Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

National exceptionalism

vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
I get quite tired of the notion that there is such a thing as "American exceptionalism" (which Mr. Putin wrote about yesterday).
Or Mr. Putin's own statements that the Russian people are by nature a victorious people...and that it's in their genes.
Or Mr. Mahathir's proclamations about Malaysia having special attributes that set it above all the other countries in Southeast Asia.
Or the Thai's belief that King Bhumipohl is a preeminent international leader and that their country is the best country on the planet.

Aren't all of these just examples of nationalism?
Don't all (or at least most) countries have some special attributes and some dark chapters?
KundolobsterInvincible_summerMaryAnne
«1

Comments

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    I guess it's never enough to be special ... there seems to be some imperative to go out and beat the bushes to assure that others agree with us. It's tiresome. But worse than that, it's a flimsy lifestyle.
    riverflowChazlobster
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    vinlyn said:


    Aren't all of these just examples of nationalism?

    Yes.
    Don't all (or at least most) countries have some special attributes and some dark chapters?
    I think it's safe to say "all" in this case.

  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    edited September 2013
    karasti said:

    @vinlyn, glad to see you are safe from the flooding! My sister used to live in Boulder and man that's some bad flooding going on :(

    Yeah, I'm in Denver and it's pretty gnarly. Boulder and The Springs have it worse.
    I was thinking about this, too. The thing I found interesting is that of all the things Putin has said and done, I've seen more reaction to his saying American isn't special than I have reaction to about anything else. Everyone is up in arms at the idea that America might not be special and they seem to take it personally.

    I think everyone has pride in their country. I think that's ok. But I think the US is "special" in the way we seem to want to take our way of life and government to the rest of the world, wanting to insist our way is the best way for everyone.
    I notice that, too, and see it as a species of Imperialism.
    Our forcing our way into so many areas of the world (and I don't mean just in war) is a lot of the reason the world has a poor view of the US.
    Very true.
    We never mind our own business because to us, everything in the world IS our business.
    And "business" is the key word, here, I think.
    Most people have pride in where they live, and where they come from. You're right, all countries have bright and dark chapters and all of them have something special about them. But most of them don't force try to force that on everyone else. Quite honestly, the whole "Rah rah USA USA!!" drive me nuts.
    And much of it is so superficial.

    I swear that when I go to hell, it will be full of people driving 3/4-ton pickup trucks and Harleys flying big-assed US flags.
    It gets taken too far. The constant references of "The US is the best place in the world to live!" and so on I find unnecessary. Honestly, it's probably not the best place to live, and isn't so for certain groups of people for sure.
    Well if having below average education suystems, substandard medical care, while outspending most of the free world, combined, on "defense", and having one of the highest per capita citizen incarceration rates in the world is any indicator .......
    As was pointed out to me in a video on FB today, a lot of people proclaim such things without ever having left the US. It's just a mentality I could personally do without, because we should be thinking on a more global scale than we currently do, in a way that our government does not. Less force, more cooperation (and yes I know there are people who just won't cooperate, but we can do better than we do.) We consider it a grand success to have forced our companies into other countries. We are still busy conquering even when we aren't using force, trying to make the entire world more like the US, and then we wonder why they hate us. On a smaller scale it's not that much different than the mentality of what we did to the Native Americans.
    Sad, but true.
    We could have learned a lot from some of their ways of life, but instead we forced them into our ways of life and it destroyed their culture. We're working on the same type of thing in other areas of the world, and it's unfortunate.
    I think that might be just a bit of an understatement.



    Kundo
  • But I think the US is "special"in the way we seem to want to take our way of life and government to the rest of the world, wanting to insist our way is the best way for everyone. Our forcing our way into so many areas of the world (and I don't mean just in war) is a lot of the reason the world has a poor view of the US. Not the only reason of course, but part of it. We never mind our own business because to us, everything in the world IS our business.
    But how do we 'americanize' other cultures? Did we set up camps that brainwash people to act like americans?
    I know some middle eastern students that will tell you up and down about how America is so arrogant and stupid and ignorant... On their way to shop for muscle cars, Abercrombie and Fitch clothes and junk food at wal mart.
    Really I think theres large parts of the world that respect Americans..you just don't realize it because they're not shouting it from the rooftops.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I didn't say everyone hates Americans. Travel outside the US sometimes, to several different countries. The point of view of America is less than positive. I haven't traveled internationally in many years, but it was palpable even then, and has gotten worse now. That doesn't mean there aren't other people who have a sense of respect for the US. But overall, the perception isn't that great. Most of the people who have a great perception of America are people wanting to come here, who believe in the American Dream and want to get jobs to support their families, people from Central America, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and so on. I'm not saying the US is some horrible place to live. But it's not the best place, either. The more America spreads to other countries, the more our problems follow. Health problems, mental health problems, ego problems, pleasure seeking and so on. It all follows our business model that is taken to other countries, convincing them how great America is and if you wanna be cool, you'll be like America, too. It's how prevalent and genius marketing is. It works here like a charm, and it works elsewhere, too. People will stand in line at McDonald's in France and talk about how they don't like the US. Silly, sure. But that's how it goes.

    riverflow
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    karasti said:

    @vinlyn, glad to see you are safe from the flooding! ...

    ...

    I think everyone has pride in their country. I think that's ok. But I think the US is "special" in the way we seem to want to take our way of life and government to the rest of the world, wanting to insist our way is the best way for everyone. Our forcing our way into so many areas of the world (and I don't mean just in war) is a lot of the reason the world has a poor view of the US. Not the only reason of course, but part of it. We never mind our own business because to us, everything in the world IS our business.

    Most people have pride in where they live, and where they come from. You're right, all countries have bright and dark chapters and all of them have something special about them. But most of them don't force try to force that on everyone else. Quite honestly, the whole "Rah rah USA USA!!" drive me nuts. It gets taken too far. The constant references of "The US is the best place in the world to live!" and so on I find unnecessary. Honestly, it's probably not the best place to live, and isn't so for certain groups of people for sure. As was pointed out to me in a video on FB today, a lot of people proclaim such things without ever having left the US. It's just a mentality I could personally do without, because we should be thinking on a more global scale than we currently do, in a way that our government does not. Less force, more cooperation (and yes I know there are people who just won't cooperate, but we can do better than we do.) We consider it a grand success to have forced our companies into other countries. We are still busy conquering even when we aren't using force, trying to make the entire world more like the US, and then we wonder why they hate us. On a smaller scale it's not that much different than the mentality of what we did to the Native Americans. We could have learned a lot from some of their ways of life, but instead we forced them into our ways of life and it destroyed their culture. We're working on the same type of thing in other areas of the world, and it's unfortunate.

    There's a lot in what you say.

    I used to just simmer with Mahathir in Malaysia. He would be severely critical of the US lecturing the Malays about democracy, and then he would turn around and lecture America. Fair for the goose, fair for the gander. And, of course, when you had popular leaders of the opposition jailed so they couldn't run for office, when Indians and Chinese feel under the thumb of the Bumipatra...well Malay democracy left a lot to be desired. I did like one comment Mahathir made (slightly paraphrased): American-style democracy is not the only style of democracy.

    In terms of the American Indians, the more I learned about their dominant period in North America, the less sorry I felt for them. They were constantly warring among themselves, and -- for example -- the Plains Indians subjugated and decimated the Puebloan Indians of today's New Mexico. What White America did to the Amerinds was still a grave wrong, but any idea that the Indians were just peaceful folks sitting around a teepee isn't very accurate historically. And in fact, the Native Americans were not native to this part of North America to begin with.



  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Re the flooding since several of you brought it up -- yes, safe in this part of Colorado Springs. I live near the top of a hill just before you move on the Great Plains. If my place ever floods, 95% of the low land that Colorado Springs sits in will be washed away. I think I'm safe!
    Chaz
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Chaz said:



    I notice that, too, and see it as a species of Imperialism.

    ...

    I swear that when I go to hell, it will be full of people driving 3/4-ton pickup trucks and Harleys flying big-assed US flags.

    ...

    Well if having below average education suystems, substandard medical care, while outspending most of the free world, combined, on "defense", and having one of the highest per capita citizen incarceration rates in the world is any indicator .......


    ...


    I think we do try to dominate, but calling it imperialism would be outside the traditional definition of that term.

    Yes Chaz! th 3/4 ton pickups and Harleys with flags...that's very Colorado. I have been participating in a thread on a Colorado forum where some people are trying to say that Coloradans are the best Americans. Talk about exceptionalism.

    The education thing I question to some extent. For example, in one study, Estonia outranked the US in reading, math, and science. Which is why people from around the world are flocking to go to colleges in Estonia (that's scarcasm). I think back a few ago when we were ranked behind Thailand in a similar study. What they failed to take into account was that in America the whole broad spectrum of students took the test, while in Thailand it was given to the select students who went on to 4 years of high school.

    And I wouldn't say American health care is "substandard", nor would I say it's the best in the world.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    But I think the US is "special"in the way we seem to want to take our way of life and government to the rest of the world, wanting to insist our way is the best way for everyone. Our forcing our way into so many areas of the world (and I don't mean just in war) is a lot of the reason the world has a poor view of the US. Not the only reason of course, but part of it. We never mind our own business because to us, everything in the world IS our business.
    But how do we 'americanize' other cultures? Did we set up camps that brainwash people to act like americans?
    I know some middle eastern students that will tell you up and down about how America is so arrogant and stupid and ignorant... On their way to shop for muscle cars, Abercrombie and Fitch clothes and junk food at wal mart.
    Really I think theres large parts of the world that respect Americans..you just don't realize it because they're not shouting it from the rooftops.



    You make a good point.

    Thailand is a good case in point. I remember the second year I went to Thailand I told my Thai roommate in the US that I wanted to take his mother a gift. He said she loves Charley perfume. I said okay, I can buy that at a department store in Thailand, because I had seen it on the shelves there the previous year. He said no, she will only really value it if you bring it personally from America.

    Thai companies buy up American franchises like hot cakes. They're not forced on the Thais. And every American franchise in Thailand has to be majority owned by Thai citizens. The Thai company that owns the McDonalds franchise in Thailand is actually called McThai, for example.

    I can't tell you all the times young Thai people have told me they only want American products. We didn't make them want American products.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I think there are a lot of things in the US that are FAR above world standards. But not as high as they should be compared to countries more like ours in terms of resources and development.

    But I think a lot of why other countries put American stuff on a pedestal is because that is how we sell it, that is how we market it. Everyone knows all the happenings of the US. I even find that bizarre. I can see why things that affect others, like our presidential election, is news in other countries. But if you read news pages from other countries, an inordinant amount of the news reported is on the US. Things like Chicago's high murder rate (how often do we get front page news about Paris's murder rate?) and weather happenings and so on. We only get European weather news when 150 people have died from a flood.

    And I don't think the clamoring for all things American is only due to other countries asking for it. I used to work with corporate McDonald's and their business tactics as far as how they work with the international community is simply nuts. The requirements the place on franchisees is crazy, the asset requirements, what they require them to put on their "local" menu and so on. They push *heavily* to get a foot in the door in new international markets.
    riverflow
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I wanted to add, I don't not like living here. I like it just fine. I think we are pretty lucky considering what happens in a lot of the rest of the world. I just think that overall we would be better looking at things from more of a global viewpoint than a RAH RAH USA ROCKS! viewpoint, and that as a country, we could do far better than we are, both within our own country, and in the international community.
    MaryAnneriverflow
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I agree with getting a better world perspective. When I began traveling overseas, it was a real eye-opener...both good and bad.
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    It's not our material culture. Cross-culture trade in material goods has been going on for tens of thousands of years. When people will pay a month's salary for a pair of used Levis ...

    What pisses people off is hipocracy. We promote freedom and self determination, but actively overthrow elected governments (Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954) and actively influence repressive, fascist regimes. We condemn Syria for gassing citizens, but routinely employ aircraft that can deliver 70,000 pounds of ordinance anywhere in the world from 50,000 feet (who's the terrorist?), offer citizens enormous protections under law, but routinely imprison foreign nationals without due process (Guantanamo Bay) and subject them to torture calling it something benign like "Rendition". We hold the world hostage with a military machine that could lay waste to the entire planet and instead of unleashing it for the betterment of mankind, use it to support a mercantile empire, and to attack countries unprovoked.

    Americans are one thing, America is something else.
    riverflow
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    The more America spreads to other countries, the more our problems follow. Health problems, mental health problems, ego problems, pleasure seeking and so on.
    I really can't agree with this..there's plenty of serious problems out there without US influence, always were. And it's just not fair to say that our only legacy is insanity, poor health, laziness, and hedonism, like those things don't exist without us? And really, its kind if insulting to other cultures to say that they are so easily influenced and led by our ways.. they incorporate aspects of our culture just like we do theirs.
    And a lot of what you see as americanization is really just the effects of developing technology and industrialization.
    MaryAnne
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Don’t they say that ego can be both positive and negative? Both ideas; how great I am or how miserable or terrible I am; are attempts to be special; to be me.

    My guess is that the idea of national identity works the same. We can identify with both positive or with negative ideas about our specialness.
    But the truth is that we are all just human.
    The fact that we think we’re so special is precisely what makes us so ordinary.
    poptart
  • According to Samuel Johnson (1709-84) "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
    Maybe that's why politicians use it all the time to manipulate us.
    lobsterriverflow
  • I have dual nationality.
    I consider myself African as all people started there.
    I live in a USA Europe offshore colony or the UK, so consider myself a second class American.
    I am an honorary Jew, so Israel is my home but as a lapsed Moslem, my affiliation is also with most of my homelands 'enemies'.
    My culture is a mixture of German (Anglo Saxon) and Italian (Roman Catholic) Greek etc.
    I hope to be turning Japanese . . .


    Greetings Earthlings :screwy:
    MaryAnneDandelionriverflow42bodhi
  • MaryAnneMaryAnne Veteran
    edited September 2013
    To me, "national exceptionalism" (when not taken to any extremes) is a simple concept to grasp. Look at it this way;

    I have a Mother. I love her. She's the only Mother I've known all my life. She birthed me and raised me. BUT, I know she has faults. I know she's not perfect. She even has some quirks and habits that drive me nuts. My Mother can be pretty annoying and stubborn sometimes. She can also really piss me off sometimes. But she's my Mother and through it all I know that even though she's made mistakes, she's always tried her best.

    See, I can be pretty objective when it comes to my Mother, right? My glasses are only slightly "rose-tinted" when I look at her.... I see the reality that is my Mother...

    But if an acquaintance (or stranger) came up to me on the street and said;
    "MaryAnne, your Mother, wow, she's a piece of work. What a pain in the ass! How do you stand her? She's annoying, she's stubborn, she's a terrible excuse for a Mother, and frankly I can't stand the sight of her...." They would probably get punched in the nose.

    See, *I* can critique my Mother, but strangers who don't really know her, or love her, well... they can't. Not without a punch in the nose! ;)

    There's nothing wrong with admitting your country isn't perfect, but then again, there's nothing wrong with respecting it, still, even though it is imperfect.
    And sometimes, every now and again, I feel like punching people in the nose when they feel free and entitled to spew hate against my country, without ever living here, or without knowing more than a handful of American people.
    *I* can criticize my country/government (and often do!) - but I resent when strangers spew their disdain and stereotypes about it.

    There's nothing wrong with 'patriotism' as long as one works/votes to change the bad things (about the government/country) and correct the mistakes it makes along the way.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    There are definitely problems that exist that aren't brought by Americanization. I was talking more about the health effects than anything else. The more we add McDonalds and KFC around the world, the more the same problems we have had start to spread. Of course the people choosing to eat the stuff still have accountability just like we do here. I really didn't do well separating my thoughts on the issues.

    #1. I *personally* find it sad how much "America" is out there in the rest of the world. It makes me wish more countries had the resources to develop their own brands rather than just having ours move in. I wish we, as a country, would do more around the world to encourage people to hold onto their cultures rather than encourage them to embrace ours. I find it sad that most of the reason we don't do this, is our desire to hoard more economy and more resources.

    #2. I agree that most of the reason that so many have a strong dislike for America is our foreign policy and disrespect for their ways of life. For holding our military might over everyone's heads, telling them they are under threat if things aren't done to our satisfaction. For encouraging democracy and then when it arrives and they elect someone, we contribute to overthrowing them because we don't like THAT choice.

    #3 I think it's fine to be proud of where when comes from. But I think along with that it has to include understanding and accepting that other people are proud of where they come from, too, and that even if it's vastly different from how we do things, their way can still be ok, too. (that doesn't mean I think gassing citizens is ok, obviously, I'm not talking just about Syria). I also think using pride in where you come from to speak badly about other people just sucks. Whether it's on a local level, state level, country level, or whatever. People where I live, are always referring to city people as "citidiots." They mock them for not knowing how to navigate the woods, not knowing how to hunt, and so on. But put those same people who've never left out town in a NYC subway, and they'll be lost and offended when called idiots for not knowing how to use the subway. Yet they still cannot keep perspective. It's the same on larger levels. You can't go around saying the US is the best country on the planet, which we say all the time, when it's not a fact. There are ways we are terrifically successful. There are ways in which we fail miserably compared to our developed counterparts. No one is the best. We all have challenges.
    MaryAnne
  • USA is a unique case.
    It believes that it is the greatest nation in the world.
    Take the examples of gun-control and health-care,
    there is no other industrialised countries like USA.

    As putin and mahathir, the less said about them, the better.

    dont know much bout bhumipohl, except that he is revered by thais.
    i also heard recently that his son is 'trouble'.
    vinlyn said:

    I get quite tired of the notion that there is such a thing as "American exceptionalism" (which Mr. Putin wrote about yesterday).
    Or Mr. Putin's own statements that the Russian people are by nature a victorious people...and that it's in their genes.
    Or Mr. Mahathir's proclamations about Malaysia having special attributes that set it above all the other countries in Southeast Asia.
    Or the Thai's belief that King Bhumipohl is a preeminent international leader and that their country is the best country on the planet.

    Aren't all of these just examples of nationalism?
    Don't all (or at least most) countries have some special attributes and some dark chapters?

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    MaryAnne said:

    To me, "national exceptionalism" (when not taken to any extremes) is a simple concept to grasp. Look at it this way;

    I have a Mother. I love her. She's the only Mother I've known all my life. She birthed me and raised me. BUT, I know she has faults. I know she's not perfect. She even has some quirks and habits that drive me nuts. My Mother can be pretty annoying and stubborn sometimes. She can also really piss me off sometimes. But she's my Mother and through it all I know that even though she's made mistakes, she's always tried her best.

    See, I can be pretty objective when it comes to my Mother, right? My glasses are only slightly "rose-tinted" when I look at her.... I see the reality that is my Mother...

    But if an acquaintance (or stranger) came up to me on the street and said;
    "MaryAnne, your Mother, wow, she's a piece of work. What a pain in the ass! How do you stand her? She's annoying, she's stubborn, she's a terrible excuse for a Mother, and frankly I can't stand the sight of her...." They would probably get punched in the nose.

    See, *I* can critique my Mother, but strangers who don't really know her, or love her, well... they can't. Not without a punch in the nose! ;)

    There's nothing wrong with admitting your country isn't perfect, but then again, there's nothing wrong with respecting it, still, even though it is imperfect.
    And sometimes, every now and again, I feel like punching people in the nose when they feel free and entitled to spew hate against my country, without ever living here, or without knowing more than a handful of American people.
    *I* can criticize my country/government (and often do!) - but I resent when strangers spew their disdain and stereotypes about it.

    There's nothing wrong with 'patriotism' as long as one works/votes to change the bad things (about the government/country) and correct the mistakes it makes along the way.

    Nicely written.

    sndymorn
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I still cannot find the post that @MaryAnne wrote, so I'm glad you quoted it. I agree, and think it was a great analogy! Everyone can have an opinion. I have some basic opinions of other countries, but I certainly wouldn't go telling people who live in those countries what I think of them and their culture and their country because I don't really know because I don't live there. And I respect the fact that I cannot read stuff on wiki and watch videos on youtube and claim to know anything about that country or its people. I guess because I try to keep that in mind, it bothers me when others don't. For the exact reasons @MaryAnne said. Knowledge is not experience.
  • There's nothing wrong with 'patriotism' as long as one works/votes to change the bad things (about the government/country) and correct the mistakes it makes along the way.
    But what if that patriotism prevents people from seeing "the bad things" in the first place? Probably many people don't know about the coups because they would never imagine their country to be involved in such activities. Their patriotism is what keeps them from investigating and asking critical questions.
  • karasti said:

    I still cannot find the post that @MaryAnne wrote, so I'm glad you quoted it. I agree, and think it was a great analogy! Everyone can have an opinion. I have some basic opinions of other countries, but I certainly wouldn't go telling people who live in those countries what I think of them and their culture and their country because I don't really know because I don't live there. And I respect the fact that I cannot read stuff on wiki and watch videos on youtube and claim to know anything about that country or its people. I guess because I try to keep that in mind, it bothers me when others don't. For the exact reasons @MaryAnne said. Knowledge is not experience.

    @karasti

    It must be some sort of glitch happening with you not seeing my original post...
    We, (you and I) both posted at the exact same time! "9:04 AM" according to my local computer time. I didn't see your post initially either, until I left the site and then returned a little bit later.
    But I'm surprised you still can't see it even after logging off and back on Newbuddhist again. Hmmm... Odd.

  • DandelionDandelion London Veteran
    edited September 2013
    I'm not very patriotic. I find it a bit bizarre. And politics is not my forte. It's just too messy, complicated, complex. Impossible. The way I see it, I could have been born anywhere in space. Right now, I'm 'here'. I'm grateful to live in a country where I have freedom.

    Context can dictate perspective, amongst other things...
    Perspective is dependant upon individual experience, individual roots. Next time round, next life will be different experiences, different roots... we'll change our views accordingly, and it feels fickle, hence bizarre!

    And I won't remember how I feel now, I might be very politically minded. I just hope I won't be supportive of an awful awful dictator.

    It's all so holistic.
  • maarten said:

    There's nothing wrong with 'patriotism' as long as one works/votes to change the bad things (about the government/country) and correct the mistakes it makes along the way.
    But what if that patriotism prevents people from seeing "the bad things" in the first place? Probably many people don't know about the coups because they would never imagine their country to be involved in such activities. Their patriotism is what keeps them from investigating and asking critical questions.

    You can't expect people to know everything about everything their government does or was involved in .... especially going back 10 or 20 years, or even longer. Some things happen well before people are adults and/or interested in (their) government's affairs and goings on...
    Hell, you'll even find adults my age who still have absolutely no interest or desire to delve into the political workings of their government's foreign policies - or any other country's government activities around the world.
    But that's their choice and their issue. You can't force people to educate themselves in areas they really don't care about. Patriotism isn't at fault there, (IMO), lack of intellectual curiosity is. Sometimes the average citizen feels there are better educated, better trained "experts" who know a great deal more than they do about those things to deal with those sorts of political decisions/actions around the world- so they don't concern themselves with it at all. But I don't think you can blame patriotism for that.

    oceancaldera207
  • I think the educational system plays a big role here. Probably many people don't care about problems because they think it is not in their control, so they might as well stop worrying about it. They feel their government is already doing its best to improve things, and it's "the other party" blocking things, because that is what they were taught in school. If you paint a rosy picture in school about what governments do, you get both patriotism and apathy.
  • I do think there is something wrong with patriotism.
    No patriots, no war.
    Dandelionpoptart
  • Esp for buddhists, we should put humanity, truth
    above national pride.
    Dandelion
  • I agree, we dont need patriotism.
    How many Americans died in the civil war
    in the name of patriotism?
    Lincoln was willing to let the south keep the
    slaves if they stayed in the union.
  • Dr Mahathir is a pompous bigot.
    Putin rules russia like a czar.
    Journalists and human rights activists dont live
    long in russia.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    maarten said:

    I think the educational system plays a big role here. Probably many people don't care about problems because they think it is not in their control, so they might as well stop worrying about it. They feel their government is already doing its best to improve things, and it's "the other party" blocking things, because that is what they were taught in school. If you paint a rosy picture in school about what governments do, you get both patriotism and apathy.

    I don't know what country's school's you are talking about, but I think in recent decades American public schools -- at least where I was -- do a pretty decent job about teaching a more realistic view of American history. I've been on textbook approval committees and observed classroom teachers and listened in on history debates in classrooms. Issues like slavery and civil rights and dropping the A-bombs on Japan and Watergate are about as thoroughly discussed as would be reasonable when you have 180 days of 50 minute classes in middle and high schools. At the college level there is no shying away from controversy.

    On the other hand, I've also read Thai history books, and I learned for example, that there was never a Thai king who wasn't great. Never a war that Thailand was involved in that wasn't just. Etc. More recent Thai histories are beginning to be slightly more realistic. And recently there's been quite a sensation in Thailand over college students dressing like and imitating Hitler...and the excuse given by academics that they know nothing about Hitler but just like the clothing.

    So, schools in a country can present a somewhat realistic picture (given the amount of time and grade level) or a rather unrealistic picture of history.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I think it varies widely still, @vinlyn. My kids history books are so old they are held together with rubber bands, and they still shy away, greatly, from topics like slavery and the trail of tears and the truth of Columbus and all sorts of things. It's still very much presented as a "These were some sad things that happened, but we still came out on top, we made them right and things are ok now!" I went through the same school system as my kids (and with the same teachers, even) and I was shocked when I took history in college, to find how much had been either outright lies, or completely covered up. I'm glad it's changed in some places. But it hasn't changed in all.

    And I do think there is a point, to a degree, of turning kids into patriots at early ages. I didn't understand what the words in the pledge (when taken as a whole) even meant until I was like 14 years old, and we stopped saying it in high school. They say it in elementary-middle school but not high school. Which is interesting considering high school is when they'd start to understand and truly ask related questions, lol.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Well, things have to also be age-appropriate. I wouldn't recommend certain topics for elementary school children. A little more in middle school. Even more in high school. And in American colleges, anything goes.

    But for example, our 8th graders (about age 13) had wide-ranging debates about topics such as was it justified to use the A-bombs on Japan? The legal aspects and history of abortion was taught, but not the sexual or moral aspects.

    But you also need to take in perspective the amount of time in a public school history course -- 180 days with 50 minutes per day.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I never learned a thing about things like that in any sort of debate or detail until college. Not a single thing. We talked about how America were the heroes for dropping bombs that saved the world. We talked about how, oh, yeah, slavery was bad, but our hero American President Lincoln put an end to him, bless his heart! About the Native Americans we learned that they were savages who we treated badly, but only because they acted badly. It really was horrid. My oldest is in 11th grade now. They still don't cover any of those icky parts of history. They certainly don't debate it. I'm not saying that experience is normal, I'm sure what your schools have done is more the norm. But people who are taught the same way my kids are, are the same types who are the most guilty of the "Murica!!!" chants. We were not engaged in history whatsoever as far as asking how it applies today or would we make the same choices today or anything else. It was entirely are "America is the greatest, we have the best history and here is why." and that's it. Sad that my kids have the same teacher, but they get a lot more true learning in history at home, and in taking vivid history based vacations with my dad. I know they are limited in time, and I get that. But in this particular case, and it's very common in this general part of our state, it's taught that America always does what is right, and what is best. Even if we do bad things, it's because they were needed.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    And that is why I am in favor of a national education policy.
    karasti
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    I felt that we were well educated about history (90's) . Actually it was pretty unbiased and fairly dry. A bit choppy though..we focused mainly on the civil war, native americans, the American revolution and state history. Our education was *very pro native American btw.
    I educated myself years later about the holocaust. Sometimes I wish I hadn't...some of the details are better not to know.

    @karasti wait...what's wrong with Lincoln? Don't tell me he was imposing bad American values on the poor confederacy..when will they learn that American military intervention is always wrong tsk tsk :lol:

    Oh btw @vinlyn , what the hecks going on up there? There's trees floating down the Fountain Creek here in pueblo! ( its a SoCO joke :lol: We always blame the springs for sending contaminants and sewage our way via the fountain). As usual our weather is tame though..a few showers is all.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Actually, this weather spell wasn't that terrible here in COS. I feel most sorry for the folks up north of Denver.
    Chaz
  • Yea my family up there is pretty... stuck.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Where are they?
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Ft collins, Greeley. They're all fine but can't really go anywhere I hear.
    Ive never seen the Fountain this high though! Very unusual. Lots of homeless camps down there...
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Very sorry to hear that!
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    My sister lived in Boulder for about 10 years. She lives back in MN now but several of her friends are on the missing list :( Including her boss who lived near Nederland where they haven't been able to get in there yet. Scary stuff. We lived in Fargo for many years, deatl with flooding almost every spring, but not like that. Not flash flooding. Sad to see so many unaccounted for, I hope they find them. It's amazing what water can do. Of my sister's close friends still in Boulder area, she has only been able to reach 1. At least 6 of them are unaccounted for, but with phone lines down and such it's not unexpected. My son wants to go to CU Boulder, he's unphased by the fires, or the flooding, lol. This mom has a harder time ;)
  • Omg I hope they're just unaccounted for due to power/communication failure!
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited September 2013
    I wouldn't discount Boulder and CU Boulder. It's a wonderful town and great campus. And our floods and fires out here are rarities...I hope. For example, there had never been a significant fire in Colorado Springs...now 2 in 2 years! Go figure!

    We'll be reprimanded soon for going off topic (although it is my thread)!

    So the question is, does the way Americans handle such natural tragedies indicate any exceptional-ism?
  • @vinlyn Hope all is well - i have some acquaintances suffering from the floods but everyone seems to be ok.
    Back to topic - you are correct, there is no such thing as American Exceptionalism. It was invented by Stalin to criticize Americans: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/03/how-joseph-stalin-invented-american-exceptionalism/254534/
    Chaz
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Very interesting!
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    edited September 2013
    vinlyn said:

    Actually, this weather spell wasn't that terrible here in COS. I feel most sorry for the folks up north of Denver.

    Denver pretty much dodged the bullet, too. We have high water, to be sure, but nothing like Boulder and Weld counties.

    Over 200 people in Boulder County unaccounted for.

    The whole damned town is shut down.

    They're evacuating parts of Longmont as I type.

    Big Thompson River below Estes Park has run up to 11' over normal.

    Boulder Creek has flirted with 10' over and the South Platte is running 13'

    Rain in the forecast through Tuesday. It ain't over yet.

    Downriver on the Platte in Morgan county, they're getting the flooding now.

    My sangha in Boulder has closed our center til further notice. Our space is ok, but there was a mudslide that fell through part of the parking lot, taking out an office building. We, fortunately were spared. The center is at the very end of Arapahoe at the mouth of Boulder Canyon and the flooding left flotsam, mud and rocks on the street making passage impossible for now. One of our sr. teachers cam in from Seattle for a a weekend of teaching - that was canceled.

    I'm glad to hear that CoS was spared Boulder's fate. You guys have had enough disasters in the last 18 months.

  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    vinlyn said:


    So the question is, does the way Americans handle such natural tragedies indicate any exceptional-ism?


    I'd say pretty much the opposite. Americans seem to rally to the support of our countrymen struck by natural disasters. I think such action is perhaps our greatest strength and best quality. Our government may completely screw the pooch in these situations, but the outpouring of support from the common citizen is often beyond impressive. I wish we could see more of such altruism in our society - not just when there's a natural disaster.

    One thing that does disturb me is how we react to help from outside at times. We refused help from Cuba during the Katrina disaster. I've never really understand that - if they wanna help, let them help.
    vinlyn
«1
Sign In or Register to comment.