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[P]
Looking beyond your nose

By boxed in Op-Ed
Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 12:52:54 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

There has been a lot of comments lately by americans who seem to think that the American continents are the entire world. It's pissing me off!


The last 24 hours have made my blood boil. First it started light with the submisstion "The U.S. of k5?" which I had a little fun at. Then this quote came up:
because the fate of Israel is bound up in the beliefs of the three major religions--Judaism, Christianity and Islam

I am no longer amused. There were like 20 comments to this article but no one noticed that that's a blatant lie! Judaism is in no way big enough to be counted among the three biggest religions, no matter what the US and Israel thinks. There are 4 major religions in the world and none of them is judaism. This article in britannica shows this clear enough: judaism 0.2%, christianity 33%, hindus 13.4%, muslims 19.3%, nonreligious 12.8%. Calling judaism one of the three major religions with these numbers in mind is just mindboggling. Sikhism is nearly twice as big for crying out loud! Calling a religion for a "major religion" because it has spawned two will by the same logic makes Zoroastrianism (0%, 2.5 million people) a major religion because of it's part in forming Judaism, Chrisianity and Islam.

Well I thought the maddness would stop there but then I saw this comment:

Does any nation-state exist today that can not be demonstrated to have conquered and taken over its land mass from the natives?

Eh, what was he thinking? Of course there are! It's actually the normal state of things. If you believe this I think you're in a serious state of denial aimed at justifying your country. My home country of Sweden has done some pretty damn horrible things to the laps, I admit, but they only inhabit a small part in the north, we didn't drive them from our the land we now inhabit. In central Europe there has been no native tribes to drive away, it is the native Europeans who drove everyone else out.

I was against the idea someone had before of displaying a flag next to your nick but now I see the wisdom in that.

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Looking beyond your nose | 403 comments (348 topical, 55 editorial, 0 hidden)
Uh ... what was that again? (4.33 / 27) (#1)
by aphrael on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 06:45:25 PM EST

Eh, what was he thinking? Of course there are! It's actually the normal state of things. If you believe this I think you're in a serious state of denial aimed at justifying your country. My home country of Sweden has done some pretty damn horrible things to the laps, I admit, but they only inhabit a small part in the north, we didn't drive them from our the land we now inhabit. In central Europe there has been no native tribes to drive away, it is the native Europeans who drove everyone else out.

While I agree with the general gist of your rant, I have to take exception to this. Most countries, including the European ones, have at some point or another been involved in killing off or driving out the natives. Examples:

The first Russian state was created by Vikings who were trading in that area.

Southern Italy was at one time colonized by Vikings.

The native Prussian tribe was wiped out by Germans expanding in the 12th-13th century, and there is a minority group in Poland which used to live in the Carpathians that was almost completely exterminated in WWII

The first post-Roman state in Spain was established by a Germanic tribe which had settled there, although it originally came from (it is believed) the region near the Caspian Sea.

The first French state was established by Franks (a Germanic tribe) which had conquered the Latin-speaking natives.

England was repeatedly invaded, including by Norwegians and French.

The Hungarians invaded in the 8th century and founded a state in a region previously occuppied by someone else entirely.

The population of Greece was at some point completely assimilated by an invading population of Slavs

The difference between states in the Americas (*all* of them) and states in Europe is that, in Europe, the invasion and conquering happened centuries ago. But it still happened, and the modern states grew out of the entities that were created then. About the only people that can reasonably assert that they have been continuously there through all recorded invasions are the Albanians and the Basques.



I totally disagree (2.35 / 14) (#2)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 06:52:28 PM EST

While what you say is true, you're missing one point: the forces you're talking about (vikings, normands etc) only created governments, they didn't drive out the actual population. In fact they where assimilated fairly quickly by the people they had come to conquer. There are a few exceptions of course, but this is the general pattern in Europe.

[ Parent ]
your point is irrelevant (3.80 / 5) (#42)
by Anonymous 242 on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 08:46:41 AM EST

Lets's go back to my original quote.

Does any nation-state exist today that can not be demonstrated to have conquered and taken over its land mass from the natives?

Then we look at the a response to a response about what I stated.

While what you say is true, you're missing one point: the forces you're talking about (vikings, normands etc) only created governments, they didn't drive out the actual population. In fact they where assimilated fairly quickly by the people they had come to conquer.

Firstly, no where did I say the conquerors drove anyone out. While in many cases that has been true, it is not always the case. Some conquerors (like the Romans) were mostly willing to let the conquered peoples live as long as they recognized the imperial cult, payed tribute, and were well behaved. Other conquerors, like the mongols, rarely left any survivors to drive away. Still other conquerors, like Germans in WWII, deported everyone of the "wrong" ethnic extraction to concentration camps.

Secondly, I think it ludicrous that the fact that virtually every nation-state was conceived in bloodshed by force of arms and that the native people's always suffered as a result of this is being played off as being of no consequence because some few conquering tribes didn't attempt to completely erradicate or drive away the native populace.

[ Parent ]

hmm.. (3.25 / 8) (#48)
by boxed on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 09:27:26 AM EST

you're absolutely correct. I have only one thing to add to that: not only did the natives suffer but the conquering people suffered in the end too. There comes only one thing out of violence: suffering.

I sincerely apologize for misinterpreting your statement.

[ Parent ]

errrr (2.91 / 12) (#11)
by slashdotRulez on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:27:19 PM EST

The difference between states in the Americas (*all* of them) and states in Europe is that, in Europe, the invasion and conquering happened centuries ago. But it still happened, and the modern states grew out of the entities that were created then. About the only people that can reasonably assert that they have been continuously there through all recorded invasions are the Albanians and the Basques.

A few small but significant corrections.
Those "invasions" didn't occur centuries ago, they occured millenia ago. A century is 100 years. When was North America "colonised"? 400 years ago? That's centuries. Europe was invaded thousands of years go. My country was invaded by the Romans 2000 years ago. The romans did not almost totally wipe out the native population as the Americans did to the natives. The romans actually left after a couple hundred years. My people resulted from the mixing of the Roman genes and language and the native's genes and language. In most of Europe, nations were formed from such mixtures. There's no mixture in the US. You have the ex-british white people, and the natives are turned into slaves and systematically wiped out. So don't compare the states to Europe. Not the same apples.

[ Parent ]
Same apples (3.30 / 10) (#81)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 03:06:01 AM EST

Same apples, different time. Just 'cause your apples are old rot and ours are new rot doesn't make them all that different.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]
Re: errrr (4.16 / 6) (#115)
by khallow on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:10:37 PM EST

A few small but significant corrections. Those "invasions" didn't occur centuries ago, they occured millenia ago.

The Roman empire (as well as many other ancient empires) was adept at destroying local cultures that were deemed incompatible with Roman interests. For example, the Celts of Gaul, England, and neighbors were brutally dealt with. One of the significant activities were the more or less complete elimination of the druids in France and parts of England. Later, the Christian religion finished that job with the conversion of the entire region. Here's some more recent examples:

England has for a few centuries prior to 1900 tried with some success to drive the Irish from Ireland. The most extreme case is the Great Famine of 1845-1849.

The French language used to be much more varied before its "purification" started in 1635 with the creation by Cardinal de Richelieu of the "French Academy" (I cannot locate the true name at the moment). What most people forget is that there isn't just one French language, but many. The rest were more or less undermined or destroyed in order that the French Kings could solidify control over France.

The consolidation of languages into a few occured all over Europe (and the Americas). This process is still occuring today. In this story it is estimated that half of all languages spoken today will be extinct by the end of the 21st century. In the process of changing or destroying a culture, eliminating the language can be an effective means (incidentally something the Romans learned long ago).

Anyway, all this verbiage is to back the fact that wiping out a people isn't the most effective way of exploiting those people. Think of it this way. Right now, England, Spain, and France all benefit greatly from the tremendous number of people that speak their languages. This is a direct result of their long ago exploitation of other peoples.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

The Famine (2.33 / 3) (#262)
by Merekat on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 05:02:05 AM EST

I'm not going to argue with your point, but I think you are misusing the Famine as an example. It was not intended to drive the Irish out, although that did happen. I think it better illustrates your point that wiping out a people isn't the most effective way of exploitation. After all, you don't make any money on genocide.

---
I've always had the greatest respect for other peoples crack-pot beliefs.
- Sam the Eagle, The Muppet Show
[ Parent ]
Wrong wrong wrong (none / 0) (#367)
by joshv on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 04:32:16 PM EST

Most hispanic populations in the Americas have a significant non-zero percentage of aboriginal (called 'Indian' in the US) blood. Granted mixing did not occur as much in the US as it did in Mexico and South American countries, but today a growing and significant portion of our population is of Mexican decent.

The indigenous population of the Americas did suffer badly due to disease and outright warfare, but they were not entirely killed off and replaced by European settlers.

-josh

[ Parent ]
Ummmm..... (none / 0) (#373)
by Simon Kinahan on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 07:36:36 AM EST

The situation of the native population of the modern US is rather similar to the fate of the Celtic populations of England and Spain, and probably of most of the rest of Europe. In pre-Roman times most of Europe, from Galatia in Turkey to Ireland was populated by the groups which shared a Celtic culture and spoke Celtic languages, now confined to the fringes of the British Isles and France. The Celtic hegemony in Europe lasted far longer than the time from the fall of the Western Empire to the present day.

It was these, Celtic, peoples who were conquered and/or assimilated into the Roman Empire. When Rome's power waned, the Celts were left exposed, without the Empire's supported infrastructure, to the Germanic invaders. In the area now known as England, the Germanics started out cooperating with the natives, they reported home that the land was fertile and reinforcements came. The native, Celtic, population was pushed back into marginal, mountainous areas (the Highlands of Scotland, Wales and Kernow, plus briefly Cumbria), and slowly died out everywhere else. There is little evidence of intermarriage.

Almost every country in the world has something like this in their history.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
As for the Hungarians... (2.33 / 3) (#101)
by dabadab on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:26:56 AM EST

The land of Hungary has no real natives.
It was inhabited since the beginning of the time, but as far as I know the current population (called Hungarians, but as far as blood goes I guess we are more of an german/slav/turkish/whatever mixture) lives here for the longest time.
And I guess this is true even for the USA - there were no real natives, just a bunch of tribes that wandered from here to there, driven off from old lands and conquering new ones.
--
Real life is overrated.
[ Parent ]
Hungarian history. (3.33 / 3) (#137)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:35:42 PM EST

The magyars invaded Hungary in the 8th century AD. Before that it was probably occuppied by Slavs, and then the Avars and Khazars; before that, it's impossible to tell.

[ Parent ]
Er... (2.60 / 23) (#3)
by trhurler on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 06:55:37 PM EST

This is the most unfocused, incoherent babble I've yet seen posted as a rant. First you talk about American myopia, then you talk about ignorance of the actual popularity of various religions, and finally you proceed into a paragraph that combines US-bashing, Sweden-cheering, and utter ignorance of ancient European history.

There is probably no population on a major continent which consists of the "original" settlers of their region. Certainly, there is not in Europe, which is the most war-torn continent of all(although Africa is working to change that.)

Now for the obligatory reply to the US-bashing and Sweden-cheering: get a life. Your country wouldn't even exist today but for our protection; if your government had to spend as much per capita as we do on defense, you would be living in a mud hut and eating stale bread crusts today, if you were alive at all. You reap the benefits of US "arrogance" and US "imperialism," and then you bite the hand that feeds you. That's pathetic.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

oooooooh, please forgive me great American God! (2.30 / 10) (#4)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:08:56 PM EST

That's just bullshit. If there is one thing that is obvious in history it is that any country that has a well established national, ethnical and verbal tradition will endure. Sure Europe is war-torn, but the central core of all big countries have been coherant for hundreds of years. And if you think WWII could have changed that you are overestimating Hitler greatly. Nazi-germany lost the world, not because the Americans rallied on the allied side and not because the Russians got pissed at Hitler. Nazi-germany lost the war because it tried to occupy the entire continent against it's will with very limited resources. This can't be done. All huge empires fall.

[ Parent ]
Right on target ... (4.33 / 3) (#6)
by aphrael on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:11:52 PM EST

If there is one thing that is obvious in history it is that any country that has a well established national, ethnical and verbal tradition will endure.

Absolutely --- and occupying nations with well-established identities is *extremely* difficult. Hell, Catalonia hasn't been an independent entity for *500* years, and its identity won't go away.



[ Parent ]
Established blah blah blah (none / 0) (#138)
by jxqvg on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:37:14 PM EST

This being said by intact countries...

[sig]
[ Parent ]
Established blah blah blah (none / 0) (#139)
by jxqvg on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:37:15 PM EST

This being said by intact countries...

[sig]
[ Parent ]
What about the Roman Empire? (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by SIGFPE on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:23:47 PM EST

Yes, it fell. But it lasted a long time. A lot longer than Hitler's empire. Any argument about why empires stand or fall must explain the difference between centuries for the Roman Exmpire and years for Hitler's and I don't think your does.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
That's easily explained (1.66 / 3) (#12)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:31:05 PM EST

The Roman Empire didn't have as powerful enemies as Hitler did and it had a stronger army.

[ Parent ]
Go read a book , then come back with some facts... (4.00 / 3) (#102)
by ribone on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:50:15 AM EST

You are really full of it.

The Roman Empire didn't have as powerful enemies as Hitler did

Whatever. The Carthaginians fought three major, prolonged ( > 10 years) wars with the Romans. During the Second, Rome almost got sacked by Hannibal and Rome's allies left her in droves. Before that, the Romans had to deal with Latin tribes still resentful of Roman dominion. After all that, the Romans had to suppress the Germanic tribes and the Gauls. Later in it's history, Rome had to let Germanic generals rule the military in order to keep itself from getting sacked. Then you have the Goths, etc etc later on down the line.

And I haven't even mentioned what it had to do to gain imperial territory when it wasn't fighting for it's life. (not gaining land because of winning against somebody like Hannibal)

Please, if you're going to make an historical claim such as the one you did, know what the hell you are talking about.



[ Parent ]
sorry for not being overly clear (2.50 / 2) (#106)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 09:05:25 AM EST

What I tried to imply was that in the periods that the two empires compare (i.e. 12 years: 1933-1945) Hitler had stronger Enemies. To compare hundreds of years of Roman Empire with the 12 years Hitler had isn't really fair now is it? You can however compare the first 12 years of Nazi-Germany with the first 12 years of the Roman Empire (or rather 30 years since they didn't have means of transportation equal the germans, let's be a bit fair). It is very clear that the Roman Empire had an easier start than Nazi-Germany since the latter got crushed in it's infancy, eh?

[ Parent ]
invalid conclusion from your stated premises (2.00 / 1) (#117)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:20:26 PM EST

It is very clear that the Roman Empire had an easier start than Nazi-Germany since the latter got crushed in it's infancy, eh?

Padon me, but this doesn't make much sense.

That the Roman Empire survived its startup phase does not mean that the startup period was easier than the comparable startup period for the third reich, which did not survive its starup period.

Rome's imperial survival simply means that its leaders were up to the task at hand. Germany's failure to become an empire simply means its leaders were not up to the task at hand. We can not draw a conclusion about the favorability to starting an empire based entirely on whether a single attempt at starting an empire succeeded or failed.

have a day,

-l

[ Parent ]

in this case we clearly can (1.00 / 1) (#173)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:18:21 PM EST

Since the US and eventually the soviets developed the nuclear bomb we know for a fact that Nazi-Germany was fucked all along.

[ Parent ]
Like I said... (4.00 / 1) (#172)
by ribone on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:16:30 PM EST

You should just give up on using the Roman Empire as a meter stick, really. It only shows me and others that you have a weak background in history.

Rome was almost crushed many times before it even began to resemble an empire. It took them well over a hundred years to lose the notion of a Republic and finally admit they were pursuing Imperial conquest. In the first years of Roman statehood, she faced hostility from every side on the Italian peninsula. She was sacked by the gauls and the latins right before MAJOR wars with deadly enemies like the Carthaginians. This doesn't take into account things like plague and famine, either. I don't know where you get your history books, but maybe you should try reading an account of the second punic war. It's extremely long, but if you would like to know the kinds of things these people dealt with in relative PROSPERITY when compared to their beginnings you'll find it an informative read. Or you could just go rent Gladiator. It's very inaccurate when it comes to people and things that they did, but if you want to see what a Roman army in battle looked like, that's the movie to watch.

Until you learn a little more about Roman history, maybe you should try and find something you know more about when attempting comparisons such as the one you just tried to make. It would save you from having to read messages from people like me.



[ Parent ]
Blitzkreig Bop (1.00 / 1) (#37)
by inpHilltr8r on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 04:53:20 AM EST

There's a theory that the Nazi's lost because they ran out of amphetamines. Imagine the comedown from a five year speed binge.

[ Parent ]
Nazi germany could have occupied the continent... (2.00 / 1) (#56)
by ooch on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 03:14:44 PM EST

If the americans, russians, and english would have done nothing, I believe the german could have lasted it out for a long time. If you take all the millions of soldiers send to russia to create some lebensraum, and use them to supress the continent, I dont think you would have very much problems. They could even have holded yugoslavia then(which liberated itself) Without all the lives lost on the russian planes, and with the factory's destroyed by the americans and english, you've got a nice recipe for a long lasting Pax Germanica.

ps When I talk about russia, america and england, I also mean all the allies.


[ Parent ]
And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. (3.00 / 2) (#302)
by Alarmist on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:49:29 PM EST

If the americans, russians, and english would have done nothing, I believe the german could have lasted it out for a long time.

If an organism has only weak natural enemies, it will probably survive.

The US and the English basically made it easier for the Soviets to win WWII. A quick look at some numbers:

US battle deaths: 292,131 of 12,300,000 at peak strength.
UK battle deaths: 244,723 of 5,120,000 at peak strength.
DEU battle deaths: 3,500,000 of 10,200,000 at peak strength.
RUS battle deaths: 7,500,000 of 12,500,000 at peak strength.

Makes you think, doesn't it? Bear in mind also that Germany and Soviet Russia were both invaded, and battles were actually fought on their soil, hence the higher casualties. Also bear in mind that we do not know (and probably never will know) exactly what the total Soviet death figure was. Our best guesses are between 16 and 20 million people (military and civilian) that died as a direct result of the war. Stalin's industrialization and dekulakization programs before the war were themselves responsible for up to 30 million civilian dead, mainly in the famines that struck in the early 1930s.

I have a great respect for the durability of the Russian people. In my mind, they rank in the top five most historically screwed peoples on Earth.

I'll stop rambling now.


[ Parent ]

So who are the other four? (1.00 / 1) (#353)
by spiralx on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:06:17 AM EST

I have a great respect for the durability of the Russian people. In my mind, they rank in the top five most historically screwed peoples on Earth.

You've got my curiosity up now, which are the other four countries/groups of peoples? I'd put the Aztecs in there for definite, but as for the others... a difficult choice.


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Top five most screwed peoples on Earth (2.00 / 2) (#357)
by Alarmist on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:37:10 AM EST

In no particular order: 1. The Russians, for the reasons discussed elsewhere. Russians as a people have a long history of pointless suffering.
2. The Jews. For obvious reasons, and the Holocaust is only one.
3. The Chinese. Having earthquakes that kill tens of thousands and famines so bad that people actually ground and ate stone isn't fun.
4. Mixed category: all Northern, Central, and Southern American aborigines, as well as the Australian aboriginies. This includes, but is not limited to, the Cherokee, the Inca, the Aztecs (though my feeling for them is somewhat muted by their apparent tendency to wage wars to capture human sacrifices), and others. We can thank the conquistadores for a lot of this screwing over, but much of the credit goes to smallpox.
5. Mixed category: all sub-Saharan Africans. That's a mess that continues today. It isn't all the fault of the US and Europe, but things probably would have been better for everybody without widespread slavery and colonialism.

Those, I think, are the top five on my list. I realize that I lumped a lot of diverse groups together with the last two categories, but it's hard to hold up any one as being particularly screwed; they all fairly equally got shafted by somebody or something.

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

Well, no... (3.00 / 2) (#164)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:48:15 PM EST

actually, the cultures that formed much of Asia are pretty much permanently altered/destroyed(a matter of perspective) as a result of the USSR. There has been much whining about this, in fact. Similar problems exist in places that are former territories of European powers; the reason the US isn't included is because we were so new as to have no real established culture to ruin.

Nazi Germany was at least as ruthless as any Soviet leader, and usually made much more efficient use of resources. It is not unreasonable to expect that, had they established dominance over Europe, they could have crushed local cultures in a matter of three or four generations, just as they are crushed in the US(although in a weird reversed sort of way.) Here, we have lots of "ethnic culture," but all of it is the same; it is a false substitute designed to make people feel better. All of it is heavily Americanized, to the point that the driving force behind the "culture" is gone. This is what would have happened to Europe, too; everything would still exist, but watered down and without impact. In truth, I'm not certain this is a bad thing; it certainly reduces conflict, and there is no real evidence that culture is intrinsicly more important than peace and freedom, both of which are ready and easy victims of what we today refer to as "balkanization."


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Huh? (3.50 / 8) (#5)
by aphrael on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:09:04 PM EST

Your country wouldn't even exist today but for our protection

I see *zero* evidence to support that assertion. Sweden remained neutral during WWII and continued to exist as an independant state. Since all of the states upon which communism was imposed in the 40s and 50s *maintained their integrity as states*, even under a political system their people might not have liked, you can't very well argue that the *existence of Sweden* was protected by US troops during the Cold War; all evidence indicates that the state would have continued to exist, albeit under a different political situation.

This is precisely the type of American arrogance the rest of the world finds so obnoxious.



[ Parent ]
I think you are mistaken (1.42 / 7) (#9)
by trhurler on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:27:04 PM EST

I see *zero* evidence to support that assertion. Sweden remained neutral during WWII and continued to exist as an independant state.
Yes, and that was made possible by... US! Had we not subsidized and fought in the war against the Axis, Sweden as an independent nation would have ceased with the establishment of the "Third Reich." You would be speaking German. The fact that your government was cowardly and tried to appease Hitler rather than oppose him is not something to boast about. This isn't arrogance, although I am arrogant - this is merely stating historical fact.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Evidence? (4.20 / 5) (#14)
by aphrael on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:38:50 PM EST

Had we not subsidized and fought in the war against the Axis, Sweden as an independent nation would have ceased with the establishment of the "Third Reich."

Your evidence for this is? Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and other neutral countries, including the Vichy government in France, existed for reasons that had nothing to do with the US; they were more useful to Germany as independant countries than as occuppied territory. Occuppied territory is difficult to control.

Sweden as an independent nation would have ceased with the establishment of the "Third Reich." You would be speaking German.

Since i'm an American citizen who lives in California, I very much doubt that.



[ Parent ]
Perhaps you've heard of appeasement... (2.00 / 1) (#152)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:01:59 PM EST

Your evidence for this is? Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and other neutral countries, including the Vichy government in France, existed for reasons that had nothing to do with the US; they were more useful to Germany as independant countries than as occuppied territory. Occuppied territory is difficult to control.
Germany occupied those areas that either threatened its plans or were strategically valuable. The rest, it left alone - but not because it didn't want them. The thing is, once you've beaten the strong opponents, the weak ones are helpless, and the Germans knew this in WWII. Chamberlain did not.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
you forget (2.00 / 2) (#183)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:54:18 PM EST

You forget that once you've beaten everyone and occupied everything, you are the one with everything to loose and nothing to gain. This is why empires collapse.

[ Parent ]
ehm, just stop for a while and listen to yourself (3.00 / 5) (#15)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:49:18 PM EST

"you would all be speaking german"... listen to that, and think about it. There is no way in hell Nazi-germany could have inforced a change to the German language in all of Europe. The Roman Empire tried that and failed (and they had a very long time to try), same with the Chinese Empire, the Persian Empire etc etc etc.

History clearly tells us one thing but you claim the opposite.

[ Parent ]

Not realistic... (1.00 / 1) (#153)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:03:59 PM EST

Previous empires, such as the Romans, lacked the ability, if not the willpower, to literally annihilate anyone who refused to cooperate. The Nazis had no such problem. Cultural assimilation is an easy sell when the alternative is extinction.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
so did the nazis (2.00 / 3) (#181)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:51:08 PM EST

Previous empires, such as the Romans, lacked the ability, if not the willpower, to literally annihilate anyone who refused to cooperate
Ehm... you are underastimating the Roman Empires cruelty, or overastimating the Nazis power.

[ Parent ]
No (1.00 / 1) (#184)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:56:23 PM EST

The Romans were cruel, but they simply did not have the abililty to engage in mass exterminations. The Nazis not only could, but did. Later, Stalin showed the same predilection, starving between 5 and 50 million people to death, depending on whose numbers you believe. Cultural assimilation in the face of that kind of force is not just possible - it is inevitable.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
how? (2.50 / 2) (#190)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:12:38 PM EST

How where the Romans incapable? Their army was easily big enough and powerful enough to commit genocide.

[ Parent ]
Mass extermination (1.00 / 1) (#211)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:43:21 PM EST

You cannot engage in systematic genocide on the scale necessary to wipe out whole populations without modern technology. If you have to hang, stab, and beat people to death, then killing millions of civilians is not plausible. It is difficult enough even with modern technology that even most modern dictators never try it on more than a very modest scale; the idea of killing millions or tens of millions of people with primitive technology and without prompting a popular revolt is essentially absurd.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
technology is not necessary for mass extermination (3.50 / 2) (#277)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:53:32 AM EST

(1) Rwanda

(2) The final solution in WWII Croatia resulted in the deaths of over half a million Serbian Orthodox Christians at the hands of the Roman Catholic run government. This killing was done almost entirely with small arms, hand axes and knives. One common practices was to form a line of hundred or so victimes, have them dig their own graves, push them in and bury them alive.

(3) The final desolation of Jerusalem proves that the Romans were pretty effective at genocide when they chose to be.

The difference between Rome and modern armies is that by and large the Romans didn't care. As long as the conquered people paid their taxes, kept the peace and worshipped the emperor, Rome didn't care what race or religion their subjects were. Jerusalem was finally leveled not because of racism but because Rome finally had had enough of the constant revolts and rebellions constantly going on in Israel.

[ Parent ]

Wow, guess there aren't any Chechens left, then. (2.00 / 1) (#210)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:40:29 PM EST

Later, Stalin showed the same predilection, starving between 5 and 50 million people to death, depending on whose numbers you believe. Cultural assimilation in the face of that kind of force is not just possible - it is inevitable

As evidenced by the great job that Stalin did of culturally assimilating the central asians (Uzbeks, Khazaks, etc), the Chechnyans, and any of the dozens of other ethnic minorities scattered throughout the former Soviet Union. Forced cultural assimilation *only* works through extermination, and that's been rare in history.



[ Parent ]
Notice (none / 0) (#217)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 08:00:29 PM EST

that those people WERE assimilated. Their traditional culture is GONE. Sure, they share an accent and a few stories about the Good Old Days[tm], but that's not a culture. Had the USSR existed for another generation or so, their accents would have faded and the stories would have been mostly forgotten. What saved them, to the minor extent that they were saved, is the downfall of the USSR. The point you're missing here, though, is that the USSR did not set out to systematically annihilate anyone who talked with an accent or had an odd skin tint; they were totalitarian genocidal jerks, but they focussed solely on obtaining willing compliance with their "vision." Had they set out to homogenize culture, they would have succeeded wildly, but instead, they mistook movies and popular music for "culture" and failed miserably.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
References, please? (3.00 / 1) (#221)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 08:52:56 PM EST

that those people WERE assimilated. Their traditional culture is GONE. Sure, they share an accent and a few stories about the Good Old Days[tm], but that's not a culture.

You have some references for that, I presume? Read 'The Ends of the Earth' by Robert Kaplan for a reference which seems to indicate the opposite, at least for the Khazaks and other Central Asians. Also, read issues of 'Current History' magazine from the period 1989-1992 on the revolutions in the Baltic states, for evidence which seems to indicate the opposite for the Baltics.

Had the USSR existed for another generation or so, their accents would have faded and the stories would have been mostly forgotten

You are certainly welcome to believe this, but the evidence indicates the contrary.



[ Parent ]
Ah, I see our confusion (none / 0) (#226)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 09:33:10 PM EST

I do not regard differences of the sort you'd find between someone from New Orleans and someone from Seattle as being indicative of distinct cultures; apparently you(and lots of other people, to be fair:) do. I -do- find it somewhat disturbing the number of people, US and otherwise, who are willing to kill people over such distinctions. All things considered, I'm pretty sure they're mentally defective in some way or other.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Seattle v. New Orleans (none / 0) (#233)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:13:55 PM EST

The difference between Moscow and Almaty is *far* greater than the difference between Seattle and New Orleans. So is the difference between Berlin and Madrid, for that matter.

[ Parent ]
In what terms? (4.00 / 1) (#251)
by trhurler on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:03:46 AM EST

I have no personal experience of this, but it is not what I have heard from others, and while this may simply be an information-failure or a case of different observations, I admit I trust the people I've talked to about this before more than I do people I've never met:) As an aside, it may well be, if you have not had the experience to know for certain, that there is more difference between Seattle people and New Orleans people than you think of; they're not as different as THEY want people to think, but then, that's the case everywhere. Everyone wants to be different, and in that, they're all the same. It reminds me of the early 90s "grunge" look that was popular at least here in the US: everyone trying to be "different" in flannel and torn up jeans, the only real difference is the color of the shirts and the color of the hair - all the substance remains the same. Whee. I make buttermilk pancakes; you make crepes; those people over there make wheat pancakes. They're different, and everyone has a favorite - but it doesn't matter. The substance is the same.

One thing I'll note: do NOT make the mistake of thinking that they're different because the style of their architecture, their language, and a few food items differ. Those things differ from me to the people 20 minutes away from me in the inner city; this does not make the inner city a distinct culture by any definition but that of a 'social scientist' of some sort, whose vision is usually very accurate but very, very shallow.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
my experiences ... (none / 0) (#371)
by aphrael on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 12:18:53 AM EST

this does not make the inner city a distinct culture by any definition but that of a 'social scientist' of some sort, whose vision is usually very accurate but very, very shallow.

I think social scientists are *narrow*, not shallow --- like most scientists, they have a very deep understanding of a very specific area; their view of the world is like an oil well.

I haven't been to Almaty or Moscow, so my ability to comment on them is limited. I will note that the turks in Germany stand out as distinctly different than everyone else --- not just in language and skin color, but also in living arrangements, family size, the permissiveness allowed women in the culture, etc; and the Khazaks, being Turkish in origin, seem likely to be closer to the Turks than the Russians where such things are concerned. (I strongly recommend the Ends of the Earth for an overview of travelling through Khazakstan).

With respect to Berlin and Madrid, both of which i'm fairly familiar with --- Berlin, as a city, still shows noticeable social scars from the division of the city; the easterners don't socialize much with the westerners, etc. The west became a haven during the 80s for dropouts from German culture; the tone of street life, and the bar and music scene, is still wildly anti-capitalist in tone, despite the fact that big money, like big government, is moving in. The city feels less frenetic than Frankfurt, but it's still a German city --- even as, in a lot of ways, the most-laid back German city, it is still, outside of youth culture, amazingly uptight and bureaucratic.

Madrid, on the other hand, is totally different. It's a city where everyone is interested in fashion --- but it's perfectly acceptable to take a three-hour lunch in the late afternoon (this isn't just a myth; the streets are empty and most of the stores are closed during siesta hours, and then there's a burst of traffic as people go back to work), and waiting for things is expected at least in part because everyone's sense of time is somehow ... different ... from that in northern europe. (this is hard to quantify; maybe some european can jump in and explain it --- germans seem intent on making things happen on schedule, and in the south, there's more of a feeling that things happen on their own schedule and you just have to adjust to them).

Maybe it just boils down to what you define as 'culture'. I can almost see the world as a German, mostly from a lot of time there and much experience with the language; I can't see the world as a Spanish at all. Yet, broadly speaking, Germans and Spanish *do* see the world differently than we do --- and blindly insisting that they don't is just going to irritate them as much as the old man who insists on saying "you'll understand when you're older" always pisses off teenagers. :)



[ Parent ]
Get your facts straight (2.00 / 1) (#260)
by glwillia on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 03:30:58 AM EST

You really don't know anything about history, do you? Stalin carried out his starvation of the Kulaks and Ukrainian peasantry in 1932, the year Hitler lost the election in Germany to Paul von Hindenberg and the year before the Third Reich came into existence. For the record, I'm an (1st generation, but still..) American who's sick of American imperialism, ignorance and arrogance.

[ Parent ]
Actually, (2.50 / 2) (#300)
by trhurler on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:03:30 PM EST

that was a cut and paste editing mistake, but I'm sure it is much more personally satisfying to say things like,
You really don't know anything about history, do you?
than to actually have to find something real to write. Probably less mentally taxing, too.

As for imperialism, imagine the uproar if the US decided to do what I think it should do - cut off all foriegn aid, pull the military home, erect a missile defense and expand it as necessary to maintain a credible defense against any and all comers, and continue to upgrade our nuclear arsenal. Practically every nation on earth would hate us for this. People in many countries would starve. After a short while, when it became clear that we would NOT intervene, wars would erupt that we've been suppressing. Infectious disease rates would rise in much of the third world. The effect on the US? Basically nothing, except that we'd have to drill in Alaska for oil and speedily move towards alternative fuel sources.

You see, what -I- am sick of is half-ass nations that can't even manage to protect their own people and have nothing to offer in exchange for the basic supplies they need who whine about how the US is a big bully. I'm sick of watching my tax dollars go to fund the UN, which claims we owe it money when we fund and man everything it does. I'm sick of watching my tax dollars go to fund and in large part man NATO, which is totally unnecessary to US defense and absolutely vital to Europeans who treat us with contempt. I'm sick of being told that by virtue of not being in abject misery, I have responsibility for everyone who IS, even when they bring it on themselves. I'm sick of seeing US lives lost so that some dictator in a backwater hellhole can have a grinning photo-op on CNN. I'm sick of Europeans whining about US trade laws, then imposing what, in the final analysis, are several HUNDRED percent taxes on anything and everything, food included. I'm sick of Japan exporting everything in sight and closing their markets to imports. I'm sick of Africa blaming us and begging us for money when European colonial powers are the ones that fucked them over. I'm sick of a lot of things, and they all boil down to a world full of whiny brats who don't want to admit that they can't pay their own way. If you don't like it, that's your business, but do not try to tell me that I should be happy that 2/3 of the US defense budget goes to protecting ungrateful punks, 1/2 the money spent on "social programs," which shouldn't exist anyway, ends up going to illegal aliens who pay no taxes and drive wages down for people who do, and that amounts to about half the taxes I pay. I'm sick of seeing friends sent around the world to risk their lives protecting one dictator from another. I'm sick of seeing idiots in no-account loser countries like YEMEN blowing holes in naval vessels, then the leader of that rathole terrorist haven turns around and says "this was an accident" when even TNT wouldn't have done that, much less diesel fuel - it was probably military grade plastic, for crying out loud!

In short, the world better grow up before guys like me are more common in the US, or there are going to be a lot of whiny, US-hating "freedom fighters" and "intellectuals" dying of preventable diseases, starvation, and war, because if I had my way, you'd have yours too - no more imperialism. No more anything - if you can't earn it, you can't have it. Period.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
ehem (2.66 / 3) (#324)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:42:40 PM EST

I'm sick of watching my tax dollars go to fund the UN, which claims we owe it money when we fund and man everything it does
Another poor American complaining over how much taxes he pays I see.. Well let me give you some facts: the UN membership fee hasn't been paid for several years and Clinton had to strike a deal with the republicans to pay off a small enough amount of the debt so the US wouldn't be kicked out of the UN. Maybe you can explain to me why the republicans tried to kick the US out of the UN? It makes no sense to me.
NATO, which is totally unnecessary to US defense and absolutely vital to Europeans who treat us with contempt
Which was vital to Europeans. The huge army of NATO is no longer neccessary. And besides, the US doesn't really fund that much of central european parts of NATO.
I'm sick of Africa blaming us and begging us for money when European colonial powers are the ones that fucked them over
Does that really happen? I've heard of the colonial powers being blamed, but the US? I want proof before I believe that. (Don't forget that it was colonial powers that fucked you over too. :P )

[ Parent ]
Africa and the UN too... (3.00 / 1) (#364)
by trhurler on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 12:30:35 PM EST

Another poor American complaining over how much taxes he pays I see.. Well let me give you some facts: the UN membership fee hasn't been paid for several years and Clinton had to strike a deal with the republicans to pay off a small enough amount of the debt so the US wouldn't be kicked out of the UN. Maybe you can explain to me why the republicans tried to kick the US out of the UN? It makes no sense to me.
The simple fact is, we don't need the UN; the UN needs us. Without us, it basically has no credibility, because it won't be able to fund any of its ever-so-ambitious agenda, but without the UN, the only thing we lose is a bunch of foriegn obligations. You see, while we may not be paying our membership dues, it is our money that pays for about 90% of those peacekeeping missions, our money that funds most of WHO, our money that backs most of the IMF and related bureaucrat playtoys, and so on. There are a LOT of people in the US who would rather see us abandon the whole thing and let it sink into unfunded irrelevance. I'm one of them.

By the way, a European friend pointed something out to me the other day, and I'll relate it since you mention US tax rates. While it is true that we don't pay European tax rates, we also work more hours for less money than most Europeans doing comparable jobs, which means we have less money to start with. I heard the French are talking about, or maybe already have enacted, legislation for a 35 hour workweek; in the US, a 35 hour work week is the sign of a lazy person. I had a programmer in Germany tell me that my salary(which I roughly estimated for him; I don't give out the figure:) is ridiculously low, but the same gentleman came here a year later and was astonished to find that he had to take a nearly 40% paycut just to find a job. He later discovered that he still had more money to spend after taxes than he did in Germany, but only barely, and only because he counted the cheaper price of goods due to wildly different tax and regulatory structures. He still seemed concerned about the fate of the poor, but he had to admit that there simply aren't as many of them around as he had been told. Apparently, the story outside the US is that we have a third of our people living in subhuman misery, which is beyond absurd. Oh well.
Does that really happen? I've heard of the colonial powers being blamed, but the US? I want proof before I believe that. (Don't forget that it was colonial powers that fucked you over too. :P )
In truth, I've only seen a few fringe fanatics actually -blaming- the US for their problems, but I have seen a LOT of demands on us. I think this is the entitlement mentality that has become popular over the last century: if you have something and I need it, then I'm entitled to it. The only real question is what I need, and for that, we have bureaucrats. Of course, this is also known as socialism, and in the US it goes by the euphemism of "mixed economy." The sad truth of Africa, though, is that they're being screwed over by their own leaders, to whom fighting petty wars is more important than building nations. I would not be at all surprised to see that region take a long, long time to stabilize to the point that things really improve there.

As for fucking the US over, certainly the British did at one time, but the French, when they arrived, were quite helpful. Most of the rest just stayed out of the way.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
OT: nice rant btw (3.00 / 2) (#325)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:43:59 PM EST

If there was a rant page left you should've posted it there. One of the better rants I've seen on K5 (waaaaaaay better than my sucky rant.)

[ Parent ]
Roman efficiency (3.00 / 1) (#194)
by eric.t.f.bat on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:43:03 PM EST

I don't have my books with me here, so you'll have to trust me (yeah, right), but I can tell you the major difference between Rome and the US, and it's a worry.

When Rome conquered a nation, they did one of two things, depending I suspect on the whim of the Emperor at the time. Either they named a local as governor, put in roads and sanitation ("What have the Romans ever done for us?") and upgraded the country to modern technology and prosperity, or else they burnt everything, slaughtered everyone and left the population ravaged. At no time did they ever say "Naughty naughty, don't do it again, here's the Treaty of Versailles to leave you angry enough to revolt and not damaged enough to be ineffectual".

It was the allies' refusal to follow the Roman prosperity-or-destruction model that allowed the Nazis to rise after WW1 and take control. If they had killed every German leader, town mayor and above, burned every city's business district, landmined every field and slaughtered every newborn boy, then they'd have been following Roman practices more-or-less and WW2 never would have happened. Alternatively, if they'd killed the top level of leaders and made Germany a protectorate (ie state) of the USA, pumping millions of dollars into public works and education, they'd also be following the Roman model and WW2 would also not have happened. The half-hearted compromise after WW1 is what caused the problem.

So don't expect Europeans to be too grateful, hmm? Mercy and justice are not always the best idea.

: Fruitbat :

[ Parent ]

you are lucky (3.00 / 7) (#20)
by maketo on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 08:50:16 PM EST

You live so far away from Europe, on another continent and have escaped wars ON YOUR SOIL. Americans have showed us their defense machine in Korea, Vietnam, Somalia etc. where their butts were kicked heavily. Europe has managed to survive with the Russian empire (and later USSR) for centuries without US intervention. What makes the United States so different in behavior from USSR? They both had their hands in every little war in the world and they both bullied everyone around. The both funded fractions, supplied arms to whoever was good for them etc. Now USSR is gone and Americans are at ease, they can bully in peace. But today it is called "nation building", "helping establish democracy". Haha! Too bad there is noone to keep them in check anymore - they are growing obnoxious and arrogant, quite different from the attitude of the cold war when they knew that Russia had the power to tear them apart in no time or at least hurt them badly. Russians were not the ones building atomic shelters and buying ten year supplies to stuff their basements - it was the brave americans. The fear of the red bear had grown so much Hollywood had to boost the morale of the nation with bs like Rambo and co.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
Hold on there ... (4.00 / 2) (#83)
by aphrael on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 05:03:19 AM EST

But today it is called "nation building", "helping establish democracy

Er ... so the world would be better if we'd all ignored what was happening in Bosnia, let Milosevic drive the Kosovars into Albania, and ignored the situation in East Timor? Not all interventions are bad; sometimes nation building is a good thing --- like the Marshall plan was a good thing. Yeah, a lot of times what the US does sucks (Cuba, Iran, Panama, to name a few); but a lot of times it doesn't --- and attacking *everything* our government does blindly is just as stupid as blindly supporting everything.



[ Parent ]
Justice (3.66 / 3) (#98)
by maketo on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 11:57:45 PM EST

Since the United States govt and its citizens are so sensitive to genocide - how come they didnt do anything about it in Rwanda? Far more dead than anywhere else...."Selective" sensitivity I would call it.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
Selectivity (3.00 / 1) (#100)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:35:15 AM EST

Yeah, it is selective, and my bet is that it has something to do with a perception that Africa is hopeless anyway. I think we should have tried in Rwanda, in any event.

[ Parent ]
Better question... (3.00 / 1) (#167)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:04:58 PM EST

do you understand WHY our leaders do these inane things? It isn't because of "those poor people." It is because they think it to their advantage to do so, and that's just not right. What business is it of ours, tromping all over the world to protect everyone? Forget the Rwandans; why were we in ANY of these messes? We spend money, we lose lives, we get a bad reputation, we save a lot of people, and then idiots like you mouth off about what we HAVEN'T done. Screw you, and screw the idiot politicians who think our military is their playtoy. Those are friends of mine risking their lives. It isn't as though we're saving civilized nations; we're saving brutes who slaughter others every chance they get, but then end up hard on their luck and make it on TV. Let them rot, and may their future generations, if there are any, take that lesson to heart.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Better answer (none / 0) (#227)
by Dr Caleb on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 09:47:09 PM EST

do you understand WHY our leaders do these inane things?

No, nether do you, nethier do I. Let's leave it at that. ;-)

why were we in ANY of these messes? We spend money, we lose lives, we get a bad reputation,...It isn't as though we're saving civilized nations;...WHAT! Cultures that have thrived for thousands of years in your eyes aren't 'civilized' therefore not worthy of saving?? we're saving brutes who slaughter others every chance they get, but then end up hard on their luck and make it on TV.

See the bold in your former statement as to the answer for the latter one. You get a bad reputation because you stick you noses in where people don't want you, and you claim "National Self Interest" (Kuwait/Iraq/Cuba) and then abandon people who desperately need you because there is nothing to gain (Rwanda, Afganistan). That's the major reason for terrorist attacks against the US. People are trying to tell you to butt out, but you won't listen. You are big, they are small. So they sting you hard, kill a few people (Lebanon, Yemen) and hope you'll go away and not interfere.

Sometimes people don't want help. (USSR) Usually, if they want help, they ask (Chernobyl). I always favour offering help, then allowing someone to politely decline the offer. I don't march over with a big stick and threaten them into accepting my help.


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Better answer (4.00 / 1) (#228)
by Dr Caleb on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 09:47:16 PM EST

do you understand WHY our leaders do these inane things?

No, nether do you, nethier do I. Let's leave it at that. ;-)

why were we in ANY of these messes? We spend money, we lose lives, we get a bad reputation,...It isn't as though we're saving civilized nations;...WHAT! Cultures that have thrived for thousands of years in your eyes aren't 'civilized' therefore not worthy of saving?? we're saving brutes who slaughter others every chance they get, but then end up hard on their luck and make it on TV.

See the bold in your former statement as to the answer for the latter one. You get a bad reputation because you stick you noses in where people don't want you, and you claim "National Self Interest" (Kuwait/Iraq/Cuba) and then abandon people who desperately need you because there is nothing to gain (Rwanda, Afganistan). That's the major reason for terrorist attacks against the US. People are trying to tell you to butt out, but you won't listen. You are big, they are small. So they sting you hard, kill a few people (Lebanon, Yemen) and hope you'll go away and not interfere.

Sometimes people don't want help. (USSR) Usually, if they want help, they ask (Chernobyl). I always favour offering help, then allowing someone to politely decline the offer. I don't march over with a big stick and threaten them into accepting my help.


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Whoops (none / 0) (#229)
by Dr Caleb on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 09:51:10 PM EST

hit the reload button instead of back :-(


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

East Timor? (none / 0) (#218)
by winthrop on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 08:10:08 PM EST

Er ... so the world would be better if we'd all ignored what was happening in Bosnia, let Milosevic drive the Kosovars into Albania, and ignored the situation in East Timor?

As for East Timor, well, yes the world would've been better. The United States' main role in the Indonesian invasion of East Timor has been to supply the Indonesian government with arms (sorry this is the best link I could find quickly).

Yugoslavia is a much more open question, but many many more people were killed because of the bombing than were killed before it. The bombing of the Yugoslav people could be compared to "saving" the victim of a bully by beating on the bully's little brother. In the end, the only result is that the little brother and the victim are both hurt worse.

I'm not saying that we should [attack] *everything* [the United States] government does blindly, I'm saying a reasonable analysis of the US government's actions in Yugoslavia, East Timor, Iraq (pre- and post-Gulf War), Colombia, Turkey, Haiti and many many more will show that the people in each of those countries are worse off for the actions taken.

I'm also not saying that the US government ought to be isolationist; it would be wonderful if it helped people out the world over. But if East Timor is going to be the standard for United States' involvement in world affairs, we're better off leaving the world alone.

[ Parent ]

East Timor, Colombia, et al (none / 0) (#247)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:35:36 PM EST

The United States' main role in the Indonesian invasion of East Timor has been to supply the Indonesian government with arms (sorry this is the best link I could find quickly).

Interesting. I didn't know that.

I'm saying a reasonable analysis of the US government's actions in ...Colombia

*Shudder*. I'm really worried about the situation in Colombia; it looks like it has the potential of being extremely unpleasant. I can't think of a good reason why we should be picking sides in their civil war, and wish we would just pick up and go home from there.

I'm also not saying that the US government ought to be isolationist; it would be wonderful if it helped people out the world over.

I've been reading a biography of Hiram Johnson --- the progressive politician who instituted progressive reforms in California, and then sat in the Senate for 25 years --- and have been forced to re-evaluate my knee-jerk anti-isolationist positions. It seems the isolationists in the 20s were really saying that we had to stay out of international relations because, in essence, if we got involved, we'd have to give up our souls --- sooner or later, it would change the way we viewed ourselves and our relations to the world, and our relations to our own government, and we would lose what it was that made us different from everyone else. While I don't believe isolationism is an option today, i'm starting to think they may have been right.

This is a difficult topic, because it engenders strongly emotional reactions in different directions from different people --- strongly isolationst Americans, and strongly anti-American non-Americans; if there's a middle ground for prudent, and benevolent, intervention, it's hard to find it among all the wrangling.



[ Parent ]
isolation (2.50 / 2) (#255)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:23:00 AM EST

Isolationism is probably not truly possible anymore though. I think the last true attempt at an isolationist system was the Japanese before the brittish came and forced them out of it. Since then there has been no true isolation, and there really can't be unless world trade is destroyed and all communications are distrupted.

[ Parent ]
Japanese isolationism. (none / 0) (#308)
by Alarmist on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:15:21 PM EST

I think the last true attempt at an isolationist system was the Japanese before the brittish came and forced them out of it.

Not quite. Japan kicked out most of the westerners (except for some traders, Portugese I think) at the beginning of the seventeenth century. They stayed closed until 1854, when Commodore Matthew Perry showed up with part of the United States Navy and said "Open up." The US might have also threatened to open Japan by force; my memory fails me a bit on that point.

Nevertheless, other isolationist movements did take place. The Boxer Rebellion in China might be construed to be an isolationist act (or the act of a somewhat crazed monarch rightly getting annoyed about other countries meddling in the affairs of her own), and the United States practiced a much stronger policy of isolationism in World War I than in World War II. (Fun fact: the Germans in WWI enjoyed a fair amount of popularity in the United States until the Zimmermann Telegram. I still wonder if the ZT was just German stupidity or some sort of act by agents of the United States to push us into the war.)


[ Parent ]

Conspiracy theories (none / 0) (#345)
by spiralx on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 07:19:35 AM EST

(Fun fact: the Germans in WWI enjoyed a fair amount of popularity in the United States until the Zimmermann Telegram. I still wonder if the ZT was just German stupidity or some sort of act by agents of the United States to push us into the war.)

It is the sort of thing that makes you think though. In both World Wars America kept out of it until it was provoked through a particularly stupid action on behalf of the German/Japanese people. Once is stupidity, but twice?

I've always thought that whoever was in charge of America, recognising the threat that would come from Germany controlling basically the rest of the world, would have realised that entering the war would be the safest option in the long run. However without the public's support, doing this would have been political suicide. But after the Zimmerman Telegram/Pearl Harbour, public support drastically swung to be in favour of getting involved, hence allowing the US to enter the wars.

Or maybe I'm just reading too much into a coincidence :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Stupidity in Wartime. (none / 0) (#358)
by Alarmist on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:47:04 AM EST

It is the sort of thing that makes you think though. In both World Wars America kept out of it until it was provoked through a particularly stupid action on behalf of the German/Japanese people. Once is stupidity, but twice?

Hitler and Mussolini both declared war on the United States after Pearl Harbor. Had they not done so, the US might have been able to make a (weak) argument that their only fight was with the Japanese.

As for conspiracy theories...

On a night bombing raid during the Battle of Britain, a German navigator got lost and steered the plane in the wrong direction. The crew bombed what they thought was their target and left. Unfortunately, what they hit was the East End in London, which pissed off a lot of people. Churchill ordered a raid on Berlin, which was carried out about two weeks later. This, in turn, infuriated Hitler and Goering, who dropped their previously successful plan of bombing factories and airfields (thus destroying the RAF on the ground) and started "terror-bombing" English cities instead. The RAF had time to bounce back and win the battle, whereas before they probably would have been sapped the point of no longer being able to provide effective resistance, which would have cleared the way for Operation Sea Lion and the invasion of the British Isles. In a way, then, you could argue that that single navigator lost the war for Nazi Germany, because with the British still in the fight, the Nazis had to fight a two-front war against Russia, a war that they might have done much better on had they not been fighting the British as well.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Or: new evidence that has come to light since 1941 suggests strongly that the US had prior knowledge of a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In fact, a radar operator picked up a Japanese scout the morning of the raid and saw the first wave come in, but his superior dismissed his warnings as glitches in the system or a small flight of B-17s that was due in from California. Further, a large part of the planes that were destroyed on the ground that day were lined up wingtip to wingtip and completely drained of fuel and ammunition. Evidently, the superior officer was more afraid of the possibility of Japanese saboteurs than he was of an air raid. Needless to say, it's pretty hard to gas a plane and arm it when you're being shot at (Two US fighters made it off the ground anyway, and they were responsible for a couple of the 29 kills the US got that day).

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

Covert operations (none / 0) (#361)
by spiralx on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 11:07:40 AM EST

Hitler and Mussolini both declared war on the United States after Pearl Harbor. Had they not done so, the US might have been able to make a (weak) argument that their only fight was with the Japanese.

Didn't realise that, but had the US have only of declared war against the Japanese, Germany and Italy would have probably been forced into doing that anyway, simply to show their support for their Japanese allies or risk losing their support. But then again, it's all speculation :)

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

I have no doubt that British Intelligence played a large part in the direction the war took, and it really wouldn't suprise me if any of these conspiracy theories were true. In times like the Second World War, hard choices often have to be made, and since the demise of the absolute ruler, you need to either have some amazing way of justifying it to people (not likely) or a way of making it look like it wasn't you at all.

People tend to get rather squamish when it comes to sacrifice, even for long term gain. Hence decisions like these (if they're true) become almost necessary to get anything worthwhile done. Not good, but perhaps necessary.


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

More on WWII (none / 0) (#363)
by Alarmist on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 12:11:07 PM EST

Didn't realise that, but had the US have only of declared war against the Japanese, Germany and Italy would have probably been forced into doing that anyway, simply to show their support for their Japanese allies or risk losing their support. But then again, it's all speculation :)

Yes, it is only speculation. :) Germany and Italy might have been politically obligated to join in against the United States, but it was a strategically bad idea. You can't get much support from an ally who is on the other side of a very large continent from you. I get the impression that the Germans would have been just as happy to let the Japanese do whatever they wanted on their own.

What the US going to war did was this:
First, the Russians knew that somebody else was going to get the attention of the Japanese. Once it became clear that the Japanese would not get Manchuria (by 1944 or 1945), the Russians transferred the million troops they'd had sitting near there to the European front. This was a massive infusion of arms and men that the Germans, even if they had been in good shape, would have found hard to deal with.

Second, the Allies got a major advantage in the US. While the extra troops and support helped, the biggest help was the fact that the Allies now had a major industrial power that couldn't conceivably be reached by the Axis powers on their side. Mass production, anyone? We supplied arms and equipment to the English (this was especially badly needed after the disaster at Dunkirk, and US supplies went a long way towards fixing that--we were giving them stuff in 1940 before the war broke out and even escorting some of their convoys) and to the Russians. (There are a few problems there; on at least one occasion, US bombers with US crews were transferred to the Soviet Union to try bombing the Germans from that direction. The experiment failed because a German air raid, which the Soviets knew about and did nothing to stop, smashed most of those planes on the ground.) This gave the Russians time to get their own war machine on the right footing--many of their aircraft and tank factories were relocated to the eastern side of the Urals to get them away from the Germans. A lot of those factories were producing planes and tanks before the roofs were finished, and most of those moves were made over a distance of 600 miles or more through mountains and in the fall.

Third, it gave the Axis powers somebody else to shoot at. The Japanese fairly thoroughly kicked the crap out of any English presence in the Pacific (and there was some, but not much) and did a number on the Dutch (who lost the Dutch East Indies), and were making some progress against the Australians (they bombed Port Moresby, I think, and may have even thought about staging an invasion).

I have no doubt that British Intelligence played a large part in the direction the war took, and it really wouldn't suprise me if any of these conspiracy theories were true.

Me neither. And British Intelligence played a huge part. The French Resistance got a lot of supplies from the British, for one thing. Further, the guys who assassinated Heydrich (the number two man in the SS) were armed and trained by the British. What makes it sad is that that assassination was retributed by the Germans utterly destroying the town of Lidice (all women and children sent to the camps, all the men shot, the town buildings blown up, the area leveled, grain planted over the city and the name removed from all German maps).

We'll probably never know for sure all of the things that went on, or who was actually responsible for what. We know that on at least one occasion, the Allies let their men die because to intervene would have revealed that they'd broken some of the Enigma codes.

The study of history is sometimes an awful one, but it is always necessary.

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

Conspiracy theories (none / 0) (#346)
by spiralx on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 07:19:35 AM EST

(Fun fact: the Germans in WWI enjoyed a fair amount of popularity in the United States until the Zimmermann Telegram. I still wonder if the ZT was just German stupidity or some sort of act by agents of the United States to push us into the war.)

It is the sort of thing that makes you think though. In both World Wars America kept out of it until it was provoked through a particularly stupid action on behalf of the German/Japanese people. Once is stupidity, but twice?

I've always thought that whoever was in charge of America, recognising the threat that would come from Germany controlling basically the rest of the world, would have realised that entering the war would be the safest option in the long run. However without the public's support, doing this would have been political suicide. But after the Zimmerman Telegram/Pearl Harbour, public support drastically swung to be in favour of getting involved, hence allowing the US to enter the wars.

Or maybe I'm just reading too much into a coincidence :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

colombia (none / 0) (#285)
by winthrop on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:43:15 AM EST

*Shudder*. I'm really worried about the situation in Colombia

*sigh* I was actually watching C-SPAN last year as the congresscritters were convincing themselves it was okay to send billions of dollars of military equipment to the Colombian government. "So what I'm really starting to see here is that the War on Drugs and the War on Insurgents are the same thing..." Interesting how that automatically meant we have to fund the war on insurgents and not defund the war on drugs.

I've been reading a biography of Hiram Johnson

Never heard of him 'til now. Author/title or ISBN?

[ Parent ]

Insurgents good, drugs bad! (none / 0) (#331)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 08:23:00 PM EST

"So what I'm really starting to see here is that the War on Drugs and the War on Insurgents are the same thing..." Interesting how that automatically meant we have to fund the war on insurgents and not defund the war on drugs.

Nothing good can come of this.

I've been reading a biography of Hiram Johnson

<u>Never heard of him 'til now. Author/title or ISBN? </u>

A Bloc of One: the Political Career of Hiram W. Johnson, Richard Coke Lower, 0804720819.

He was Governor of California, 1910-1917, and one of California's Senators, 1917-1945.



[ Parent ]
Hah... (none / 0) (#154)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:07:55 PM EST

What you may not have noticed is that the US, in every case you mentioned, was not allowed to USE that "defense machine." Had we simply opened up and said "come get some" in ANY of Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, and/or whereever else, nothing could possibly have stood in the way. However, that isn't the way we do things, for better or worse.

If you honestly believe that, for instance, North Vietnam had any chance of standing against the US military, you're on drugs. We chose to lose that fight, which is why it still hurts so many of our military people today - they know they were sold out by their leaders.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Good old uncle, err, Boris? (3.00 / 3) (#36)
by inpHilltr8r on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 04:49:01 AM EST

You conveniently forget the enormous contribution of the Russians to the war effort, along with numerous other ALLIED nations, some of whom were actually on the receiving end of those axis munitions.

I dunno, two world wars, and you're late for both of them.

[ Parent ]
Isolationism for fun and profit... (1.50 / 2) (#156)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:16:14 PM EST

You conveniently forget the enormous contribution of the Russians to the war effort, along with numerous other ALLIED nations, some of whom were actually on the receiving end of those axis munitions.
Seeing as the US lost half a million people in WWII and spent more money than any two other nations combined(and more than most groups of five,) and seeing as it wasn't really even our fight, I'd say this is called "being an ungrateful jerk."
I dunno, two world wars, and you're late for both of them.
We could just as well have armed ourselves and sat back to watch. Maybe next time we will. It isn't as though any conceivable conflict is going to threaten -our- well being.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
huh? (2.00 / 2) (#180)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:46:33 PM EST

Seeing as the US lost half a million people in WWII
Ehm, that's not much. That's less than the number of people killed by the two nukes. Also compare this to the several millions of people the Soviet sacrificed.
and seeing as it wasn't really even our fight, I'd say this is called "being an ungrateful jerk."
Very true, I know I am at least greatful for the quick end the US brought about in the war, but without the US Nazi-Germany would still have lost sooner or later, as all empires do. Someone said that we'd "all be speaking german" if it wasn't for the US, and we all know how rediculous that statement is. This is, I think, some of the point he was trying to make.

[ Parent ]
Lies, damned lies, and Greenpeace quotes... (none / 0) (#188)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:07:20 PM EST

Ehm, that's not much. That's less than the number of people killed by the two nukes.
The two nukes killed no more than 300,000, and if you only include those who died within a year of the blast, that figure is less than 200,000. By contrast, had we invaded(our other option at the time,) we would have killed upwards of a million Japanese and lost at least half a million US troops. Despite propaganda to the contrary, those nukes saved lots and lots of lives, and most of those were Japanese lives. Typical invasion statistics against the Japanese go like this: you invade. You win. They lose 90+% of their combat-capable population. You lose about half your invasion force. By comparison, nuking them was a kind gesture, however horrible it may have been - and do not remember that the US did not choose to go to war with Japan.
Also compare this to the several millions of people the Soviet sacrificed.
Defending yourself is not a sacrifice. However, yes, it is true that Soviet losses were massive. Then again, they starved more of their own people to death deliberately than they ever lost in conflicts in the 20th century.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
yea (2.50 / 2) (#252)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:03:52 AM EST

"Despite propaganda to the contrary, those nukes saved lots and lots of lives, and most of those were Japanese lives."

I doubt that, and even it it is true, the lives that were lost in the bombs were totally innocent, not like the soldiers that would have been the case if there had been an invasion. That's only my personal opinion of course, so let's not discuss that further.

"and do not remember that the US did not choose to go to war with Japan."

No that's true, and it was a sort of poetic justice when the bombs were dropped, considering the exterminations the Japanese carried out in China (most chinese are still mad about this, and the japanese didn't apologize until a year or two ago).

[ Parent ]

Pacific Theater Operations in World War II (none / 0) (#309)
by Alarmist on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:30:58 PM EST

Have a look at the history books. Every time the US invaded a Japanese-held island during WWII, the casualties on both sides were outrageous. The worst was Okinawa, largely because of the incredible number of civilian casualties. You may or may not have heard about the Japanese and Okinawans who, convinced by Japanese propaganda that the US marines would rape and murder them, committed suicide by throwing themselves from cliffs. I seem to recall seeing some footage of that somewhere--horrible.

Nobody who knew anything about how these battles were going expected that the home islands would be any different. Indeed, they expected it to be worse; some intelligence reports had it that all able-bodied Japanese (male and female) between 15 and 60 would be mustered for defense and given, at the very least, a sharpened pole to serve as a spear. Imagine civilians armed with crude spears against marines with naval artillery support and machine guns.

I don't like the fact that the bombs were dropped. I like even less the fact that Nagasaki was hit (mostly because there's some indication that the Japanese response was misinterpreted), but I think that given what knowledge was available, the US did the best job that it could. It would have been possible for us to invade; we probably would have won. The political realities of the situation (very regrettably--this is one of the incidents that makes me wonder why we elect presidents every four years) would have forbidden a long blockade of Japan; an invasion would have cost millions of human lives, and there just weren't many other options. If the public had gotten wind of the fact that Truman had the bomb and didn't use it, instead favoring an invasion, the outcry would have been incredible. People would have been pissed.

Ultimately, the decision faced was this: Kill 500,000 or so Japanese with no US losses (not entirely accurate, but you see what I'm driving at), or kill over a million Japanese (and maybe more) and maybe 500,000 to a million US troops. Either way, the Japanese are going to get the dirty end of the stick, and it's not a decision that I would have liked to make.

Incidentally, Truman wanted the bombs to be used on clearly military targets. He turned over the control for using the weapons to the US Army, then took it back after Nagasaki was bombed. Nagasaki did have some military value as a port; Hiroshima didn't really have much (some light industry, as I recall), but it was selected as an alternate over (I think) Nagoya or Kobe due to weather conditions.


[ Parent ]

The Fanatical Japanese (2.00 / 1) (#344)
by Commienst on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 04:14:31 AM EST

I saw on history channel this show about what would have happened if we did have to invade Japan and it was downright scary. They had all these suicide weapons built in case of an invasion from the US. They had torpedoes that fit a person in to drive it to the target and the pilots death. They also had modified v1 rockets where a person could guide it to a target. The invasion would have taken kamikaze to a new level.

The Japanese also took the black plague from infected rats in China and put it in huge baloons and set it adrift in the Pacific Ocean toward the United States. Most of the baloons were shoot down by US planes but one did land in a populated area of the United States. A few months before the German unconditional surrender a German sub was captured with uranium or plutonium dust in it. The Japanese were planning on crashing a plane loaded with radioactive dust in a highly populated city which would have caused a nuclear fallout.

P.S. Alot of Japanese soldiers were stranded on islands in the Pacific even after Japan's surrender. The were waiting for American soldiers to attack them still. The last Japenese soldier finally surrendered sometime in the 70s! Sadly the Japanese treated that soldier as a hero an paraded him through Tokyo.

[ Parent ]

Invading Japan. (2.00 / 1) (#359)
by Alarmist on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:58:25 AM EST

I saw on history channel this show about what would have happened if we did have to invade Japan and it was downright scary. They had all these suicide weapons built in case of an invasion from the US. They had torpedoes that fit a person in to drive it to the target and the pilots death. They also had modified v1 rockets where a person could guide it to a target. The invasion would have taken kamikaze to a new level.

Kamakaze was already at that level; the battle for Okinawa saw the largest number of kamikaze missions ever--a couple of hundred or more, as I recall. The rocket you spoke of was the "cherry blossom" (the US troops called it Baka, or Fool), and a few of those were actually used at Okinawa (the Germans had a version of this as well, but it was never used). The Japanese used mainly kamikaze planes, but a few motor launches were used that way as well. By the end of the war, they were sending off teenaged pilots who had maybe 10 hours of flight training to perform a sortie in an old trainer. I've seen pictures of the subs you talked about, and also one of a Japanese soldier that was killed before he could set off a 250 pound anti-tank bomb--by hand.

The black plague bits I hadn't heard about, though I knew they did biological warfare experiments in China. I had heard that the balloons were fitted with small explosive charges, and one of those killed five people in Oregon--the only mainland civilian casualties the US suffered.

The leftover Japanese soldiers (mostly on small Pacific islands, but a few were in the Phillippines) were treated as heroes because they had done their duty to the Emperor to the utmost. Thirty years of their lives were gone, and a few had killed people during that time (the ones in the Phillippines, mainly), but most of that time was spent hiding and waiting for an invasion that never came.

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

Bah (4.00 / 4) (#123)
by henrik on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:29:22 PM EST

Now for the obligatory reply to the US-bashing and Sweden-cheering: get a life. Your country wouldn't even exist today but for our protection; if your government had to spend as much per capita as we do on defense, you would be living in a mud hut and eating stale bread crusts today, if you were alive at all. You reap the benefits of US "arrogance" and US "imperialism," and then you bite the hand that feeds you. That's pathetic.
Oh please! (this does not apply specificly to sweden, but since this was the example brought up, i'll go along with it) Sweden, has existed as a soverign nation since around 5-600 AD. It did it's fair share of warring, as most young nations do, but seems to have grown up lately. Sweden hasn't been involved in a war in nearly 200 years, almost as long as the US has been a nation-state. The last war sweden was involved in was in 1809, when it lost Finland to Russia. It stayed neutral during both world wars, and during the cold war sweden traded equally with both the US and Russia. It's governed by a Social Democratic government, which combines the best of socialism and capitalism. While sweden has it's fair share of problems, being dependant on the US for protection isnt one of them.

Suppose for example that a general war had erupted in Europe during the 80's (before Sovjet fell) - Sweden would most likely have stayed out of it aswell - Along with the Swiss. Switzerland and Sweden are probably among the most respected countries in the world - just because they DONT TRY TO IMPOSE THEIR VIEWS UPON THE WORLD. You're trying to make it sound like the US spending so much on defence is somehow a "favor". Good ol' Captain America rescuing the rest of the world from the Evil Dr. Communism and beeing an all around good guy at conciderable personal expense. This is what sets my teeth on edge - i'm sure the US is a nice enough place, but please quit acting like it's the ONLY PLACE. There's more to life than the consumeroid culture of america that treats everybody as mindless consumers who's only purpouse int life is to buy stuff so that companies can turn out a profit. Repeat after me: The US isn't superior to any other country. Americans arn't smarter, Big Macs arnt the only hamburgers, you can drink other stuff than Coca Cola.

Sorry for the blatant anti-americanism - you'll find ignorant citizens of any country, but the parent to this post seem especially uneducated. Have you ever tried to see the world with open eyes?

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

Protection? (1.75 / 4) (#126)
by pwhysall on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:48:14 PM EST

Ooh yeah. The kind of protection that you extended to Vietnam, Korea, Somalia, Kosovo, Grenada, Nicaragua, the Iranian hostages, the residents of the Bay Of Pigs...

Actually, I can't think of a single US military operation in the past 30 years that actually achieved its goals.

And Desert Storm didn't achieve squat, but make a lot of ordinary Iraqis very miserable.

In fact, it's just as well that the USA has never been invaded; you'd lose. Badly.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

One and one (3.00 / 1) (#147)
by pete on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 03:14:34 PM EST

Actually, I can't think of a single US military operation in the past 30 years that actually achieved its goals.

That, unfortunately, is the truth. The way our government uses the military is worse than an embarassment, it's abhorrent.

In fact, it's just as well that the USA has never been invaded; you'd lose. Badly.

On that point, you're dreaming. This country is not occupiable. Given the combination of the actual military and the 80 million private gun owners, I just don't believe it can be done.


--pete


[ Parent ]
Quite accurate... (none / 0) (#169)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:11:17 PM EST

although "not occupiable" is the least of an opponent's concerns. Our navy is easily capable of preventing such an invasion from ever reaching our shores, and the loss of life (particularly young male life) an opponent would experience as a result would be horrendous. Couple that to the retaliation that would inevitably ensue, and you quickly see why nobody is likely to ever be stupid enough to try it.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
occupation (1.00 / 2) (#171)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:15:47 PM EST

you forgot to mention the critical fact: no occupation in the history of the entire world has ever worked. It is just a matter of time before your little empire collapses.

[ Parent ]
You know... (3.00 / 2) (#161)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:36:07 PM EST

Up until I saw this post from you, I had the idea you were fairly intelligent...
Ooh yeah. The kind of protection that you extended to Vietnam, Korea, Somalia, Kosovo, Grenada, Nicaragua, the Iranian hostages, the residents of the Bay Of Pigs...
You are mistaking the personal crusades of foolish presidents with the military capabilities of a nation. None of the above "conflicts" ever really threatened us in any way, and we always put severe limits on our involvement. The miracle is not that we failed, but rather that we had the effects we did. By the way, if you ask "peacekeepers" from other nations(I spoke with some guys from a Canadian air crew recently,) you'll find that they're rather happy about US involvement in such affairs, and have a very different view of our effectiveness.
Actually, I can't think of a single US military operation in the past 30 years that actually achieved its goals.
With the exception of a couple of real fiascos, all of them have, sooner or later. Vietnam was a short term painful mess, but long term, we're getting what we were there for. Same story in Korea. The European peacekeeping stuff is a waste of our time; we should let the Serbs do their worst, for instance, because tomorrow the Bosnians will be at it just as evilly, and then the Serbs, and so on, as it has always been. If they can't grow up, then let them die. Not our problem.
And Desert Storm didn't achieve squat, but make a lot of ordinary Iraqis very miserable.
As you may or may not have noticed, Kuwait is an independent nation once again. That was what it achieved. If someone at CNN convinced you that there was some higher motive than that, like capturing Saddam Hussein, that's because you're gullible and easily emotionally exploited.
In fact, it's just as well that the USA has never been invaded; you'd lose. Badly.
I've written lengthy discourses a number of times here and elsewhere about why it is impossible to invade the US. I'd do it again, but I'm pretty sure you're trolling anyway. Suffice it to say that the necessary troops and equipment would never even reach our shores, and the nations foolish enough to attempt it would find themselves reduced to rubble very rapidly.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
True..but! (none / 0) (#242)
by Dr Caleb on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:07:59 PM EST

like capturing Saddam Hussein, that's because you're gullible and easily emotionally exploited.

It's too bad that isn't what it was about. Since the cease-fire agreement, he hasn't lived up to one single part of that cease fire agreement. And in return he has been blaming the crushing opression that his people have had to endure on the U.S. and G.W. Bush. So now, an entire generation has grown up hating the "American Capitist Dogs" - remember, the only way to ensure freedom of the press is to own one!

I've written lengthy discourses a number of times here... why it is impossible to invade the US.

Sorry, I never read any of them, but did any forms of invasion include economic or slow processes? There is more than one way to invade a country, and frontal assault is only one form. (If anyone shouts "Blame Canada" here, I'll flip!! ;-) That is our plan, and should not be discussed prematurely...

You might be invaded, slowly by, say..Mexicans! Or from immigrants from Asia! Take a poll of people you know. How many are "hyphenated" Americans? Could they be the stormtroopers of the future? :-P


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

vietnam (2.00 / 2) (#254)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:18:52 AM EST

"Vietnam was a short term painful mess, but long term, we're getting what we were there for." Ehm? You were there to stop yet another country to become communist (despite the fact that 80% of the population wanted it). That goal is now totally irrellevant since the end of the Cold War. Humanity won in the long run, and the US gained only as part of it, not more.

[ Parent ]
Lookit, Invasions! (none / 0) (#234)
by HypoLuxa on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:20:56 PM EST

In fact, it's just as well that the USA has never been invaded; you'd lose. Badly.

There has been at least one invasion and one attack (as a prelude to invasion) in the United States. First, the war of 1812. The US repelled England and retained sovriegnty. Second, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. There is some debate about the Japanese intentions on this one, but the attack was viewed by many as a prelude to an invasion. Either way, the US mustered and there was no invasion.

I'm not a big fan of US military policy, but I have a question. Who do you suppose could successfully invade the United States?

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

China (none / 0) (#250)
by mafried on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:00:24 AM EST

With an army 5 times the size of ours, no democratic-limmited-force bullshit, nuclear capabilities, and long range missile developments, I'd say China's got a fair chance at doing so.

[ Parent ]
yearight (2.00 / 2) (#253)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:14:42 AM EST

You forget that practically every single person in the US can get a hand gun within 30 minutes if it's an emergency. The only way for China to succeed in an invasion of the US is to move it's entire population over, and very well armed at that.

[ Parent ]
Of course. (none / 0) (#259)
by pwhysall on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 02:48:09 AM EST

And perhaps one in a hundred of those can actually deal with a handgun in a life and death situation when faced with professional soldiers with long-range weapons.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
that is enough (1.00 / 1) (#288)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:53:51 AM EST

One in a hundred is enough to make any invasion impossible.

[ Parent ]
not likely (none / 0) (#298)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:24:33 PM EST

The statistics for handgun ownership in the United States is inflated by collectors who own hundreds of hand guns. I can't remember the exact numbers but a few geographical localities account for a good deal of the hand guns in the US. Most American households do not contain a gun of any sort.

Any way, far more difficult to overcome for an invading force would be the wide expanse of geography. This wouldn't make it impossible given enough people and enough weapons, but it would certainly slow things down. The US would have enough time to stage its entire armed services (stationed within the continental US) along the Mississippi river in the time it would take an invading force that encountered absolutely no resistance to move from one coast to the Mississippi river.

Now if all of Asia decided to colonize the US in waves, it could happen. Superior technology only goes so far in war. At some point superiority of numbers on an order of magnitude would be enough to make a decisive difference.

But this assumes that both sides refrain from using nuclear weapons, which I find it hard to believe would happen. If the US was involved in a war within its borders with an overseas enemy I doubt whoever was president would not nuke the capital of the invading country. Of course this might not happen with a foreign country that also has nukes (which China does). Then again, one never underestimate the stupidity of any elected politician.

[ Parent ]

China? No chance. (none / 0) (#306)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 03:53:13 PM EST

China could destroy the US via long range missle technology, and we could destroy them with long range missle technology, but I think that's about it. Even discarding the issue of gun ownership, there is one huge reason that China could not successfully invade the United States.

The Pacific Ocean

China's military is based around land war, and there would be a whole hell of a lot of fighting before they got anywhere close to American soil. While the Chinese army maybe five times larger than the United States, their navy is nowhere near as capable as the US. The would have to bring massive amounts of troops in the US to combat and armed local population and a military that is more highly trained and equiped than they are. The only way they can win that fight is with numbers, and that means they have to transport them.

And what if the 2nd Fleet gets wasted and they manage to get a force of Chinese soldiers into California? That's when we have a whole bunch of warships from the Atlantic fleet moving through the Panama canal to cut supply lines. Once the soldiers have found purchase in the US, they will have to be fed, their armor and aircraft fueled, etc. Since they have no military allies anywhere near the US (you just can't count Cuba during a war scenario :), they would have to have supply lines stretching across the Pacific.

These are just the tactical reasons. Also remember that China's economy is entirely dependent on exports to the West, and they could likely not survive economic sanctions for long. And despite the fact that they live under an oppresive government, there is political turmoil which the army is deeply involved in. Don't forget the US launching attacks against supply lines from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. I don't think they would have a shot in hell.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

So near and then... (1.00 / 1) (#189)
by itsbruce on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:09:08 PM EST

This is the most unfocused, incoherent babble I've yet seen posted as a rant. First you talk about American myopia, then you talk about ignorance of the actual popularity of various religions, and finally you proceed into a paragraph that combines US-bashing, Sweden-cheering, and utter ignorance of ancient European history. There is probably no population on a major continent which consists of the "original" settlers of their region. Certainly, there is not in Europe, which is the most war-torn continent of all(although Africa is working to change that.)
That I agree with 100%. If it weren't for the nationalistic drivel that comes after it I'd have voted it 5.

--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
Zoroastrianism didn't spawn Christianity and Islam (3.35 / 14) (#7)
by SIGFPE on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:19:44 PM EST

Your comment about Zoroastrianism belies your lack of knowledge of the relationship of Judaism to Christianity and Islam. Both of the latter religions accept the teachings of Judaism (though giving their own slant). Christianity still retains the Old Testament and the Koran makes many references to Old Testament characters. Both are *direct* descendants of Judaism. Zoroastrianism is not a direct ancestor of Islam or Christianity to anywhere near the same extent although there may be some borrowings from that religion. What teachings of Zoroastrianism have been directly carried over to Christianity and Islam? Ancient Hebrew texts still play a major role in the everyday life of Christians.

Still, I accept your point that Judaism is not a major world religion in terms of numbers of believers. But it *is* in terms of influence.
SIGFPE
zoroastrianism (3.00 / 4) (#18)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 08:27:59 PM EST

If you read the Gathas, the Zoroastrianism holy book, you will find many likenessness to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The very form of the Gathas reminds me very much of the Quaran and the domesday described in it is quite close to the Christian myth albeit with less details. The scriptures were written by the prophet himself so it's not surprising it's shorter than the scriptures of the judean religions.

[ Parent ]
oh, and I never said... (2.33 / 3) (#19)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 08:30:46 PM EST

that zoroastrianism spawned anything, I just said "it's part in forming Judaism, Chrisianity and Islam", I didn't say "it's HUGE part in..." or something.

[ Parent ]
It's people like Boxed that make flags a bad idea (2.80 / 15) (#21)
by Lode Runner on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 08:57:56 PM EST

Boxed strikes as just the sort of person who would ignore all the comments with an American flag by them.

One of the great things about K5 is that it helps people like Boxer overcome their prejudices, and putting flags up will be like giving booze to an alcoholic.

Another thing, posters from these so-called "neutral" countries will take advantage of their nations' good reputation. When most people see Sweden they think, "gee, this guy is neutral and is therefore objective... I'll read his comment."

Only informed readers would know that Sweden has its fair share of racists and antisemites. In fact, Stockholm is home to Radio Islam, which is virulently anti-Jewish and anti-American (because of US support for Israel.) Boxed's posting resembles the sort of rant that Radio Islam puts out and it's no coincidence that this post arrived at a time of hightened tension in the Middle East.

It disgusts me that he'll be able to spout such rot while he reaps the benefits of having an icon of a Swedish flag by his name.

Note: I know a thing or two about trolling and if I wanted to just trash Sweden I'd tell K5 I was Swedish and publish stuff like this.



ahem (2.66 / 6) (#24)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 09:18:14 PM EST

First of all it's "boxed" not "boxer".

Secondly I had no idea people would think I was neutral and objective because I'm from Sweden. If this really is how people think I am appaled!

Thirdly I fail to see what Radio Islam has to do with anything. If anything it's a sign of health that the capital (1 million inhabitants) of our small country (9 million inhabitants, less than NY) has an Islamic radio that can broadcast freely. That such a radio doesn't like what's happening to it's people in Israel is hardly surprising and has little do do with rascism as you try to lead on. If you want to bash Sweden on grounds of rascism (and I think there is reason for doing so) at least pick some really rascist examples.

Fourtly (eh, or something) I am not, as you seem to be implying an antisemitic muslim. The thing about it not being a coincidence that I post this at times with hightened tension in the middle east I just don't understand. Are you accusing me of being an Islamic propaganda machine or something? And if so, eh.. why? I can't see how pointing to some FACTS about the actual numbers of religious followers can hurt judaism.

[ Parent ]

Boxed Rebellion (2.00 / 7) (#27)
by Lode Runner on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 09:57:03 PM EST

Boxer, get it? Okay, no you didn't. Think Boxer Rebellion... obviously my allusion was too subtle...

If you want to bash Sweden on grounds of rascism (and I think there is reason for doing so) at least pick some really rascist examples.

Ummm... Radio Islam is about as racist as you can get. Look it up Google, man. Now, if you think that what they publish isn't racist, well, then you're welcome to wallow in your own hypocrisy. Having a station like Radio Islam is not a sign of health, except in the sense that free speech is protected. It's people like you who can't discern between hatred and mere difference of opinion that endanger free speech for rest of us. And why don't you think there are such stations in the US? Plenty of them... just not many people listen.

Fourtly (eh, or something) I am not, as you seem to be implying an antisemitic muslim. The thing about it not being a coincidence that I post this at times with hightened tension in the middle east I just don't understand.

Well man, you have to think these things through... why pick right now as a time debunk Judaism as a major religion and bash the US? As I write this there is a struggle for control of Jewish and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. The US treats Jews and Muslims as equal parties and some people don't like this. Best way to attack US position is to claim that Judaism is a minor religion and shouldn't be treated as equal to Islam.

I don't know what your ethnic or religious background is and I frankly don't care. I do think you're a bigot and that you have been brainwashed (Not "brainwashed" by CNN but indoctrinated by an ideology of hatred). The really sad thing is that beyond a certain age, the effects are irreversible.



[ Parent ]

You're seriously mistaken (2.50 / 2) (#43)
by boxed on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 09:01:03 AM EST

A racist is a person who believs in the concept of race (which is just ludicrous) and hates some other "race" simply because they are somehow different from him. The muslims in Palestine have good reason to hade the jews who have taken their land. This is not strictly rascist although I can see why you instinctively think that all hate towards the Isreali state is racist. By your reason large portions of the world would have been rascist against the Germans during WWII. This is quite absurd. We had very good reason to dislike and even hate Germans during that point in time. It had nothing to do with the fucked up thinking of rascism.

In addition, here in Sweden we have a law against trying to convince people to commit rascist or similar act. The US have no law to that effect. In actual fact, the head of Radio Islam has been convicted by this law!

The US treats Jews and Muslims as equal parties and some people don't like this.
Eh, that's a blatant lie if ever there was one. The US supplies technology, weapons (most likely even nuclear weapons) to Isreal. This is not treating them as equal.

And about me being brainwashed is really funny considering your obvious lack of perspective and facs in the matter.

[ Parent ]

You're partially right (none / 0) (#54)
by nuntius on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 01:19:39 PM EST

Here goes nothing:
In the US, we have many laws against racial discrimination (a sign of racism). Everything from Equal Opportunity to increased sentencing for acts of "racial violence."

The US does not treat Jews and Muslims as equal. For starters, many Muslim countries were puppets of the Soviet Union for many years. They were supplied with Soviet arms and propaganda, and they had a eye towards finishing what Hitler had started.

We stepped in on Israel's side and provided limited military support. Even though we could have been more popular in the Mideast by supporting the Islamic countries, we would not allow Israel to be bashed.

You're claim that Judaism is not an important religion in this conflict is groundless. It is in fact, the official religion of the country where all this is taking place--Israel. The US also has a vested interest in their happiness--there are large Jewish populations here in the US. Even our Democrat's Vice Presidential candidate is Jewish!

Supplying nukes to any country, however, is ludicrous. In this day and age they are a political weapon. The fewer countries who have them, the stronger the political force of those who do. (Hopefully, missile defense systems will finally remove this threat and blackmail from the years to come.)

[ Parent ]

not of isreal, of the world. (none / 0) (#55)
by ooch on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 03:00:35 PM EST

I believe his claim was that judaism was not one of the four major world religions,
it probably is one of the bigger religions in Isreal:)


[ Parent ]
official religon (2.00 / 2) (#60)
by boxed on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 04:57:40 PM EST

ok, as someone has already pointed out, I gave ample proof that judaism is not a major religion (in the world if I need to point that abvious fact out). That it is the major religion in the state of Isreal isn't really a big surprise considering how they have had a long campaign for a very long time to move as many jews into Isreal as possible. I'm not saying it is wrong or right. I am howevery pointing out that judaism was not the major religion in the area when the state of Isreal was founded. In fact, Islam had been the dominant religion in that entire area for hundreds of years.

[ Parent ]
It's ISRAEL, ferchrissakes! (1.00 / 1) (#124)
by pwhysall on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:41:07 PM EST

If you're going to argue at least have the decency to correctly spell the country you're arguing about.

No fecking excuses, either; it was correctly spelt in the post you were replying to.


--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

ehm.. good argument (2.00 / 2) (#170)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:13:07 PM EST

Now there's a good argument right there! Not spam at all, nono..

[ Parent ]
No, you're wrong (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by Lode Runner on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 05:18:19 PM EST

>>The US treats Jews and Muslims as equal parties and some people
>>don't like this.

>Eh, that's a blatant lie if ever there was one. The US supplies technology,
>weapons (most likely even nuclear weapons) to Isreal. This is not treating them
>as equal.

I was referring to the status of Jerusalem. Get informed, dude.

Your talk of justified hatred disturbs me. If you can justify one side's hatred of another, you can, with different information, justify the vice versa. Both sides have accused the other (and righly too) of trying to kill their children.

The Middle Eastern conflict is such that you cannot take sides without being a hypocrite.

You're right that race is fiction but that racism is real. But I will stand by my assertion that Radio Islam preaches racism. RI claims that there is a racial difference between Semitic Arabs and "Asiatic Jews". It claims that Israelis are not descended from the biblical Jews but are descended from a Central Asian that converted to Judaism and that the Israelis should therefore not be shown any of the tolerance accorded to Jews in the Koran.



[ Parent ]

Interesting (1.50 / 10) (#22)
by sH on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 09:08:43 PM EST

Wow. We are 39 to 39 to 11. How much fun.

Anyway, I thought it was a wonderful rant. Beautiful, infact. Sometimes it's good to get shot down by name. It makes you review your general knowledge. Good stuff.

Worthless (3.25 / 12) (#26)
by delver on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 09:34:23 PM EST

I'm sorry, but this is flamebait pure and simple. Seems more like something a Troll would post on the other site. I know rants are supposed to be passionate and all, but this doesn't even pretend to offer a solution or even a clear definition of a problem. Just blatant bashing intended to stir up what is in my opinion worthless debate. Really, who cares? You're right, most Americans are US-centric. Most will make stupid mistakes like assuming Judaism is a really major religion. But you know what? Who cares? You're not going to fix it. The mind-set in the US will continue to reproduce this over and over again. As long as we consider ourselves the last real world power its going to keep coming up. Take it with a grain of salt and talk about something else.

Major ~= popular (none / 0) (#53)
by B'Trey on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 01:09:25 PM EST

Most will make stupid mistakes like assuming Judaism is a really major religion.

I'd say that Judaism is a major religion. It may not have near as many followers as some other religions but in terms of its effects on the world political stage, I'd classify it as "major." You could argue, of course, that the turmoil involves the Jewish people and not the Jewish religion, but I'd say that's a might fine hair to split.

[ Parent ]

major = popular (2.50 / 2) (#62)
by boxed on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 05:04:17 PM EST

How else can one possibly judge a concept such as major than by the number of followers? Oh yes, judaism has had great effect on the world but the largest effect has been in it's spawning of Islam and Christianity (although of course some of us still claim they are essentially one religion with just slightly different views and fighting amongst themselves is really idiotic). Besides, claiming it Judaism as a major religion just because of it's historical effect is so increadibly subjective that it's almost laughable.

[ Parent ]
Definition of major... (none / 0) (#69)
by B'Trey on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 08:44:08 PM EST

How else can one possibly judge a concept such as major than by the number of followers?

How about by how many lives it effects?

I wasn't referring to it's historical effect, although I don't think you can so lightly dismiss that. Judiasm has had a tremendous effect on the evolution of political and phillisophical thought in the western hemisphere. But I was actually referring to current events.

[ Parent ]

tunnel vision (3.00 / 2) (#74)
by boxed on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 11:08:39 PM EST

The number of lives it affects you say? Well I'm sorry to have to point this out, but Judaism effects lives on a major scale only in it's role as mother of Christianity and Islam. Directly, Judaism has very little effect on the world, there are at least 10 religious faiths that have larger followings than Judaism. And while you may object to this I say that the personal belief in a religion is the real effect.

And about the current events... Palestine/Isreal is not a big part of the world, and the casualties aren't very great seen on a global scale. Oh yes, the deaths are tragic and uneccesary, but so are the deaths from world hunger but I don't see that in the media.

[ Parent ]

It's a shame... (2.63 / 11) (#30)
by camadas on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 10:51:12 PM EST

... that the discussion will be lost, since I doubt it will get to the front page. Though I don't agree with all the points of the rant, I can see his point and know very well how he feels about this US-centric view.
As for my fellow americans, NO, my country doesn't owes you it's independence, more, had you your way we would be occupied by the Allies to garantee that you would have an aerial base in the Atlantic, and NO we didn't any of your Marshall Plan

Yes, we wiped a lot of native, (well not exactly native) population too, since all the territory that forms Spain and Portugal was occupied by the mueslim those days, but historicians say that the most part was absorbed by the growing (and imported) population. Either way, we teach this in history, and guess what, everyboudy loves the idea, so we must be evil ; )

The main problem with you americans, IMHO, (the flamebait starts) is not ignorance or self-centric view of the world as other say but the very idea that your power will last forever, that you'll be always on top. Take just the last thousand years and see how many overseas empires raise and falled, how the great powers lost their position as the world chages his reasons. God, you fail to remember a lot of bad things in your own (short) history and you're to keen in showing your moral superiority to all the rest of the world.

Neither you're perfect (KKK, militias, segregation, native american question) neither is the rest of the world (we expeled a lot of the judaic community a few centuries ago for instance). Time will show if your way of thinking is the right one, untill then don't try to impose it to everybody else (well, only the little ones, not China or India for sure, those you're afraid to mess with).

Supremacy (none / 0) (#51)
by Aztech on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 11:27:43 AM EST

Countries seem to have a time limit over their set rein of power, take the following Empires/Dominance of power :-

Egyptian > Roman Empire > Ottoman Empire > British Empire > America dominance > Chinese Dominance?

I think it's interesting how countries no longer have an empire as such, but rather 'dominance' so instead of annexing new shores, countries just have a 'cultural imperialism' for a set period of time, who knows what will happen.


[ Parent ]
poll opt: "no, flags by names would be absurd (3.41 / 17) (#31)
by sayke on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 11:14:06 PM EST

unless maybe i can get a jolly roger... ;)

nationalism is just tribalism writ large, but that doesn't stop people like boxed, methinks. naaa, boxed's reasoning seems to be as follows: "if people have flags by their names, i won't need to evaluate their writings independantly anymore! i can just take my que from the flag - after all, all people who live in the same country have more-or-less the same opinions, so this will just save me from rationally finding logical/factual flaws in writing, which is good, because we all know what a waste of time that is..."

fuckin dumbass... if you can't evaluate writing by content alone - if you need external ques like the nationality/religion/race/etc of the writer to figure out if you agree with it or not, then you are an absurd parody of a critical thinker. in that case, i kevorkianically suggest that you go eat a bag of hell.

ps: various inuit tribes might not have kicked out previous natives in their attempt to obtain living space, but other then that, i think no ethnic group is close to "innocent" (whatever that means - but thats another philosophical debate entirely). then you go on with "In central Europe there has been no native tribes to drive away, it is the native Europeans who drove everyone else out" which is not only a run-on sentance, but internally inconsistant. and... if you think the picts and gauls and various germanic peoples before them never took each other's resources by force, then you really, really need to do more research.

pps: dammit, i voted before fully reading the article. i would recant my +1 if possible.


sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */

eh... I don't count neandethals as natives (1.66 / 3) (#41)
by boxed on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 08:22:49 AM EST

the only natives Europeans may have displaced is the neandethals, but I'm pretty damn sure they were going down anyway.

[ Parent ]
Wow! take a step back and look at what you say (4.50 / 2) (#113)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:03:41 PM EST

For the moment, I will not contend the truth of the following (although it seems to me pretty ripe for dispute)

the only natives Europeans may have displaced is the neandethals, but I'm pretty damn sure they were going down anyway.

Substitute Americans for Europeans and Cherokee/Navaho/Creek/Mohican/Sequoia for neanderthal.

Does this still seem like a reasonable statement?

People are people and my first guess is the general attitude of homo sapient sapiens has been of making the same type of assertions as you just did, boxed. And that attitude is likely to have been what spelled doom for the neanderthals.

[ Parent ]

Are you really saying that... (1.00 / 1) (#116)
by Nitzer on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:19:08 PM EST

...you could substitute neanderthals with indians and have an equal statement? eh?

Die Liebe ist die grösste Kraft.
[ Parent ]

in context, yes (4.50 / 2) (#122)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:26:17 PM EST

Stating a entire category of rational beings is inferior and doesn't count is the same rationale that was used justify slavery, the conquest of the Americas, Germany's final solution, and countless other atrocities.

[ Parent ]

but... (none / 0) (#132)
by Nitzer on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:18:14 PM EST

...the extermination of the neanderthals happened 10s of thousand years ago and was performed by hunter/collector tribes. i.e no organised acts more than _very_ locally. it was more a result of the sapien human being more fit. America was colonized in the 16th century. Plus the indians are homo sapiens sapiens aren't they?

Die Liebe ist die grösste Kraft.
[ Parent ]

no difference (4.66 / 3) (#135)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:30:00 PM EST

it was more a result of the sapien human being more fit.

A German serving in the SS during War World II would say the same thing about the Jews going to the gas chambers.

Are the victors in a war entitled to the rewards? If they are the victor, they are obviously "more fit" than the losers.

Sure. Darwanism happens. The fit survive.

Does that make some sort of moral statement? Hardly, it is a descriptive statement of biology, not of morality. Applying darwanism to morality results in two precepts that I personally find repugnant.

  1. Might makes right.
  2. The ends justifies the means.

Now, if one wants to attempt morality from natural law, we do end up with justification for the eradication of Neandrethals. Such justification should also be valid for the eradication of any other weaker beings, whether of our species or not.

If this is the moral system that you want to use, that is fine with me as long as you are consistant with it and accept the consequences of the system. I will think you are wrong and basing morality on some very flawed assumptions, but it is certainly within your rights to believe it.

regards,

-l

[ Parent ]

I think you missed my point (2.50 / 2) (#142)
by Nitzer on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:52:02 PM EST

What I was trying to say was that stoneage europe didn't have any cultural or organisational structures.. The neanderthals were just driven away/slain by the sapien human when thay happened to meet each other (note. they were _different_ spieces, which had no or very little common ways of living or communicating). Whereas as I said, America was colonised during the 16th century in a very ellaborate and organised way, by a cultural and social entity.

Die Liebe ist die grösste Kraft.
[ Parent ]

Perhaps. (3.33 / 3) (#145)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 03:12:40 PM EST

Although I do think that the haphazard and loosely way the Americas were explored and colonized is very comparable to the ways that tribes of homo sapiens haphazardly and loosely came across tribes of neanderthals. Its not like all of Europe sat down and said "Okay, King Ferdinancd, you send out x ships, King George, you send out y ships. We'll bring back a few natives to experiment on to find their weak spots and send out a second wave to decimate them."

What happened is that singular men and women with different visions set out to accomplish different things. For every Cortes with visions of gold, there was a William Penn with a vision of freedom to be a Quaker. There were many countries with many different purposes and no real organization to the whole thing. Sometimes natives were ignored. Sometimes natives were enslaved. Sometimes natives were butchered. Sometimes natives were treated as equals. And the 'fittest' survived.

Is this not almost precisely what happened to the neandrethals?

[ Parent ]

you seem to be uninformed (2.50 / 2) (#168)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:08:58 PM EST

Its not like all of Europe sat down and said "Okay, King Ferdinancd, you send out x ships, King George, you send out y ships. We'll bring back a few natives to experiment on to find their weak spots and send out a second wave to decimate them."
That's exactly what happened. Read up on your history. Biological warfare was used with great zealotry and great success against the indians of South America. It was also very deliberate.

[ Parent ]
I hope you're joking (2.00 / 1) (#222)
by mafried on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 08:55:42 PM EST

That's exactly what happened. Read up on your history. Biological warfare was used with great zealotry and great success against the indians of South America. It was also very deliberate.

My GAWD!!! Talk about misinformed.

Western science during the 15th and 16th century was a joke. It was still common belief in Europe that deseases such as the plauge were either brought about A) devine intervention, or B) "bad air" (as in the air smelled bad - thus the belief that garlic would counter nearly any desease). There is no way in hell that any western nation could have devised some sort of "germ warfare" to use against the inhabitants of the "new" world (especially since the very concept of a "germ" haden't even come about yet).

Deseases such as smallpox made their way to the Americas purely by accident!

[ Parent ]
Some indication of intent (3.00 / 2) (#230)
by bjrubble on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 09:53:12 PM EST

There was at least one <a href="http://www.urbanlegends.com/medical/smallpox/smallpox_blankets.html">attempt to infect Amerinds with smallpox-infected blankets, but I think your larger point is true -- it was not really scientific, and was an individual effort rather than government policy.

Plus, that was in the US. The decimation of the South American natives was, indeed, completely unintentional. (Well, in that the Spaniards didn't intend for disease to be the weapon...)

[ Parent ]
you don't need to understand a weapon to use it (2.66 / 3) (#249)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:56:57 PM EST

As Ford amply demonstrated when he gave the order to drop the bomb. Anyway, biological warfare has been known to be used back in the middle ages in Europe. There is at least one time when an army hurled a person who had died from small-pox with a catapult over the walls into a fortress under siege. The end result was of course that allmost all inside the fortress died since they were in a cramped enviorment with poor supply of water and food. I don't it's probable that the invaders (and of course, I'm talking about South America since that's where the worst stuff happened) could have been totally unaware of the effects of the diseases. Something as big as that is hard to overlook even if you're a closed minded european conquistador who only wants to rape and pillage (metaphorically speaking of course).

[ Parent ]
Me, uninformed? (3.33 / 3) (#270)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:02:46 AM EST

While it is entirely possible that I am misinformed, I find it quite doubtful that I am uninformed.

If you want to really understand the history of the Americas, especially North America, I reccomend you read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." There you will get the facts left out by most histories of the the US and the Americas.

I never denied that biological warfare happened in the Americas (although I would contend that the vast majority of such were completely uninentional, for example, Columbus and his sailors didn't intend to wipe out 3/4 of the natives in Hispanolia, they would have much rather enslaved them than killed them, but Columbus and company did not realize that the natives were so vulnerable to the multitude of European diseases carried by the explorers). I also never contended that most the atrocities committed on the natives in the Americas were deliberate.

What I am denying is that the atrocities were systematic and planned by European governments in concert.

My contention is that the destruction of the aboriginal way of life in the American continents is very comporable to the destruction of the Sami way of life in Sweden and the destruction of the Neandrethal way of life through out Europe. These destructions were not sytematic and well thought out like Hitler's final solution. Rather they were cases of an explorer, or a tribe, or a clan, or a corporate interest deciding that they wanted a resource (land, hunting grounds, mines, gold, etc.) controlled by the natives and therefore the natives were moved, butchered, bought off, or assimilated (losing their way of life).

I'll readily grant that in some cases, a European government organized a particular course of action. But to say that the likes of William Penn had the same ideas in mind as Ponce De Leon is a bit odd to say the least.

[ Parent ]

for crying out loud! (3.00 / 2) (#166)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:00:37 PM EST

"Might makes right" isn't a Darwinistic idea, it's "survival of the fittest" not strongest or mightiest. If the neandethals were more fit they would still be alive and we wouldn't, no matter what we did, because evolution would have it's course. You can't stop cause and effect.

[ Parent ]
"might" == fitness (4.00 / 1) (#264)
by sayke on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 05:27:50 AM EST

same difference. shiiiiiit, man... take a look at what your saying, here: "If the neandethals were more fit they would still be alive and we wouldn't, no matter what we did, because evolution would have it's course." now, for the sake of making a point, lets swap "jews" for "neanderthals" (in fine malatesta style) and say "if the jews were more fit they would never have been in nazi ovens in the first place. evolution had its course; we can't stop cause and effect." aww gee whiz, the statements are ethically equivelent. justification of genocide is justification of genocide, regardless of who's getting genocided... and i think you just attempted to justify genocide, boxed.

and don't give me shit about "but the neanderthals weren't human, so it didn't matter as much!!*!@#*!@&!@*!" ya dumbshit... humanity (like jewishness and blackness and whiteness and protestantness and paganness and every other imprecise abstract catagorical label) is whatever we say it is, and there is nothing ontologically special about it. in the same sense, dead sentients are dead sentients, regardless of who "made them obsolete by killing them"...


sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */
[ Parent ]

genocide is denial of cause and effect (2.00 / 2) (#287)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:52:27 AM EST

Genocide is denial of evolution, it's not a part of it. The jews are very much alive and they are prosperous despite what the Nazis did. Which proves my point! The jews are simply humans and therefor no more and no less fit than any of us physically. Culturally they've been through genocide before, albeit on a smaller scale. The jews are most likely the the most fit ethnical group when it comes to being subjected to the twisted reality the nazis created. An ethnic group who has no historial memory of being abused, hunted and killed, would have less chance of surviving what the jews survived. Or at least they wouldn't have survived it as good. The jews knew what humans were capable of so a lot of them could get away in time. Any other cultural group would probably have though "humans are good, we are safe" and walked right into the trap with a smile on their faces.
and don't give me shit about "but the neanderthals weren't human, so it didn't matter as much" [...] dead sentients are dead sentients, regardless of who "made them obsolete by killing them
Very true. But if the neanderthals were more fit than us to live on the earth they wouldn't have been extinct by now. Our every effort to change that wouldn't make a difference, the scale is too big, there are too many places to live on earth for an efficient species to be exterminated by a less efficient species.

[ Parent ]
evolution vs. genocide (3.00 / 2) (#297)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:41:28 AM EST

Genocide is denial of evolution, it's not a part of it.

I begin to think you have little or no understanding of what evolution is. There is no qualitative difference between competing for scarce resources and genocide. Genocide is, in fact, one way of competeing for scarce resources.

Perhaps your confusion is in not recognizing that evolution is partly an environmental process as well as a biological process, meaning that societal and cultural effects (being environmental) are part of the evolutionary process. This holds for other animals as well as humans. Many non-human animals evolve culturally as well as biologically.

This is not to say that I condone genocide. I think that genocide is a horrible thing. But if you look at nature genocide between species (in which case it isn't really genocide but speciocide) happens quite frequently.

[ Parent ]

hmm (3.00 / 1) (#321)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:25:11 PM EST

This is not to say that I condone genocide. I think that genocide is a horrible thing. But if you look at nature genocide between species (in which case it isn't really genocide but speciocide) happens quite frequently
I think we've got fundamentally differnt views on the word "genocide". In my definition of the word it only exists in humans and maybe among chimpanzes and some whales. I see it as a desperate attempt by a group to circumvent evolution because they for some reason don't like where it's heading (conscious or not doesn't really matter). As such it is always doomed to failure by the simple fact that people can run away and hide. In a small space where you cannot run or hide genocide could change the course of evolution, but as the world is now there is no such place.

[ Parent ]
where we differ is what defines evolution (none / 0) (#334)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:11:51 PM EST

Your view: some events (notably genocide, I don't know if there are others) that take place in nature are not part of the evolutionary process.

My view: all events that take place in nature are part of the evolutionary process.

Nature here is being defined to the natural realm in distinction to any possilble supernatural realm, no in distinction to civilization.

Given that humanity is the product of nature (leaving aside any religious arguments for the moment), any actions of humanity is part of nature. Therefore any actions taken by humanity as a whole, in groups, or as indidividuals is part of nature and therefore part of the evolutionary process.

The question I would have for someone that holds that genocide is not natural, is why qualitatively differentiates genocide from any other action by a human?

The obvious differences are not true differences as the human has an evolved mind and the products of that mind (for good or ill) in action are no less the result of (and part of) the evolutionary process than the products of the sharper claws of the cheetah or the longer trunk of the elephant.

[ Parent ]

Genocide and Jews. (none / 0) (#310)
by Alarmist on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:46:24 PM EST

The jews knew what humans were capable of so a lot of them could get away in time.

Not always. Not even mostly. Quite a lot of times in European history, somebody got the idea to segregate Jews by forcing them to live in ghettos. More than once, the Jews in a particular town or region were slain, many before they could escape. Just because you realize that everyone on the other side of the wall is going to kill you sooner or later doesn't mean that you can escape it when they come for you.

That doesn't mean that the Jews never escaped, and it doesn't mean that they never fought back (they often did). What it does mean is that the Jews aren't really any more prepared than anyone else is when it comes to avoiding people trying to kill them. I'm speaking of Jews as a whole; individual Jews and populations of Jews can be more or less capable of that as their abilities dictate (e.g. Israel, where everyone serves a hitch in the armed forces).


[ Parent ]

Yeah! Flags! What a great idea! (none / 0) (#214)
by swr on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:58:14 PM EST

<BLOCKQUOTE TYPE="cite"> poll opt: "no, flags by names would be absurd

What are you talking about?? Flags next to the person's name would be a great idea! It would show that not everyone is from america.

We should also have some sort of icon for religion. That way we can show that not everyone is a christian.

Also, what about an icon to show political beliefs? It would show that not everyone can be labeled "left" or "right", and that there are many different ways in which the countries of the world can run themselves.

How about an icon to show what sort of work a person does? Not everybody works in the tech industry, and a person's carreer probably says just as much about them as any of the other things above.

An icon for age? That seems to be another important attribute.

Gender? After all, not everyone on the internet is a male.

A bunch of icons representing geek code?

An icon that shows whether a person likes all of these icons / doesn't like all of these icons?

I know! How about a trashcan icon. It would be a nice place to store all of those other great icon things without cluttering up the screen.



[ Parent ]
Eh (3.55 / 9) (#33)
by skim123 on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 01:11:51 AM EST

Well I thought the maddness would stop there but then I saw this comment: "Does any nation-state exist today that can not be demonstrated to have conquered and taken over its land mass from the natives?"

Maybe he should have said, "Does any nation-state [that has pleasant weather/easily extractable natural resources] exist today that can not be demonstrated to have conquered and taken over its land mass from the natives?" Sweden's just too cold! It's like in America... we took the land from the Native Americans and then, to appease our consciousnesses, we said, "Here, you guys can have the desert lands that we don't want (unless we find oil on them, then we'll move you again)."

I don't have the recent stats, but part of the reason k5ers seem to think that America is so central here is because aren't most of the Internet users owrld-wide from America? (Granted, a lot of k5 users have indicated that they are from non-America.)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


haha, good one :P (2.00 / 2) (#40)
by boxed on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 08:19:59 AM EST

...but of course, Sweden isn't cold.

[ Parent ]
Uh, yes (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by skim123 on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 01:20:07 AM EST

but of course, Sweden isn't cold

Temperature in Sweden on October 14th: low 50s
Temperature in San Diego, California, USA (my place of residence) on October 14th: low 70s.
Ergo, Sweden == cold, QED.

When it comes to subjective terms like warm/cold, it's all relative...

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
What is America? (none / 0) (#103)
by dabadab on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:57:04 AM EST

I don't have the recent stats, but part of the reason k5ers seem to think that America is so central here is because aren't most of the Internet users world-wide from America?

Just a question: Does a Brazilian count as an American, or American == citizen of the USA?


--
Real life is overrated.
[ Parent ]
RE: What is America? (none / 0) (#110)
by Karmakaze on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:20:23 AM EST

Just a question: Does a Brazilian count as an American, or American == citizen of the USA?

Nope. A Brazilian is a South American. The term "American" is most often used to refer to people from the USA. This usage is common, not only to the US-centric Americans, but also to persons from other countries wishing to bash US-centric Americans.

Consider it self-centered, egocentric, whatever. But the fact is the name of the country is the "United States of America". This leaves three useful words, and "America" is the most useful of them, so, amazingly enough, it gets used to refer to the nationality. "US" and "USA" work moderately well in print, but they're acronyms, not words.

I appreciate that other persons from this hemisphere may feel their continent name(s) has been appropriated, but, honestly, what else are we going to call outselves?


--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]
continental (none / 0) (#187)
by mrBlond on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:59:50 PM EST

Just a question: Does a Brazilian count as an American, or American == citizen of the USA?
Nope. A Brazilian is a South American. The term "American" is most often used to refer to people from the USA. This usage is common, not only to the US-centric Americans, but also to persons from other countries wishing to bash US-centric Americans. Consider it self-centered, egocentric, whatever. But the fact is the name of the country is the "United States of America". This leaves three useful words, and "America" is the most useful of them, so, amazingly enough, it gets used to refer to the nationality.

Since the F1 GP at Indy, I've been talking and writing about the Usana GP because the Brazilian GP is the only one that could be considered to be the American GP.

Usani in the United States of Mexico will continue calling themselves "Americans", and this is the way to refer to them, to them.

USAnians or other words are often used by those speaking English as a 2nd language, but since some Usani don't like this, the best thing to do is to call them Americans.

"I'm an African." - *everyone* in the SA parliament.


--
Inoshiro for cabal leader.
[ Parent ]
Duh, it's "USians" (2.50 / 2) (#360)
by spiralx on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:58:35 AM EST

Or at least it is when you want to start a great flamewar over what to call those people :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

how do you pronounce USians? (2.66 / 3) (#378)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 09:17:29 AM EST

It looks great in print or on a CRT, but how would one pronounce the word?

[ Parent ]

I pronounce it you-ess-ians... (2.50 / 2) (#381)
by spiralx on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 10:24:56 AM EST

... but I don't think there's an "official" pronounciation of it. It's certainly less of a mouthful than "unitedstatesian" though :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

I agree to a limited extent with the first point (4.13 / 22) (#44)
by Anonymous 242 on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 09:02:17 AM EST

I do think that most posters (occassionally including myself) are not aware enough of the plurality of religions throughout the world. I also think that this is typicallly the norm in the country where I live (the USA)

To try and help remedy this situation, every year I send what I call my "grinch" letter to school with my daughter. This letter basically says that I do not want my daughter celebrating any holiday of religious nature in school. I then go on to define Halloween, Christmas, St. Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's day, and Easter as religious holidays and leave the door open for any that I might have missed. The letter then goes on to state that I have no problem with the school teaching about different holy days, provided they teach about holy days from all religions (including by not limited to Shinto, Hinduism, Janism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, etc.) and not just Christianity as is typically the case in the US.

That's always a popular letter. ;)

As a side note, I am a practicing Christian, but I don't feel the state has the authority to force any religion (or in many cases perversions of a religion) on children who are required to attend public school.

The second point, that other parts of the world weren't built on conquest is either ignorance, arrogance, naivette, or a some combination thereof. There were two excellent rebuttals to Boxed's original reply to the quote from my post that he uses to illustrate the second point. Take the time to read them.

depends what you mean by "driven away"

Actualy That's bullshit

Hmm (2.00 / 2) (#125)
by henrik on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:45:02 PM EST

As a side note, I am a practicing Christian, but I don't feel the state has the authority to force any religion (or in many cases perversions of a religion) on children who are required to attend public school.
A bit offtopic.. bit still

You'd be surprised how Western this argument is - in many cultures the separation of Church and State is viewed as an entirely unnatural division. Of course, the western democracies have always denounced that kind of behavor as "undemocratic" and "fachist" - in a very negative sense.In all but a few very recent countries, the state and church has always been one.

Is there really any objective "betterness" (for lack of a better word) in a US Style Democracy as opposed to an Ayatollah ruled theocracy? I know you've been raised with Western ideals, most people here have - and there's a natural tendency in most people to value their own ideals higher those that of other people. But please--

Stop and think for a minute.. is democracy and freedom any better? Why?

-henrik

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

Is religious freedom any better? (4.33 / 3) (#144)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 03:06:05 PM EST

The answer to the question of whether a state run Church is better or not is entirely dependent on whether the state-run Church is correct or not. Assuming that a given religion is true and assuming that a given state puts forth a valid representation of that religion, then faith mandated by the state would be superior to a state in which freedom of religion was mandated.

Given that governments are run mostly by people that want power. And given that power corrupts, I would contend that very few (if any) governments exist with the maturity and wisdom to correctly rule matters of faith.

Then there is also the question of "which faith?" Being a Christian, I flat out deny that any non-Christian religion is true to the same extent that Christianity is. (Note here that I do not deny that many religions other than Christianity do not contain some truth.) And it seems to me that if you have a government enforcing a religion that is not entirely true, even if that government was entirely pure of motives and had the moral standing to properly and with holiness enforce the chosen religion, great harm is being done.

And of course, a Muslim, a Sikh, a Hindi, a Buddhist, a Wiccan would all likely disagree with me that Christianity is the most correct. So then, how can we come to a conclusion that a given state run government is a good thing?

One last note. I work with a woman that is originally from a country with a state-run faith. In her country of origin she was afraid to even eat or drink in public. Certain days were held by the state to be days of fasting and people caught eating or drinking in public on those days were arrested and sometimes executed. I know that not all state-run religions operate in such a fashion. But given the dynamics of power and politics, I do hold that all state-run religions gravitate toward this extreme.

Mixing religion with politics ends up with bad politics and bad religion.

[ Parent ]

Fault Tolerance (none / 0) (#160)
by The Welcome Rain on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:32:33 PM EST

Assuming that a given religion is true and assuming that a given state puts forth a valid representation of that religion, then faith mandated by the state would be superior to a state in which freedom of religion was mandated.

No. The freedom to be wrong is essential.



[ Parent ]
I'm not quite certain what you mean (none / 0) (#191)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:15:32 PM EST

Do you mean that a religion that is false is potentially superior to a religion that is true?

[ Parent ]

freedom to be wrong (none / 0) (#196)
by djabji on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:51:57 PM EST

I wont say what he meant, but here is my take on it. The freedom / ability to be wrong is what gives meaning and value to being right. I would rather be right 75% of the time, and get to feel good about figuring out what I did than be right 100% of the time and not care because it was a given that I would be right. Love fits the same principle. Which would you rather have, relationships with people who are free to feel any way they choose about you, or people with emotion chips in thier head, always stuck on love, who love everybody including you? If everyone automatically loved you, relationships would become meaningless and cheap.

[ Parent ]
That makes sense (none / 0) (#268)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 08:50:44 AM EST

Do I correctly interpret what you are saying to be that in your eyes religion would be less meaningful to the individual if the state mandated what religion the individual had to be?

If this is so, we are in agreement. Part of properly implementing a state religion is not forcing people to belong to it. At least in my opinion. Like I thought I had made clear, I'm very pessemistic about any given government having the maturity and fortitude to properly run a religion. Therefore, I doubt any state-run religion is ever a good thing. But in theory a properly run state religion (assuming the the state religion is true and assuming the state has the necessary maturity, fortitude, and integrity to run the religion properly part of which would be not forcing the religion on dissenters) would superior to a state in which seperation of Church and State takes place.

[ Parent ]

huh? (2.50 / 2) (#284)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:42:13 AM EST

Part of properly implementing a state religion is not forcing people to belong to it.
Isn't the whole point of a state religion to force people into it? What other purpose could it possibly have?
...assuming the the state religion is true...
No religion can be proven to be true. So your entire argument falls on that premise. Even if one of the religions were proclaimed true by a booming voice to all beings on Earth, there would be no way of proving that it was the voice of God/Jahve/Allah, Shiva, Ahura Mazda, Buddha or any other (semi)diety. Religions are inheritably unprovable, that's part of the point with them.

[ Parent ]
your confusion is not uncommon (none / 0) (#293)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:13:39 AM EST

Boxed and others make the mistake in assuming that the sole purpose of a state religion is to force its adoption by the people of the states. Historically, this is commonly the true purpose of a state religion. Prime examples would include (1) the ancient Romans that used the cult of emperor worship to help unite the disparate conquered subjects of the Roman empire and (2) sixteenth and seventeenth western European countries that used secular authority to control the clergy of Protestant and Catholic Churches to excommunicate and otherwise eliminate political opposition.

The question is, does it always have to be this way?

We have two answers to this question, the theoretical and the practical.

The theoretical answer is that if a religion has an element of choice within its doctrines, then the state in order to offer a true representation of the religion would have to incorporate an element of choice into its implementation of the religion. One way for this to occur would be to have every citizen by default a member of the Church, but to not hinder individuals from deciding to leave the state Church nor to inflict any sanctions against individuals or groups that have left the state Church. There are also other possibilities.

But then we get to the practical answer which leads to other questions. Can a government composed of humans run a state-Church without abusing the power of the state to the advantage of the Church and/or without abusing the power of the Church to the advantage of the state. As a practical matter, I would say the answer to this question is no. We also have another question. In history, has there ever been an example of a state-run Church that did not abuse its power? I personally don't know of any positive answers to this last question, but they may exist.

Now as to the other topic boxed brought up, truth in religion, we have a very nonsensical claim:

No religion can be proven to be true. So your entire argument falls on that premise.

First, I'd like to see boxed or anybody prove the truth of the claim that "No religion can be proven to be true" by the same standards that a religion would have to meet in order to be proven to be true or not.

Second, on a practical level, even if I conceded that a religion could not be proven to be true, religions can still be proven to be untrue (through either internal or external inconsisties with the exception of religions such as Zen Buddhism that are built on the philosophical rejection of the law of the excluded middle are not effected by being shown to be internally inconsistant). As a practical matter, I think that a religion not being proven to be untrue would suffice in the exceptional case of the existence of a sytem of government run by people mature and fortright enough to even handedly, justly, and fairly run a Church/State.

Third, on a purely theoretical level for the purposes of discussing whether a state run church or a church run state can be good thing, it does not matter whether or not a religion can be proven to be true, it only matters that a religion is true. Proof is inconsequential.

Or look at it from Homer Simpson's variant of Pascal's wager. How do we know that we aren't going to the wrong Church and we keep making God madder and madder? If we are making God madder and madder, regardless of whether we can prove such a thing, if any religion is true, we are creating lasting effects by our actions.

One other point.

Religions are inheritably unprovable, that's part of the point with them.

I can't speak of all religions, but all of the religions that I have personally investigated to a greater or lesser extent (Zen Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) are entirely contingent on being true in order to be efficacious. The most obvious of which is Christianity about which the apostle Paul wrote that If Jesus is not risen from the dead, then we (Christians) are among all men to be the most despised.

Have a day,

-l

[ Parent ]

Zen and the impossibility of truth (2.50 / 2) (#320)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:18:25 PM EST

No religion can be proven to be true. So your entire argument falls on that premise.
First, I'd like to see boxed or anybody prove the truth of the claim that "No religion can be proven to be true" by the same standards that a religion would have to meet in order to be proven to be true or not.
You are very correct, this is a strong reason behind be me being a Zen buddhist :P

On a side note: Zen Buddhism is not a religion, in my mind, because there is no positive definition of truth. The only means of teaching is showing us what is untrue. Even a statement such as "the sky is blue" which is often used by zen buddhists to express truth is often used as a challange, and can even be a koan in itself because of it's obvious fallacy.

[ Parent ]

unprovability and logic (none / 0) (#356)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:30:02 AM EST

boxed: No religion can be proven to be true. So your entire argument falls on that premise.

me: First, I'd like to see boxed or anybody prove the truth of the claim that "No religion can be proven to be true" by the same standards that a religion would have to meet in order to be proven to be true or not.

boxed: You are very correct, this is a strong reason behind be me being a Zen buddhist :P

I can only assume that your capacity to accept both any given idea and its contradiction is what allows you to make such illogical constructions of statements.

One can't logically declare that an argument fails because of unprovability of an underlying assumption if that same unprovability of an underlying assumption exists for the declaration that the argument fails.

Anyway, this is one of the reasons I am not Zen Buddhist, Zen is not externally consistent with systems that seem to be universally true such as mathematics. Zen denies the core tenet that all of mathematics is based upon, the law of the excluded middle, A can not be not-A. Until Zen offers an alternative basis for the mathematics that seems to very well describe the universe we live in, I will not give it serious consideration as a "true" religion.

BTW, I define religion as any system of thought that causes one to modify his or her behavior for moral, ethical or philosophical reasons. Zen fits that definition quite well.

[ Parent ]

that's a very wide definition (2.50 / 2) (#362)
by boxed on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 11:59:45 AM EST

BTW, I define religion as any system of thought that causes one to modify his or her behavior for moral, ethical or philosophical reasons. Zen fits that definition quite well.
In my mind that doesn't fit, since that would make any political belief a religion and it would also make taste in food, literature, or music a religion. This may of course be what you intend, but it seems a bit strange from my point of view.

[ Parent ]
the meaning of religion (none / 0) (#365)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 12:51:26 PM EST

From The Miriam-Webster Dictionary

Main Entry: re·li·gion
Pronunciation: ri-'li-j&n;
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Latin religion-, religio supernatural
constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie
back -- more at RELY
Date: 13th century
1 a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion> b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
- re·li·gion·less adjective

It semes to me that Zen Buddhism is quite well covered under definition (2) and possibly (4) if one could venture to consider attaining a state of detachment as being ardorous.

Perhaps the correlating concept in Swedish is a bit more narrow.

[ Parent ]

definitions (none / 0) (#368)
by boxed on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 05:53:54 PM EST

2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices 4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
It semes to me that Zen Buddhism is quite well covered under definition (2) and possibly (4) if one could venture to consider attaining a state of detachment as being ardorous.
Well definition (2) is circular. As to definition (4) well.. that is very questionable in my experience. Zen is always way more crazy than you think :P

[ Parent ]
definitions (2.50 / 2) (#369)
by boxed on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 05:54:01 PM EST

2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices 4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
It semes to me that Zen Buddhism is quite well covered under definition (2) and possibly (4) if one could venture to consider attaining a state of detachment as being ardorous.
Well definition (2) is circular. As to definition (4) well.. that is very questionable in my experience. Zen is always way more crazy than you think :P

[ Parent ]
definition number two is certainly not circular (none / 0) (#377)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 09:11:31 AM EST

a circular definition is one where the predicate is defined by the subject and the subject is defined by the predicate.

a personal (set || institutional system) of (attitudes || beliefs || practices)

The meaning of the word set is not defined by the meaning of the word attitudes.
The meaning of the word set is not defined by the meaning of the word beliefs.
The meaning of the word set is not defined by the meaning of the word practices.

A set is a container. Attitudes, beliefs and practices are things that can be placed into a set.

The meaning of the combination of words institutional system is not defined by the meaning of the word attitudes
The meaning of the combination of words institutional system is not defined by the meaning of the word beliefs
The meaning of the combination of words institutional system is not defined by the meaning of the word practices

An institutional system is a specific type of a set, which is a container. Attitudes, beliefs and practices are things that can be placed into a set.

Where did you learn about logic from? It seems that you do not have a very good grasp of it.

[ Parent ]

ehm, you missed a fundemental point (none / 0) (#382)
by boxed on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 12:33:22 PM EST

a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
See? The definition of religion in that sense is defined as "religious attitudes ...". When one looks up the word "religious" you will be relayed to the definition of "religion" and thus we have a circular definition. If you're gonna accuse me of being illogical, at least give an example that isn't so easy to shoot to pieces.

[ Parent ]
okay, you got me. (none / 0) (#383)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 01:31:44 PM EST

Sometimes I get bogged down in particulars. What really caused the mistake is my laziness. My desk dictionary doesn't have the word "relgious" before the words "attitudes, beliefs, and practices." However, webster.com from where I cut and pasted certainly did.

Regardless of whether Webster's definition is circular or not, I will hold to my stance that any system of beliefs that causes one to modify their actions is religion. Virtually any ism from captitalism to bolshevism to sikhism to mercantilism to isolationism all deal with systems of thought that people adhere to and modify there behavior because of.

One can say that my definition is overbroad, but that attack is unsuccessful because life is overbroad. If one is modifying one's behavior because of a though or an idea, that thought or idea is what one is building one's life around and therefore that thought or idea is religion.

Another way to look at it is that one can find proponents of virtually every religion that will make the claim: x is not a religion, it is a way of life. My bottom line is that if x causes a person to modify the way he or she acts, it is that person's true religion regardless of whether they learned in catechism class or not.

[ Parent ]

It's not just over the top.. (none / 0) (#390)
by boxed on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 12:11:42 PM EST

...it's WAY over the top. Your definition makes taste in food a religion.

[ Parent ]
no, your *interpretation* is what is over the top (none / 0) (#391)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 01:56:01 PM EST

My definition only makes taste in food a religion if one changes one's eating or food preperation habits because of a moral, ethical, or philosophical stance. Very few people (except perhaps hedonists or extreme dualists) would state that eating a particular item because of the taste is a moral, ethical, or philosophical choice.

BTW, how do YOU define religion?

[ Parent ]

ehm (none / 0) (#392)
by boxed on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 04:56:33 PM EST

It's a moral, philosophical or ethnical choice to eat good food, and thus taste in food is a religion in your definition.

I define religion as a institutionalized system of axioms and rituals that are more or less arbitrary and has some kind of deity(s) at the core.

[ Parent ]

on eating good food (none / 0) (#393)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 06:32:26 PM EST

It's a moral, philosophical or ethnical choice to eat good food, and thus taste in food is a religion in your definition.

Few people I know eat "good" food for moral, philosophical or ethical reasons. Most people eat food because it tastes good and it's one of the options available.

As for people that do choose to eat "good" food for moral, philosophical or ethical reasons, then, yes, doing so is part of their religion.

I define religion as a institutionalized system of axioms and rituals that are more or less arbitrary and has some kind of deity(s) at the core.

Your definition exludes many popular religions, the most notable of which is Zen Buddhism, but there are others as well. Your definition is also lacking in that it inextricably ties religion to rituals and one or more deities.

[ Parent ]

that's the whole point (none / 0) (#394)
by boxed on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 07:44:14 PM EST

Few people I know eat "good" food for moral, philosophical or ethical reasons. Most people eat food because it tastes good and it's one of the options available.
Well I see the the choice to eat food you like as a philosophical choice.
Your definition exludes many popular religions, the most notable of which is Zen Buddhism, but there are others as well. Your definition is also lacking in that it inextricably ties religion to rituals and one or more deities.
Yes I know, that's the whole point! Zen buddhism is not a religion, it's hardly even a faith, and it's definetely not a unified faith.

[ Parent ]
no matter how you slice it, Zen is a religion (none / 0) (#395)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 11:59:22 PM EST

Even given a narrow definition of religion, Zen Buddhism qualifies as a religion.

  • Belief in a supernature.
  • Adherence to ritual (learning how to sit properly, archery, caligraphy, whatever).
  • A set of axioms (koans).

One can argue that koans are not axioms but they are. An axiom is simply a premis taken on faith. The Zen Buddhist takes on faith that each koan will reveal something about enlightenment/detachment.

Speaking of koans, my favorite is this one...

Q: If you, a Zen student, are traveling down the road and see the Buddha walking toward you, what do you do?

A: Kill him.

[ Parent ]

nonono (none / 0) (#397)
by boxed on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 11:17:44 AM EST

Belief in a supernature.
This is not at all present in all Zen buddhists and most likely not even close to 50%.
Adherence to ritual (learning how to sit properly, archery, caligraphy, whatever).
So driving a car is adherence to ritual? Zen has thousands of methods, and none is used by all zen buddhists.
A set of axioms (koans).
Well then you don't understand koans. They empty statements. This is what makes Zen unique.
Speaking of koans, my favorite is this one...
Q: If you, a Zen student, are traveling down the road and see the Buddha walking toward you, what do you do?
A: Kill him.
That's not a koan. Koans never have only one answer, this riddle has.

[ Parent ]
ritual and zen (none / 0) (#400)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 07:49:02 AM EST

Good morning boxed.

I'll trust Shunri Suzuki's (sp? author of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind and many other excellent books) statement that learning to sit is absolutely essential to any student of Zen over your statement that Zen adheres to no ritual. What I will admit is that with only a few exceptions (sitting and zazen (sp?) meditation being the most obvious) that each Zen practitioner is allowed to develop his or her own ritual.

Regardless, of the element of choice, Zen relies on the ritual practice of some art whether that art be one of the Zen classics like archery, caligraphy or martial arts or something more individualized such as butchery, motorcycle maintenence, driving a car, etc.

And as far as Koans, I found my personal favorite in a collection of Zen koans. I don't remember which the title, though. It is ancient and widespread in Zen circle's. Personally, I think you just don't understand it. You state the the riddle is not open ended, which implies to me that you definately don't understand it. That's okay. Zen is like that. Meditate on it until enlightenment happens.

And as far as axiomatic, Zen has multitudinous axioms, wuwei, the attainability of a state of detachment, the priority of the beginner's mind, the denial of the law of the excluded middle, etc.

And given that Zen has (1) rituals, (2) axioms, and (3) belief in some sort of super-nature, it qualifies as a religion according to your too-narrow definition.

As an aside, in the book of James in the Christian scriptures there is a statement that reads, "Pure religion is this: helping widows and orphans in their distress and keeping oneself undefiled from the world." Isn't it rather interesting that one of the fathers of Christianity (James the Just, first bishop of Jerusalem) would define the meaning of 'pure religion' with absolutely no mention of ritual (or even of God for that matter). Of course, James' statement does need to be kept in context. I wouldn't build a world philosophy around just this statement of his and the context of the work his definition certainly adds a good deal of meaning to it. I think James' definition comes much closer in spirit to my definition of religion than yours.

[ Parent ]

this is close to the way it is (none / 0) (#291)
by djabji on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:02:53 AM EST

In most democratic countries, we have seperated church and state to a large degree. What we are left with is a government that has by default adopted athiesm as the state religion. People are free to disagree with the state religion, infact even many politicians do. However, since there is a large ammount of preasure to leave religous beliefs out of politics, they usually perform their official duties under the blanket of the state religion. Politicians who do try to mix the two, are labled as extremists and usually voted out of office.

And yes, athiesm is a religion. The choice to not believe in any gods is a religious one, as there is no proof either way. The athiest builds his world view and interprets all scientific evidence through glasses coloured by his religous decision that there is no God. Enough on this tangent.

[ Parent ]

atheism as a state religion (2.50 / 2) (#316)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:07:17 PM EST

I totally agree with you that atheism is a religion, but I still think that the state "faith" of countries without a state religion must logically be agnostic. When you take away faith this is what is left. If it is like you say than it's very sad for your country (eh, whichever that is) imho. This may be better though than what has happened here in Sweden: the state and the church were united so long (they will be separated at the end of the year) that the church has largely become agnostic. I think that's good (since I'm an agnostic :P) but it's not always good for protestants I assume.

[ Parent ]
separation of church and state (4.00 / 1) (#165)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:55:00 PM EST

in many cultures the separation of Church and State is viewed as an entirely unnatural division
And in at least as many cultures, or more, it's the opposite way around!

[ Parent ]
Culture (3.66 / 3) (#128)
by Caranguejeira on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:51:04 PM EST

Prior to living in Brazil for a couple of years, I took a crash course in Brazilian culture so that I wouldn't arrive there and immediately start offending people out of my ignorance. It is also much easier to live within a culture when you observe the practices that make it unique. There are some people who find cultural traditions repulsive, and refuse to participate. Or they have their belief system set up in such a way that they can't tolerate other people's traditions.

What really kills me, though, are the ones that say "Oh, well that comes from <insert religion here>, therefore if our culture observes it, it is the same as forcing <such religion> upon us. So we don't let the institution feed our kids fish on Good Friday, or Santa on Cristmas, or Bunnies on Easter, or Candy on Halloween. No, we demand that the institution be completely neutral, stripped of traditions, scriptures, prayers, idols, gods, tall-tales, and every other thing that makes our culture what it is.

What's even funnier is that America has practically removed religion from its traditions. These are great commercial hollidays now, yet we still complain about the religious implications.

These "Christian" hollidays (which have plenty of "Pagan" elements in them too) are a part of American culture. Regardless of race, religion or whatever, these are times for people to get together, relax, and maybe have a little fun. And for other folks, maybe there's a deeper meaning too.

I always feel sorry for the poor kids who can't participate because "It's against Bible principles" or because "It's forcing religion upon us." There's no better way to destroy a rich, vibrant culture than to spread that sentiment. But that's just _my_ opinion.

[ Parent ]
I think you misunderstand _my_ position (4.00 / 4) (#133)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:21:18 PM EST

First off, I'll grant that some people do exist that prevent their children from experiencing virtually anything and do so out of xenophobic reasons.

I don't have a problem with my children celebrating culture. However, I do have a problem with my children celebrating culture that they do not understand. I don't have a problem with my children celebrating Saint Valentine's Day. I do have a problem with using public money to finance the education of children in the myth of Santa Clause by an government that states that setting up a religion is off limits to the government.

It's the hypocrisy and ignorance I can't stand, not the celebration of holidays.

I would love to see practictioners of different faiths come to my daughter's school and teach about their different holy days. I think such a move would enrich us all.

But when what is happening is the state-funded celebration of a watered-down charicature of a holy day from a given faith along with a denial that the holy day in question has anything to do with religion, I have a bone to pick.

I want my daughter to understand what she is doing and understand why she is doing it. I don't want my daughter to leave out cookies for Santa simply because that is what good American children do. I wan't my daughter to understand what Santa is all about and how he has changed from a man who selflessly gave away money to poor children to an almost omnipotent being that bestows presents on children who behave (provided the parents make enough money). Once my daughter understands the story behind Santa, then she can decide how it is appropriate to celebrate his feast day (which is December 6).

[ Parent ]

Re: I think you misunderstand _my_ position (2.00 / 1) (#157)
by Phil Gregory on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:21:42 PM EST

I do have a problem with my children celebrating culture that they do not understand. I don't have a problem with my children celebrating Saint Valentine's Day. I do have a problem with using public money to finance the education of children in the myth of Santa Clause by an government that states that setting up a religion is off limits to the government.
But when what is happening is the state-funded celebration of a watered-down charicature of a holy day from a given faith along with a denial that the holy day in question has anything to do with religion, I have a bone to pick.

Christmas as a time of exchanging gifts, having Santa Claus, decorating Christmas trees, and sucking on candy canes is pretty much an item of American culture. To many people, Christmas is a time for friends and family to come together, give things to each other, and generally celebrate. Most of this has very little to do with a Christian's idea of Christmas. I would say that the Christmas that schools celebrate is the modern, secular Christmas and not something with specific religious meaning. In much the same way, Halloween in America is a far cry from the various religious holidays from which it has been drawn. (For that matter, we use "holiday" for all sorts of days, many of which were not at any point holy.)

If you want your daughter to learn about the Christian aspects of Christmas or Easter (which is a far more important holiday in Christianity, anyway), you or the church can teach her, but why can't you allow the school to show her contemporary culture's holidays?


--Phil (No, I don't have kids, but I was one once.)
355/113 -- Not the famous irrational number PI, but an incredible simulation!
[ Parent ]
why not celebrate santa? (none / 0) (#273)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:32:18 AM EST

If you want your daughter to learn about the Christian aspects of Christmas or Easter (which is a far more important holiday in Christianity, anyway), you or the church can teach her, but why can't you allow the school to show her contemporary culture's holidays?

Among other reasons, the myth of Santa Claus as taught in America goes far past being folklore and is its own religion. Santa as taught in schools is an almost omnipotent being that knows when children and bad and good delivers presents accordingly. A myth that has the effect of rewarding or punishing the behavior of people who are taught the myth counts as a religion in my book. And given that in the US, it is constitionally mandated that the state shall enforce no religion, I think it wrong to celebrate a holy day in a public school.

[ Parent ]

Understanding versus participating (2.00 / 1) (#182)
by Caranguejeira on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:51:24 PM EST

I think that's great that you want your kids to understand why they would or would not participate in these things. And I can agree that it is hypocritical of the government to use public money to finance a commercialized version of a holy day.

Now, what does your kid know about hypocrisy? What does she know about the political views of her parents? She's standing on the sidelines watching the other kids do things because why? To make a statement for her dad? To stand as a testament against the hypocrisy of a nation? Poor kid.

Listen, I'm not trying to be offensive. If everyone knew the "whys" of their traditions (many of which are plenty silly, sure), maybe we could all break the cycle and celebrate something more enobling together.

I spent two years preaching and baptizing in Brazil. Trying to get people to think about their traditions, and why they were incorrect (at least according to my religion, anyway). I was always amazed that folks never thought twice about what they did or believed; they were raised one way, and that's how they were going to die. Tradition is a powerful thing, right or wrong.

I never believed in Good Friday. And if you asked me, I couldn't tell you where the tradition came from, or the religious doctrines surrounding it. I dare say the majority of them couldn't tell you why they observed it, either. They just always did. And when I was among the Catholic people of Brazil, I celebrated Good Friday along with them, and I never preached that they should give up a part of their heritage because I didn't think it was doctrinally sound. But as I celebrated with them, I became a part of their culture and was no longer a stranger among them. Not to mention I had a good time and made new friends.

There is a higher mandate which people seem to be born with, and that is the need to be in fellowship with the other human beings around them. It is more important than personal morality, political cynicism, hypocrisy or enlightenment. Children don't care about these things, why should they suffer for them?

[ Parent ]
Religious Culture (2.00 / 1) (#231)
by Wah on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:09:40 PM EST

I spent two years preaching and baptizing in Brazil. Trying to get people to think about their traditions, and why they were incorrect (at least according to my religion, anyway). I was always amazed that folks never thought twice about what they did or believed; they were raised one way, and that's how they were going to die. Tradition is a powerful thing, right or wrong.

I spent two years thinking about traditions, why they were incorrect, how people never thought twice about what they did or believed, just how they were raised. Then I decided not to go on a mission (if that, indeed, is what your two years entailed).

Not trying to be offensive here either, just throwing another spin into the discussion.

Religion is one of the few cultural aspects that we have some choice in (at least some of us do). There is one thing that I think you are correct about, the need for the fellowship of other human beings. However, this need can vary greatly from individual to individual. Personally I think most over-the-top religious folks are on the high end of this need spectrum. They are the ones that spoil the bunch as it were, since they cannot imagine a world where someone could exist without what they have.

I think the problems and contention start to develop when one makes judgements of the other. When you've stepped from peer to judge, it causes problems, mainly because you are then forcing a worldview on someone who has a different perspective. While you may have absolute faith in your own opinions, that doesn't make them right for anyone else. Which brings this back slightly on-topic, at least in respect to why I voted this entire article down. Not for the perspective it was offering, but in the judgement and guilt it proclaims.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Judgement (none / 0) (#244)
by Caranguejeira on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:30:24 PM EST

I don't disagree with all of the things you say. I suggest, however, that it is a difficult thing indeed to express an opinion on an issue, largely moralistic, without implying a judgement of sorts. A judge may force a "worldview" one someone who is under his jurisdiction and mete out his own form of justice. A critic may question, imply or persuade; and from his judgements, no judgement is passed. No sentence is given, and no "worldview" is forced. A man may judge an idea or behavior without judging his fellows. We all make judgements about things, even as your reply judges my supposed intentions of forcing my ideas on another. It is interesting to me that we speak of "opinions" and "perspectives," yet when someone takes offense, they become "judgements" and "guilt."

[ Parent ]
I understand what you are saying (none / 0) (#339)
by Wah on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 01:01:52 AM EST

and my original comment may have been a bit harsh. I would say the difference between opinions/perspectives and judgements/guilt is one of finality. One would be something ongoing while the other has reached a conclusion.

The intentions of my reply concerning intentions would hopefully be covered by "A man may judge an idea or behavior without judging his fellows." But often it is difficult to seperate the two, especially in such a confining context as a web board. The idea of forcibly spreading a culture that has a main tenent of "your culture is wrong" bothers me on various levels, even if it is a culture of peace.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]
but what about the children? (2.00 / 1) (#275)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:43:23 AM EST

Now, what does your kid know about hypocrisy? What does she know about the political views of her parents? She's standing on the sidelines watching the other kids do things because why? To make a statement for her dad? To stand as a testament against the hypocrisy of a nation? Poor kid.

Yes, our child understands our views. My wife and I take the time to explain to her why we don't celebrate holidays and encourage her to ask questions.

My wife and I are doing this to make some huge political point, but to raise our child to be her own person, to be able to think, to be able to make decisions for herself, to not feel obligated to take the path of least resistance. I think it vital that she understand that it is okay to resist the status quo, to stand up for what she believes in.

And yes, this is what she believes in. It is not something we are forcing upon her, it is something we are encouraging her to go through and should she come to a point where she can argue that my wife and I are full of crap and she wants to start celebrating holidays in school, that will be her decision and I will respect it. The sole criteria on this is that she understand her parent's position and can voice sincere opposition to it. If her argument is simply "everyone else is doing it" or "I want candy" she needs to go back to the drawing board and think of a reasonable grounds for dissent.

There is a higher mandate which people seem to be born with, and that is the need to be in fellowship with the other human beings around them. It is more important than personal morality, political cynicism, hypocrisy or enlightenment. Children don't care about these things, why should they suffer for them?

I think you do a disservice to the capabilities of a child. If you train a child to be a child, they don't care about these things. But you can train a child to care about things of consequence. In some aspects the childhood may not be as fun, but her life is more worth living. I want my child's character to have depth.

I will point out that I do think it vital that a parent present information in a manner appropriate to age, but that doesn't mean that I need to entirely shield her from the cold harsh reality that is the world. She can still have a full and rewarding childhood and know and understand matters of consequence.

[ Parent ]

I think you're doing fine (none / 0) (#281)
by Caranguejeira on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:13:52 AM EST

Maybe I don't agree with your position, but I totally respect you for raising your children how you think is best. There is far more value in that than in my views about silly hollidays. I wish more people would take that sort of interest in their kids rather than letting the rest of the world raise them.

Anyway, maybe this post is off topic, but I do appreciate the value you added to the discussion. Makes a man think.

Best of luck to you.

[ Parent ]
A Sad Day for K5 (3.68 / 22) (#50)
by Aztech on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 11:14:32 AM EST

I think this story is ill considered; it's mixing the recent volatilities in the Middle East, religion, politics and history, quite a potent combination and makes people descend to their lowest common denominator.

One of the reasons I went off The Other Site was the blatant blind jingoism; I always hoped K5 would never go down the same path.

People rattle on about how great their country is, how bad everywhere else is, without actually knowing the facts. They also bleat on about what other people have done wrong, what "they" think happened in history (again, avoiding irrelevant things like fact), I feel sorry for the people who have been fuelled by skewed national propaganda or media.

There should be some discussion about keeping K5 international, however I’m sad to say this story and follow up posts have descended into the same stupidity and ignorance as slashdot, including impoverish national stereotypes and insults.

slovakia (4.00 / 3) (#129)
by hany on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:00:09 PM EST

"People rattle on about how great their country is, how bad everywhere else is"

well, here in Slovakia it is common complaining about "how bad is here" and "how better is in some other country".

:)


hany


[ Parent ]
Blood Boiling? (2.81 / 16) (#86)
by speek on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 09:48:13 AM EST

I recommend ice applied to the groin and armpits. If that doesn't help, you may need to fill a bathtub and submerge yourself.

I apologize if that was too US-centric for you.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees

While I have the opportunity... (2.43 / 16) (#88)
by porovaara on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 01:14:32 PM EST

I know this isn't the best place... but I want and feel the need to say this.

I've never protested anything before. In fact I've made fun of fur protestors in front
of the NM stores in downtown SF ("protesters suck/protesters go home" a mr show
skit).

But...

IF Isreal starts a war I will be involved in every protest there is, if our bone headed
country back them. I am so sick of Isreal acting like a frickin asshole at every opportunity
simply because they know they have a big brother (the US) to blindly stand behind them
no matter what stupid things they do. Lets be honest here... Isreal sits around pushing
the buttons of it's neighbors continually and we continue to be behind them, to the
chargrin of the rest of the world. Why? For a country that is supposed to be drive purely
by oil in the mideast when it comes to Isreal we get all confused. We should be siding
with everyone but them...

Sorry for the rant, but our pathetic stuck in the 70s foriegn policy is really annoying me.



Flags (3.09 / 11) (#89)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 04:29:57 PM EST

You know, the proposed flags, like .sigs, are voluntary bits of information. Simply putting your country code in your .sig would likely do the job.

farq will not be coming back
Flags (2.00 / 8) (#90)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 04:30:10 PM EST

You know, the proposed flags, like .sigs, are voluntary bits of information. Simply putting your country code in your .sig would likely do the job.

farq will not be coming back
About the flags: (3.06 / 15) (#94)
by simmons75 on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 07:02:37 PM EST

While we're at it, why don't we put a race/ethnicity flag on there too? I mean, if we're going to separate out the kuro5hin readers by nationality, why not introduce further bigotry?
poot!
So there.

Sweden is a model of peaceful colonization? (4.26 / 19) (#112)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 12:22:02 PM EST

<flame>

It seems to me that Sweden is just as bad as the rest of the world despite boxed's statements.

My home country of Sweden has done some pretty damn horrible things to the laps, I admit, but they only inhabit a small part in the north, we didn't drive them from our the land we now inhabit. In central Europe there has been no native tribes to drive away, it is the native Europeans who drove everyone else out.

First, we have the admission that the Sami have gotten the short end of a bad bargain. What we aren't told is that there is good reason to believe that they were originally more widespread than what boxed allows for.

From the entry in Britannica about the Sami.

The Sami are the descendants of nomadic peoples who had inhabited northern Scandinavia for thousands of years. When the Finns entered Finland, beginning about AD 100, Sami settlements were probably dispersed over the whole of that country; today they are confined to its northern extremity. In Sweden and Norway they have similarly been pushed north. The origin of the Sami is obscure; some scholars include them among the Paleo-Siberian peoples; others maintain that they were alpine and came from central Europe.

Perhaps the Sami did not originally cover all of what is now Sweden, but the almost certainly covered a good deal more of present day Sweden than they did before being pushed north.

Britannica also briefly mentions that the same types of social engineering to destroy the cultures of the Sami as the US has been guilty of in regard to its natives took place in Scandivavia. Apparently it is only recently that the Sami have been given any sort of equality with Swedes.

The Scandinavian countries periodically tried to assimilate the Sami, and the use of the Sami languages in schools and public life was long forbidden. In the second half of the 20th century, however, attention was drawn to the problems of the Sami minority, which became more assertive in efforts to maintain its traditional society and culture through the use of Sami in schools and the protection of reindeer pastures.

Given the relocation of the Sami and given the violent struggles between different Viking tribes and later the Finns and the Swedes and between differing Swedish aristocrats, I don't think that Sweden is a contender for being a country that wasn't founded by displacing or conquering the original inhabitants of it's land mass. Its history is just as ugly and brutal as most other nations.

For crying out loud, Sweden used to own Finland before "losing" it to Russia. This is hardly the peace-loving and neutral country that partisans claim it to be. There are plenty of decent books and plenty of online resources so anyone who wants can delve into Scandinavian history. Please do so.

And do note, I am not singling Sweden out for treatment. The point I am attempting to prove is not that Sweden is any worse than any other country. My point is only that Sweden is no better than any other country. If I weren't married to a woman who despises the cold (defined by her as anything under 60 degrees Farenheight) I'd consider relocating there. As it is, New Zealand or Australia looks much more likely.

</flame>

Thanks for listening to my counter-ranting.

Samis (1.50 / 2) (#120)
by caine on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:23:21 PM EST

The Sami people have always lived far up north, for the simple reason that their whole existance is based around reindeer breeding, which is impossible too far south. And yes the Sami have been treated very badly, but personally I prefer a country to have gone from being bad to being better, than the opposite which is the case with the USA.

--

[ Parent ]

Thanks! we need more non-flamers here :P (1.60 / 5) (#121)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:23:29 PM EST

"The Scandinavian countries periodically tried to assimilate the Sami.." Assimilate yes, not exterminate as in America. This is the crucial point I am trying to make. All countries have a bloody past, but very few have history of genocide: more or less all American countries, Germany (although historically very late), Japan to name a few.

[ Parent ]
continuing quibbles (3.50 / 4) (#130)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:00:10 PM EST

"The Scandinavian countries periodically tried to assimilate the Sami.." Assimilate yes, not exterminate as in America.

From my reading of Scandinavian history (which to be honest before this weekend consisted entirely of a teenage fascination with Norse mythology some fifteen years ago) it seems to me very likely that the exampt same process took place with the Sami in Scandinavia as took place with the differing tribes in the Americas. More sophisticated (technologically) people moved in and wanted a given bit of land and pushed the natives off where necessary.

I'd also be willing to wager that the Swedes at that time used the same types of nefarious tactics as the British/French/Spanish/Portuguese/American people did in the new world. If the Eurpoean conquest of the Americas had happened prehistorically I would expect the record to read largely as the Swedish record does.

Speaking of the record, there have been very few attempts to actually exterminate native Americans. A good deal of re-location to less attractive lands and a good deal of socio-economic persecution. But very few attempts at total eradication. Though, those did exists in various times and places as well.

But what do we know for sure about what took place in Sweden? Comparatively, not much. That hunter/gatherers gave way to agrarians. That agrarians gave way to Vikings. That Vikings eventually calmed down and started builiding empires. That Swedes took over a vary large chunk of Europe by force of arms and were eventually beaten back.

I can't imagine that the agrarian Swedes just magically transmorphed into Vikings. I imagine that the Vikings made short work of the less war-like previous inhabitants. I don't know the exact geographical places that were once inhabited by the Sami, but I'd be willing to bet a very large sum of money that Sami territory in Sweden was once far, far larger than at present. I also doubt that the Finns and Russians subdued by Swedish imperalism had a very good time of it either. Then there are also the victims of Viking raids. I doubt the women of other parts of Europe enjoyed being serially raped and/or turned into slaves.

As mentioned before, its no worse than the rest of world history, but neither is it any better. One could argue that Swedish history is perhaps not quite as brutal as some other places in the world, but then one runs into the problems of the Viking tribes that were quite fond of raping and pillaging. (Not that all Vikings did such, but certainly a good deal did and of that good deal that did a good portion of them were Swedish.)

All countries have a bloody past, but very few have history of genocide: more or less all American countries, Germany (although historically very late), Japan to name a few.

Don't read a whole lot of history do you?

In WWII Croatia attempted to cleanse itself of Serbians. They deported about thirty thousand Jews to Germany to be taken care of by Hitler. The Croats did manage to handle the extermination of over half a million serbs by themselves.

Then, if we go back or forward in history in the former Yogslavia we find the Serbians being the mass slaughterers of Croats.

We can look at the Crusades, which were largely (but not entirely) exercises in genocide.

That's simply what I can think of off the top of my head. I haven't even started on Asia or Africa. Genocide has long histories there as well. Genocide is much more prevalent in history than one would like. In all honesty, I could go on and on and on. Genocide happens very frequently throughout history all over the world.

The Jewish scriptures start out by giving God giving genocidal orders to the soon-to-be Israelites to clean out the holy land. Within those divine orders is the mandate to not even spare the lives of women or children. At times I wonder how a tribe like the Hebrews, themselves victims of genocide in Egypt, can go on to inflict the same carnage on other peoples.

Given the Torah is many thousands of years old, genocide is hardly a new concept. It has been around for a mighty long time and very few countries have not been guilty of one form or another of "ethnic cleansing."

Have a day,

-l

[ Parent ]

*sigh* (2.25 / 4) (#163)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:45:26 PM EST

From my reading of Scandinavian history (...) it seems to me very likely that the exampt same process took place with the Sami in Scandinavia as took place with the differing tribes in the Americas. More sophisticated (technologically) people moved in and wanted a given bit of land and pushed the natives off where necessary.
With one crucial difference, and I'm getting annoyed at having to say this over and over again, there was NO GENOCIDE! Jesus, how hard is it to see the difference between a small government that has a differnt ethnic heritage and a big group with another ethnic heritage coming in and killing the natives to replace them? It's a HUGE difference for crying out loud!
I'd also be willing to wager that the Swedes at that time used the same types of nefarious tactics as the British/French/Spanish/Portuguese/American people did in the new world. If the Eurpoean conquest of the Americas had happened prehistorically I would expect the record to read largely as the Swedish record does.
Wtf is up with this groundless speculating? The Swedes migrated into Sweden from the south when the ice retreated 10000 years ago, there has been no other big group moving in since then. In fact, we didn't even meet the Samis until historical time since we had no buisiness to go up to the cold and inhospitable land in the north before. There was no real contact between Swedes and Samis until at least the 1500's!
Speaking of the record, there have been very few attempts to actually exterminate native Americans
Ehem, well that's a matter of personal opinion. You had wars all inhabitants had not only the right to kill indians like their were weed but they often did.
But what do we know for sure about what took place in Sweden? Comparatively, not much. That hunter/gatherers gave way to agrarians. That agrarians gave way to Vikings. That Vikings eventually calmed down and started builiding empires. That Swedes took over a vary large chunk of Europe by force of arms and were eventually beaten back.
*Sigh* This is hideously wrong. The hunter/gatherers LEARNT agriculture. The vikings WERE agrarians. And that about cooling down and starting to build empires is just so riddled with prejudices that I'm not even gonna answer it. The viking were NOT driven back for that matter, they married in the society they took power over and within 2 or 3 generations where assimilated.
I can't imagine that the agrarian Swedes just magically transmorphed into Vikings. I imagine that the Vikings made short work of the less war-like previous inhabitants
Well that's becuse your imagination is fucking broken, jesus. You obviously haven't got a faintest clue as to what the vikings where so please just give it a rest. The viking where traders and farmers. A small part went on wars and since they where trained by a harsh enviorment they kicked ass. That and the fact that there was practically no real opposition at the time. Read some history or read Dune.
Don't read a whole lot of history do you? [several examples of genocides cut away for breivity]
I said "to name a few", which part of "few" sounded like "all" to you? I am perfectly aware of the fact that genocide has happened a lot, but you seem to think it is the normal way of life and that's fucking absurd!

[ Parent ]
research (1.50 / 2) (#224)
by szoth on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 09:26:50 PM EST

You make some very strong claims about Swedish history, and make no references. It looks like you are comparing what you imagine of Swedish history with what you imagine of American history. That leaves you in a fairly poor position to complain about someone else speculating about history.

Also, the "Genocide" of Native Americans was not so aggressive as the events we usually reserve that word for. Certainly very few resources where dedicated to the project, and it was carried out in a very disorganized way. It would be more accurate to say that Natives were simply overwhelmed by settlers. In some cases this means murdered, in some cases this means relocated, in some cases this means out competed for resources. And in many cases Native Americans murdered settlers. Keep in mind that the Natives that were encountered by European settlers, had replaced previous cultures.


-- Listen and be Heard http://PopularVoice.Org
[ Parent ]

References and stuff (2.00 / 3) (#248)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:46:10 PM EST

"You make some very strong claims about Swedish history, and make no references." this is what I could find mostly. Finding references on the internet is very hard. I could give you the ISBN number of a lot of history books in swedish but I don't think that would do you much good :P

[ Parent ]
Incredible! (2.00 / 1) (#276)
by minusp on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:48:47 AM EST

Read some history or read Dune

Wow... you make me want to deny my Swedish heritage... from now on I will only refer to the Norse side :P
Of course, Norway was still subject to Sweden when my people escaped....


Remember, regime change begins at home.
[ Parent ]
One man's genocide is another man's ... (1.50 / 2) (#290)
by blp on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:00:03 AM EST

Ehem, well that's a matter of personal opinion.

Exactly what do you mean by genocide? How many Native Americans were kill while the US was expanding? How are current US citizens responsible for any killing done over 100 years ago? I am a US citizen and I have never killed anyone let alone commited racial genocide. Why do I keep being blamed for it in this discussion?

I can no longer sit back and allow: Communist Infiltration, Communist Indoctrination, Communist Subversion and the International Communist Conspiracy to sap and inpurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
[ Parent ]

Move to NZ? (1.33 / 3) (#206)
by tonyk on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:28:05 PM EST

Your wife despises the cold and you're thinking of moving to NZ? Yes, its hot during summer, but most of it gets pretty cold (as in snowing) during winter. IMNSHO I think you should think of some place nearer to the equator.

[ Parent ]
Blah Blah freakin' blah (3.60 / 25) (#114)
by electricbarbarella on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:05:32 PM EST

American: "America r00lZ d00d!"
Person of Other Nationality (usually Canadian or European): "Fuck you America. You're a bunch of arrogant bitches."
A: "Blah blah blah blah world wars 1 and 2 blah blah be speaking german now"
O: "Yadda yadda we'd have handled it yadda been around for much longer than you yadda yadda yadda we do things better here"


Will both of you please SHUT THE HELL UP!

Honestly. Every country has its pros and cons. America does some things better and some things worse than other places. Now will you all please shut the hell up and argue about something thats worth my time to read?

-Andy Martin, Home of the Whopper.
Not everything is quantifiable.
User Nationality (2.55 / 9) (#118)
by Jade E. on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:20:56 PM EST

I don't really care either way on the flags by user names, as long as they're optional. However, I'd kind of like to see an anonymous entry on the user prefs page for nationality, and get some rough percentages of how many k5 readers are from where. I've seen boards with thousands of readers where maybe 3 or 4 weren't in the US or Canada, but I have a feeling k5 is a lot more international in scope, since intelligence has always seemed to me to be more of a geographic distribution than a cultural one. In raw acreage, the US is a pretty small percentage of the world.

central europe (2.75 / 4) (#127)
by hany on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:50:48 PM EST

well .. central europe have at least two "things" to complaint about after reading your article:

1) kelts: they were "here" before slovans (slovans are now dominating this and other areas - with exceptions of course)

2) hungarians: they come from asia after slovans settled central europe area; doing "something" they are dominating part of central europe too


hany


just had to get this in (2.75 / 4) (#131)
by .iMMersE your soUL in LOVE on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:08:01 PM EST

Ireland has never driven anyone out to get the land that we have. I'm sure that you all know the story so I won't go into it.

I would be happy to hear from anyone who can disagree with me on this point.

I only posted this because no country had yet been found that fit the criteria in that article.

l8rs, evan


.iMMersE your soUL in LOVE

Re: just had to get this in (3.00 / 1) (#136)
by micco on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:31:29 PM EST

Legend has it that St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland. I was once told that the origin of this myth is that St. Patrick's armies purged Ireland of "pagans" who tattooed their bodies with snake symbols, etc. If this is true, it means that the culture of ancient Ireland was "driven out" even if the natives (at least those who converted to Catholicism) weren't.

Note that I have no idea if this story is true. I was told this by a Wiccan tattoo artist who was working on my snake tat, so the source is dubious at best. I'd be interested in any reference to the historical accuracy one way or the other, and I only bring it up to point out that the "invaders" don't necessarily have to drive out the natives in order to destroy a previous culture.

[ Parent ]

Saint Patrick and the snakes. (none / 0) (#146)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 03:13:48 PM EST

Your wiccan tatooist was feeding you a line. I don't know about the origin of the tale of Saint Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. But you can read a bit more on St. Patrick here.

In a nutshell, Saint Patrick evangelized Ireland well before the word mission became a euphanism for conquest. With a few notable exceptions, it wasn't until sometime after the millenium (1000 ce) that countries were being converted by the sword. It wasn't until the state took over Christendom that the largest and most grotesque atrocities started piling up "in the name of God."

[ Parent ]

the snake thing (none / 0) (#150)
by .iMMersE your soUL in LOVE on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 03:40:45 PM EST

saint patrick got here sometime in the 5th century AD. he was sent to convert the pagan irish and not many more details are known to be true about him.

The snake story is dubious at best as it seems likely that there never were any snakes in Ireland (I've never seen one here. maybe thats because they were driven out. i wonder how that would work)

All in all it was unlikely that the conversion of ireland to christianity was a bloody affair. There's another story about how the shamrock came to be associated with saint patrick and that is that when he was trying to convert the a clan chief he used a shamrock to represent the father, son and the holy spirit but this is also dubiousn as we were told this when we were about 10 years old ;-)

l8r, evan
.iMMersE your soUL in LOVE
[ Parent ]

The Celts only made it to Ireland in the Iron Age (none / 0) (#140)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:45:25 PM EST

From this article at Britannica.com:

The problem of identifying archaeological remains with language grouping is notoriously difficult, but it seems on the whole likely that the principal Celtic arrivals occurred in the Iron Age.

Given that the Celts were not native to Ireland do you still make your claim that the Irish have never driven anyone out?

As something of a tangent, the challenge was to come up with a country that was not formed through conquest of the natives or by driving out the natives.

[ Parent ]

you're right (none / 0) (#148)
by .iMMersE your soUL in LOVE on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 03:28:43 PM EST

It's true that the celts didnt arrive until the iron age the only problem with all this is that it was about 300BC and no one really knows what went on

The original people were thought to have arrived around 6000BC and significant settlements were not there until about 3000BC (neolithic)

sincerest apologies for my error (the celts had crossed my mind though)

l8r, evan
.iMMersE your soUL in LOVE
[ Parent ]

Re: just had to get this in (none / 0) (#162)
by a humble lich on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:42:50 PM EST

As someone already mentioned the Celts didn't arrive till the Iron age. Besides that most of Irish mythology is a series of different people invading. More historically the Irish dove the Vikings out in around 1000 AD and some are still trying to drive the British out :-)

[ Parent ]
right to an extent (none / 0) (#301)
by .iMMersE your soUL in LOVE on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:26:59 PM EST

we were only really invaded by the celts, the vikings and the british

we ARE the celts, the vikings were sent packing but not until after setting up many cities and towns and integrating to an extent with the natives.

we all know about the british but really, seen as we didnt invade anyone ourselves because we're too small (im sure if we had more people we would have gone around kickin everyone's ass, such are we, the irish)it doesnt apply.

My this discussion has been a learning experience ;-)

l8r, evan
.iMMersE your soUL in LOVE
[ Parent ]

How uplifting (3.70 / 10) (#141)
by jxqvg on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:47:19 PM EST

Boxed, this isn't aimed at you, but at the discussion that ensued:

Reading these posts is wholly uplifting! I thought ignorant pro-US idiots were unmatched in the world, but if anything is clear from reading the discussion today, it's that the horse-headed nationalism of many other countries(we won't name names) far surpasses any US effort to date.

I've seen a lot of gushing posts about "our longstanding national, cultural, blah blah blah" heritage, but what I take away from it is that long standing culture makes for increasingly narrow minds, significant laurel resting, and a great deal of latent jealousy from the world's has-beens. Frankly, I think the US is probably losing much of the spotlight it has/had(and don't even tell me it never existed -- refer to previous paragraph), so I'm glad to see that we'll all have more company than just the French(<-- before you get all emotional and sh*t, know that this is a joke. That means that French reputation in the US and outlying areas for arrogance is to be considered purely anecdotal) when we fully enter into has been status.

See ya soon!

[sig]

n-lingual (3.20 / 15) (#143)
by ralphph on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 03:04:10 PM EST

Heard this one when I lived in Japan:
People who speak 3 languages are called tri-lingual.
People who speak two languages are called bilingual.
So what do you call people who only speak one language?

American.

(before you flame, I am one).

jokes/languages/proximity (none / 0) (#186)
by oleandrin on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:57:46 PM EST

This is going to be true wherever you have a large space in which the gross majority of the people speak the same language. See how many Japanese answer a "Do you speak xxxx?" question with "sukoshi dake desu.." :)

I live in San Diego, CA, USA, right near the US-Mexican border. Most people here know at least some amount of Spanish. Most of them know a good deal of Spanish (myself included). And we have a significant number of bilingual people.

Obviously I can't speak for other countries, but I'd imagine that on a continent like Europe, with many countries coexisting in relatively close proximity, people would have more opportunity for coming into contact with foreign languages and customs.

But, in any culture you're going to find exceptions--either people who are grossly overnationalistic or misinformed (I once had a discussion with a Swede who insisted Arpanet began in Sweden), but the thing is, those are extreme cases, and chances are the majority of the populace holds much more rational views and is much better informed.

Ok, this is getting longer than I intended. Anyway, it's a funny joke, and like other country-based jokes it's not accurate, but I think most people understand that.

[ Parent ]

Monolingualism in Australia (4.00 / 1) (#209)
by hypatia on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:39:30 PM EST

This is going to be true wherever you have a large space in which the gross majority of the people speak the same language.

This is largely true of Australia, and many of the bilinguals are migrants or children of migrants (there is a rising number of cultral intermarriages in Australia, and since the common language of the parents is often English, it becomes an English speaking household).

The phenomenen is aided by the difficulty of getting to other countries from Australia.

I once met someone from England who was astonished I'd never been to another country (she'd been to European countries a lot) who understood a bit better when I explained how much it costs when you have to fly.

[ Parent ]

Arpanet (none / 0) (#258)
by caine on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:45:36 AM EST

I once had a discussion with a Swede who insisted Arpanet began in Sweden

What? Didn't you know that ARPA is a branch of the Swedish goverment? Oh...you didn't? =) There a Swedes that exceed even the worst American in national bigotry and in being stupid. (And yes I'm a nationalistic Swede too, I just pride myself with being a tad more knowledgeable (but who am I fooling?)).

--

[ Parent ]

I disagree (2.88 / 9) (#149)
by Rainy on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 03:35:49 PM EST

First comment: judaism is not one of the biggest, but it is one of the major religions. It is well known around the world. It's historically well known. Old testament is part of christian religion, too, so these 30% christians at least *know* judaism far better than sikhism. I think most people would agree that it is a major religion, at least people who are not theologically invested into a competing religion. I think i have a pretty neutral view, being an atheist. Anyway, to the second point: he wasn't correct but it makes no damn difference at all. To begin with, Normans did conquer Britain, sweden tried to conquer russia, so if you guys live on your own land exclusively (well, cept for britain), it's not for the lack of trying. Besides, it's hard to pass on responsibility from one generation to another.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
this is exactly what I'm talking about (2.00 / 3) (#151)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 03:58:51 PM EST

First comment: judaism is not one of the biggest, but it is one of the major religions. It is well known around the world. It's historically well known. Old testament is part of christian religion, too, so these 30% christians at least *know* judaism far better than sikhism. I think most people would agree that it is a major religion, at least people who are not theologically invested into a competing religion
You are making HUGE assumtions based on your cultural heritage. Go to China or India and ask anyone if they know anything about Judaism. In China I know that practically everyone knows nothing about any religion whatsoever since the knowledge has been surpressed by the government. That's 1 billion people right there with no knowledge of Judaism right there, and I doubt the situation is much different in terms of knowledge in Africa or India. You may be an atheist but you still look through the Christian looking-glass of our culture.
To begin with, Normans did conquer Britain, sweden tried to conquer russia
Yes, they conquered the land, but they did NOT exterminate the people who lived there before. The conquering people got assimilated over time. This is something totally different from what has happened in the US.

[ Parent ]
Britain (none / 0) (#158)
by a humble lich on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:28:21 PM EST

The Normans may not have exterminated the natives, but the Saxons did a good job of driving away the Celts when they invaded. I think driving all the Celts into Wales is similer to what happened to the Natives in the US, Australia, and Japan.

[ Parent ]
celts in wales (none / 0) (#175)
by nomadlogic on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:27:14 PM EST

here here! i was waiting for someone to say that...and while were at it how about the scots, the basque????

[ Parent ]
haha (3.00 / 1) (#177)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:36:19 PM EST

So you think that Wales is as sucky a place to live in as the Indian Reservoirs or the Ainu's cold part of Japan? Haha, I don't think people from Wales will agree :P

[ Parent ]
Extermination in the United States and Elsewhere. (none / 0) (#159)
by Alarmist on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:31:52 PM EST

Yes, they conquered the land, but they did NOT exterminate the people who lived there before. The conquering people got assimilated over time. This is something totally different from what has happened in the US.

Hmmm.

Then what did happen in the US? English settlers (primarily) landed on the eastern coast of the North American continent and spread across the land to the western coast. Along the way, they did a lot of dastardly things (killing the Amerinds, making deals that they later broke, forcing them to move, ad nauseam). Tribes did die out. But there was not, as I recall, a systematic, widespread attempt to kill every Amerind there was. There was a lot of looting, raping, killing, and forced moves, make no mistake. But there was not a master plan to kill every Amerind in sight, no matter what individuals at the time might have said. The United States government fought a war of conquest, but it did not fight one of total extermination.

In the Central and South Americas, the story was slightly different but essentially the same. This time, replace the English settlers with Spanish conquistadores. Again, people were killed, raped, robbed, and forced to move, but there was an added element: slavery. Many of the natives were forced into slavery to mine gold for Spain (a lot of said gold wound up in England's coffers because of rampant piracy, and Spain itself saw its economy destroyed by unchecked mercantilism--gold has no intrinsic value, and its change from a rare to a common good debased it to the point that the economy collapsed). Millions (and we will never be entirely sure exactly how many) died, more from European diseases than from Europeans themselves. Again, though, this was a war of conquest. It was not a war of total extermination, else why bother with forcibly converting the natives to Christianity, as happened on a wide scale?

Few wars of total extermination have been fought. One such was the Second World War, when one of the major participants (Nazi Germany) had as one of its stated goals the slaughter of every Jew they could lay hands on. That is a war of total extermination. What happened in the United States, while lamentable in its own right, was not. Many individuals proclaimed that they'd like to see every Amerind dead, and several actions took place specifically for the purpose of killing said people (even noncombatants or people who had not acted in a way meant to provoke the US), but there was not a unified policy of mass killing. There was no official order handed down from on high to kill every Amerind, else why bother with forced relocation and reservations?

So far as assimilation goes, I'll somewhat agree with you: the native Amerind populations were not assimilated (and have not been assimilated) into US society, mostly because the US government is fond of treating the remaining Amerind nations as conquered nations that happen to reside inside US borders. Some attempts at assimilation were made, but this was of the forced variety and usually linked to some sort of religious motivation. Similar attempts were made in Australia with the aborigines, and to a certain small extent elsewhere (Poland under domination by Russia, for instance). Cultural assimilation can happen on its own and not as a part of any official policy, and this is the way in which such assimilation normally takes place. The exceptions usually involve incomplete assimilation and tensions between subcultures (visible in the US between many blacks and whites; Reconstruction was to have been an attempt to assimilate ex-slaves into US culture, but failed for many reasons) that can explode into violence at the drop of a hat.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not proud of many of the things in my country's past, and I wish that I could change them. However, we are not universally guilty of some of the things that you seem to be accusing us of, and you seem to forget (or brush aside) the idea that the sins of the father are not the sins of the children. I feel bad about what happened to my ancestors (and at the hands of my ancestors), but I wasn't responsible for it. How long do you and people like you want to go on acting as if we are?

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

heh, you could have said that in fewer words.. (2.50 / 2) (#176)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:34:22 PM EST

I feel bad about what happened to my ancestors (and at the hands of my ancestors), but I wasn't responsible for it. How long do you and people like you want to go on acting as if we are?
As long as you don't admit your sins of course. Oh I know you personally do, but the American government doesn't, and the general attitude in the US is still the same. When I see a country humbled by the crimes it has commited, like Germany or Japan after WWII, then I will stop my bashing. I feel ashamed as being part of the same species as the nazis, the american colonists (not of course the settlers who didn't really do anything), the australian colonists (again, not the settlers), the Japanese nationalists who butchered Chinese, the Chinese who butchered the Tibetans, the Swedes who took the land from the Samis, the Rwandans who performed the genocide there, etc, etc, etc, etc. Any human who doesn't feel shame at the human history and thinks that he/she is better than their ancestors and won't make the same mistake need some sense knocked into their heads. "The prize of freedom is eternal vigilance", never forget it!

[ Parent ]
Jefferson sez: (3.50 / 2) (#215)
by Snomed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:58:23 PM EST

"The prize of freedom is eternal vigilance", never forget it!

I think what Thomas Jefferson said was, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance," although it's clear from your comments that you got the idea right.
------------------

[ Parent ]

whoops (2.50 / 2) (#246)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:32:15 PM EST

heh, sorry, I mix up british spelling with american all the time. Thanks for pointing it out.

[ Parent ]
um.. (4.00 / 1) (#304)
by Rainy on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 03:19:55 PM EST

I think prize means something you get if you win a contest in both american and english, while price means something you pay for a product in a shop, again in both.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
jikes (3.00 / 1) (#315)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:00:25 PM EST

Oh damn, you're right, I had no idea. Thanks for the enlightenment.

[ Parent ]
bull (3.50 / 2) (#305)
by Rainy on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 03:24:29 PM EST

I don't feel ashamed for something I didn't do. We're all responsible for our actions, and for our actions alone. Besides, what's the use of your being ashamed? Did you go into reservations and help those indians? Did you go into africa and help them? Did you sign up for salvation army? No, you sit here on kuro5hin and say how we should all feel responsible for what us colonists did 300 years ago. You must feel so proud.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
You're still missing the point. (3.00 / 1) (#307)
by Alarmist on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:06:42 PM EST

As long as you don't admit your sins of course.

They're not my sins. Understand? I did not have slaves. I did not kill Amerinds. I did not treat women as second-class citizens. I did not say, "Screw the poor, so long as I've got what I want." I haven't done any of this, yet you used a brush that catches every US citizen.

I didn't do any of those things. Why should I apologize for them? I'm a student of history, but even I am not stupid enough to waste my time moaning about what happened in the past. Instead, I'm trying to make sure that the mistakes made then don't get made again today, or tomorrow, or any other time. I want people to realize that bad things happened, but the way we recompense those who were wronged should not be to bend over backwards for their ancestors but make sure that it never happens again, to anyone.

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

so? (none / 0) (#303)
by Rainy on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 03:15:39 PM EST

Look, 'major' is a sliding scale. Judaism is well known in Russia, Europe, US, and it's dispersed throughout the world and it's well visible. Sure there might be 150 million indians living in some india region that all are into one flavor of hinduism, and they perhaps number more followers than judaism, but it's still a localised, unknown outside that region. I'd count christianity, islam, hinduism, judaism and buddhism as major religions. What annoys me is that you put some political message into this: I still think all of them are damn idiots, and being a major religion is just being more of an idiot society, so what? As for colonists, again, perhaps you are right but what does it matter? So, let's say english colonists (who descent from norman colonists anyway) were more efficient at replacing original population, what follows? That your kin was just too lazy and/or stupid to do that? They sure as hell weren't human rights activists. Besides, much of the indian population here, some estimates say as much as 90% died due to various diseases. Colonisers just moved in the empty land for the most part. I think if Brits were as separated from europe as indians were, they'd too die out for the most part and be replaced by normans. At any rate, this discussion is pointless cause you can neither prove or disprove something that happened then - for gods sake, we can't even figure out who killed JFK, which happened in the middle of our century and was observed by hundreds of people and huge resources were immediately thrown at it, and now you want to argue who was worse, american colonists or normans? You're out of your mind.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Sorry about my assumption (2.60 / 5) (#155)
by brandtpfundak on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:10:53 PM EST

Since I was quoted as one of the reasons for this rant (and yes I realize that many people have backed up why I included Judaism as a major religion) I thought I would weigh in. I was listing those three religions as how influential I thought they have been on the world. The origins of both Christianity and Islam have their roots in Judaism and this influence is directly related to the current crisis in the Middle East. If you'll remember, my post was a criticism of US policy in the Middle East.

I am a US citizen, but I have been toying with the idea of living abroad (my first choice would be Canada.) I rarely agree with US foreign policy and find that I am appalled by how many US citizens act in foreign countries (I hear stories from people all over the place.) I think nationalism is a silly concept and US nationalism is usually enough to make my stomach turn.

Boxed is right--usually Americans can't see beyond their own noses. But not all Americans are that way. The problem with Boxed's rant is that it hints at his/her own nationalism. If you are going to bash US nationalism, you should bash your own.

Although I must admit that Sweden is indeed cool. Any nation that is responsible for things like Girlfriendo and Benno Radio is okay in my book.

Swedes, as I have seen, have wonderful taste in indiepop.

Brandt

thanks (3.00 / 1) (#174)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:23:11 PM EST

Thanks a lot for that. I realize I should have bashed Swedish nationalism if I were to be fair, but it is a rant after all :P

[ Parent ]
probably OT, but here goes... (3.00 / 5) (#178)
by theSpartan on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:38:51 PM EST

I've not really followed this discussion, as I believe it's pointless for a bunch of us to rate each others religions, countries, or policies. Anyway... I don't have a take on history many times, as everyone who opposes someone's views usually tells them their history books or facts were wrong to begin with (right before they "correct" the person), but as I watch the news right now about the conflict in the Middle East, I have noticed something disturbing. Granted, it's not Europe or one of the World Wars, but how come the leaders of some of these Mid-East nations are BLATANTLY asking for U.S. help or support, or at the least for the U.S. not to help/support their enemies. I thought everyone on the planet (outside of America, and even within) seemed to think that the U.S. is a worthless country with little value other than our economy, and even that isn't enough for some people. Every argument involving America and Europe eventually turns to WWI/WWII and how Europe ought to be thanking the U.S. for it's assistance, of course it's followed by the obligatory "we were just fine without you, thanks". Does anyone else think of these things, and the worldview of America in general, as Clinton and Co. arrive there to try and clear the air (where is the rest of the world, or why is America at all compelled to go alone then?). Perhaps the media puts the wrong spin on it, but I was under the impression that the Mid-East, along with many Europeans it seems, have nothing good to say about America. If the U.S of A defuses the situation in the Middle East (I don't think that they can) will anyone remember it in these discussions later? Doubtful. If they don't accomplish anything over there, will they be remembered as having failed or being the only ones that even attempted an amicable resolution? I've heard it said that "a man is remembered for his faults, not his virtues" and it seems to me that the societies follow this theory also (yes I am talking to both the Euro-Snobs here and the American Bigots). Peace

Causes of peace (none / 0) (#192)
by djabji on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:25:19 PM EST

If any sort of peace emerges in the middle east, it will be because of consessions made by Isreal and Palistine, not because of the americans. The american/EU/Russian involvement in the issue is just to act as a catalyst for discussion and to take credit for it when the smoke clears.

[ Parent ]
Oh I see.. (none / 0) (#203)
by theSpartan on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:12:57 PM EST

..what side of this debate you're on. I tried to make a (pardon the term) nonpartisan post, and you troll an answer out with such opinionated b.s. ..who cares what the media claims...what country besides America is over there trying to cool things off? Doesn't it count for something that they are even trying? Not with you, I guess ...just try and think for a minute about why you're even answering my post, instead of thowing out such misguided and unneccessary commentary as you've just done (does the U.S. media's reaction really have a place in this discussion anyway?). Do you or don't you think that (even if her citizens are asking for it) that America is becoming either a global benchmark or an international whipping boy? Oh yeah.....I already commented on what I think of American involvement in the Mid-East matter, so I don't think your portentous speculation will even matter to anyone else but Gore, who will just claim more about the "wonder" of his party's achievements or goals.

[ Parent ]
ehm... you're seeing this from a strange angle (2.00 / 2) (#213)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:48:26 PM EST

what country besides America is over there trying to cool things off?
First of all America isn't a country, the US is. Secondly the US has been supplying weapons to the Israelis for a very long time now. I personally don't feel that giving one side in a conflict really nasty weapons (rumour has it even nukes) cools things down.

And to answer that question: Norway, Sweden for example. I am very biased in this since I live in Sweden, so I don't know of any other countries.. you're free to fill in. The US backs up the Israel side WAY more than the Palestinian side. Does the US give water to the Palestinians when the Israelis take practically everything for example? I don't think so.

[ Parent ]

wait a minute (none / 0) (#220)
by theSpartan on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 08:34:16 PM EST

So America SELLS weaponry..is that a national policy endorsed by the citizenry, or just something a number of ethically misaligned beaurocrats have done for money or self interest? Do you really believe that supplying another country with weapons implies that the sellers (or their countrymen!) condone EVERYTHING that buyer does with them? Just look at American ghettos, or even Columbine to ask yourself if sellers consider the potential of their consumer's purchases before finalizing the purchase. Judging from your response above, you seem to think that the U.S. had this conflict in mind when it supplied weapons to Israel...here are your words: "I personally don't feel that giving one side in a conflict really nasty weapons (rumour has it even nukes) cools things down." .... so America just started to give the weapons AFTER the conflict started (you seem to imply this) or they gave the weapons to Israel KNOWING that this conflict would happen (you could even be implying this...sorry, but your statement was pretty vague to me). To get back on track..are you then saying that Norway/Sweden have also sent their HIGHEST ELECTED OFFICIAL to the Middle East when you say "And to answer that question: Norway, Sweden for example. I am very biased in this since I live in Sweden, so I don't know of any other countries.. you're free to fill in"? I'm wasn't aware that has happened. Even if it's just a photo-op or useless goodwill mission, why are you so against America receiving any praise or commendation for even going over there? Try to give evidence when you answer instead of political-conspiracy theories about best-interests, oil, or money in any fashion, because I'm certain that if the U.S. was truly threatened, they would have responded differently (and may yet). What did you intend to say with the comment about supplying water? "The US backs up the Israel side WAY more than the Palestinian side. Does the US give water to the Palestinians when the Israelis take practically everything for example? I don't think so." I believe that the U.S. tried to help as many Vietnamese and Japanese as was possible with humanitarian aid while they were at war with those countries, and they're not even at war with the Palestinians. At any rate...you're nitpicking and comparing apples and oranges...I guess I've got to admit to myself that you have some insecurities about America, and wanted to voice them. I love to hear your opinions, so let me just come out and ask you....why are you so against America? Have you stopped looking across the ocean long enough to notice the problems that Sweden has or faces? At any rate, if you'd like to continually tear down another country that accomplishes a lot of good AND bad (but more positive things, although I don't think that you'll ever admit that) then feel free. I just think that you are turning a blind eye to all the good that America may have done, and starting a one-man smear campaign, all because you don't like a small proportion of that country's actions as of late. Oh yeah...thanks for telling me that America is not a country...you're really good at telling people what they need to say, eh? Grammar Nazi..tsk tsk.. I stand in awe

[ Parent ]
reply... (3.00 / 2) (#243)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:23:08 PM EST

"Judging from your response above, you seem to think that the U.S. had this conflict in mind when it supplied weapons to Israel" well duh, the conflict has been in effect since the day the Israelis returned to Palestine from Egypt. If the US didn't have the conflict in mind they were being very blind.

"To get back on track..are you then saying that Norway/Sweden have also sent their HIGHEST ELECTED OFFICIAL to the Middle East" God no, we've only sent qualified negotiators. The fact that your president happens to be a good negotiator is beside the point.

"I'm wasn't aware that has happened. Even if it's just a photo-op or useless goodwill mission" Ehm, you've never heard of the Oslo-treaty or what? That was the basis for the entire peace process. If you didn't know, Oslo is the capital of Norway *hint*.

"I believe that the U.S. tried to help as many Vietnamese and Japanese as was possible with humanitarian aid while they were at war with those countries, and they're not even at war with the Palestinians" ehem, well.. technically the entire war in vietnam was to support a fascist government to prevent a communist party (with over 80% public support) from gaining power. That single act is in my opinion not very humane. And well.. you did drop the two atom bombs over Japan, killing more people than you lost in the entire war, 99% civilians though. Back to the issue though: who is not in war with the palistinianst? The Israelis certainly are, why would they want a peace treaty otherwise? ^_-

"Have you stopped looking across the ocean long enough to notice the problems that Sweden has or faces?" Have you?

"I just think that you are turning a blind eye to all the good that America may have done" Sorry, the debate (/flame) went in that direction. "all because you don't like a small proportion of that country's actions as of late" well... I don't like a small portion of some of the inhabitants actions. Why I'm taking this up at all is because those small errors are blown up to gigantic proportions because of the influence the US is having on the entire world. The over all influence is good of course. I'm continually trying to make the influence stronger in some areas, most prominantly the language area. (My dad always hate it when I say that we should dump swedish and move over to english :P) Anyhow, the influence is there and so you have a responsibility to control what you influence. I'm just doing my part in trying to make people see what needs to be fixed. The key word in that sentance, I fear, is "trying" :/

[ Parent ]

Intolerance is easy, boxed...see... (none / 0) (#256)
by theSpartan on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:29:35 AM EST

http://www.dreamscape.com/willp/phil/evil/sweden.html

[ Parent ]
NOTE: The web page you requested does not exist (none / 0) (#278)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:01:11 AM EST

I copied and pasted the URI: http://www.dreamscape.com/willp/phil/evil/sweden.html and got this lovely little message:

NOTE: The web page you requested does not exist or the address was entered incorrectly.


[ Parent ]
ehm (3.00 / 2) (#283)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:33:45 AM EST

You're making a valid point. But if I were to dig on the internet for similar sites bashing the US, would I find more sites with more to bash about, or the other way around? The US-centricity of the citizens of the US doesn't just hurt themselves, they hurt the entire world. The same can not be said about Sweden or any other country in Europe (except maybe France and England). The closed minded view of the world that is very often seen in the US is also present in Europe, it would be strange otherwise, but we've been shaken out of the worst of it because of the Cold War and all it's twists and turns. After Tjernobyl no swede can ever think in isolationist ways again: we couldn't eat fish or mushrooms (both very popular in sweden) and the amount of elk we could eat was severely limited because so many had too much radiation in them. Of course, with the advent of internet and international trade I'm assuming the US will be knocked out of it's sleep pretty soon.

[ Parent ]
giving credit (4.00 / 1) (#341)
by djabji on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 01:06:23 AM EST

Ugh, you have looked past the point of my post to find offense over the tangent at the end. Therefore I will restate my point, hopefully, then you will see what I mean, instead of treating my post as food for your anti-american persicution complex (which is understandable given recent threads).

Credit for the peace process needs to be given primarily to the Isrealis and the Palistinians. The other parties involved most likely are a big help, but the power for peace rests in the hands of those who live in the combat zones. There are huge issues that need to be solved in Isreal and Palistine, most of which I would say are the (fundamentalist relegious) attitudes of both people. No ammount of outside intervention will solve these problems. These problems will only be solved by people opening their minds to the other side of the story.

To give credit to the UN, Egypt, Jordan, the USA, or the EU is like giving credit to the doctor who prescribed the patch for a 40 year smoker kicking the habit. Or like crediting a marrige counciler for saving a marrige from the brink of bitter divorce. Of course there is some merit to such praise, but a much higher ammount of praise is deserving for the people who showed the resolve and made the actual sacrifices.

[ Parent ]

Bah....this is garbage (3.77 / 9) (#179)
by mrflibble on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:39:35 PM EST

Just as you are complaining about "americans" who make assumptions about the rest of the world, you are making assumptions about americans. You are just as guilty as the people you are lashing out against. Sure, there are lots of people who can't look beyond our borders. But you make yourself no better than them by doing the same. You assume all americans are like that. Please, don't waste my time by making half-assed assumptions about me. I deserve a hell of a lot more than being reduced to a assumption.

-mrflibble

Oh really? (1.75 / 4) (#185)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:57:45 PM EST

Who the fuck are you to tell me what I think? Read my rant again and you'll clearly see that I in no way accuse all americans of being stupid, I mean jesus, I'm not some kind of raving lunatic! If I really thought what you claim I wouldn't even have learnt american english.

[ Parent ]
Try showing at least some reason (3.00 / 1) (#195)
by itsbruce on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:43:27 PM EST

Who the fuck are you to tell me what I think?
He didn't tell you what to think, he objected to what you said. He has just as much right to do that as you did to express your own opinion.
I mean jesus, I'm not some kind of raving lunatic!
You're doing a good impression of one in this post. If you can't handle disagreement you shouldn't have posted in the first place.

--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
handling disagreement (1.50 / 4) (#200)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:03:42 PM EST

oh I can handle disagreement (as is clear if you had read the rest of the debate), what I can't handle is the kind of groundless accusations people keep throwing at me. Before this article went up on the main site the discussions were very nice and productive. There was reasoning not like this kind of flaming.

[ Parent ]
Quality of debate... (1.00 / 1) (#389)
by Alanzilla on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 12:10:43 PM EST

You're the one who responded with profanity. That doesn't help your the-debate-was-fun-and-helpful-until-you-came-along argument.

You're just an anti-American bigot. Don't try to claim you're anything else. It's okay. You have a lot of reasons to have an inferiority complex.



[ Parent ]
erm... (4.00 / 2) (#197)
by mrflibble on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:52:12 PM EST

Well, to answer your question, I'm a free person excercising my right of opinion. But that shouldn't need to be explained here.

The fact that you labelled the people you were lashing out against implies that you are grouping them together and making assumptions.

Do you think it's right for Jewish people to accuse a person of stereotyping if someone else says "Jewish people have curly hair and big noses" ? Yes, of course it is. That's what stereotyping means.

Just like when you rant about Americans thinking that the American continent is the entire world. When you make that statement you are saying "Americans (read "most Americans", if not "all Americans"), since you don't say a fraction of Americans.

Besides, if you are upset because of what a small fraction of a population thinks, then you have other issues. I mean, if 0.3% of the population of the world thinks Swedes are complete idiots, well who cares? But if 30% does, then that's obviously worth getting worked up over. The fact that you are ranting implies that you think a considerable amount of people think the way that you are complaining about. I'm just merely countering the logic of that and saying that it's not true.

-mrflibble.

[ Parent ]
to answer you further accusation (2.50 / 2) (#199)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:01:19 PM EST

Ehm, I labelled americans who can't see beyond the US borders as "stupid", is that very strange? And I grouped together all these "stupid americans" true, and as the comments that followed showed I was correct in part at least. Comments like "you would all be speaking German if it wasn't for us" speaks for themselves. As I said before, if you think I think all americans are stupid, read the rant again.

[ Parent ]
ok... (4.00 / 3) (#202)
by mrflibble on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:11:16 PM EST

I've read the rant several times and it's tone still sounds like what I said is true. Remember, what you think and feel is obvious to you, but not everyone else. When you write something and it's not COMPLETELY clear exactly what you mean, you invite speculation and inference as to what your thoughts and motives are. This may be hard for you to understand because, after all, you understand clearly how you feel, but those feelings aren't always conveyed very well in writing (without the help of 'tone of voice','facial expressions', etc...). I'm just trying to say, I believe your post is incendiary and assumptory....it may be that you didn't intend it to be, but I don't have the benefit of seeing inside your mind. I can only go on what I read. If you contest that you aren't intending it to be incendiary and assumptory, then fine, I can accept that and believe it. If you say that you don't think all americans are stupid, ok, I believe you. Sure there are americans that are stupid, there are stupid people everywhere in the world (yes even Sweden), and maybe even in higher percentages here. But you have to be careful when you use a word that describes a nation of people in a derogatory sense. I'm just saying be careful. It should be obvious from the rest of the posts that I'm not the only one that took it as inflamatory.

I harbor no ill will, I just sometimes resent being on the receiving end of "anti-american" sentiment in the international community (and believe me there's alot -- just try travelling abroad with a US flag on your backpack)

-mrflibble

[ Parent ]
hmm.. ok (2.50 / 2) (#208)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:36:16 PM EST

I've read the rant several times and it's tone still sounds like what I said is true
Well it was a rant written in more or less pure rage :P
I harbor no ill will, I just sometimes resent being on the receiving end of "anti-american" sentiment in the international community (and believe me there's alot -- just try travelling abroad with a US flag on your backpack)
True enough, but also consider that I am on the receiving end of American imperialistic idiotism. And believe me there's a lot, just look at the strange and sometimes totally mad arguments carried forth in the arguments following this article.

[ Parent ]
Guess I goofed (3.66 / 3) (#219)
by mafried on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 08:16:05 PM EST

...totally mad arguments..

I'm sorry, I didn't realize that it was perfectly acceptable to group and label US citizens as "imperialistic idiots", but was not OK to do the same to the Swedes, Croats, Japanese, British, Spanish, Russians, Portuguese, Israili, or any other group of people outside the North American continent. I'll keep that in mind next time.

-mark

[ Parent ]
argh (2.00 / 2) (#240)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:58:34 PM EST

Why does this always end this way? I am not grouping normal healthy americans with the kind of idiots I'm ranting about. Is there some new rule in semantics that suddenly went into force without my knowing? "american imperialistic idiots" doesn't mean that all americans are idiots, no more than it means that all idiots are imperialistic.

[ Parent ]
Has the front-page bug come back? (4.00 / 10) (#193)
by itsbruce on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:31:33 PM EST

How else did this bile get there? It's confused flamebait and bigotry and most of the responses seem to be in the same style.
There has been a lot of comments lately by americans who seem to think that the American continents are the entire world. It's pissing me off!
Even if you had gone on to elaborate on that point, I'd probably have voted to dump (had I been around when this went up for submission). It would be hard to write a story on this theme that wasn't itself bigoted and even harder to phrase it in a way that didn't provoke a flamewar. Boy, did you fail bigtime on both counts! (For the record, I'm European).

I am no longer amused. There were like 20 comments to this article but no one noticed that that's a blatant lie!
Then go and respond to those comments in that article, where your remarks would have relevance and context. If you see a debate that you think is going wrong, say so there and try to put it right. Creating a whole new story about it is just egotism and bound to make things worse. For example, I could submit a story saying "Don't start a new story whenever you object to the way a discussion is going..." but instead I'm saying that to you, here, now, where it should be said.

Judaism is in no way big enough to be counted among the three biggest religions, no matter what the US and Israel thinks
And the relevance of this to your title line is? Either you should have chosen a different title and introduction or you should stuck to your original subject. Did you mean to say that the comments about Israel and Judaism show a specifically American viewpoint which is being expressed loudly at the expense of other viewpoints? Then you should have said so (and I would still have voted to dump).

Your story is the most childish and flamey I have ever seen submitted here and I just can't believe it made the front page. The standard of debate that follows it is appalling. Both you and those who voted this to the front page should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves.

I was against the idea someone had before of displaying a flag next to your nick but now I see the wisdom in that
And this only makes me more certain that it's a stupid, stupid, stupid idea.

--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
troll (1.66 / 3) (#198)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:56:54 PM EST

you're trolling way more than I did, and your arguments are poor. Read the discussions below and you'll see that I am not as wrong as you state, and that I'm not the bigot you try to make me, it's a RANT, it's supposed to be flame:ish

[ Parent ]
More insults but no more reason... (none / 0) (#266)
by itsbruce on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:51:52 AM EST

you're trolling way more than I did, and your arguments are poor.
But you won't or can't say why, you just toss out more insults. I laid out my reasoning, why can't you do the same?

My comments aren't trailed by smoke and flame and I've been marked up - you are stoking the flames all over this story, about one third of all the messages are from you and they've mostly been marked "1". I'd say the community has made its own judgements about who is the troll.

--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
major religions (3.55 / 9) (#201)
by djabji on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:07:01 PM EST

CONTEXT, PEOPLE

the original quote on Judaism, Christianity and Islam being the major religions was in the context of the recent Isreali/Palistinian conflicts. In that context, those three religions are the only relevent ones. The spark that started this conflict (if my vague understanding is correct) is Abraham's tomb. Now how many hindus really give 2 shits about what happens to Abraham's tomb? Jews do, because Jews directly decended from Abraham through Isaac. Arabs do because they directly decended from Abraham through Ishmeal. Christians do because Abraham was a major character in the bible, and a father of the faith (Jews and Islam also make this claim).

Christianity and Islam would not be relevant to any conflict over what happens to Zorroaster's grave.

haha (2.00 / 2) (#204)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:16:05 PM EST

It's "Zoroaster" or "Zarathusthra", not "zorroaster"

[ Parent ]
Beautiful Missed Chances (2.66 / 6) (#205)
by HypoLuxa on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:18:52 PM EST

My fingers got all itchy and I was looking forward to an uppity debate on this when I read the teaser. Unfortunately, it's as if the teaser and the article are about two different things. There is plenty of nasty mud to be slung in the area of US nationalism (or arrogance, depending on the point of view), and I was disappointed that this rant didn't spark any of it.

Just for the fun of it, here is my attempt to start a discussion on this. It's easy to take the argument against US arrogance, so I'll throw out some arguments for it:

  • America's problems become the worlds problems
  • The economy of the entire world is dependent on the economy of the United States (see the recessions of the early '90s)
  • The United States has driven, either through invention, innovation or investment, every major technological breakthrough of the 20th Century
Ok, so maybe that's a little heavy handed. If you think so, tell me why.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
ehm, scroll down (2.00 / 2) (#207)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:29:39 PM EST

I believe the debate you were looking for is here if you just scroll down a bit. I still appreciate the effort though.

[ Parent ]
"US has driven every breakthrough" (none / 0) (#350)
by spiralx on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 08:32:23 AM EST

Whilst I appreciate the amount of research that goes on in America, did you know that 56% of all patents issued since the second world war come from Britain according to a recent Japanese study (no link, sorry).


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Almost (none / 0) (#388)
by wheely on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 10:28:37 AM EST

I'll agree to some extent with the first two points although I think the emerging economies in South East Asia and Eastern Europe are less influenced by the American Economy.

As to the last assertion, I've heard this said before and it seems that even the more enlightened U.S. citizens are starting to believe the enormous amount of U.S. propaganda. Maybe it's not propaganda and maybe it's just Hollywood's disregard for history that is to blame but I'm shocked at some of the things I hear U.S. citizens believe about the rest of the world.

There are many innovations that came from the States but the majority do not. The Japanese have been accused of never inventing anything, just improving what already exists. You could argue that much American "innovation" is really marketing. Witness the electronic calculator, the computer, radar the aeroplane, the jet engine etc. These are often perceived as American inventions but historical research shows that they are not.

Having said that, America has much to be proud of and has undoubtedly been a major contributer to recent technological achievement. Just claiming all of it is a bit over the top.

Regards

[ Parent ]
Swedish Invasions (3.62 / 8) (#212)
by szoth on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:47:21 PM EST

From the title it appears that you want to complain that Americans dominate the discussion on K5 with topics that wouldn't interest a Swede. You don't pursue this line of thinking, and I'm glad. If that's not the subject of the rant then you must be complaining that Americans are unusually biased.

The first example grazes the subject, although given the topic of the middle east peace process you can imagine why the author didn't have the Sikh religion in mind. Other's have noted why someone might consider Judaism to be a major religion so I won't go there.

The next example looks to be based in some of the more jingoistic ideology imaginable. You would like to claim that the people who live in Sweden have more of a legitimate claim to their country's territory than, for example, Americans do. aside: I use the term "Americans" because that's what we call ourselves, and because "America" is in our nation's official name.

Well right away, anyone reading your post is going to be suspicious that you're motivation is jingoistic. I took a look in Britannica for a bit of Swedish pre-history. The first paragraph describes a hunting and gathering culture around 9000BC, then:

New tribes, practicing agriculture and cattle raising, made their appearance about 2500 BC, and soon afterward a peasant culture with good continental communications was flourishing . . . The so-called Boat-Ax culture (an outlier of the European Battle-Ax cultures) arrived about 2000 BC and spread rapidly.

It sounds like no one knows how these cultures replaced each other but I can make an educated guess ;)

I notice that you went back and forth with other readers over differences between European invasions and the character of the US's spread westward. All I want to say here is: it's pretty hard to know how much of a culture has been lost, and how much has been adopted by their conquerers, when that culture has been gone for hundreds or even thousands of years. It is naive to think that just because we don't remember how a people were subjugated or exterminated, that it must have happened in a kinder and gentler manner than similar better documented events. But if I am accusing you of hypocracy here, I imagine that a Finn, a Norwegian or a Lapplander could add a little emotion to the accusation.


-- Listen and be Heard http://PopularVoice.Org

Oh I agree totally on the first parts but... (2.50 / 2) (#239)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:54:08 PM EST

It sounds like no one knows how these cultures replaced each other but I can make an educated guess ;)
A culture doesn't have to spread by anything but human contact you know, and I'm betting this is what happened. You know why I'm so sure of this? Because agricultural ideas and practices spread like that all over the world.
It is naive to think that just because we don't remember how a people were subjugated or exterminated, that it must have happened in a kinder and gentler manner than similar better documented events.
Is it? To me it seem cynical to think that all cultural and ethnical movements were bloody. "Survival of the fittest, not of the strongest" is something that should be applied here I think because that is what happened for the most part in the world. The simplest proof for this is that extermination is just way to energy inefficient. No species or subspecies in nature drives away another species by exterminating them, they just out-fit them so to speak. Humans aren't that much different from any other animal after all.

[ Parent ]
Maybe it boils down to your views on human nature (none / 0) (#241)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:59:55 PM EST

It is naive to think that just because we don't remember how a people were subjugated or exterminated, that it must have happened in a kinder and gentler manner than similar better documented events.

<u> Is it? To me it seem cynical to think that all cultural and ethnical movements were bloody. </u>

OTOH, we know that the interactions between the Romans and the Goths were often bloody. I think it's unfair to make an assumption *either way* --- but, throughout recorded history, the bloody transitions have been more numerous than the non-bloody ones.



[ Parent ]
the illusion of history (2.50 / 2) (#245)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:30:31 PM EST

but, throughout recorded history, the bloody transitions have been more numerous than the non-bloody ones

I'd say that throughout recorded history, the recorded bloody transitions have been far more numerous than the recorded non-bloody ones. The point being that a non-bloody transition isn't noticed because it's not bloody but quiet and peaceful. If something isn't noticed it's not written down. This is the same phenomenon as the belief that there is more violence in the world now than "the good old days" (regardless of how you define that): Media wants good ratings, and you get that from war. Ancient historians weren't different. Or rather their writing was subject to the same forces anyway. If you wrote about war people copied your writings and preserved it, but if you wrote about booring peace it got thrown out in the trash.

[ Parent ]

How much ancient history have you read? (4.00 / 1) (#272)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:16:10 AM EST

Media wants good ratings, and you get that from war. Ancient historians weren't different.

Two points that illustrate why I hold a different opinion.

(1) I can't speak with authority on all ancient historians, but at least many of the ancient Roman histories I've read a good deal have dealt in enormous detail during periods of peace.

(2) What we know of history is not restricted to what historians wrote. About two years ago I read a fabulous book (sadly I can't remember the name) that contained personal letters written by people living in ancient Rome. Studies of letters, of archaeology, etc. can give enormous insight to what has happened in the past.

While there are situations where we don't know how a transition occurred, I think it a fallacy to state that ancient historians were as obsessed with war as the modern media.

[ Parent ]

I don't see how (2.50 / 2) (#282)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:19:32 AM EST

While there are situations where we don't know how a transition occurred, I think it a fallacy to state that ancient historians were as obsessed with war as the modern media.
Why? I for one have a hard time believing that human nature should suddenly have changed for the worst. You've obviously read about Roman history, so I'm guessing you're familiar with the quote by Plato where he says that the youth of "today" is rude, has filthy language and has no respect for the elders. Human nature simply doesn't change that much. If you look at it closely I think you'll see that media of today isn't actually as obsessed with war as you might think, it's just that the media we notice is. In the same way it's the historical records of war we notice. A good example is the Vikings who are seen in the entire world still as brutal beasts who did nothing but wage war. Why do they think this? Not because it's true no, but because it's a good story to tell your grandchildren.

[ Parent ]
Ancient history (2.50 / 2) (#295)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:23:26 AM EST

You've obviously read about Roman history, so I'm guessing you're familiar with the quote by Plato where he says that the youth of "today" is rude, has filthy language and has no respect for the elders.

I know enough of Roman history to know that Plato was not a Roman. I know enough of Greek history to know that Plato was a Greek.

Other than that I mostly agree with you. Escpecially the point about human nature:

Human nature simply doesn't change that much.

Which is why I think it much more likely that the Vikings won their territory by conquering the existing tribes than by peaceful assimilation. It is also why I think it far more likely that the agrarian cultures that existed in Scandanavia prior to the advent of the Vikings did not develop into the Vikings. Human nature does not simply change overnight. Societies at peace tend to remain at peace until provocation. Societies at war tend to remain at war until quashed.

A good example is the Vikings who are seen in the entire world still as brutal beasts who did nothing but wage war.

This is an excellent point. I do think it deserves much attention and I also think that you subconsciously subscribe to such a belief. Never have I stated in any post that the Vikings were an entirely violent people (or more correctly entirely violent groups of people). However, you have consistently interpreted my assertions and references of Viking violence to mean that I believe that all Vikings were incorrigably violent.

regards,

-l

[ Parent ]

still strange views on the vikings (3.00 / 2) (#314)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 05:58:42 PM EST

It is also why I think it far more likely that the agrarian cultures that existed in Scandanavia prior to the advent of the Vikings did not develop into the Vikings
Well some agrarian culture developed into the Vikings. Occams razor clearly states that "nordic tribes develop new boats and starts trade" is more likely than "some tribe develops new boats and moves up to the nordic areas, conquers it, then starts trading with this newly conquered area as a base". And it is also clear that your understanding of what the concept of "Viking" includes is lacking. The Vikings were primarily peasants, a small part were traders and an infinitisimal part were warriors. (The warriors did not have horns on their helmets either, so if you believe that the rest of your "knowledge" about vikings is most likely screwed up too.)

[ Parent ]
warrior light, warrior bright, first warrior i see (2.00 / 2) (#319)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:16:48 PM EST

The Vikings were primarily peasants, a small part were traders and an infinitisimal part were warriors.

Of course, the warriors were basically the only people the rest of Europe had contact with. :)



[ Parent ]
The only ones they remembered (2.50 / 2) (#328)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:01:43 PM EST

"Of course, the warriors were basically the only people the rest of Europe had contact with. :)"

(yeayea, I see the smiley but I'll reply anyway). "They only remembered the warriors" is closer to the truth, since the vikings were all over the place to trade. This is not very strange when you consider how much the Viking warriors kicked ass :P

[ Parent ]

historical analysis of the vikings (3.00 / 2) (#351)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 09:10:18 AM EST

Greetings again, boxed.

Well some agrarian culture developed into the Vikings. Occams razor clearly states that "nordic tribes develop new boats and starts trade" is more likely than "some tribe develops new boats and moves up to the nordic areas, conquers it, then starts trading with this newly conquered area as a base".

This is a misapplication of Occam's razor. Occam's razor, entia non sunt muliplicanda praeter nessitatum (sp) translates to "entities must not be mulitplied beyond necessity." Occam's razor does not mean that the simplest explanation is the most likely to be correct. Occams's razor states that when forming hypothesis, one must not make unwarranted assumptions.

To assume that the simplest explanation is that the transistion from the agrarian society to the boat axe society happened in Scandinavia is to make an assumptions that there is no evidence for. Now, if you know of archeological finds of transitional stages between the artifacts left by purely agrarian societies and those left by the boat axe societies, then you have information that is not included in the hypothesis that I support and your hypothesis may indeed be superior.

My theory that a boat axe culture invaded Scandinavia to replace the agrarian culture is somewhat supported because we know that such a transition happened many times over in similiar situations in other geographical areas. This doesn't mean that my theory has to be the correct one, but IMHO it has more support from the historical record.

It is more parsinomious to assume that one outside force existed (an invading tribe or tribes) than to assume that some combination of external and interior pressures accumulated to push the agrarian tribes in Scandinavia to culturally evolve into a more war like society.

And it is also clear that your understanding of what the concept of "Viking" includes is lacking. The Vikings were primarily peasants, a small part were traders and an infinitisimal part were warriors. (The warriors did not have horns on their helmets either, so if you believe that the rest of your "knowledge" about vikings is most likely screwed up too.)

Actually what is clear is that your understanding of my understanding of the Viking tribes is lacking. I'll repeat the same allegation that I made earlier and received no response to. Your constant assumption that simply because someone initimates that the Vikings had some violent tendencies that that person believes that Vikings are entirely defined by such tendencies is completely unwarranted. In the context of a discussion about violence visited upon the native residents of a given landmass, of course the violent aspects are going to be what comes out. I no more think that the Vikings were a completely and incorrigably violent society any more than I think every soldier in the Crusades had raping and pillaging in mind when they signed up or any more than I think every voluntary soldier in the US army has in mind gutting people with a bayonet when he or she signs the enlistment papers.

If the discussion was about the impact of poetry or religion or culture or economics, different aspects of the Viking tribes would be presented depending on the context. In a discussion about war and genocide, the violent aspects get discussed.

<flame>

I also find it quite interesting that you often flame people when you use the same arguments or tactics that you interpret them as using. For example, in another thread you make the stereotypical claim that every man woman and child in the US has easy access to firearms when this is nowhere near the truth. And yet you go on to harangue me becuase you perceive that I make similiar assumptions about the Vikings. Another example is that in another thread somebody screwed up the name of the found of Zoroasterism and you jumped their boat and then somebody else corrected grammar or spelling as a rebuttal in one of your posts you flame back sarcasm to the effect of "now there's a strong argument."

I also think it quite amusing that you constantly harangue other people for this ignorance of history when your posts are chock full of historical errors such as claiming Plato was a Roman. In light of your historical errors, I have little or no reason to accept your interpretation of Scandinavian history whether you live there or not.

Then there is the little issue of the repeated "I'm sorry but I made that statement in a state of pure rage." It seems to me that a good Zen Buddhist such as yourself would be doing more to become detached from the passions that bog down one's being.

If you want to sit down, take a deep breath and calm yourself, I will be glad to continue this dialogue in a sane and sensible manner where we apply logical forms and support assertions with references to decent scholarship in history. I like a good dialogue and I am certainly open to having my mind changed. But I refuse to carry on in this flame war where my posts are met with replies that sidestep the issue, assume statements that I did not make, use poor logic, and misrepresent history.

</flame>

A lot of your arguments do contain merit and would be much more convincing if you took the time to support them rationally instead of emotionally. Do a bit of research. Take a walk outside if you need to calm down. Respond reasonably and rationally. You'll change how people think much more often than when you simply shoot from the hip.

regards,

-l

[ Parent ]

[OT] Boxed... Please. (3.92 / 13) (#216)
by whatnotever on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:59:37 PM EST

You write with obvious intelligence, but you also write with a huge amount of disrespect. Your replies to peoples' comments are quite often mockingly sarcastic or insulting in other ways. To me, you honestly come across in a very trollish manner. Your writing would have so much more effect if it weren't so offensive. I wish you wouldn't allow personal attacks, etc. to come into these discussions.

Here's a simple example straight from your rant: "... that's just a blatant lie!" You may be saying that solely for effect, but even then, I don't appreciate it, and it is no more than a tactic to increase the force of your argument. There are other examples littered throughout this article and it's discussions...

sarcasm? (2.66 / 3) (#238)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:43:45 PM EST

To my knowlege I never used sarcasm, you must have misinterpreted me.. I hope so at least...

And about that "blatant lie" part.. well.. it was :P and as I said before, it was written in pure rage. As was a few other replies I've made, and those I do apologize for. I have a very short fuse sometimes.

[ Parent ]

Well. :-/ (1.25 / 4) (#223)
by Vetinari8 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 09:24:01 PM EST

No, this story is not the best story around. I would hesitate to say that it is even slightly below a medium-quality story. As for whether it's a good rant... it is, but then again so are KKK rants. I like to see a rant backed up by intelligence, not idiocy and immaturity (yes, boxed, those 'hahaha' and 'fuck off' replies really upped my respect for you and your position -- not. Also, hiding behind 'hey, this is a rant, it's supposed to be flamebait' lowered my respect for this story much more than I thought possible).

I don't wonder why this story made it to the front page, however. Don't we all love a chance to say how great our countries are, don't we all love an excuse to bash on $OTHER_COUNTRY? Such is human nature. Jingo.

I appreciate the story. For a day, you could see people's "true colors" better than if we had adopted mandatory flags.

And I don't know about you, but after reading this story and most of the ensuing "debate", I feel that we'd be better off (as one character in a Pterry novel once said) blowing up the human race and starting over from amoebas.

Hmmm. Good sigmonster. Nice sigmonster. Another set of fortune cookies for you....
--
"You who hate the Jews so, why did you adopt their religion?"
-- Friedrich Nietzsche, addressing anti-semitic Christians

I agree (3.00 / 1) (#236)
by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:40:41 PM EST

This is very true, but there has been some intelligent stuff said here which proves that as a total humans are kinda cool. And of course, this goes for all humans equally (statistically if nothing else).

[ Parent ]
Tragic (2.85 / 7) (#225)
by Rand Race on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 09:29:31 PM EST

What a farce. White Americans versus white Europeans in a holier-than-thou battlefest to decide who fucked the planet up more!

Maybe we can get some Australians to chip in and make this really multicultural.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson

Re: Tragic (none / 0) (#237)
by nickread on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:42:58 PM EST

Hmmm... I'm Australian

I'll be in on that!

[ Parent ]
Europeans are to blame. (1.75 / 4) (#232)
by blp on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:11:19 PM EST

The United States of America stole only a small portion of thier contry from native populations. The East Coast of the United States was taken by the British first. Florida and the Southwest were taken by the Spanish. Most of the central region of the States was first claimed by the French. Alaska was claimed by Russia. The only land taken by the United States was the Northwest, and if we hadn't England would have it because they claimed it at about the same time. The United States of America was started by a revolution against England, then went on to take the rest of the land that was already stolen by England, France and Spain.

I can no longer sit back and allow: Communist Infiltration, Communist Indoctrination, Communist Subversion and the International Communist Conspiracy to sap and inpurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Can you really call them Europeans? (none / 0) (#235)
by magney on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:39:35 PM EST

A considerable part of the genocide against Native Americans was, nevertheless, conducted by citizens of the United States. While they were still, technically, of European descent, that's stretching the point a little.

Still, it's an excellent point that much of the genocide was conducted by people who hadn't been born on the continent, or were only a few generations removed from their European forebears. There wasn't what you'd call much of a multicultural ethic in that era, on anyone's part.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Europeans, Americans (none / 0) (#269)
by karjala on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 08:57:35 AM EST

Still, you're living on stolen property.

[ Parent ]
So are you. (none / 0) (#384)
by Alanzilla on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 06:46:26 PM EST

Still, you're living on stolen property.

That's the pot calling the kettle black. You can tell me that yours only ever changed hands in a pleasant manner throughout its entire history, but you'd be lying (even though you might not know it).

It's like extinction--it happens, eventually. Some sooner; some later.

I didn't steal any property. Get over it.

[ Parent ]
American Noses (3.00 / 7) (#257)
by Fjord on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:31:54 AM EST

Well, even though I'm probably one of the latest posters, i will go ahead and give my 2 cents anyway, take it for what you will.

I personally have lived overseas, in Hong Kong (before the handover, in 1995-6). During that year i also travelled to each continent except Australlia (I really regret that too, it seems like such a cool place). During my time there i came to one conclusion: America has no business overseas. It's expensive, no one likes us for it, and we really need the men back at home instead. The amount of crap i recieved from others for my nation "being all up in their business" was amazing. So, yes, we need to take our people out of other nations. I'm sure we can find something fun to spend the money on instead (can anyone say the world's biggest beo. cluster?)

My serious suggestion would be to send the US' citizens overseas. What truly amazed me upon returning to the US was the lack of any news, whatsoever, from anywhere outside America. It really troubled me for a long time. Why would no one care what was happening to people, just like them, in different places in the world. Natural disasters many times as horrible as anything in the US. Terrible wars in many nations. The list goes on and on.

Why don't they care? Because they don't have to. Please understand that i'm not trying to be imperialistic or anything like that, but it is a simple truth that the US is completely self-sufficient. If the rest of the world ceased to exist except for the US, no one there would notice/care. While that is an exaggeration, it's not too far from the truth. Just take advertising for instance. If something is the "Best in the US" it's the same as the "Best in the World." Don't take it as a slam on anyone, it's just the way things are. Is it right? No. There's so much more to be experienced. What can be done? Convince the media to give the US more of the world around them, encourage people to vacation outside the Americas (both North and South), and removal of US presence outside the US are what i see as a start.

Any other suggestions are probably just as good.

--
No one can force an OS down your throat, you ultimately have to pay for it, one way or another. - rednecktek
.. (4.00 / 1) (#280)
by ameoba on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:07:02 AM EST

What good does news of war, famine, and natural disasters do anyone? I'm reminded of an example from <u>Virus of the Mind</u> (some fluffy book on memetics, by some guy)

In short: Imagine a large chain of small, populated islands. Now imagine that about once a year, on each island, somebody gets eaten by a shark. No big deal, it's just one person, right?

Now, just imagine these same islands having a good communications infrastructure, and a nightly news broadcast covering all the islands. Now, almost every night, somebody's getting eaten by a shark. The problem hasn't changed at all, but now ppl are afraid of sharks.

And why should the average American hear more about the suffering of people around the world? If it's not on TV, most ppl don't care about, or even know the names of, their neighbors.
And before anyone starts complaining about US involvement around the world, just look back at WWII, and remember why the rest of the world has any semblance of Freedom.

As for Americans seeing the rest of the world; with the cost of trans-oceanic airfare, if we were to routinely travel to see the rest of the world, how would we pay for our SUVs, fastfood, and disposable consumer electronics?



Yes... the jingoism is (mostly) sarcastic, but with the incendiary nature of this thread, I can't help but be an ass.

[ Parent ]
Sitting firmly on the fence (3.57 / 7) (#261)
by RiotNrrd on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:54:17 AM EST

How to prase this without annoying one side or the other? btw, I am half Scottish, half South African, I grew up in Italy, studied in the UK and am working for a US company in Germany - all before my 21st birthday. I hope that this will give me a sufficiently wide and unbiased perspective.
I too often get upset by the blinkered US-centredness of a lot of the net, but there are excellent reasons, both historical and cultural, for this. What really upsets me are the sites where this is done deliberately. Not long ago I was reading the news on a site that was linked to off k5 (already filtered out of my history and memory, sorry), and found the post of a UK resident who was objecting, politely and articulately, to the gratuitous insults to Europeans in a previous post, and got ripped apart in a flurry of miss-spelled, ALL-CAPS posts along the lines of WE GOT TEH BOMBS SO FUK U (sic). I am not saying that these attitudes are exclusive to US citizens, but due to the prevalence of US citizens on the net they are that much more obvious. Also in the US there seems to be a lower barrier to entry (don't get me wrong - this is a good thing) than in most of Europe, so the average quality of the offerings is significantly lower. That last was a subjective opinion, and does not so far apply to k5 - it does apply to /. however.
I just hate bigotry in whatever shape or form - everywhere I've gone I have found good things and bad things, and the US has a long list of both. I would prefer not to see the web turn into CNN, whose "world news" only covers one continent. As a friend of mine pointed out, the US are the only country that would hold a World Series in a sport and not invite any other nation. (I haven't bothered to check, as my interest in spectator sports can only be expressed in negative numbers).


-- There is a rational explanation for everything. Unfortunately there is also an irrational one.

thankyou. (none / 0) (#348)
by deadMan on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 08:01:07 AM EST

you have articulated things i have been frustrated with for a long time, and done it well. everything you said is true and i am sure both of us could elaborate.

[ Parent ]
Grammar.. (1.80 / 5) (#263)
by ameoba on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 05:12:06 AM EST

In the English language, it is grammatically correct to use the Masculine form by default. This is the dirrect result of hundreds of years of male dommination of society.

So, why can't Americans assume that everone else is American by default? We run the show...

I don't know if you've noticed... (3.50 / 2) (#265)
by Chakotay on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 05:29:08 AM EST

There's a trend nowadays to use not male, but multiple as default when both male and female could apply, like, "a person could get their head blown off". I don't know how official it is, but I do notice many people say it, and it seems to make some sense.

Ofcourse, one could also revert to "a person could get ones head blown off"...

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]

Still no good (4.00 / 1) (#355)
by mcowger on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:15:07 AM EST

While it is common to do that (a person could get their head blown off), its still wrong. Just because common usage exists does not make it appropriate for written language. That may be the spoken trend, but it is cetainly not the written trend. The written trend is more towards using he and she alternately for a good mix. Yes it is a bit chauvanististic (sp?), but thats nore ason to throw away many thousands of years of language development.
--Matt
[ Parent ]
wtf? (2.00 / 3) (#271)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:11:00 AM EST

This is exactly the kind of arrogance I'm ranting about! The Chinese and Indians "run the show", they're close to a fourth of the world population. The americans are a drop in the ocean.

[ Parent ]
drifting off topic again? (3.00 / 1) (#299)
by theSpartan on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:43:56 PM EST

What about the arrogance of speaking for 2 other nationalities. Are you their defender, now? I just finished reading where you stated that you were only addressing the scum of the U.S. ..now it looks like you're addressing most of the known world...man when are you just gonna give it up? It seems to me your world is only black or white, yes or no, GOOD or BAD. No in between for you, eh? Boxed, can't you see that no country can actually claim the sainthood you seem so bent on bestowing to Sweden or a number of other European countries? Even if a country can claim that they are have done more "good" than another, does that mean that it's citizens (as a whole) are more right or good than the citizens of other countries, also? Stop feeling so threatened by the rest of the planet, and come join the fun, if you can even have any. K5 is still a young site, don't turn your good name into another "Slashdot-Terminal" or "ZicoKnows" if you follow me. Peace man.

[ Parent ]
ehm (2.33 / 3) (#313)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 05:47:57 PM EST

That's not even a comment I wrote. I pointed out the fact that Americans don't "run the show" as ameoba said. This has nothing to do with what you said.

[ Parent ]
Grammar is it? (3.00 / 1) (#296)
by tubofshite on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:36:04 AM EST

Though I would not be a self professed expert in the English language, you must forgive me if I refuse grammar lessons from an individual who manages to fit in three mispellings in as many lines...

[ Parent ]
trying to give a good rant (1.66 / 3) (#267)
by dammitallgoodnamesgone on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:58:46 AM EST

Looking at all the comments I think I'll try and give my opinion (if nothing else after my 21st at the weekend i've finally sobered up). Although the first part of the rant seems unfair it all seems to link into the natural jingoism of americans. This is something that seems to happen every few years (e.g. usenet flooded with jingoism when ID4 came out). I'm not going to say that Americans are any more stupid/jingoistic than any other country, but at the very least that's all the rest of the world can get out of all the media that you pump out. Perhaps it's all the American Media's fault. On another point, about America's importance, ISTR that excluding software patents, etc 3/4 of the worlds patents are British. America is definately not self sufficient, if nothing else it is burdened with one of the world's least efficient education systems. And the only reason that the Middle East is always trying to get America's help is because the rest of the world is fed up with all the fighting there (although my family did leave Iran just before the revolution so I may be a little biased). Oh and the reason America came out on top after WW1/WW2 - look at how far away you were from all the fighting. I have more opinions on the subject but I'd rather read the replys and try not to get too emotional.

What!?!? (none / 0) (#294)
by el_guapo on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:15:17 AM EST

"Oh and the reason America came out on top after WW1/WW2"

Not to get all patriotic (I'm a US citizen, obviously), but you need to go do a little digging - maybe a BIG factor in why we helped win that war (how big a part I leave up to you, I happen to think we were the biggest contributor) is that, oh, I dunno, the US could make more tanks than the Axis could make trucks, we then made more trucks than the Axis could make jeeps (ot the equivilant), etc. etc. - shit, Germany and Japan still had horse drawn equipment for cryin' out loud. US tanks may have been, um, slightly below par in the ole firepower and armor department, but we could almost make more of them than the Axis could make anti-tank shells to take them out (on purpose exageration to make a point). I only use tanks as one example of many. Your statement could not be more wrong. I happen to think that Allied WW2 Vets are some of this planets last true heros.....

"look at how far away you were from all the fighting"

Yea - and go look at how many American GI's are buried at Normandy. This statement sort of pisses me off for a reason, I think, unintended by you - we were far away, but we sent huge numbers of men and machines overseas anyways - to think that American contributions to WW2 were anything less than seriously significant, and to think that victory came only because of our distance from the conflict (you appantly don't realize that the distance was a 2 edged sword) shows a general ignorance of the facts....
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Missing the point... (none / 0) (#318)
by threemile on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:12:41 PM EST

While I certainly do not agree with the statements of the original post, I believe you are missing the point of this statement:

"look at how far away you were from all the fighting"

I think the point was that the war was not on our soil, our homes were not being burned and our industries were not being bombed. It is much easier for spin control and propaganda to keep a people's spirits high when they are not forced to hide in a basement hoping to survive air raids night after night. It was not meant to belittle the obvious loss of life of American soldiers.

[ Parent ]
not what I meant (none / 0) (#322)
by dammitallgoodnamesgone on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:34:02 PM EST

What I meant is that the US's dominance post WW2 is that it did not have to rebuild it's infrastructure to the same sort of level as Europe/Japan. In the short term (by this I mean 30-40 years) it helped, but the countries that had to rebuild the most are now the most sucessful, e.g Japan and pre-euro Germany (tho Germany is a special case as so many other things have happened). Also, many of the most heroic Americans are the rebel units that fought before the US joined in. There is a strong body of opinion in Europe, right or wrong, that America waited til a side was winning before it joined in (and again whilst it would seem that at the point America joined in "Britain stood alone" a basic understanding of strategy shows that German forces were crumbling then) on top of that, the Allies (at the time, read Britain) only declared war on Japan to force the US to declare war on Germany. Many many times I have been told by Americans that the US won the war because they beat the Japanese, conviniently forgetting Mr Hitler. The main resource America provided in WW2 was logiarical, not military - those corpses in Normandy, it is now known, were a badly trained diversion.

[ Parent ]
Stereotypes (2.80 / 5) (#274)
by Dakkon on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:42:16 AM EST

I am no longer amused.

Neither am I particularly. First of all I have no idea how this made it onto the front page. My gut reaction would be that lots of people just wanted a bash the US story on the front page. On top of that piece is poorly written.

Now, I won't deny that a lot of this people don't give a damn about the rest of the world, and a lot of people lump everyone else in the world into one basket and fling indiscriminate stereotypes and insults at everyone equally. However, in this Rant/Op-Ed peice you are doing exactly the same thing in the other direction. You assume that everyone in this country whole heartedly supports our gov't in their foreign policies.

Let me make something perfectly clear, there is a very large percentage of US citizens that vehemently oppose the gov't messing in our own lives, lets alone the lives of people in other countries. I will agree with you 100% that the US gov't, and thats's an important distinction, the US gov't not the US, sticks its nose where it doesn't belong way too often. That does not however give you the right to accuse me of being an asshole just because the gov't of the country I live in is full of assholes.

I have a number of family members and friends from the UK. I have a number of good friends from South Africa. I know a number of people from other European countries. Not everyone in this country believes that the US is the center of all things.

Dakkon

sigh (again) (2.50 / 2) (#279)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:05:12 AM EST

You assume that everyone in this country whole heartedly supports our gov't in their foreign policies
No I don't, the rant is about the scum of the US, not the normal US citizens. Read it again.
Let me make something perfectly clear, there is a very large percentage of US citizens that vehemently oppose the gov't messing in our own lives, lets alone the lives of people in other countries
Well that kind of überliberalism is also something I could've ranted about. The government ows you but one thing: your happiness. Freedom is nothing if you're not free to not wear a bullet proof vest when you go outside.
I have a number of family members and friends from the UK. I have a number of good friends from South Africa. I know a number of people from other European countries. Not everyone in this country believes that the US is the center of all things.
And I have a lot of American friends (as in from the US). This is still beside the point. I rant about a certain and very powerful group of americans who are screwing up for the rest of you.

[ Parent ]
sigh (none / 0) (#286)
by blp on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:45:25 AM EST

No I don't, the rant is about the scum of the US, not the normal US citizens. Read it again.

If you didn't mean every one in the US, why did you direct it at the US with out making any distinction about who in the US you were talking about.

I can no longer sit back and allow: Communist Infiltration, Communist Indoctrination, Communist Subversion and the International Communist Conspiracy to sap and inpurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
[ Parent ]

yes I did (1.66 / 3) (#289)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:57:29 AM EST

read it again

[ Parent ]
Show me (1.00 / 1) (#292)
by blp on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:07:19 AM EST

Show me. I can't see it. I think you may have tried to imply a difference, but in your diatribe of hate you blew it. Quote something from your article that shows a difference.

I can no longer sit back and allow: Communist Infiltration, Communist Indoctrination, Communist Subversion and the International Communist Conspiracy to sap and inpurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
[ Parent ]

jesus, read it again! (2.00 / 3) (#312)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 05:42:52 PM EST

I bash americans who are guilty of the kind of closed-mindedness in the article. If you have trouble seeing that this IS a group, then I suggest you take some courses in descreet math or something.

[ Parent ]
jesus, answer the question! (1.33 / 3) (#317)
by blp on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:10:53 PM EST

I have read it again twice. Now show me were you distinguish between close minded Americans and other Americans. As far as I can tell you don't. If you do post a quote from the article.

I can no longer sit back and allow: Communist Infiltration, Communist Indoctrination, Communist Subversion and the International Communist Conspiracy to sap and inpurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
[ Parent ]

your answer (1.66 / 3) (#327)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:55:47 PM EST

There is only one sentence that even mentions americans in my rant:
There has been a lot of comments lately by americans who seem to think that the American continents are the entire world.
"by americans who.." clearly states that it's a subgroup of americans as a whole. If I meant to bash americans as a whole I could've written something stupid like: "all americans write things that clearly states that they think...". Well I didn't!

[ Parent ]
grammer, boxed, grammer (1.50 / 2) (#330)
by blp on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:45:23 PM EST

Sorry boxed but when you say "by Americans" it means all Americans. If you were to say "by a few Americans," "by some Americans," "by many Americans," or even "by most Americans." Then you would be writing about a subset of Americans. You did not limit this group.

I can no longer sit back and allow: Communist Infiltration, Communist Indoctrination, Communist Subversion and the International Communist Conspiracy to sap and inpurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
[ Parent ]

grammar grammar (2.50 / 2) (#333)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 08:47:09 PM EST

if I say "by americans" it means all americans yes. But if I say "by americans who [qualifier]" it does not mean all americans. Ponder this example: "actions made by americans who own guns", does this mean all americans or a subset?

[ Parent ]
"... seem to ..." changes your meaning. (1.00 / 1) (#343)
by Jade E. on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 03:17:33 AM EST

boxed, what you actually said was:
There has been a lot of comments lately by americans who seem to think that the American continents are the entire world.
When you say '[action] by americans who seem to think [whatever]', we're reading it as '[action] by americans, who all think [whatever] as far as I can tell'. In other words, 'seem to think' comes across as an opinion, not a qualifier to your statement.

Also, I don't think those posters think that the 'American continents' are the whole world. Only North America. ;)

-Jade E.

[ Parent ]

get over generalising (2.66 / 3) (#349)
by deadMan on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 08:18:51 AM EST

i thought the whole pc thing was over, you are basically taking personal offence and demanding that boxed change his wording to make you feel better, posting is not an exact art, i personally have better things to do than add an extra sentence for every point i make to make sure i dont offend picky ppl like you. why dont you even try to see the ACTUAL POINT to what he is trying to say instead of misinterpereting the unimportant bits. if i want to criticize your government and i am already talking on the subject of politics then i will say "the u.s are doing this..." sorry if that offend you but if you dont mind id rather not stop to explain a universally recognised shorthand. i suppose you will want to now know just "who" recognises this shorthand. i dont want to waste my time reading the list, you will just have to catch up with the english language and respect another persons way of communicating even if it doesnt replicate your own.

[ Parent ]
Here, let me help. (4.00 / 1) (#329)
by TrentC on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:05:14 PM EST

For one, the intro to boxed's rant^H^H^H^H"op-ed" piece starts off with:

There has been a lot of comments lately by americans who seem to think that the American continents are the entire world. It's pissing me off!

Now boxed most likely meant something along the lines of:

"There have been many comments from the Americans who seem to think that the American continent is the entire world, and it's pissing me off." (Not meant as a spelling/grammar flame, but since I'm interpreting his words I reserve the right to interpret them spelled correctly.)

But boxed kind of damns himself when he writes:

Judaism is in no way big enough to be counted among the three biggest religions, no matter what the US and Israel thinks.

Intentionally or not, he is guilty of lumping all of us together.

Jay (=



[ Parent ]
Look at the last sentence (2.00 / 2) (#323)
by kapital on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:35:47 PM EST

I was against the idea someone had before of displaying a flag next to your nick but now I see the wisdom in that.

I'm not sure how this can be interpreted any way other than "a poster's country of origin determines the quality of his post". You're not proposing, after all, a "CMA" label for "Closed Minded Americans", but rather stating that all Americans should be lumped together.



[ Parent ]
aha! (2.33 / 3) (#326)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:51:11 PM EST

Ah, now I see it. Thanks for pointing that out. I meant it along the lines of "a flag next to name will show that there isn't just americans here". My motivation for wanting them was that it'd show the wide range of different flags. But you have a valid point. It might be a better idea if there could be some kind of hidden statistics instead so you couldn't see the origin of a certain individual, but you could see the national distribution as a whole?

[ Parent ]
Agh! (none / 0) (#352)
by ds0 on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 09:31:48 AM EST

Let me make something perfectly clear, there is a very large percentage of US citizens that vehemently oppose the gov't messing in our own lives, lets alone the lives of people in other countries
Well that kind of überliberalism is also something I could've ranted about. The government ows you but one thing: your happiness.

That's ridiculous. I don't know enough about the Swedish government to comment on it, but do I know that the US government is based upon the social contract model of government- that is, it's established by the people as a protector of rights. As such, if the government gets out of hand, it is the right of the people to remove it from power. You may not agree with this particular system but you must at least respect it if you expect your own particular beliefs to be respected by many readers from the United States.

Freedom is nothing if you're not free to not wear a bullet proof vest when you go outside.

You are guilty of pro-european jingoism. I don't have to wear a bullet proof vest when I go outside and I never have. Guess what? I live only a few blocks away from some of Chicago's housing projects. Besides, any meaningful comparison between Sweden and the US with regard to issues such as crime/poverty is probably not possible- there are issues of scale and homogeneity of the populace that cannot reasonably be ignored.



[ Parent ]
Kuro5hin (3.00 / 4) (#311)
by Jade E. on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:59:29 PM EST

OK, since nobody else has done it, I'd like to present some facts. I'll try to do so without bias. I won't even jump to the conclusion that I find obvious, since that could bias the view of these facts.

1) Kuro5hin is a public website.
2) In sheer numbers, there are more people with net access in the US than any other country.
3) Kuro5hin is in english.
4) Everyone is jingoistic to some extent.
5) Kuro5hin story submissions are approved by the readers.

I'm done.

-Jade E.

You know, you're absolutely right (2.50 / 2) (#332)
by KindBud on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 08:46:54 PM EST

I was paid a visit by some vendor representatives from Sweden, and you know what? Their cell phones all worked - here in California! I can't even get my damn cell phone to work in my own fucking apartment, for Chrissakes!!

Swedes rule! If it wasn't a deep freeze, I'd move. Who wouldn't want to live in a Star Trek country like that, with a Star Trek society on the cutting edge of technology?

Have I pissed off any Swedes yet? :)


--
just roll a fatty

not really know (none / 0) (#335)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:29:29 PM EST

The only thing wrong with what you're saying is that it's not really that cold in Sweden. :P

[ Parent ]
mental note: sleep before writing stuff (none / 0) (#337)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:30:30 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Wow, you've *never* slept before? :) [nt] (none / 0) (#342)
by Jade E. on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 01:07:52 AM EST

nt == no text, but here's some text anyways.

Hmm, this could be bad for my account, I hope nobody decides it qualifies as spam :)

[ Parent ]

not really no (none / 0) (#336)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:29:36 PM EST

The only thing wrong with what you're saying is that it's not really that cold in Sweden. :P

[ Parent ]
Re: You know, you're absolutely right (none / 0) (#401)
by psergiu on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 10:34:09 AM EST

> I can't even get my damn cell phone to work in my own fucking apartment, for Chrissakes!!

Try using a GSM network operator. I heard they are not so many areas in US with GSM coverage, but if you have a three band phone (900/1800/1900MHz) you drive your car from west to east europe and then in asia or africa and always have strong signal on your phone ...

-- Win a FREE 66Gb VXA Tape drive !
[ Parent ]
Americans != US people (2.66 / 3) (#338)
by drini on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 12:10:13 AM EST

Don't go further.. even here in America (the continent) happens that US folks call themselves 'americans' and therefore all the other habitants in the continents are not 'americans'.

American is anyone from the continent, not just from US

You have to specify latin-americans, or hispanic or stuff like that, and that always bothers me, since US is not the whole continent.

I've even met a person who got pissed off that I called myself american (I'm mexican)...

so... next time that you refer to US people don't call them 'americans' (or if you want specify: north-not-canadians-americans or us-americans or whatever you like :)
Math is the weapon

Names for people from the US... (3.00 / 2) (#340)
by Jade E. on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 01:05:06 AM EST

... are hard to come up with. USAsians has been proposed, but with obvious conflicts. Some people resort to using the state they live in (Californian, Arizonan, New Yorker, etc.), but not everyone can do that. (Massachusetts? Tennessee?) North-americans has obvious conflicts as well, and even your 'north-not-canadians-americans' [sic] has the problem that Mexico, Cuba, Greenland, and Bermuda are part of North America as well. Also worthy of mention is the custom of several posters in the newsgroup ASR[1]: "'Merkans".

Unfortunately, despite all the conflicts, 'Americans' is in such wide use that it has been integrated into other words, and we're probably not going to get a better term anytime soon. For example, strictly speaking you could say all Canadians are Canadian-American, and all Mexicans are Mexican-American, but either statement is likely to be met with hostility. Similarly, imagine the confusion (at least to someone from the US, I'm not sure how wide this term has spread) if you were to use Native Americans to describe Aztec ruins, or other pre-european civilizations besides those of the US Native Americans. (I've never been sure, is Native American the proper term for Aleuts in Alaska?)

At the root of the problem is the name of our country. 'The United States of America', when you think about it, is quite likely the most unoriginal country name in use today, when you consider that the continent was named well before the country. The only arguement for the term 'American' is that we're the only country (AFAIK) whose name actually contains the word 'America'. And, since all the other countries have terms for their citizens (Cuban, Peruvian, etc.), we're probably stuck with the term American for good. Or, at least as long as we speak this weird dialect we call 'English' ;)

-Jade E.

P.S.: Wow, that turned into a bit of an essay. Somebody shoot me.

[1]: alt.sysadmin.recovery, in this particular case. [2]
[2]: Umm, which comes first, the postscript or the footnotes?

[ Parent ]

footnotess (none / 0) (#354)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:11:51 AM EST

Footnotes come at the bottom of the page. Endnotes come at the end of the chapter or at the end of the book. If your footnote occurs on the same page as your postscript, it occurs after the postscript. If the postscript on the a anterior page, the footnotes come first. In either case, endnotes always come last.

[ Parent ]

In Quebec, 'Americains' = ppl from USA (none / 0) (#386)
by MoonJihad on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 08:39:08 AM EST

Just thought you'd like to know.

[ Parent ]
In Quebec, 'Americains' = ppl from USA (none / 0) (#387)
by MoonJihad on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 08:39:21 AM EST

Just thought you'd like to know.

[ Parent ]
In Spain (none / 0) (#404)
by JAM on Sun Oct 06, 2002 at 10:01:06 AM EST

A 'Usian' is usually called 'Estadounidense' (which I don't know how to translate, it would be something like 'UnitedStatesman') and the term 'American' is used for all Americans.
-- Sorry for my engRish (TM)
[ Parent ]
an australian perspective (2.50 / 2) (#347)
by deadMan on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 07:49:10 AM EST

i am australian, and i will save time and space by making generalisations, sorry, from where i stand this is old news."i" think that most other world citizens agree that americans are not educated about other countries and cultures, it is accepted, you will always be perceived on a level with japnese tourists, (sorry if im over emphasising here). anyway, your country has a massive (massive is an inadequate word here) economy, and as some of your countrymen have told us may times, that economic clout is all that matters and we should not complain. Your country has more jews than, say, muslims, (a guess) and they control more of your economy, in fact, they are even organised enough to have a formal lobbying infrastructure. palestinians in your country do not have this power. (the politics of your country is very interesting to study) your country, politically like most other globalised nations (including mine) has become a collection of interweaved interest groups fighting each other for foodscraps of power cast down to them, the politicians respond to whoever wins these little catfights. your country often determines the fate of other nations, and your decisions are based on who is lobbying or whos in office, your country is not perfect, you do not have a proportioned representation of all nations and so you will be incorrect in decisions of world affairs. it doesnt matter anyway, once the u.s does something wrong, it becomes right.

One American's view (4.00 / 1) (#366)
by Sheetrock on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 02:25:37 PM EST

I feel obligated to reply, if only to point out that the viewpoint of many vocal non-U.S. individuals on America's way of doing things tends to be as dim and biased as the viewpoint of many vocal U.S. individuals on the rest of the world's way of doing things. I've seen this in other places (Usenet, online news, mailing lists) and what I've seen in this forum does nothing to shake my opinion.

I'd like to suggest that the reason other countries are more conversant about our politics than we are of the politics of other countries is because the United States tends to have its hooks into the rest of the world (for good or ill), and therefore plays a bigger part in shaping other countries than any one country does in shaping us. In addition, information about the rest of the world is usually obtained by newspaper, magazine, or T.V. and if you were over here you'd see that our news sucks. The other thing to consider, folks, is that we've got fifty states and enough things happen in each of them to bulk out our national news to the point where only the most crucial things on the world news scene make it into our media. Well, crucial and whatever dirty laundry the press can scoop up on the Royal Family in the U.K. I'd guess that neither Australia nor Europe spends too much time thinking about Mexico or Africa (for example) beyond perhaps trade policies or the Olympics -- does this mean that they can stick the Uneducated And Uninterested label on you and call you Eurocentric? Or does it mean that you are most interested in the things that are likely to affect you?

[ Parent ]

French flag by my name? (3.00 / 3) (#370)
by anonymous cowerd on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 09:16:47 PM EST

I really like the idea of a flag by your name, but does it have to be the one for the country of which you are a citizen? I am, as the goodole trolls (hi spiralx) on /. sometimes phrase it, a "USian," but my Dad was born in France, and I admire the French immensely, even incomprehensible nutcases like the authors of this here Anti-Oedipus book that is so opaque, so could I please have a French flag, like this one that sits on top of my monitor, instead? please? vive la France! allons enfants de la patreeeeeya </me gets up and starts marching around the room singing off-accent but at least in key, drunkenly waving the tricolor...>

And then there's that lovely hammer-n-sickle in happy yellow against a bold red background, representing the forced, ideologically unnatural amity of those inherently disparate agricultural and industrial workers's groups, that would go over so great in comments to those political articles...

Yours WD "froggy" K - WKiernan@concentric.net

"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.

Hi yourself (none / 0) (#375)
by spiralx on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 09:01:40 AM EST

You know, when I posted my first troll on /. waaay back in the day, I debated whether or not to use my real /. nick when posting the link to k22320inchfan. And then I though, fuck it, who cares, only the trolls read here anyway.

And then some bastard keeps linking to the troll forums in the main stories, and what happens? Oh, everyone knows I troll /. Gah, I've never even trolled with my spiralx account, and yet it gets modded down as troll on the few occasions I use it.

Anyway, enough rambling and whining. What I want to know, is if flags were ever introduced, could we all have killfiles so we could exclude comments from certain countries :) /me ducks...


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Nobody is omniscient (3.33 / 3) (#372)
by pkej on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 05:37:26 AM EST

Hi, after reading through this thread I must say that we all need to chill down.

I don't think that anyone, anywhere can, with honesty, claim to know much about the politics, geography, society, history, etc of more than a few countries. It is easy for anyone outside the US to point at the folly of the US people, but that stems from the fact that almost everyone outside the US will throughout their lives learn exceptionally much about that country due to the massive amount of news, television and movies we receive.

As someone points out, how many of us can claim to know much about what's going on in Africa? Three days after the fact I heard that there are food riots in Zimbabwe, if it had been in Los Angeles I'm sure I would have known in the matter of hours.

In fact, if it isn't happening in Europe or the US, I think that most Scandinavian media wouldn't mention it, unless it's economic news, or a piece with very compelling video material.

We like to follow what might affect us personally.

You should all try to read more than your national newspapers, it's very interesting to see how biased most Norwegian press is in many matters.

To the point of the power of the US and their willingness to interfere across the world. I don't like it that they're friends with the Israeli, I get sick when I hear that kids are shot in cold blood by military forces. Even more so when I see extremists hailing those actions as the only rightous way to deal with other people.

That aside, it is a fact of the previous century that each time the United States of America has receeded into seclusionism and introverted politics the rest of the world has fared rather bad. I don't see any reason why this should be true now, but hey, neither did anyone before the second world war. (Very broad and general things I'm saying here, I know.)

For better or worse we're stuck with this super-power where any goal, except monetary goals, seem to be suspect and under valued.

BTW, I would perhaps be as "stupid" and rank judeanism up with the world religions, at least at the top of my head. I do know that it isn't, when I think about it. Everyone make mistakes, give the person some credit and point it out to him/her personally before bashing them, and everyone in their group for ignorance.

It is amazing what other people know, even people you don't respect, or don't look up to.

So everyone, chill down.


a great place for African news (4.00 / 4) (#374)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 08:59:15 AM EST

About three days ago, I stumbled across allafrica.com which appears to be a great place to get news about Africa. Aside from crises such as the hunger riots in Zimbabwe and the current Ebola outbreak (BTW Ebola victims have just been found in two different refugee camps, that is bad news), the carry some excellent stories such as a discussion on why Nigeria lags behind the rest of Africa in getting wired and the death of a prominent African scientist.

Does anyone know of any similiar sites for other geographical localities, such as the Pacific Rim, Asia, etc.?

[ Parent ]

Thanks (2.00 / 1) (#379)
by pkej on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 09:20:51 AM EST

Hey Lee, thanks for the link, I'll use this site on my morning rounds now. The Ebola crisis hit the news really fast here, since some Norwegians are sitting in the capital Uganda (Kampala). They were in Gulu, but they don't dare going home to Norway, since they might be carriers.

Hmm, what about all the people in Kampala, they were willing to risk them, weren't they?


[ Parent ]
Maybe (3.00 / 3) (#376)
by spiralx on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 09:06:32 AM EST

In fact, if it isn't happening in Europe or the US, I think that most Scandinavian media wouldn't mention it, unless it's economic news, or a piece with very compelling video material.

Obviously I can't comment on the Scandinavian press (thus proving your point somewhat I know), but if you consider sites like BBC news their front page is world news, with a link at the side to UK news. There's certainly not a lack of worldwide news here, and I suspect it's similar in Europe.

Whilst national news is always going to be a priority as you say, the fact that in Europe we're used to international issues makes it a much bigger deal than it does in the largely self-contained America.


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Scandinavian (3.50 / 2) (#380)
by pkej on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 09:47:22 AM EST

I think BBC News seems rather good, I've used it a few times. The problem with Norwegian news sources (and to a lesser extent other Scandinavian) is the fact that these news papers are fairly small, with small staffs. We are only four million here, and that should give you some perspective.

I do agree with you that we're fairly interested in international news in Europe. Usually I will agree with you that the Americans are much more self contained, and they are, but I'm trying to put on a false face of reason here.

My only point is, and I'm sure you got it, that the best way to treat people who don't understand or don't know is with courtesy. It is hard to learn something if you perceive the learning experience as threatening.

[ Parent ]
this satire should fit well in here :) (2.66 / 3) (#385)
by theSpartan on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 07:41:07 PM EST

Sorry but I could care less about html tags, but I hope that this link is good for you all...I needed a laugh after the tone of this thread got too heated. Enjoy http://www.satirewire.com/news/0010/international.shtml

hummm (3.33 / 3) (#396)
by rogain on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 02:01:47 AM EST

What is this Europe of which you speak? Is it near the Bahamas?

Seriously though, actually europeans are bloodsoaked killers. Since they are mostly decended from the indo-europeans who invaded europe from central asia. They wiped out the previous inhabitants of europe.

Some other indo-europeans invaded india, hence the name. I think they made a good effort to wipe out the locals, but there were just too many of them, so they just enslaved the remainder.

The chinese, etc have been slowly moving south for many thousands of years. They drove out/exterminated the aboriginal groups in these lands. The original inhabitants are believe to be closely related to the aborigines of australia.

In southern half of africa, Most of the people are decended from various Bantu groups which took to cattle ranching and conquest. They drove out all of the pigmy, bushmen, and other non-bantu africans. Only tiny isolated groups continue to exist.

The fact is human history is a litany of horror and genocide. All it takes is a few rousing segments on CNN to the American public to support the destruction of Iraq, Yugoslavia, etc. A little flag waving and any ability to identify with different people, or to consider alternate views goes out the window.

But then again, it can be very profitable to scapegoat, so there is little real pressure not to do so.

what indo-europeans? (none / 0) (#403)
by boxed on Sun Jan 14, 2001 at 04:06:00 PM EST

You're talking about the aryan myth. There is no proof AT ALL for your claims.

[ Parent ]
A few random comments (4.33 / 3) (#398)
by Belly on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 09:10:45 PM EST

Well, already lots of comments here, so I'll through in a few of my own...

First, has anyone considered the part the media (as in TV, newspapers, etc) has to play in people's conceptions of other countries?

I'm Australian, and grew up there, but currently live in Japan, and have spent several years living in here, in addition to several years in Hong Kong and Singapore. I've also spent a few weeks in the US, and in other countries in Asia such as South Korea, China, Malaysia, and Thailand.
I don't think I'm any expert in international politics/cultures/society or anything, but over the years I've realised one thing - in all of the countries I've visited, the news and media concentrates mostly on domestic and nearby international affairs - ie, in Hong Kong you get HK news, stuff about China and Taiwan, and then maybe other Asian countries, with the Americas and Europe coming lower on the list.

The same is true of Japan and Singapore. Australia is in fact worse - it is only after being overseas that I realised how little the average Australian knows about other countries.

The thing is though, that what international information is shown in the media of those countries, is by its nature, censored. (yeah, I know, I'm using that word, but I think it fits..) What I mean is that someone somewhere is deciding what international news the people in that country see. This doesn't mean the info isn't available, it's just that the mass media is making choices in what they think we want to see, what they think we're interested in.

(Stick with me here, I'm getting to a point somehow...)

So, I think the image of United States citizens/people/USians or whatever peole living in the US want to call themselves, is part the fault of what the media there feeds them - and this is probably true of any country. Part of this is also probably due to the quantity of US television programs which is passed out to other countries, but the lack of other countries stuff which gets back to the US.
So here's a question - what would the proportion of US-originated TV to locally produced TV be in various countries? I think in Australia it's quite high, in Japan quite low (Japanese are also pretty insulated in terms of International thinking..)

I guess I'm trying to say that maybe the US mass media produces so much stuff for domestic consumption, they don't spend much time looking at what other countries might offer them - and as a result, people in the US don't see as much international stuff. In comparison, I think most countries of the world get a share of US produced TV shows...

Ah well, that's my ramble. I seem to have gotten stuck on the media thing...

Medium domestic to internatonal ratio (2.00 / 1) (#402)
by pkej on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 07:05:35 AM EST

Here in Norway there are certain criterias which two of our broadcasters (the largest ones) must meet. At least 25% Norwegian stuff, and neither Bokmål nor Nynorsk must have less than 25% of that again (two slightly different languages written/spoken in Norway).

The programs which are successful which are Norwegian is "reality-shows" and soaps. Then there is news and shows.

Crime, suspense and drama is mostly in English. Norwegian films gets shown, of course, if they are good.

A few German shows are shown, and a few Swedish soaps.



[ Parent ]
Looking beyond your nose | 403 comments (348 topical, 55 editorial, 0 hidden)
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