countries have the same system as ours. Unless you want to be super nit picky and point out the small differences in our pseudo-democracy and others psuedo-democracy.

darianluv
My argument was there is nothing substantialy different about the United States that would make it a superpower. Meaning we don't have a different economic system, or political system, nor are we really more diverse. So my argument is its reasons like War and military might that we are the super power. (this was in response to futurs argument that it was some intrinsic indescribable quality that made us powerful)

As to your argument that people from Florida and Mass are substantually different... well I disagree. I think they are no more different than someone from Eastern and Western germany. Or Catalania vs. Basque country. etc...

futur
Dear god Im with you there, how can someone who lost to a dead guy be put in such a position of power. all my previous stuff aside this country really is going down teh road to 1984. We aren't there yet, but the Patriot Act and Homeland Security act are certainly something out of the books.

califunky:

Im sorry, but culture is a super hard thing to define. Take the dictionary: 1. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.
2. These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population:


personally I wouldn't mind just agreeing to disagree on the culture issue, since I think its merely a tangent to what we were really discussing (at least to me)
Post Sun Nov 24, 2002 11:08 pm
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darianluv



Joined: 08 Oct 2002
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As to your argument that people from Florida and Mass are substantually different... well I disagree. I think they are no more different than someone from Eastern and Western germany. Or Catalania vs. Basque country. etc...

Huh? Florida and Massachusettes are WAY different. One thing that really struck me is that they eat dolphin, this was sickening to me, Dolphin?! In MA they make a big deal about dolphins being hurt by tuna fishers, they also cry about underrage drinking, in florida they don't really give a fuck.

The communities are completely different, the whole atmosphere is different. I got a minor case of culture shock. They way they live is different.
Post Sun Nov 24, 2002 11:49 pm
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califunky



Joined: 06 Jul 2002
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Location: Japan
tangents are cool...  Reply with quote  

...cause that is where the best discussions arises from!

first to note...


Quote:

As to your argument that people from Florida and Mass are substantually different... well I disagree. I think they are no more different than someone from Eastern and Western germany. Or Catalania vs. Basque country. etc...


but didn't you assert much earlier in this argument that there was more diversity in people from northern and southern Italy than there was from people of different ethnicities within or regions of the US? so then we should all agree that the regional differences between people in any country represent different aspects, different dialects if you will of a shared culture. regionalism is therefore a form of diversity.

that being said, i think our argument has produced something...i would like to attempt to refute your statement that our military is the primary cause of the american hegemony. (it is the present guarantor of it, of course)

when you mention other nations that have a similar system and very good ethnic diversity you invariably mention England and France as examples, explaining that they are not the current hegemon because of their location during the two most destructive wards in the histroy fo the earth. this is easy to accept as truth.

but both of these nations were once hegemons themselves. i want to look at the diversity patterns in these two places (by which i mean ethnic diversity).
In england, i think you will find that the majority of the enthnic minorities are Pakistani, Indian, Chinese, Arab and some from african nations (such as *formerly* rhodesia). As france goes i think that the majority of those ethnic minorities are going to be middle eastern, veitnemese, and of various african nations (such as morocco). anyway i think a pattern developes here...

as far as those nations that are undisputed hegemons; the pattern is that of the peoples who come into contact with the hegemon, many ended up immigrating there. the center of the empire is the center of power and cosmopolitan sophistication. All roads lead to Rome, so to speak.

this pattern holds especially true for Hegemons that operate on an colonial system. by establishing worldwide colonies in an effort to aggrandize power and exploit resources, a backwards channel of flow is also opened. even for colonial nations that were never hegemons (or were so for a very short time), i would wager that the majority of ethnic minorities in places like portugal, the netherlands or germany tend to be from former colonies.

so then the lesson of this is that after a country becomes a hegemon (or a colonial power) its level of ethnic diversity increases.

This is where amerika diverges from hegemons of the past. we had no use for a colonial system because our primary need was not greater resources, our primary need was labor to exploit the resources we already had (ie stole/took from the original inhabitants). Amerika operated on a strange form of reverse colonialism.

First we stole africans and they became the backbone of our agricultural sector. then poor Chinese, Irish and Germans built our railroads. poor Irish, Germans and Prussians worked in our mines. poor Slavs, Croats, Hungarians, Irish and Germans fed the grist mills of our factories. and today poor Mexicans, Central American and South Americans form the backbone of our service and agriculture industries.

it all boils down to the fact that immigrant labor is cheap, because new poor immigrants are desperate and because pretty much anything in amerika is better than where they came from (better pay that is). but what we have is diversity before hegemony, despite the pattern. diversity became our strength because it meant a steady supply of cheap exploitable labor, upon whose backs the rich were allowed to get richer.

what you must question though, is why there has never been a single nation in history to experiance such a massive inflow of immigrants. what made amerika so attractive to the poor huddled masses around the world? the answer to that is the "intrinsic" "intangible" thing me and futuristxen have been talking about.

now whether this "thing" actually ever existed is irrelevant (although i think a strong case can be made that the American Dream was a very real and realizable phenomenon for a good long while) the important thing is that it held a mystique, it existed as a perception in the minds of the adventurous, the desperate, the ruthless, the hopeful. that mystique drew them here. they came in hordes and the more that came the wealthier the nation became.

so by 1914 what you have is a nation whose economic power rivals that of any world power, who lags only in military power. then two wars devastate Europe, the center of world power for 600 years, and those left on the fringes remain to fill the void.

So yes, of course the world wars thrust us into the position of hegemon, they did this because they gave us cause to develope a massive military industrial complex (a self feeding and reproducing organism that the previous world powers had developed on their own). But we would not have had the ability to fill that void if we had not already had the strongest economy. (i mean why not, brazil, argentina or canada?)

which brings me back to my point:

military power came from economic power
economic power came from diversity (and lots of good resources)
diversity came from percieved uniqueness of Amerika

c
Post Mon Nov 25, 2002 7:41 am
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August Spies



Joined: 09 Aug 2002
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Califunky:

It still seems to me that you guys are just grasping at anything to make america some magical place. Anyway before I start remeber this,

the past does not equal the present.

so then we should all agree that the regional differences between people in any country represent different aspects,
Yes of course they do. However, its obviuosly not clear cut. IN some countries regional differences will be more pronounced than in others. From what I can tell america is less pronounced than other places. It seems to me much less pronounced but it doesn' tmatter. I only NEED to argue that other countries are at least AS different regionally than the United States.

Amerika operated on a strange form of reverse colonialism.
(well it wouldnt be reverse colonialism unless everyone left our country or something...)

okay okay look I see what you are trying to say. yes, america differes from past countries because it was a colony. Or more specifically it murdered all its natives and thus had large amounts of land for new people to move into. Okay fine. So what?

To begin with this is all before Americas rise to power, and thus does not counter my argument.

This is where amerika diverges from hegemons of the past. we had no use for a colonial system because our primary need was not greater resources,
Yes yes we live in a an Era after colonization. So yes we don't have colonies. But there have been world powers in the past that weren't colonial obviously. Anyway I think you are wrong. America may not live in the age of colonialism. But we are the leaders of the age of neo-colonialism. We still spend our time exploiting the third world for labor and resources. Its just that out right imperialism has come out of fashion (not that we didn't do that in the past)

what made amerika so attractive to the poor huddled masses around the world? the answer to that is the "intrinsic" "intangible" thing me and futuristxen have been talking about.

Lots of open land that isn't inhabited and natural resources are "intangible"
:wink:

class: ill finish my reply afterwords. sorry
Post Mon Nov 25, 2002 8:30 am
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Cire



Joined: 12 Aug 2002
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August Spies. My post earlier wasnt directed towards you. it was directed to all the other people that just came into this thread and said "america is sooo dumb". "i hate America". just to clear that up.
Post Mon Nov 25, 2002 8:46 am
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August Spies



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what you must question though, is why there has never been a single nation in history to experiance such a massive inflow of immigrants.

well there hasn't really been any nations in history that discovered a whole "new world" and then killed what inhabitants remained thsu opening vast spaces for people to enter into.

so by 1914 what you have is a nation whose economic power rivals that
of any world power
,

um... no. we were not that powerful until at least the 30s, and really not until after WWII.

But we would not have had the ability to fill that void if we had not already had the strongest economy. (i mean why not, brazil, argentina or canada?)

well canada was still tied to England no? and south american countries were not workign out to well. My point was that America is not any more special or significantly different than other first world capitalst republics... but yes it (and other first world capitlaist republics) are different than other countries in the world.


anyway the percieved uniqueness, the old west attitude, yada yada. These were real things. But they had pretty much gone away by WWII. Im taking a class now on the history of U.S. and War... the amount that war changes a society is incredible. NOt just on the terms we were speaking of (economic power) but in the general attitude of soceity. The United States of the 50s is very different from the US of the 1900's which is amazingly different than the US of the 1800's.

The past, the stuff you talked about, is not the present. Although I agree with much of what you are saying, I dont' think it proves that the United States IS (present tense) significantly different than most comparable countries.
Post Mon Nov 25, 2002 9:47 am
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califunky



Joined: 06 Jul 2002
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we are crossing signals  Reply with quote  

i am arguing as to the nature and origins of our military power (which currently maintains our hegemony) i am not arguing that the reason we are a hegemon currently has nothing to do with our military. i am making a historical argument as to the basis upon which the strength to build such a military arose.

i think that regional diversity/differences in any nation are roughly equivalent ro any other nation. this is from my experiances living in different regions of 4 different nations. if you disagree on this point then we will agree to disagree.
i still believe that ethnic diversity is and can be a much more powerful factor than regional diversity. i also believe that in that catagory (just the sheer number of different ethnic/national/religious groups in american- or more precisely, urban america) we outsrip all but a very few nations

by reverse colonialism i meant that we experianced the influx of people without physically controlling their homelands

no, open land and good resources are not intangible, but they are further examples of things that added to the "idea and myth" of amerika as the land of opportunity. like i said, it is not neccesary for that intangible to exist, so long as the perception of it existed.

looking forward to your next post to allow me to further refine my arguments

c
Post Mon Nov 25, 2002 9:52 am
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