Author Topic: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?  (Read 63420 times)

Lukim

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #150 on: February 09, 2015, 12:52:56 AM »
The Privy Council was a good guess!!

The number of cases that could get leave to appeal to the Privy Council before 1986 was only about 1 or 2 a year so the end of Privy Council appeals was hardly a major change to the Australian system of government.

The Privy Council only affected the judicial arm of government only, nothing to do with executive or political government.

mak1277

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #151 on: February 09, 2015, 06:21:17 AM »
I'm going back to something I said several pages ago, but bears repeating (in my mind).

From an economic and geopolitical perspective, there can be little (no) doubt that the US is the most important country in the world.  I think many Americans conflate that fact with America being the "best" country. 

Whether it was by luck or design, the road to being the world's superpower is much less important than the fact that America IS the world's superpower.

deborah

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #152 on: February 09, 2015, 06:33:21 AM »
This would be somewhat worrying when the title is likely to change hands within the next 20 years. It would make people in the US question what they had done to stop being "the world's great superpower". After all, the cold war was always labeled (truly or falsely) as a competition between the USSR and the USA as the two superpowers, and with the breakup of the USSR, the USA won the competition by default. What has happened since in Russia has been ugly partly because of the loss of world domination. I would certainly not want the USA to go through something like that. However, I would also like to see the mantle passed in a peaceful way.

mak1277

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #153 on: February 09, 2015, 06:36:27 AM »
This would be somewhat worrying when the title is likely to change hands within the next 20 years. It would make people in the US question what they had done to stop being "the world's great superpower". After all, the cold war was always labeled (truly or falsely) as a competition between the USSR and the USA as the two superpowers, and with the breakup of the USSR, the USA won the competition by default. What has happened since in Russia has been ugly partly because of the loss of world domination. I would certainly not want the USA to go through something like that. However, I would also like to see the mantle passed in a peaceful way.

You're saying you prefer China being the world's superpower to the US?  Yikes...if you really feel that way I can't imagine having much common ground and I better understand that rancor you've shown throughout this thread.

deborah

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #154 on: February 09, 2015, 06:47:54 AM »
No, I would not prefer it.

However, every year it seems that some economist is predicting that it will happen (for instance "the Economist" magazine), and it is probably somewhat inevitable. Not only that, but somewhere I read some figures (yes I am being very vague) a couple of years ago that said that China has already overtaken the US in at least one area - I think that was in the Economist too. Of course, there is also India - but it is a bit further away, and India has real infrastructure problems.

If it is inevitable, I would prefer it to happen in a peaceful way.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #155 on: February 09, 2015, 10:34:19 AM »

However, every year it seems that some economist is predicting that it will happen (for instance "the Economist" magazine), and it is probably somewhat inevitable. Not only that, but somewhere I read some figures (yes I am being very vague) a couple of years ago that said that China has already overtaken the US in at least one area - I think that was in the Economist too. Of course, there is also India - but it is a bit further away, and India has real infrastructure problems.

All the more reason for us to keep building up our Armed Forces.

2lazy2retire

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #156 on: February 09, 2015, 10:54:58 AM »
You guys can debate this all you want, but who was it that saved the world from the Nazis?  And who was it that kicked the Brits' asses and went on to form a country that was even bigger and more powerful than Britain?  And if your country is being attacked by a foreign enemy, then who are you going to call for help?  No other nation has done what this one has to promote freedom at home and abroad.
Do you really believe that the US foreign policy is to "promote freedom at home and abroad"

2lazy2retire

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #157 on: February 09, 2015, 11:03:37 AM »
Personally I think ( hope)  that nationalism will go the way of religion. As people get more educated they will realize that both were engineered to fool the masses into doing stupid shit in the name of god or country with the real objective been to preserve the status quo.
Like the British Empire line during WW1 - "fight for the freedom of small nations" - WTF

As for America been the best country, I agree with an earlier poster that a lot of this attitude stems from the brain washing in early years of school. I remember soon after moving here my wife went for a run at a local middle school, half way around the track the tannoy turns on (scaring the shit out of her) and proceeded to blast out the national anthem at 8:30 in the morning ( apparently the kids have to stand to attention) - do other countries do this stuff?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 11:43:52 AM by 2lazy2retire »

Kaspian

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #158 on: February 09, 2015, 11:17:42 AM »
Americans are concerned with being #1.  They see everything as win/lose, succeed/fail, good/evil.  It's a bit crazy.  There is no such thing as second place.  (Even an American interviewer will ask a friggin' SILVER MEDALIST "How did it feel to lose the race?") 
I'm Canadian.  I don't give a shit about being #1 or winning at everything.  The loudest duck is usually the first to get shot.
Anyway, if someone thinks they live in the greatest country in the world, they should visit at least 30 or 40 other ones.  Otherwise, they're talking out their ass.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #159 on: February 09, 2015, 11:44:43 AM »
You guys can debate this all you want, but who was it that saved the world from the Nazis?  And who was it that kicked the Brits' asses and went on to form a country that was even bigger and more powerful than Britain?  And if your country is being attacked by a foreign enemy, then who are you going to call for help?  No other nation has done what this one has to promote freedom at home and abroad.
Do you really believe that the US foreign policy is to "promote freedom at home and abroad"
Nope.  But I do believe that we've done that.  At least, more than other nations have.

2lazy2retire

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #160 on: February 09, 2015, 11:49:41 AM »
You guys can debate this all you want, but who was it that saved the world from the Nazis?  And who was it that kicked the Brits' asses and went on to form a country that was even bigger and more powerful than Britain?  And if your country is being attacked by a foreign enemy, then who are you going to call for help?  No other nation has done what this one has to promote freedom at home and abroad.
Do you really believe that the US foreign policy is to "promote freedom at home and abroad"
Nope.  But I do believe that we've done that.  At least, more than other nations have.
Agreed -  its days as a protector of freedoms is sadly in the past. I think currently to use a playground analogy - the US is the big idiot in the playground that you pay off with your lunch money to sort out the bully.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2bhwy9_watch-key-peele-s-funny-take-on-how-the-us-military-works-in-reality_fun
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 12:04:21 PM by 2lazy2retire »

Giro

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #161 on: February 09, 2015, 12:24:11 PM »
It all comes down to what exactly you value.  I've been to many countries over the years.  I haven't found a country I would live in long-term.  I have always wanted to come home after 6  months or so.  My priorities align with American life more than any other country so I think it is the best for me.

I enjoy watching American football more than any other sport.
I enjoy being able to drive 10 miles and get authentic you-name-it cuisine. 
I was able to gain FI at 40 years old rather easily.  A little more difficult in most other countries.
America is so large and so diverse that you can move and control so many aspects of your life....climate, COL, ethnic diversity, etc etc
And then, it's difficult to stereotype America because we are so large and so different.  I hear people from other countries call us gun-toting rednecks....well, I live in Seattle.....oh, but I hate earth-lovin hippies......well, I live in San Francisco - oh...but the gays ......well, I'm a New Yorker....eh - the traffic and over-population... I live in Ohio.....

There is nothing wrong with thinking you live in the best country in the world.  I believe with everything in me, that I have THE BEST life of anyone EVER.  I'm not wrong. 



Cookie78

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #162 on: February 09, 2015, 03:17:37 PM »
Read this today:
http://markmanson.net/america

Thought of this thread.

deborah

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #163 on: February 09, 2015, 04:23:20 PM »

However, every year it seems that some economist is predicting that it will happen (for instance "the Economist" magazine), and it is probably somewhat inevitable. Not only that, but somewhere I read some figures (yes I am being very vague) a couple of years ago that said that China has already overtaken the US in at least one area - I think that was in the Economist too. Of course, there is also India - but it is a bit further away, and India has real infrastructure problems.

All the more reason for us to keep building up our Armed Forces.
Why? As I said, it is inevitable. China and India have more than four times the population of the US. As they move out of poverty, get their infrastructure together... they will, inevitably regain the position they held in the world until about the 1700's as the world's superpowers - the places everywhere else thought of as the richest.

And it is good that the majority of the world's people are moving out of poverty, that their countries are getting their act together (China in particular as it has more people, and seems to be progressing more rapidly).

They both have so many people, that when they do reach a comparable standard of living, the US will be in a similar position in relation to them as Germany is to the US currently (Germany has about 25% of the population of the US, just as the US has 25% of the population of India or China). Germany is a very major power on the world stage - and I see the US also always being a very major power on the world stage. But no-one wants the US to become a belligerent country like Russia has become - and increasing the build up of your armed forces is just that. That belligerence has seen Russia lose a lot of its influence on the world stage even though it still has the second largest firepower in the world.

Over the last 50 years or so there has been a genuine move worldwide toward peaceful coexistence, and respect for other country's borders. This has been helped significantly by trade and tourism. US diplomacy has helped more than US armed might. China is very close to overtaking the US not in military power, but in better things like economically, in gross GDP and other economic figures.

NICE!

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #164 on: February 10, 2015, 02:28:50 AM »
This thread has been remarkably civil. I expected it to be a polemic fest. Congrats, everyone.

For the record, I don't know that anyone can have a truly fair opinion on this matter due to nationalism, various forms of pride and/or propaganda, and simple group identification. I think that some places (North Korea) are clearly worse than others (Denmark), but even that doesn't apply to everyone. I'm sure life is pretty great for an upper-level defense official in Pyongyang. He (presumably a male) probably has a beautiful family, beautiful home, secure position, access to Western products, and plenty of money. Depending on his level of knowledge regarding human rights violations, he might be happily ignorant of the plight of other North Koreans.

I will echo the earlier sentiment on the national parks. No, I haven't been to every country nor have I even been to all American National Parks. However, based upon the places I've seen, the history I know, and my knowledge of other countries' parks, America wins that contest hands-down. The United States invented the concept when most great land was owned by old money in Europe and was inaccessible for all but a select few. On the quality side, the United States has the most diverse system of parks. To take that a step further regarding quality, I think I'd take the United States' best offering, the Grand Canyon (imho), over every national park system in the world. And it isn't like the Grand Canyon is head and shoulders above Yosemite.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 02:32:19 AM by NICE! »

Nickyd£g

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #165 on: February 10, 2015, 03:09:03 AM »
How many countries can come close to inventing the things that have been invented here?

Scotland. :)  But then, I'm very patriotic.  Oh, the irony!

Nickyd£g

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #166 on: February 10, 2015, 03:48:18 AM »
Joking aside, I lived in California for a few years and I've visited lots of European and a couple of African countries.  I LOVED living in San Francisco for the climate, the friendliness, the food (except Indian food, I couldn't get a good curry there for love nor money) and the scenery and parks.  I found it amazing you could drive an hour and be at a beach or on a mountain.  I also think that the history of immigration has made for a fantastically interesting, open minded culture.  The houses were massive - even the fairly small apartment I lived in had a pool! And everyone seemed to have lots of stuff - every appliance known to man!  I went camping with some friends and believe me, it was ten times more luxurious than camping in Scotland - we had mattresses, a boat, you could buy firewood, there was a barbeque pit, it was amazing.

But I was.. mmm...astonished by the patriotic fervour instilled in many people I spoke to, particularly high school kids.  They all seemed so confident that they were the best at everything and lived in the best country in the world, in many cases without having been exposed to any other cultures (or, apparently actually knowing anything about or even where European countries were!). 

While on the one hand, I admired that self confidence (I think Brits, Scots especially, are really negative about ambition and success) I also found it a bit scary, as I could see it leading to that "we know best" attitude which the US is accused of.  And I was frankly appalled at the lack of healthcare, employee benefits (I get 4 WEEKS plus 2 weeks public holidays for annual leave! and we get 6 months maternity leave) and the political system - only rich folks can stand because it costs so much money, what's that about?.  And there were no pavements for walking, everyone drove, that was really weird. 

I do think America is a great country, but it could learn a few things from others which I think would make it even greater.

Just my two pence :)

NICE!

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #167 on: February 10, 2015, 05:27:29 AM »
I do think America is a great country, but it could learn a few things from others which I think would make it even greater.

My sentiments exactly...and I'm American. I'd say that statement applies everywhere.

Giro

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #168 on: February 10, 2015, 06:39:40 AM »
How much vacation is "normal"?  I keep hearing Americans lack paid time off.  I have always had extra vacation at the end of each year.  I thought our problem was more about how we don't use our vacation days.  I just started with a new company and I negotiated 5 weeks paid time off and of course the 10 national holidays.  At the same time, I received my unused vacation pay from my previous employer and that was 3 weeks pay. 




Villanelle

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #169 on: February 10, 2015, 07:59:49 AM »
Americans are concerned with being #1.  They see everything as win/lose, succeed/fail, good/evil.  It's a bit crazy.  There is no such thing as second place.  (Even an American interviewer will ask a friggin' SILVER MEDALIST "How did it feel to lose the race?") 
I'm Canadian.  I don't give a shit about being #1 or winning at everything.  The loudest duck is usually the first to get shot.
Anyway, if someone thinks they live in the greatest country in the world, they should visit at least 30 or 40 other ones.  Otherwise, they're talking out their ass.

If you are Canadian, then it is... uncomfortable that you would presume to make blanket statements about what "Americans are".

I wouldn't presume to tell you about Canada and what all Canadians are.  Because I would likely look foolish, and ignorant, having spent only minimal time in Canada, and certainly not enough to feel like I have an insider, native-level understanding of the culture and norms. 

I don't care about being #1.  I'm never especially interested in the Olympics, and when I do watch, I end to root for the person whose story touches me the most, no matter where that athlete is from.  I've already said in this thread that I think the US us flawed in many ways and I don't view us a #1, in the vague, who is the bestest overall, category we are discussing.  It doesn't hurt my feelings if the US is #3 in the medal count, or in education (I'd be *thrilled* if we got up to #3, simply for what that would mean about what our citizens would be getting that they now aren't), or in GDP, or in pets per household, or in amount of broccoli consumed, or any other metric.  I don't care where we rank.  I care whether we are doing right by ourselves.  Comparing that to how others are doing is of zero interest to me, other than to show what is possible, in an aspirational way.

One thing that the US might actually be #1 in is diversity of thought.  And no, I don't mean that in the "we are the most open-minded" kind of way.  I simply mean that IME, (and yes, I have been to 30+ countries and lived abroad), there is less of an "average American" than there is an "average othercountry-ian".  We are so large, formed from so many different group of colonizers, so spread out, faced with such varied topography and weather, and so many other factors, that I think there is less uniformity of culture than in most other nations.  Which makes statements about what "Americans are", especially from non-Americans (and those who haven't spent a lot of time in a lot of parts of the US) all the more ridiculous. 

The quintessential CA girl has surprisingly little in common with the quintessential Texas man.  To make blanket statements about them, together, is nearly impossible. 

It's like speaking about what "Europeans are". IME, the Southern Italians are pretty darn different than the Schwabish Germans.  To to make a statement about what all of them are is going to be pretty much universally wrong.

DollarBill

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #170 on: February 10, 2015, 09:12:13 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

Did anyone watch this?? Instead of continuing to toot your Countries horn or talk shit about another Country because of some presumed stereotype. Because all of those things on TV are sooo true! Most of the people on TV are the biggest low life's around because people will watch that train wreck or be pissed off about what some dumb ass said.

2lazy2retire

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #171 on: February 10, 2015, 09:48:21 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

Did anyone watch this?? Instead of continuing to toot your Countries horn or talk shit about another Country because of some presumed stereotype. Because all of those things on TV are sooo true! Most of the people on TV are the biggest low life's around because people will watch that train wreck or be pissed off about what some dumb ass said.
What?

Christof

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #172 on: February 10, 2015, 02:34:01 PM »
We are so large, formed from so many different group of colonizers, so spread out, faced with such varied topography and weather, and so many other factors, that I think there is less uniformity of culture than in most other nations. 

The same is true for India, China, to some degree Russia and certainly for many of the African countries that were created with arbitrary borders by their former colonist... Those countries alone account for more than half of the world's population. It is the minority that lives in a uniform country.

phillyvalue

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #173 on: February 10, 2015, 04:15:04 PM »
China is actually a lot further from challenging the U.S. economically than most on here seem to think. In terms of GDP per capita, as of 2013, China is at $7,000 vs. the U.S. at $53,000. China's growth is slowing and there is a lot of concern that certain sectors such as real estate have been in bubble territory. I would be surprised if you see parity in per-capita GDP within the next 50 years.

Albert

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #174 on: February 10, 2015, 04:35:53 PM »
China is actually a lot further from challenging the U.S. economically than most on here seem to think. In terms of GDP per capita, as of 2013, China is at $7,000 vs. the U.S. at $53,000. China's growth is slowing and there is a lot of concern that certain sectors such as real estate have been in bubble territory. I would be surprised if you see parity in per-capita GDP within the next 50 years.

I would be very surprised as well, but that is not necessary. 1/3 in per-capita GDP would easily make China the biggest economic power on the planet.

aspiringnomad

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #175 on: February 10, 2015, 10:58:59 PM »
Americans are concerned with being #1.  They see everything as win/lose, succeed/fail, good/evil.  It's a bit crazy.  There is no such thing as second place.  (Even an American interviewer will ask a friggin' SILVER MEDALIST "How did it feel to lose the race?") 
I'm Canadian.  I don't give a shit about being #1 or winning at everything.  The loudest duck is usually the first to get shot.
Anyway, if someone thinks they live in the greatest country in the world, they should visit at least 30 or 40 other ones.  Otherwise, they're talking out their ass.

If you are Canadian, then it is... uncomfortable that you would presume to make blanket statements about what "Americans are".

I wouldn't presume to tell you about Canada and what all Canadians are.  Because I would likely look foolish, and ignorant, having spent only minimal time in Canada, and certainly not enough to feel like I have an insider, native-level understanding of the culture and norms. 

I don't care about being #1.  I'm never especially interested in the Olympics, and when I do watch, I end to root for the person whose story touches me the most, no matter where that athlete is from.  I've already said in this thread that I think the US us flawed in many ways and I don't view us a #1, in the vague, who is the bestest overall, category we are discussing.  It doesn't hurt my feelings if the US is #3 in the medal count, or in education (I'd be *thrilled* if we got up to #3, simply for what that would mean about what our citizens would be getting that they now aren't), or in GDP, or in pets per household, or in amount of broccoli consumed, or any other metric.  I don't care where we rank.  I care whether we are doing right by ourselves.  Comparing that to how others are doing is of zero interest to me, other than to show what is possible, in an aspirational way.

One thing that the US might actually be #1 in is diversity of thought.  And no, I don't mean that in the "we are the most open-minded" kind of way.  I simply mean that IME, (and yes, I have been to 30+ countries and lived abroad), there is less of an "average American" than there is an "average othercountry-ian".  We are so large, formed from so many different group of colonizers, so spread out, faced with such varied topography and weather, and so many other factors, that I think there is less uniformity of culture than in most other nations.  Which makes statements about what "Americans are", especially from non-Americans (and those who haven't spent a lot of time in a lot of parts of the US) all the more ridiculous. 

The quintessential CA girl has surprisingly little in common with the quintessential Texas man.  To make blanket statements about them, together, is nearly impossible. 

It's like speaking about what "Europeans are". IME, the Southern Italians are pretty darn different than the Schwabish Germans.  To to make a statement about what all of them are is going to be pretty much universally wrong.

Well said. I was born elsewhere, my wife spent most of her life on the other end of the world, and we've both traveled to 30+ countries each, so we have some basis for comparison and agree with this.

The U.S. is #1 for business but not #1 in terms of quality of life, secondary education, equality, health care, cricket playing, shark fin eating, and a whole host of other categories. But the business category is particularly notable in a very market-driven global economy and on a website where folks rely on market returns to fund their early retirement.

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #176 on: February 11, 2015, 12:58:33 AM »
The same is true for India, China, to some degree Russia and certainly for many of the African countries that were created with arbitrary borders by their former colonist... Those countries alone account for more than half of the world's population. It is the minority that lives in a uniform country.

Other than China, I'd say there's no comparison in regards to a uniform culture and/or social harmony. India has huge rifts due to religion and language differences. Russia is way less tolerant of ethnic diversity than you think. See: deportation of Crimean Tatars, resistance in Chechnya, etc. Is the US perfect on these counts? Absolutely not. But generally people accept a black American as an American just as much as they do a white American or American of Asian descent. Go see if the French think the same way about a third generation Algerian immigrant in Marseilles.

Furthermore, re: Africa, the difference between one tribe that is from a villages 100 miles upstream from another is in no way comparable to the difference between an Italian American and a Vietnamese American. Even the difference between an Anglophone and a Francophone in Cameroon is minimal in comparison to the Italian and Vietnamese Americans above. There are definitely differences, but they are in another ballpark.

Source: I've spent time in many of these countries and have studied them quite a bit.

2lazy2retire

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #177 on: February 11, 2015, 05:56:38 AM »
How many countries were founded by a group of people with the ideals of our founding fathers?  If not for the US, what would Europe have looked like from the mid-1940s on?  How many countries can come close to inventing the things that have been invented here?  China may have 10x as many people, but they don't have a fraction of the innovation we have here.  In how many countries is obesity the biggest health problem?  Do most countries have people willing to risk their lives walking across the desert or rafting in shark-infested waters to enter them?  In how many countries do people who are considered poor own TVs, computers, iPhones, refrigerators, and microwaves?

Thanks for proving a point, typical, spouting off what he chooses to believe without checking the facts

"Do most countries have people willing to risk their lives walking across the desert or rafting in shark-infested waters to enter them?"
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31414009

"If not for the US, what would Europe have looked like from the mid-1940s on?"
Debatable, but we could say "Would the US even exist if it were not for the french"

" In how many countries is obesity the biggest health problem?"
The fact that this is listed as a positive just boggles the mind, how on earth, we are so smart we don't know when to stop eating
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 06:23:17 AM by 2lazy2retire »

Albert

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #178 on: February 11, 2015, 11:49:44 AM »
Furthermore, re: Africa, the difference between one tribe that is from a villages 100 miles upstream from another is in no way comparable to the difference between an Italian American and a Vietnamese American. Even the difference between an Anglophone and a Francophone in Cameroon is minimal in comparison to the Italian and Vietnamese Americans above. There are definitely differences, but they are in another ballpark.

There are no major language or education (for those born in US) differences between Americans of Italian and Vietnamese descent. I live within walking distance of French border and I can tell that there is a significant cultural difference. I bet geneticall population on both sides of the border is more or less identical, but language and different education system introduces plenty of differences. Local people learn French in school, but I'm not local so after walking just 20 min I'm in a place where I don't understand (except few simple words) anyone. Can't say that about America (well maybe in Miami).

marketnonsenses

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #179 on: February 11, 2015, 12:12:19 PM »
Maybe for people who say that, it is the best country in the world to them. Best is such a subjective term when it isnt something quantifiable. It is presumptuous to say they do not know enough to know what country is the best choice for them.

I have immigrant grand parents who insisted that their home countries were the best countries in the world. They lived in the US because they had no home or family left in their countries after WWII.

People have no issue when someone claims that Paris or NYC is the best city in the world. But for some reason they get weird when people claim it about their country.


Villanelle

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #180 on: February 12, 2015, 09:00:58 AM »
Maybe for people who say that, it is the best country in the world to them. Best is such a subjective term when it isnt something quantifiable. It is presumptuous to say they do not know enough to know what country is the best choice for them.

I have immigrant grand parents who insisted that their home countries were the best countries in the world. They lived in the US because they had no home or family left in their countries after WWII.

People have no issue when someone claims that Paris or NYC is the best city in the world. But for some reason they get weird when people claim it about their country.

I disagree with that.  How can I say broccoli is the best food (for my pallet), if it's all I've ever tasted. Or if maybe I've had one steak (which may or may not have been burned to a crisp), some spam, and reconstituted powder food? 

Maybe broccoli would still be my favorite food, but to claim that it is the best without having really experienced other foods is still ignorant, even if it accidentally arrives at the correct answer.

If someone has learned about other countries in some depth and has experienced at least a handful of them, them a claim that the US is the best country in the world for them (which, by the way, is not the same as saying it is the best country in the world), cool. But to base that opinion on some 4th of July jingoistic montage of flags and jets and amber waves of grain is silly.

And it's also silly to say NYC or Paris is the best city in the world it is one of the only cities one has ever experienced. 

paddedhat

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #181 on: February 12, 2015, 11:10:29 AM »
Personally I think ( hope)  that nationalism will go the way of religion. As people get more educated they will realize that both were engineered to fool the masses into doing stupid shit in the name of god or country with the real objective been to preserve the status quo.
Like the British Empire line during WW1 - "fight for the freedom of small nations" - WTF

As for America been the best country, I agree with an earlier poster that a lot of this attitude stems from the brain washing in early years of school. I remember soon after moving here my wife went for a run at a local middle school, half way around the track the tannoy turns on (scaring the shit out of her) and proceeded to blast out the national anthem at 8:30 in the morning ( apparently the kids have to stand to attention) - do other countries do this stuff?

You should of been around when our idiot king, George decided to attack Iraq. Now, as you might of guessed, like most rational humans on the planet, I shared the view of one of our retired Generals, who said, "It makes about as much sense as bombing Mexico when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor". Well, at that point, retard strength nationalism ruled the day, and it was common to be verbally assaulted if you expressed the opinion that there was no good reason to get our asses handed to us, attacking another middle eastern country, especially one that had fuck-all to do with the original issue. It was so bad that friends of ours were asked to leave their church, since the minister spotted a peace rally sign in the back of the wife's car, and the church was strongly pro-war, and felt that killing was the answer. In the school where my wife was teaching, the children were forced to stand for the playing of Lee Greenwood's "God bless the USA",  which is well worth Googling BTW, as it is about the sorriest piece of nationalist propaganda dreck ever written.

Thirteen years, trillions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands dead, and our latest idiot king is asking congress to approve another round of war, "but this one will only be three years"  LOL. I sort of remember another shit-bag claiming that the last one would only be six weeks.

deborah

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #182 on: February 12, 2015, 11:31:43 AM »
Actually, although I don't agree with it, this one has a lot of justification. Since the cold war there has been a world wide agreement that countries don't pinch parts of other countries. There are disputed territories, like Kashmir where countries have never agreed on the border, but not annexation. This is annexation.

marketnonsenses

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #183 on: February 12, 2015, 01:27:31 PM »
Maybe for people who say that, it is the best country in the world to them. Best is such a subjective term when it isnt something quantifiable. It is presumptuous to say they do not know enough to know what country is the best choice for them.

I have immigrant grand parents who insisted that their home countries were the best countries in the world. They lived in the US because they had no home or family left in their countries after WWII.

People have no issue when someone claims that Paris or NYC is the best city in the world. But for some reason they get weird when people claim it about their country.

I disagree with that.  How can I say broccoli is the best food (for my pallet), if it's all I've ever tasted. Or if maybe I've had one steak (which may or may not have been burned to a crisp), some spam, and reconstituted powder food? 

Maybe broccoli would still be my favorite food, but to claim that it is the best without having really experienced other foods is still ignorant, even if it accidentally arrives at the correct answer.

If someone has learned about other countries in some depth and has experienced at least a handful of them, them a claim that the US is the best country in the world for them (which, by the way, is not the same as saying it is the best country in the world), cool. But to base that opinion on some 4th of July jingoistic montage of flags and jets and amber waves of grain is silly.

And it's also silly to say NYC or Paris is the best city in the world it is one of the only cities one has ever experienced.

I mean why does everyone assume that they only think that it because the person has never been anywhere. Unless you know the persons full history you dont know what they know. Unless they are close to you, you dont know if they have lived in other countries or travled a ton. That is what I meant.

ozzage

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #184 on: February 12, 2015, 02:16:24 PM »
In my opinion, the two countries where the inhabitants are most likely to argue about for it being the "best country in the world" are the US and Australia!

I do NOT think that the US is any worse than Australia in that regard. Aussies are some of the most nationalistic in the world. They might "take the piss" among themselves but woe betide any foreigners hinting that it's not paradise on earth!

(I'm Australian)

greaper007

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #185 on: February 12, 2015, 05:10:46 PM »
I'm a big fat liberal, but I still think America has the "potential" to be the best country on the face of the planet.  And frankly, it's pretty close.

#1 is freedom.    Journalistic and individual freedoms in this country trump just about everyone else.    Now, we do have to do something about the war on drugs, and our insanely high rate of incarceration.    Until then we can't tout our freedoms.

#2 is our military strength.   Not the strength per say, but the fact that in theory we use it to help people that are truly in need.   Now, Iraq and Afghanistan (and Vietnam, Panama, The Spanish American War, The Trail of Tears...) have really cast a shadow on our efforts.    Still, we destroyed the Axis powers and made the world safe for democracy.   Our Navy is also the largest protector of maritime shipping lanes in the world.    When a country is in trouble and needs help they don't call China or Russia, they call the US.    As much as I hate our high rates of military spending, our military is essential to worldwide freedom.    We just need to use it the right way.

#3  Economic opportunities.    This has and always will be a place for innovators and hard workers.     Of course from a statistical standpoint this is no longer a great place to live if you're not in the top 1%.    There's more economic mobility in the UK than the US now.     

We need to get our poop together on a lot of things.    From emissions to poverty.    It's not jingoistic to say that America has the potential to be the greatest country on earth though.   It does, we just need to come together and help each other.

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #186 on: February 13, 2015, 03:53:17 AM »
Furthermore, re: Africa, the difference between one tribe that is from a villages 100 miles upstream from another is in no way comparable to the difference between an Italian American and a Vietnamese American. Even the difference between an Anglophone and a Francophone in Cameroon is minimal in comparison to the Italian and Vietnamese Americans above. There are definitely differences, but they are in another ballpark.

There are no major language or education (for those born in US) differences between Americans of Italian and Vietnamese descent. I live within walking distance of French border and I can tell that there is a significant cultural difference. I bet geneticall population on both sides of the border is more or less identical, but language and different education system introduces plenty of differences. Local people learn French in school, but I'm not local so after walking just 20 min I'm in a place where I don't understand (except few simple words) anyone. Can't say that about America (well maybe in Miami).

Language differences are miniscule compared to cultural and racial differences. I live with an anglophone host family in Africa and I can tell you that our shared language (which they speak very differently than I do) pales in comparison to our cultural distance. I'm pretty sure this should go without saying, but since you're in Switzerland perhaps you place more of an emphasis on language differences since they are so proche. People generally value the things that are close to them. I think you should be able to see past this, though. Assuming you're a native French-speaking Suisse, I don't think I need to spend too much time arguing with you that your shared language with someone from Libreville means very little.

chemgeek

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #187 on: February 13, 2015, 10:14:34 AM »
I think "America is the best" initially stemmed (historically at least) from the fact that the US was not taken seriously as a country for a very long time. The fact that the Civil war happened within 100 years of founding was proof to other countries that America as an idea was going to fail and wasn't worth considering as an equal. Because of that, I think extra efforts went into proving that we could play with the big kids, and through the years, that has translated into the population's nationalistic pride.

To the OP: I think blind patriotism is not a good thing, but I get it to some degree. I think people get defensive about facets of their identity or life that they cannot change. I didn't chose to be a female as much as I didn't choose to be born an American. I get rather agitated when sexist remarks and stereotypes are bandied about, just as I get annoyed when American stereotypes are attached to my identity without cause. I could technically change my citizenship and move somewhere else, but there's trade offs to anywhere  you live, and I personally couldn't be that far away from family.

@nanu: It really bugs me when people hold the lack of linguistic ability against Americans. Geographically, living in the US is very different than living in a European country. I can drive to the part of Canada that speaks French, but it's going to take me at least 5 hours to get there. Where as if I lived in Switzerland, it makes a ton of sense to have conversational skills in French, English, German and Italian.   International flights are cost and time prohibitive for a lot of people. I feel lucky to live on the East Coast in that regard. The only other language I can speak is Spanish ( barely) because it seemed like the most logical choice for where I live. 


marketnonsenses

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #188 on: February 13, 2015, 11:32:53 AM »


@nanu: It really bugs me when people hold the lack of linguistic ability against Americans. Geographically, living in the US is very different than living in a European country. I can drive to the part of Canada that speaks French, but it's going to take me at least 5 hours to get there. Where as if I lived in Switzerland, it makes a ton of sense to have conversational skills in French, English, German and Italian.   International flights are cost and time prohibitive for a lot of people. I feel lucky to live on the East Coast in that regard. The only other language I can speak is Spanish ( barely) because it seemed like the most logical choice for where I live.

I have this argument all the time. I dont speak any other language because there is no where to speak it. I live over 1000 miles from a country that speaks something other than English. I could join some club with a bunch of other Americans trying to learn a language. Not nearly the same as Europe. Speaking to people who moved here and have english as a second language. I ask them when did they learn English. Almost allways they said "a little in school but I really learned it moving here". So unless someone is willing to move thousands of miles away, they will never really learn a different language.

Albert

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #189 on: February 13, 2015, 11:40:01 AM »
Language differences are miniscule compared to cultural and racial differences. I live with an anglophone host family in Africa and I can tell you that our shared language (which they speak very differently than I do) pales in comparison to our cultural distance. I'm pretty sure this should go without saying, but since you're in Switzerland perhaps you place more of an emphasis on language differences since they are so proche. People generally value the things that are close to them. I think you should be able to see past this, though. Assuming you're a native French-speaking Suisse, I don't think I need to spend too much time arguing with you that your shared language with someone from Libreville means very little.

I'm not a native of Switzerland and I only speak German and no French, but I can still say that someone from Libreville is  unlikely to have French as a native language and thus your example doesn't work. There is some cultural affinity between France and Quebec.

Albert

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #190 on: February 13, 2015, 11:47:46 AM »
As for languages it is true that vast majority of people learn new one because they need or because they have parents speaking them and not because they are particularly interested. I can speak four to one extent or another, but it's just because my life has turned in such a way that I have needed the three foreign ones.

It is not necessary however to live abroad to speak a foreign language well. Most of my co-workers speak fluent English, but very few have lived in UK/USA.

Cookie78

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #191 on: February 13, 2015, 12:15:51 PM »
It is not necessary however to live abroad to speak a foreign language well. Most of my co-workers speak fluent English, but very few have lived in UK/USA.

:p
I can say the exact same thing of nearly all of my coworkers.... in Canada.

NICE!

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #192 on: February 13, 2015, 01:14:13 PM »
I'm not a native of Switzerland and I only speak German and no French, but I can still say that someone from Libreville is  unlikely to have French as a native language and thus your example doesn't work. There is some cultural affinity between France and Quebec.

Not correct...But sure, you can ignore my point because I picked a less obvious example since people know little about Sub-Saharan Africa. Use Kinshasa instead. Or Accra and Seattle for English. Or the sticks in Lousiana and Rabat for French.

Language matters but not nearly as much as the other factors.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 03:57:23 PM by NICE! »

marketnonsenses

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #193 on: February 13, 2015, 01:28:14 PM »

It is not necessary however to live abroad to speak a foreign language well. Most of my co-workers speak fluent English, but very few have lived in UK/USA.

If you lived in the US what second language would you speak? There are no other equeviants to English except maybe Mandarin but no one I know speaks it, not even sure where I could find someone to speak it with

Albert

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #194 on: February 13, 2015, 01:44:39 PM »
If you lived in the US what second language would you speak? There are no other equeviants to English except maybe Mandarin but no one I know speaks it, not even sure where I could find someone to speak it with

If I was born in US I wouldn't be me anymore so I can't say, but in principle Spanish makes most sense in US. There is a fair number of Americans who can speak it to some extent.

Louisville

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #195 on: February 13, 2015, 01:49:52 PM »
"Best Country in the World - why do you say this?"

I didn't. Who said I did?

deborah

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #196 on: February 13, 2015, 02:32:34 PM »
Learn the First Nations language of your area. Local, non-English, cool...

agent_clone

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #197 on: February 13, 2015, 03:52:18 PM »
If you lived in the US what second language would you speak? There are no other equeviants to English except maybe Mandarin but no one I know speaks it, not even sure where I could find someone to speak it with

If I was born in US I wouldn't be me anymore so I can't say, but in principle Spanish makes most sense in US. There is a fair number of Americans who can speak it to some extent.
Plus, I think most of their nearer neighbours speak it (I know Brasil is Portuguese, but Mexico and Peru are certainly spanish).

beltim

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #198 on: February 13, 2015, 04:54:04 PM »
If you lived in the US what second language would you speak? There are no other equeviants to English except maybe Mandarin but no one I know speaks it, not even sure where I could find someone to speak it with

If I was born in US I wouldn't be me anymore so I can't say, but in principle Spanish makes most sense in US. There is a fair number of Americans who can speak it to some extent.
Plus, I think most of their nearer neighbours speak it (I know Brasil is Portuguese, but Mexico and Peru are certainly spanish).

Yes, but a lot of the US is almost as close to Europe as it is to South America.  Heck, I've taken cross-Atlantic flights longer (in time) than cross-country US flights.

caliq

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Re: Best Country in the World - why do you say this?
« Reply #199 on: February 13, 2015, 04:57:15 PM »
If you lived in the US what second language would you speak? There are no other equeviants to English except maybe Mandarin but no one I know speaks it, not even sure where I could find someone to speak it with

If I was born in US I wouldn't be me anymore so I can't say, but in principle Spanish makes most sense in US. There is a fair number of Americans who can speak it to some extent.
Plus, I think most of their nearer neighbours speak it (I know Brasil is Portuguese, but Mexico and Peru are certainly spanish).

Yes, but a lot of the US is almost as close to Europe as it is to South America.  Heck, I've taken cross-Atlantic flights longer (in time) than cross-country US flights.

+1

I'm closer to Quebec than any Spanish-speaking country, and Spanish is not something I hear or see on any sort of regular basis.  I have spent time in francophone areas (Gulf of St. Lawrence area & France itself), and never spent time in any Spanish speaking areas.

I did learn French, though.  Not quite fluent anymore (it's been 5+ years) but I was pleasantly surprised the other day when I could read 95% of a scientific research group's website :D

Edit: and to the original question...I've never had any illusions about America's place in the world (not really #1 in quantitatively measured characteristics, and not really #1 in terms of culture/society); " 'MURICA! " is a common joke among my peers...
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 04:59:32 PM by caliq »