Author Topic: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?  (Read 63411 times)

deborah

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #100 on: February 07, 2015, 05:23:16 PM »
if is it right then Australian Constitution is 115 years old, ~1/2 of the age of US one.  this is what we mean under political stability in form of government :)
As I said, that is when Australia was Federated. We already had State parliaments, with State voting and political stability a while before that. And, of course, even when the British first landed, there were courts and people were subject to British law. So there was political stability for a long time before that, whether you look at the traditional political climate, or the imported British political climate.

Your further reading has muddied things.

Look at the indices put out by the OECD and find where the US is ranked in all those - you would be surprised just how many countries are ranked better by experts.

Ozstache

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #101 on: February 07, 2015, 05:23:40 PM »
I can't believe this irrefutable fact hasn't come up already in this thread:


gaja

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #102 on: February 07, 2015, 05:24:48 PM »
Over the course of 250 years, there were many years when we were the only democracy, and there were many years when millions of people were voting with their feet about what they think the best country in the world is.  Then after WWII, our standard of living was head and shoulders above those of other countries.

Now, I think there are countries with standards of living, levels of education, and democracy on par with ours:  much of Western Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand.  Maybe Korea?  But not many others.

I find it quite amusing to cherrypick the last 250 years, and then (probably) have very strict frames for what you call a democracy. I guess the Nordic constitutional monarchies don't count? What about the relatively independent Swiss kantons? For the record, my favorite "best democracy in the world"goes to the Faroe Islands, who established their Thing in 881, and only had an official break in 1816-1852 (unofficially, I'd like to see the islander that would adhere to Danish rule). http://www.thingsites.com/thing-site-profiles/tinganes-faroe


and as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of EU - 17.5
Population of US - 320m
Population of EU - 507m

1 US worker   ~1.5 EU worker in productivity . yes, Dorothy, they do more and do it better, at massive scale.

You do know that EU is a union of several countries with vastly different economy and culture? And that several european countries have elected to stand outside the union? The GDP per capita can be found here, and you can see that e.g. Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland are substantially higher than the US:
By nominal GDP, I'm worth 2 of you (using your logic): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
By correcting for purchasing power, it goes down to 1.2. But that would partly be because a lot the national oil revenue goes into savings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita


[1.] Europe may have better work/life balance, but anecdotally it is harder to break into the regular, full time workforce.

[2.]We may be facing a growing problem with income inequality, but around here, customers dressed as working class/casual/tradesmen do, on average, get a higher level of respect by default than they do in other countries. In other countries, clothes make the man/woman because you will get absolutely no help/respect if you appear to be a plebe.
1. Where is this country of Europe you are talking about? I guess it must be close to Spain, because it can't be in northern or western Europe.
2. I would very much like to hear an Australian answer that claim.

-an unbelievable track record of political stability
Political stability, are you sure about this?  I seem to remember there has been at least a civil war, the civil rights campaign, more recently you guys have had large scale riots in various places such as Ferguson.

yep, pretty certain about it. no comparison with Australia at all - remind me please what Australia was circa 1770 and what laws it was operating under? Wasn't it still a Queens Dominion during the time of US Civil War?  How old is the current constitution of the Australia (from colony , to self governing colony, to Commonwealth ,etc) ? No comparison here at all for political stability. And do not get me started on Europe (with two world wars in 20th century alone), what republic are French under now? how many monarchies that had in between? I know of no other country (and would like to hear it) that kept is primary law through over 2 centuries, may be Swiss did?
The Norwegian Constitution celebrated 200 years in 2014. But most of our laws are based in Magnus Lagabøtes law from 1274. It was followed until King Christian the IV of Denmark-Norway did a translation in 1604 and Christian the V did a major revision in 1687. So it was mainly unchanged for 413 years.
In the Faroes, nobody has ever legally retracted the "Sheep Letter" from 1298. That is 716 years.

I guess I should take part in the "why are we best" contest too?
-Norway has no debt, and the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, ensuring our children's and children's children's state pensions. Through the fund, I own part of Paris, London, Berlin, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Munich, Zurich, and loads of shares in international companies. I can watch my wealth grow here: http://www.nbim.no/
-All the lists you have linked to so far (GDP, PPP, OECD) and a few more (happiness, ease of starting business, little crime, few people in prison, length of (paid) maternity leave...) show us close to the top.

For the "why are we not the best" list:
-As a nation we are extremely self centered, and only see as long as our noses reach. We pretend to care about the environment, but do very little to exploit and export clean enery instead of fossil fuels.
-We are even more full of hot air than the typical US citizens.
-It is damn cold here.

deborah

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #103 on: February 07, 2015, 05:28:28 PM »
If the only reason the US is the best is the length of contiguous government - what about the Isle of Man?

lizzie

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #104 on: February 07, 2015, 05:37:03 PM »
Quote
What the US needs, more than anything else, is the power to laugh at itself, its identity and its history. To NOT TAKE ITSELF SO F***ING SERIOUSLY. Americans currently seem able either to scream about their importance and wonderfulness or gravely shake their heads over their appalling awfulness. American isn't either of these things. It's just a bit stupid, clunky, awkward and daft.

I like the majority of this post (just quoted the last paragraph), but particularly agree about not taking itself so seriously. Any ideas WHY so many Americans take their country so seriously? By this I mean to not only like/love your country, but to also seriously argue that it is the best.

[For the Americans out there who will probably ask, no, most other nationalities don't take their countries so seriously. Certainly some people from other countries take their country seriously, but from my experience, it is a particularly common trait amongst Americans.]

Wait a minute. Have you guys SEEN the Colbert Report?

gaja

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #105 on: February 07, 2015, 06:05:24 PM »
If the only reason the US is the best is the length of contiguous government - what about the Isle of Man?

Oh yes, now that you mention it, those buggers haven't paid their rent in hundreds of years. About time we retrieved those islands. http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100319452

MidWestLove

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #106 on: February 07, 2015, 06:17:53 PM »
I am not sure why you are so defensive so I would drop the topic- we are talking about the age of the current form of government as example of stability (including political stability)

"As I said, that is when Australia was Federated. We already had State parliaments, with State voting and political stability a while before that. And, of course, even when the British first landed, there were courts and people were subject to British law. So there was political stability for a long time before that, whether you look at the traditional political climate, or the imported British political climate."

Everything you said so far was wrong in that regard
no Commonwealth of Australia in the current form did not exist at the same time as US or even at the time of US Civil War. It is at most 115 years old.
yes, the current form of government and rules that govern it changed 3 times in 20th century (1901, 1942, 1986) so it is very young country politically speaking.

is Australian history learned in Australian schools different from any other history?  and by this point I think I lost the point of what you were trying to say (other then accuse US after admitting of never actually being here) . Please continue to stay in Australia, you do your country proud as diverse, well educated, open minded person. enjoy your internet censorship, restrictive personal liberty laws,  it is still better than 80% of the world.

Signed *from best country on Earth*  from person who travelled through every country in Europe from Atlantic ocean and into Russia (France, Germany, Poland, UK) and lived under multiple 'social constructs' and political regimes.




MidWestLove

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #107 on: February 07, 2015, 06:23:44 PM »
The Norwegian Constitution celebrated 200 years in 2014. But most of our laws are based in Magnus Lagabøtes law from 1274. It was followed until King Christian the IV of Denmark-Norway did a translation in 1604 and Christian the V did a major revision in 1687. So it was mainly unchanged for 413 years.
In the Faroes, nobody has ever legally retracted the "Sheep Letter" from 1298. That is 716 years.

I guess I should take part in the "why are we best" contest too?
-Norway has no debt, and the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, ensuring our children's and children's children's state pensions. Through the fund, I own part of Paris, London, Berlin, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Munich, Zurich, and loads of shares in international companies. I can watch my wealth grow here: http://www.nbim.no/
-All the lists you have linked to so far (GDP, PPP, OECD) and a few more (happiness, ease of starting business, little crime, few people in prison, length of (paid) maternity leave...) show us close to the top.

Thank you, great to learn this - I really liked Sweden (in the summer) and have close friends that moved to Denmark and Netherlands from former SU (all love it and would not trade it for anywhere).  one of the weird things is that with such friends , they end up working on EU divisions of US companies (that is where opportunity was for them) and we overlap in strange places like San Francisco neither of us being from Bay area.

The part that was hard to accept for the Baltics, is  that I not sure how you guys handle winters. My family still leaves in Tomsk, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk (south Siberia in Russia) and that was also weather unacceptable 8 months out of the year. 2-3 weeks of summer in Tomsk, brrr
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 06:28:49 PM by MidWestLove »

iamlindoro

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #108 on: February 07, 2015, 06:39:24 PM »
The longer this thread goes on, the more I question the whole point.  Who cares if (some) Americans think they're from the best country in the world anyways?  Arguments to the contrary seem to take one of two forms:  data that suggest it's untrue, or data that suggest the posters own country is better in some measure or another.

If two children are in the playground and one loudly shouts "I'm the best," then another shouts "Oh no you're not," neither is behaving with much maturity.

I'm American, and I don't deny that there is a general societal suggestion that we live in one of/the best countries on earth.  However, it's not an idea I would ever want to promote when I go abroad, and it's something I, and many like me, simply roll our eyes at.  That said, if it makes someone happy to think they live in the best country on earth, wherever that may be, it does me no harm whatsoever to allow that person to believe it.  It would be similarly childish to start threads objecting to any group calling themselves the best at anything.

Make money, stop working, eat the food you like best, live in the country you like best, and have sexy sex with the person you like best.  Let me do the same.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 06:41:10 PM by iamlindoro »

deborah

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #109 on: February 07, 2015, 06:49:58 PM »
compare it with any other country over 100 million people please and come back with your findings. Australia is not a good cause since it is tiny population wise, less than multiple US states..
As I said previously, there are only 12 countries with over 100 million people, so this means the US is possibly only the best of 12?

According to Wikipedia (as I have previously stated, not the best source of information, particularly about Australia), there are 247 countries in the world (I thought it was more like 183, but we will use that figure for now), and that Australia has the 52nd largest population. So we have a reasonably average to large number of citizens. While people from the US may think we have a small population, the truth is, we don't!

So, what 12 countries have over 100 million people? China (too much pollution, nice people - although they may believe their country is also "the best", going by some discussions I have had with Chinese nationals, very interesting culture), India (too much pollution, poor infrastructure, very interesting culture, nice people), Indonesia (close to home, nice people, very interesting culture, too hot), Brazil (very interesting culture, have had a lot of money problems over the years), Pakistan (very interesting culture, but no), Nigeria (very interesting culture, but no), Bangladesh (very interesting culture, know people from there who have invited me to visit, but no), Russia (Vladimir Putin lives there - he might shirt front an Australian), Japan (very interesting culture, nice place, wonderful food, nice people... but not Australia), Mexico (very interesting culture, USA took half their country, but no), Philippines (very interesting culture, nice people, nice food, probably too hot).

So what am I left with? Japan. 

« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 07:56:27 PM by deborah »

firewalker

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #110 on: February 07, 2015, 06:57:32 PM »
The winner of "The Best Country in a Hell Hole World" contest goes to the one who can explain why the moderators have not moved this pointless blather to "Off Topic."

lizzie

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #111 on: February 07, 2015, 07:11:48 PM »
The longer this thread goes on, the more I question the whole point.  Who cares if (some) Americans think they're from the best country in the world anyways?  Arguments to the contrary seem to take one of two forms:  data that suggest it's untrue, or data that suggest the posters own country is better in some measure or another.

If two children are in the playground and one loudly shouts "I'm the best," then another shouts "Oh no you're not," neither is behaving with much maturity.

I'm American, and I don't deny that there is a general societal suggestion that we live in one of/the best countries on earth.  However, it's not an idea I would ever want to promote when I go abroad, and it's something I, and many like me, simply roll our eyes at.  That said, if it makes someone happy to think they live in the best country on earth, wherever that may be, it does me no harm whatsoever to allow that person to believe it.  It would be similarly childish to start threads objecting to any group calling themselves the best at anything.

Make money, stop working, eat the food you like best, live in the country you like best, and have sexy sex with the person you like best.  Let me do the same.

+1000

deborah

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #112 on: February 07, 2015, 07:14:27 PM »
I am not sure why you are so defensive so I would drop the topic- we are talking about the age of the current form of government as example of stability (including political stability)

"As I said, that is when Australia was Federated. We already had State parliaments, with State voting and political stability a while before that. And, of course, even when the British first landed, there were courts and people were subject to British law. So there was political stability for a long time before that, whether you look at the traditional political climate, or the imported British political climate."

Everything you said so far was wrong in that regard
no Commonwealth of Australia in the current form did not exist at the same time as US or even at the time of US Civil War. It is at most 115 years old.
yes, the current form of government and rules that govern it changed 3 times in 20th century (1901, 1942, 1986) so it is very young country politically speaking.

is Australian history learned in Australian schools different from any other history?  and by this point I think I lost the point of what you were trying to say (other then accuse US after admitting of never actually being here) . Please continue to stay in Australia, you do your country proud as diverse, well educated, open minded person. enjoy your internet censorship, restrictive personal liberty laws,  it is still better than 80% of the world.

Signed *from best country on Earth*  from person who travelled through every country in Europe from Atlantic ocean and into Russia (France, Germany, Poland, UK) and lived under multiple 'social constructs' and political regimes.




Actually, everything I said was strictly correct, although in a tongue-in-cheek way. Australia had no British settlers in 1770. The Aboriginal laws and customs had been consistent for at least 12,000 years - longer than any society anywhere else - there are paintings, carvings... that date their settlement of Australia to at least 60,000 years ago. At the time of the American Civil War, they still controlled most of Australia's land area, so the laws etc, over most of Australia were as per 1770...

I am glad that I have helped you to find out a bit more about our wonderful land, but I am somewhat horrified about what you have come up with, as it is not terribly true.

Of course Australian school history is taught differently than history is taught in other countries. Every country teaches history differently. The syllabus is something like - the history of our own country, the history of some countries that we have connections to (near neighbours, trading partners...), and recent history of everywhere. Unfortunately, because the US is a leader on the world stage, it tends to be difficult for it to go past the first part of the syllabus in the depth that other countries need to go.

For instance, a previous comment here said that the US beat the Nazis - it is generally thought that if only one country could be credited with that, it would be the Russians, at tremendous cost to themselves. But it was really a coalition of countries of whom both the US and Russia were very important players.

The winner of "The Best Country in a Hell Hole World" contest goes to the one who can explain why the moderators have not moved this pointless blather to "Off Topic."
Agreed!

firewalker

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #113 on: February 07, 2015, 07:17:31 PM »
Yup! As I said before. Simmer down, get yourselves a beer, and go watch some Dukes uh Hazzard reruns.

MidWestLove

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #114 on: February 07, 2015, 07:32:06 PM »
Uhhh - what is Dukes uh Hazzard  ?

WYOGO

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #115 on: February 07, 2015, 07:32:27 PM »
I like the vast sometimes unregulated open spaces found in America, that one can roam freely through virtually every type of climate and terrain on earth and meet people so different from oneself that one might believe they are in fact visiting foreign lands. I like that one can choose to tailor their location within the country to reduce living expenses and optimize their tax burden. There are many benefits to living in so vast a land with so many different options. I like options. I am a fan :)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 07:34:06 PM by WYOGO »

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #116 on: February 07, 2015, 07:44:26 PM »
Of course Australian school history is taught differently than history is taught in other countries. Every country teaches history differently. The syllabus is something like - the history of our own country....

I know, right? Our kids' school has not once mentioned the importance of Columbus Day, or even the history of Thanksgiving (they actually had the schools open that day, oh the humanity!). Not even the Pledge of Allegiance to start the day. I swear, sometimes it feels like this is a completely different country.

MidWestLove

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #117 on: February 07, 2015, 08:27:17 PM »
"
I know, right? Our kids' school has not once mentioned the importance of Columbus Day, or even the history of Thanksgiving (they actually had the schools open that day, oh the humanity!). Not even the Pledge of Allegiance to start the day. I swear, sometimes it feels like this is a completely different country.
"

we are talking describing the same(or shared) events in completely different way, i.e. WWII. usually in tune of "our mother/country is the best" -propaganda and brain washing disguised as history. Saw it in Soviet Union , after the collapse of it, and same in US. do not expect anything different... keep thinking, keep questioning, understand where information is coming from, make your own decisions  - pretty basic stuff.

fa

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #118 on: February 07, 2015, 09:01:13 PM »
Okay I give up.  Australia really is amazingly incredible.  Heaven on earth.  What more do you want to hear?

Actually, although I have not been to Australia, I always assumed it was a nice place.  After this discussion I am starting to wonder if I was mistaken. But I truly enjoyed my visit to New Zealand, so maybe Australia is  fine (assuming is Autralia is kind of like NZ).  I sure as heck would not care how long the aborigines have had rules in place in prehistoric times, but it was interesting to hear about it.

Fully agree with the previous post:  live where you like to live, work where you like to work (or be retired) and enjoy your friends and family.  Add to do that not too many rules and regulations, not too much government making life difficult (maybe they let you keep some of the money you worked for), and a nice climate.  Let's not forget good health, with or without a socialized health care system.  That covers most of it I think.  If that describes where you live, you live in the best country!  Congratulations!

I can't believe I got sucked into this silly discussion.

pancakes

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #119 on: February 07, 2015, 09:08:39 PM »
In my experience (as an Australian) people in Australia like to complain about how terrible Australia is: We are so backwards, everything is so expensive, so much tax, so much commuting, such bad public transport, so much rain, so many deadly animals, such terrible politicians, so many people on welfare, such racism, so bogan, etc, etc. We are very quick to rip ourselves apart.

Western Australians are even worse! When I moved over here the locals kept asking me what it was like moving backwards in time 30 years.

edit: just to clarify, I love living in Australia but it isn't perfect. I don't believe that we've managed to create a utopian country yet ;)

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #120 on: February 07, 2015, 09:24:52 PM »
(posting to bookmark) - I've lived in several countries for extended periods and they are all great.  I've never met a new country that I didn't like :)  Some countries are more memorable because of their geography, some countries are great for their people, and everything in between.  As a whole, Europe is pretty amazing because there are so many different countries all packed in to the same space as states in the US, and that's probably the weakness of the US, being a single country that requires a car to see, whereas all of Europe (with its rich history) is amazingly accessible by Eurail...

  I think it's a fool's errand to try to 'pick' a winner, and saying you live in the best country only shows that you haven't traveled a lot...  It's like asking 'what is your favorite meal' (which is also a part of having a favorite country) or favorite book (which also is influenced by where you have lived), etc.  I guess it's pretty apparent that my dream of FIRE is being a citizen of the world, once this full-time parenting gig subsides...

Dimitri

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #121 on: February 07, 2015, 09:26:29 PM »
Americans think America is number one because it is what they were taught in school and as adults they only read/watch MSM propaganda. 

Their perspective might be different if they opened their eyes.

South China Morning Post - http://www.scmp.com/frontpage/international
RT - http://rt.com/
Al Jazeera America - http://america.aljazeera.com/

Indexer

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #122 on: February 07, 2015, 11:59:39 PM »
and as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of EU - 17.5
Population of US - 320m
Population of EU - 507m

1 US worker   ~1.5 EU worker in productivity . yes, Dorothy, they do more and do it better, at massive scale.

You do know that EU is a union of several countries with vastly different economy and culture? And that several european countries have elected to stand outside the union? The GDP per capita can be found here, and you can see that e.g. Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland are substantially higher than the US:
By nominal GDP, I'm worth 2 of you (using your logic): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
By correcting for purchasing power, it goes down to 1.2. But that would partly be because a lot the national oil revenue goes into savings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita 

The EU is a union of several countries.... The USA is a union of several states, many of which are bigger than the countries in the EU.  You cherry picked three countries, and none of them are super significant.  Just New York, and I'm not even talking about the state, just the CITY of New York has a larger GDP as all three of those countries combined!

GDP Per capita in NYC is 54k, but if we look just at Manhatten(still bigger than Luxembourg) it is 121k.  I'm not saying one is better than the other.  I'm just pointing out that picking a few small countries and saying wooo they have higher income than the average for a giant country like the USA is crap.  The EU has Luxembourg, we have Manhatten, the EU has Greece, we have Mississipi. 

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/here-are-the-10-biggest-us-cities-by-gdp-and-how-theyve-grown-since-2009/279833/

gaja

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #123 on: February 08, 2015, 01:16:21 AM »
and as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of EU - 17.5
Population of US - 320m
Population of EU - 507m

1 US worker   ~1.5 EU worker in productivity . yes, Dorothy, they do more and do it better, at massive scale.

You do know that EU is a union of several countries with vastly different economy and culture? And that several european countries have elected to stand outside the union? The GDP per capita can be found here, and you can see that e.g. Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland are substantially higher than the US:
By nominal GDP, I'm worth 2 of you (using your logic): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
By correcting for purchasing power, it goes down to 1.2. But that would partly be because a lot the national oil revenue goes into savings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita 

The EU is a union of several countries.... The USA is a union of several states, many of which are bigger than the countries in the EU.  You cherry picked three countries, and none of them are super significant.  Just New York, and I'm not even talking about the state, just the CITY of New York has a larger GDP as all three of those countries combined!

GDP Per capita in NYC is 54k, but if we look just at Manhatten(still bigger than Luxembourg) it is 121k.  I'm not saying one is better than the other.  I'm just pointing out that picking a few small countries and saying wooo they have higher income than the average for a giant country like the USA is crap.  The EU has Luxembourg, we have Manhatten, the EU has Greece, we have Mississipi. 

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/here-are-the-10-biggest-us-cities-by-gdp-and-how-theyve-grown-since-2009/279833/

Luxembourg, Switzerland and Norway are not members of the EU.

stripey

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #124 on: February 08, 2015, 03:19:52 AM »
This is a hilariously heated discussion!

Ozstache

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #125 on: February 08, 2015, 03:23:18 AM »
This is a hilariously heated discussion!
For which there will be no victor, as opinion heavily outweighs facts in such discussions.

markbrynn

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #126 on: February 08, 2015, 03:26:16 AM »
Quote
The longer this thread goes on, the more I question the whole point.  Who cares if (some) Americans think they're from the best country in the world anyways?  Arguments to the contrary seem to take one of two forms:  data that suggest it's untrue, or data that suggest the posters own country is better in some measure or another.

If two children are in the playground and one loudly shouts "I'm the best," then another shouts "Oh no you're not," neither is behaving with much maturity.

I'm American, and I don't deny that there is a general societal suggestion that we live in one of/the best countries on earth.  However, it's not an idea I would ever want to promote when I go abroad, and it's something I, and many like me, simply roll our eyes at.  That said, if it makes someone happy to think they live in the best country on earth, wherever that may be, it does me no harm whatsoever to allow that person to believe it.  It would be similarly childish to start threads objecting to any group calling themselves the best at anything.

Make money, stop working, eat the food you like best, live in the country you like best, and have sexy sex with the person you like best.  Let me do the same.

Quote
The winner of "The Best Country in a Hell Hole World" contest goes to the one who can explain why the moderators have not moved this pointless blather to "Off Topic."

To try and get this "pointless blather" back on topic: Doesn't it concern many Americans (the way it does me) that this attitude lacking in self-reflection is going to stop the US from making changes to the things it does worst? For example, all of this economic wonderment that has been argued up-thread is at the cost of massive resource use. All of the consumerism (what this site focuses on avoiding) that is so prevalent in the US sucks up resources and spits out pollution. The US may or may not be the worst offender in this regard (uses the most of some resources, but uses technological solutions to somewhat reduce pollution impact), but isn't a stronger feeling of self-awareness and even self-criticism important to improve as a country (or as a person).

To take this to a personal level, some of my family are naturalised Americans and after years in the country have adopted many of the traits discussed in this thread. When we discuss various topics on an international level, they are usually so busy defending the US that they don't take the time to think if the ideas discussed may actually be good ones. To be clear, in the rest of the world, we get to see what the US does every day (in the news, on TV shows, in movies, music, imported products or in American companies on the ground in our country). I think non-American countries are almost forced to have this self-awareness (maybe less so in other very large nations, like China), which leads to trying to mix the best of all countries.

It was never my intention (I am the OP) to ask "Is the US the best country?" but to discuss whether the attitude behind the question is healthy/helpful.

crazylemon

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #127 on: February 08, 2015, 03:33:35 AM »
and as far as productivity goes

GDP of US - 16.7T
GDP of EU - 17.5
Population of US - 320m
Population of EU - 507m

1 US worker   ~1.5 EU worker in productivity . yes, Dorothy, they do more and do it better, at massive scale.

You do know that EU is a union of several countries with vastly different economy and culture? And that several european countries have elected to stand outside the union? The GDP per capita can be found here, and you can see that e.g. Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland are substantially higher than the US:
By nominal GDP, I'm worth 2 of you (using your logic): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
By correcting for purchasing power, it goes down to 1.2. But that would partly be because a lot the national oil revenue goes into savings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita 

The EU is a union of several countries.... The USA is a union of several states, many of which are bigger than the countries in the EU.  You cherry picked three countries, and none of them are super significant.  Just New York, and I'm not even talking about the state, just the CITY of New York has a larger GDP as all three of those countries combined!

GDP Per capita in NYC is 54k, but if we look just at Manhatten(still bigger than Luxembourg) it is 121k.  I'm not saying one is better than the other.  I'm just pointing out that picking a few small countries and saying wooo they have higher income than the average for a giant country like the USA is crap.  The EU has Luxembourg, we have Manhatten, the EU has Greece, we have Mississipi. 

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/here-are-the-10-biggest-us-cities-by-gdp-and-how-theyve-grown-since-2009/279833/

Luxembourg, Switzerland and Norway are not members of the EU.

Luxembourg is, the other two are not. Heck their former Prime Minister is the president of the EU commission at the moment!


gaja

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #128 on: February 08, 2015, 04:09:26 AM »
Luxembourg is, the other two are not. Heck their former Prime Minister is the president of the EU commission at the moment!

Sorry, I was thinking about Lichtenstein.

As to the "New York alone is bigger than bla bla bla": I prefer living in a smaller country, because that gives me larger influence in the democratic system. I can meet the major at the local grocery shop, get a meeting with members of parliament when I feel the need for that, and my vote really makes a difference. My country might not be as "important" as the bigger countries, like China and India. But as an individual, my country gives me just as much, or more, opportunities on a global scale.

deborah

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #129 on: February 08, 2015, 05:00:27 AM »
The OP wants us to start discussing whether thinking about whether the attitude behind being the "best" country is good.

To a certain extent it is good if it is not just blind nationalism. It is good to recognise why you think your country is "the best", or even what your country is "the best" in, so your country can continue to concentrate on its strengths.

Australia has a wonderful amount of resources - whether you are talking about the minerals mined, the natural energy available (solar and wind), the agricultural riches that first made our fortune, the unique flora and fauna or the absolutely fantastic tourist magnets (the reef, the rock, dinosaur fossils, coastline, whales, rock art...). We are a highly urbanised country, with few people, which means that outside the cities, there is just wide open space. I don't think even people from the US can imagine how unpopulated we are (although Canada is similar). Most of the country (in terms of % of land - not many people) relies on the flying doctor service and school of the air (where children go to school at their home with a teacher hundreds of miles away, and their fellow students spread over areas the size of some decent sized states in the US) and similar services.

We need to preserve this plenitude, which has proved difficult, especially as some of the feral animals we have that are destroying the unique flora and fauna and the rock art and the agricultural riches are cute mammals (cats, horses, camels, goats, foxes) and silly people from overseas who haven't seen the destruction these creatures cause to our fragile environments campaign against any form or control or killing. When you have over a million camels eating all your desert plants, so your own unique fauna is disappearing in areas where less than 1 person lives per 100 sq miles,  you cannot follow idiotic suggestions like milking the camels - or even using them for meat!

We have stable government that is currently in denial about climate change, when we are one of the countries that is likely to be most effected. We already are subject to catastrophic flooding, fires and cyclones (you might call them hurricanes), and most of our major centres of population have faced devastation by one or more of these over the past 50 years - many more than once. We have a very good emergency system, that has stopped this devastation turning catastrophic, but occasionally we are not happy with the results. We need to face these issues, and not deny them by simply saying that other countries need to do their bit and that we are more than pulling our weight.

Our people and politicians rarely see the really wide open spaces, and this means it is difficult to make sure things happen properly (eg. miners follow the rules), or even what the proper thing should be.

In general, we consider Australia to be one of the best places to live, but we often take the mickey out of ourselves - partly not to grow complacent. There seems to be a growing complacency, as we adopt more of the US nationalistic approaches (which are unfortunately encouraged by our politicians) - such as "the best". This is bad for us, as we need to constantly be alert for things that aren't very good because we live on the second driest continent (Antarctica is the driest), that is very fragile and prone to natural disasters. If our Great Artesian Basin (the underground water system covering most of inland Australia) dried up or became polluted by fracking life would be impossible in a lot of the interior. We have no real mountains because Australia is generally an old land, so our soils are more fragile, lack some basic nutrients, and need careful husbandry.

So, no, I don't think it is at all good to just blindly think your country is "the best". It breeds complacency and a dictatorial approach to other countries that don't do things the same way as you do.

Christof

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #130 on: February 08, 2015, 05:41:31 AM »

Malaysia41

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #131 on: February 08, 2015, 06:01:33 AM »
As a single counterpoint to the stereotype, I'm a US citizen and this picture has been my FB profile pic for approximately a year.  There are others like me.  We do exist.   

justajane

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #132 on: February 08, 2015, 06:27:55 AM »
When I hear people (mostly politicians like someone said above) say that America is the best country in the world, they are more often than not referring to our Constitution and this misplaced idea that it is the best document ever written.

To try and get this "pointless blather" back on topic: Doesn't it concern many Americans (the way it does me) that this attitude lacking in self-reflection is going to stop the US from making changes to the things it does worst? For example, all of this economic wonderment that has been argued up-thread is at the cost of massive resource use. All of the consumerism (what this site focuses on avoiding) that is so prevalent in the US sucks up resources and spits out pollution. The US may or may not be the worst offender in this regard (uses the most of some resources, but uses technological solutions to somewhat reduce pollution impact), but isn't a stronger feeling of self-awareness and even self-criticism important to improve as a country (or as a person).

What collective body of people is that good at self-reflection? I'm not sure the "best country in the world" idea is hindering this as much as human nature is.

Personally I am concerned about consumption and the amount of waste we produce. I lived in Germany for a year during university and was impressed with how much more aware they were of packaging and attempting to reduce it. They also composted and reused bottles to a degree that has never caught on in the States. I can't stand how many disposable plates, cutlery and the like that we use in this country. But this is probably more connected to laziness and regulations than it is to a sense that we are somehow superior. Maybe the amount of land we have to throw our junk also contributes to this, as does our larger homes. At least in Europe, regular folk can't have as many clothes and things because they don't have the space in which to put them. Population density rather than philosophy fuels this.

I guess my point is that you are looking in the wrong place for answers to your question. Plus the type of people in regular life who would say something so patently stupid and jingoistic are probably not the people who are going to ever enact change anyway.

But you've got me on the politicians. They could reform things. I think someone upthread had a good answer for why they talk this way and it had to do with our history - Vietnam, etc. As this generation of politicians retire and new ones replace them, hopefully this tendency to proclaim us the best will go by the wayside.

lizzie

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #133 on: February 08, 2015, 06:35:02 AM »
To the OP: yes, it concerns me that many of my fellow Americans are uninterested in how the rest of the world does things and do not want to look around to see how we could improve. I also do not like a lot of our foreign policy or many of the things that the US has done in the world. But what you don't seem to get is that this is entirely normal and banal. I'm surrounded by Americans who feel as I do. Americans argue about this all the time through our political process. 

If you don't see that, then I'll venture to guess it's because you're an outsider. Most people don't like listening to outsiders criticize their families, even if the criticisms are justified, and I think many people feel the same way about their countries. (Note that I am not talking about criticizing the US government's official actions. I have no problem listening to criticism of that. I'm talking about threads like this that suggest that there's something defective about Americans themselves.) 

People tend to get defensive when you ask them to justify or explain themselves or accuse them of lacking a sense of humor. Not to mention it gets old having to continually refute silly categorical assertions that have little or no basis in fact. (For example, I was not taught in school that the US is the best country in the world. Also, watching Hollywood movies does not mean you understand how Americans live or what they think.)

DollarBill

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #134 on: February 08, 2015, 06:35:14 AM »
I found this video last night called "Dumb, Drunk and Racist". It talks about stereotypes in different Countries. A Journalist takes four Indians on a road trip around Australia to examine their worst stereotypes -- are we really beer-swilling, racist bogans, or are we simply misunderstood? I'm only on esp 3 of 6. These video's are amazing....please watch!

"Dumb, Drunk and Racist"...Especially Deborah!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRqOFW9j0rI

Albert

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #135 on: February 08, 2015, 07:38:53 AM »
This thread reminds me a bit of a shouting in a sand box…

I've lived in three different countries and visited many, many more. Most places have some appeal and what is best is highly subjective. Of course wealth comes in play and freedom of speech, but also natural beauty, climate etc. Perhaps even more important is what your background is and where you feel at home. Poland, for example, wouldn't make too many lists as the best country in Europe from some kind of impartial view, but it's all very different if you are Polish yourself.

stripey

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #136 on: February 08, 2015, 07:58:48 AM »
Most people don't like listening to outsiders criticize their families, even if the criticisms are justified, and I think many people feel the same way about their countries.

Spot on. At least to many people in other parts of the world, the manner in which some U.S. citizens tend to articulate/demonstrate that they believe that the USA is the best country in the world can be quite grating. Regardless of whether one believes that the US is morally/ethically/democratically/constitutionally/educationally/fiscally/etc. superior, why say it? Surely it can be understood that people who grew up in other societies will have slightly different values and even be proud of the way their nation does things, and being told that the US is superlative is at the very least irritating.

To be clear, in the rest of the world, we get to see what the US does every day (in the news, on TV shows, in movies, music, imported products or in American companies on the ground in our country). I think non-American countries are almost forced to have this self-awareness (maybe less so in other very large nations, like China), which leads to trying to mix the best of all countries.

I think to some extent this is correct. We're exposed to a lot of US culture which is not equally reciprocated. As an example, when travelling in the US, I've been amused (and shocked occasionally) by how some people cannot cope with my non-North-American accent despite my being a native English speaker, and that has to be due to a lack of exposure to other English accents. When I was at uni, the US exchange students seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing (mostly amongst themselves) just how different everything is in Australia. It seemed to come as quite a shock to many that a developed English-speaking nation could be so insidiously culturally foriegn.


Schaefer Light

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #137 on: February 08, 2015, 08:49:58 AM »
3 of the 4 major championships in golf are played in this country.  Nuff said ;).

lizzie

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #138 on: February 08, 2015, 11:00:55 AM »
Most people don't like listening to outsiders criticize their families, even if the criticisms are justified, and I think many people feel the same way about their countries.

Spot on. At least to many people in other parts of the world, the manner in which some U.S. citizens tend to articulate/demonstrate that they believe that the USA is the best country in the world can be quite grating. Regardless of whether one believes that the US is morally/ethically/democratically/constitutionally/educationally/fiscally/etc. superior, why say it? Surely it can be understood that people who grew up in other societies will have slightly different values and even be proud of the way their nation does things, and being told that the US is superlative is at the very least irritating.

Sure. All I can say is that I personally have never once asserted to anyone that the US is the best country in the world, whatever that could even mean. I have, however, many times been subjected to people from other countries exhaustively explaining to me why their country is better than the US, or that Americans are all uberdumb, or whatever. It has not occurred to me, however, to demand that citizens of those countries explain to me why so many of them are so obsessed with doing that. The answer isn't complicated: some people are just jerks who like to indulge in stereotypes.

ChrisLansing

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #139 on: February 08, 2015, 11:28:59 AM »
Last week one day, during lunch, the topic of roads came up.   One of the guys declared that the Germans build better roads and added that the depth of the roads was why they last longer in Germany.   

So, it seems that at least some of us are aware that the US isn't the best at everything.   

The conversation then veered off on how Germany has about 1/4 the population of the US in an area about 1/2 the size of Texas.   The conclusion which seemed to be agreed upon by everyone was that a big country with low population density can simply not afford to have the same quality roads as Germany (not throughout the country) because it would bankrupt us.   We will never have the best roads, though quite possibly we have more miles of paved roads than any other country.   

These same guys might occasionally be heard to say American is the greatest country on earth.     

Just don't take the statement in such a literal way.    It just means America is a pretty good place, which is true enough.   

lizzie

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #140 on: February 08, 2015, 11:59:05 AM »
As  British person, and newly minted US citizen, who has lived in the states for nearly 18 years (almost as long here as in Britain) I'm going to weigh in on this, with my usual care and total lack of bias.

[...]

The sweet, burning core of the US's sense of importance, however, is its belief that its "founding fathers" and their ideas were special. They weren't. They were pretty mediocre thinkers. The supposedly great "Declaration of Independence" was an almost complete rip off of John Locke's "Treatise of Government", for example, as were many of the other writings of the time. The ideas were British that had existed in part since the time of the Magna Carta and were developed in full in Britain during the seventeenth and earlier eighteenth century. The British even tried to do what the USians did in the seventeenth century, and set up a republic under Oliver Cromwell.

Pursuant to 8 USC § 1427(a)(3), one of the requirements of naturalisation is that the applicant be "attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States" during the five years preceding the application for naturalisation and continuing up until citizenship is granted. There is no requirement to be attached to those principles after becoming a citizen, but if your representation to be attached to them during the relevant period was false, citizenship can be later revoked pursuant to 8 USC § 1451(a).

Oh my god please tell me you didn't just threaten a newly minted citizen with revocation of his citizenship because he dared to express opinions critical of the founding fathers.

Not that Ambergris needs this assurance but I'm quite sure that USCIS has better things to do than investigate the sincerity of his commitment to the principles of the Constitution.

beltim

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #141 on: February 08, 2015, 12:08:13 PM »
As  British person, and newly minted US citizen, who has lived in the states for nearly 18 years (almost as long here as in Britain) I'm going to weigh in on this, with my usual care and total lack of bias.

[...]

The sweet, burning core of the US's sense of importance, however, is its belief that its "founding fathers" and their ideas were special. They weren't. They were pretty mediocre thinkers. The supposedly great "Declaration of Independence" was an almost complete rip off of John Locke's "Treatise of Government", for example, as were many of the other writings of the time. The ideas were British that had existed in part since the time of the Magna Carta and were developed in full in Britain during the seventeenth and earlier eighteenth century. The British even tried to do what the USians did in the seventeenth century, and set up a republic under Oliver Cromwell.

Pursuant to 8 USC § 1427(a)(3), one of the requirements of naturalisation is that the applicant be "attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States" during the five years preceding the application for naturalisation and continuing up until citizenship is granted. There is no requirement to be attached to those principles after becoming a citizen, but if your representation to be attached to them during the relevant period was false, citizenship can be later revoked pursuant to 8 USC § 1451(a).

Oh my god please tell me you didn't just threaten a newly minted citizen with revocation of his citizenship because he dared to express opinions critical of the founding fathers.

Not that Ambergris needs this assurance but I'm quite sure that USCIS has better things to do than investigate the sincerity of his commitment to the principles of the Constitution.

Not only did Cathy do that, but she was wildly unjustified in doing so, since even an elementary reading of Ambergris's comment indicates support for the "principles of the Constitution of the United States." 

Kris

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #142 on: February 08, 2015, 12:09:57 PM »
As  British person, and newly minted US citizen, who has lived in the states for nearly 18 years (almost as long here as in Britain) I'm going to weigh in on this, with my usual care and total lack of bias.

[...]

The sweet, burning core of the US's sense of importance, however, is its belief that its "founding fathers" and their ideas were special. They weren't. They were pretty mediocre thinkers. The supposedly great "Declaration of Independence" was an almost complete rip off of John Locke's "Treatise of Government", for example, as were many of the other writings of the time. The ideas were British that had existed in part since the time of the Magna Carta and were developed in full in Britain during the seventeenth and earlier eighteenth century. The British even tried to do what the USians did in the seventeenth century, and set up a republic under Oliver Cromwell.

Pursuant to 8 USC § 1427(a)(3), one of the requirements of naturalisation is that the applicant be "attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States" during the five years preceding the application for naturalisation and continuing up until citizenship is granted. There is no requirement to be attached to those principles after becoming a citizen, but if your representation to be attached to them during the relevant period was false, citizenship can be later revoked pursuant to 8 USC § 1451(a).

Oh my god please tell me you didn't just threaten a newly minted citizen with revocation of his citizenship because he dared to express opinions critical of the founding fathers.

Not that Ambergris needs this assurance but I'm quite sure that USCIS has better things to do than investigate the sincerity of his commitment to the principles of the Constitution.

Not only did Cathy do that, but she was wildly unjustified in doing so, since even an elementary reading of Ambergris's comment indicates support for the "principles of the Constitution of the United States."

That was exactly my thought.

Cookie78

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #143 on: February 08, 2015, 12:10:05 PM »

Sure. All I can say is that I personally have never once asserted to anyone that the US is the best country in the world, whatever that could even mean. I have, however, many times been subjected to people from other countries exhaustively explaining to me why their country is better than the US, or that Americans are all uberdumb, or whatever. It has not occurred to me, however, to demand that citizens of those countries explain to me why so many of them are so obsessed with doing that. The answer isn't complicated: some people are just jerks who like to indulge in stereotypes.

I really want to answer this for you, but I don't know how. I am Canadian and I had the same opinion about Americans for a long time. I couldn't tell you exactly why, but I think it's very media driven. I wasn't an asshole about it, like the people you had to deal with.

I also had a fear that if I ever went to New York city I'd get shot (also media driven). Even when I was 30something and finally went to New York I still remembered that fear (but wasn't actually afraid). I think it takes a lot for those media driven thoughts to disappear.

Since then I've met hundreds of Americans and none of them (except one girl working at a grocery store in Ohio) fit into the stereotype that I had. All of the people I've met have been pretty fantastic, or less than fantastic, but not in a stereotype way, just in a human way. I started to think that if my media based stereotype wasn't applying to any of the people I was meeting, perhaps it was useless.

Media, from all countries, like to show us the extremes for shock value. If you never go to a place and all you get to see are extremes, your opinion of that places is based only on those extremes.

I don't think people are necessarily 'jerks'. I think very few people are bad. I think that people just have opinions based on the limited info they have access to, and are forming a world view based on limited info.

/end blog

Cookie78

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #144 on: February 08, 2015, 12:11:17 PM »
As  British person, and newly minted US citizen, who has lived in the states for nearly 18 years (almost as long here as in Britain) I'm going to weigh in on this, with my usual care and total lack of bias.

[...]

The sweet, burning core of the US's sense of importance, however, is its belief that its "founding fathers" and their ideas were special. They weren't. They were pretty mediocre thinkers. The supposedly great "Declaration of Independence" was an almost complete rip off of John Locke's "Treatise of Government", for example, as were many of the other writings of the time. The ideas were British that had existed in part since the time of the Magna Carta and were developed in full in Britain during the seventeenth and earlier eighteenth century. The British even tried to do what the USians did in the seventeenth century, and set up a republic under Oliver Cromwell.

Pursuant to 8 USC § 1427(a)(3), one of the requirements of naturalisation is that the applicant be "attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States" during the five years preceding the application for naturalisation and continuing up until citizenship is granted. There is no requirement to be attached to those principles after becoming a citizen, but if your representation to be attached to them during the relevant period was false, citizenship can be later revoked pursuant to 8 USC § 1451(a).

Oh my god please tell me you didn't just threaten a newly minted citizen with revocation of his citizenship because he dared to express opinions critical of the founding fathers.

Not that Ambergris needs this assurance but I'm quite sure that USCIS has better things to do than investigate the sincerity of his commitment to the principles of the Constitution.

Not only did Cathy do that, but she was wildly unjustified in doing so, since even an elementary reading of Ambergris's comment indicates support for the "principles of the Constitution of the United States."

That was exactly my thought.

Ambergris! Why you hate 'murcah???!

lizzie

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #145 on: February 08, 2015, 12:14:15 PM »
It was just information, not a threat.

One interesting aspect of 8 USC § 1451 is that it charges United States attorneys with a "duty" to pursue revocation of naturalisation "upon affidavit showing good cause therefor". This would appear to suggest that at any time, somebody could swear or affirm an affidavit alleging facts sufficient for denaturalisation, and then the government would be forced to take proceedings based on that. That is actually a bit disturbing.

Well, OK. If Osama bin Laden had somehow managed to obtain US citizenship, then maybe a US attorney would be inspired to invoke this provision. Otherwise I put the chances of this ever happening at less than zero.

Malaysia41

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #146 on: February 08, 2015, 03:34:45 PM »
When's Kriegsspiegel II gonna weigh in?  He'll straighten this all out. 

stripey

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #147 on: February 08, 2015, 09:30:40 PM »
Most people don't like listening to outsiders criticize their families, even if the criticisms are justified, and I think many people feel the same way about their countries.

Spot on. At least to many people in other parts of the world, the manner in which some U.S. citizens tend to articulate/demonstrate that they believe that the USA is the best country in the world can be quite grating. Regardless of whether one believes that the US is morally/ethically/democratically/constitutionally/educationally/fiscally/etc. superior, why say it? Surely it can be understood that people who grew up in other societies will have slightly different values and even be proud of the way their nation does things, and being told that the US is superlative is at the very least irritating.

Sure. All I can say is that I personally have never once asserted to anyone that the US is the best country in the world, whatever that could even mean. I have, however, many times been subjected to people from other countries exhaustively explaining to me why their country is better than the US, or that Americans are all uberdumb, or whatever. It has not occurred to me, however, to demand that citizens of those countries explain to me why so many of them are so obsessed with doing that. The answer isn't complicated: some people are just jerks who like to indulge in stereotypes.

Thank-you for sharing your experience, and for re-emphasising that stereotypes can be detrimental for a very large cross-section of society/societies.

I have occasionally asked (not demanded) my U.S. American in-laws why their fellow citizens (and occasionally they) have felt like telling my partner and I that the USA is the best. The responses and discussion that has followed has been quite interesting, with much more nuances and subtleties than indulgence in stereotypes, or people simply being jerks. And it's that kind of discussion the OP is trying to elicit, although probably it's not going to happen on this forum.

Lukim

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #148 on: February 08, 2015, 11:50:38 PM »

no Commonwealth of Australia in the current form did not exist at the same time as US or even at the time of US Civil War. It is at most 115 years old.
yes, the current form of government and rules that govern it changed 3 times in 20th century (1901, 1942, 1986) so it is very young country politically speaking.

is Australian history learned in Australian schools different from any other history? 

Ok, I give up, how did the current form of government and rules change in 1942 and 1986?

I did the Australian Constitutional Law course at University of Sydney (and got a distinction) but don't remember anything about those changes. I did the course before 1986 so maybe I have an excuse for missing the 1986 change of constitution.  I have not done any research but I am guessing is this something to do with ending appeals to the Privy Council (which was no big deal)?

There have been a number of amendments to the Australian constitution (as there have been to the US Constitution) but not many and it is a difficult process involving a referendum to change the Constitution.

deborah

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #149 on: February 08, 2015, 11:55:20 PM »
It is the privy council change she's talking about - as I said, her further reading just muddied the waters.