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  1. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beentheredonethat View Post
    Well, I think we ought not be allowed to use names and such, but rather define what you mean. I am a conservative, which means I think we need to stop spending so much money, cut our military massively and get out of everyone's business, stop subsidizing corporations, get out of everyone's business that does not harm others (as in gay marriage, legalize pot) tie government salaries to performance, help thy neighbor (as in provide basics in education and healthcare) and so on, tax churches like the big businesses they are, ban all religion in politics, etc.

    The people who call themselves "conservative" now seem to be fascists by definition. Socialism seems to be what the god of the Bible intended, but religious people seem more fascist. I don't know what liberal means. It seems to be what I would call conservative--you act like an adult and take care of the people around you and take on your fair share of the burden in life so you don't put it on others.

    I think we have a lot of sophisticated brainwashing going on to convince people to do what they know is not right and to go against what is good for them.
    I would describe a lot of that stuff as liberal. I'm in JSA (junior statesman of america, a national organization for high schoolers interested in politics) and when we split into liberal or conservative sides, most of the liberals go for what you described.

    Socialism isn't what God intended, basically he says if you don't work or aren't trying to work (ie looking for a job) you are lazy and don't deserve to live off of others. Sometimes people hit hard times and He says we should help out the poor (help thy neighbor), but dependence on someone is foolish. And if Fascism is defined as this: Fascists seek to unify their nation through a totalitarian state that seeks the mass mobilization of the national community, maybe some religions call for that (I can't speak for them), but not Christianity. And in JSA (dominated by non-christians) we definately don't lump conservatives into fascist

    I agree with your last sentence, but I'm not sure if we agree on what's not right and what's good for them

    I'm not trying to call you out in particular, I was just confused about how you defined some things.

    As per the rest, I agree that depending on he government for some things (infrastructure stuff) is good, but we should not depend on them for money. They should not pay as much as they do for unemployment, I know some people personally who take advantage of that and they're not the only ones, and social security, while a good thing, needs to be reformed. Yes OP I do think too many people are dependent on the government for things they should supply on their own, that and our tendency toward self-entertainment is why many countries view Americans as lazy (the whole obesity thing is't helping).

    I have friends that went to Paris, France and hated the trip because everyone was so mean to them just because they were American. They stopped in Spain though, and are fluent in Spanish, so they had a good time there. Let's rescue our reputations Americans!
    Of the heart-aching, hard-working, hope-having, horse-loving and horse-less variety. We are a sad species indeed.


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  2. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbbieS View Post
    As per the rest, I agree that depending on he government for some things (infrastructure stuff) is good, but we should not depend on them for money. They should not pay as much as they do for unemployment, I know some people personally who take advantage of that and they're not the only ones,
    What are you talking about? Are you aware of how unemployment benefits are funded or what it takes to be eligible for unemployment benefits or the time limits on collecting?

    In almost all states (IIRC, three require minimal employee contributions), unemployment insurance is funded by a tax on employers. You become eligible to collect benefits if you lose your job through no fault of your own and you can only collect for a limited amount of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by AbbieS View Post
    Yes OP I do think too many people are dependent on the government for things they should supply on their own,
    Like what? If you're talking about health care, why is it that the largest group on Medicaid in two dozen states is Walmart workers? You think those workers, rather than their mega-rich employer Walmart, should supply their own health care? The reason these people can get Medicaid is because their employer doesn't pay a living wage.

    Quote Originally Posted by AbbieS View Post
    that and our tendency toward self-entertainment is why many countries view Americans as lazy (the whole obesity thing is't helping).
    Americans aren't lazy. Americans work hard. I refer you to my earlier post:

    At least 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of the work week; the U.S. does not.

    In the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week.

    According to the ILO, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.”
    Using data by the U.S. BLS, the average productivity per American worker has increased 400% since 1950. One way to look at that is that it should only take one-quarter the work hours, or 11 hours per week, to afford the same standard of living as a worker in 1950 (or our standard of living should be 4 times higher). Is that the case? Obviously not. Someone is profiting, it’s just not the average American worker.
    Quote Originally Posted by AbbieS View Post
    I have friends that went to Paris, France and hated the trip because everyone was so mean to them just because they were American. They stopped in Spain though, and are fluent in Spanish, so they had a good time there. Let's rescue our reputations Americans!
    My dear AbbieS, please consider that the US currently wages war with impunity all over the world. The US kills women, children, old folks, whoever in drone strikes -- and then goes back and bombs the rescue workers and funerals. The US government currently maintains a kill list of its own citizens who have no due process to find out why they're on the list or challenge their place on the roster. Among those killed this way was an American-born 16 year-old.

    If America needs to rescue its reputation, maybe it should be less about obesity and more about ending the lawless destruction and bloodshed. If your friends are feeling ostracized overseas, maybe they need to wake up to the reality of the USA in the 21st century.
    Last edited by JER; Apr. 1, 2013 at 11:52 PM.


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  3. #143
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    Whoa!!!

    Relax, I support unemployment benefits and I know how they work. You have to show proof of documentation and everything, but there are always ways to get around this I know people with part-time jobs that still collected their benefits online a couple weeks after thay had it. I'm just worried about how effectively they can support the benefit system. I'm saying maybe the system needs to be revamped is all.

    About the dependence, I was talking about trivial things like cell phones and other not basic needs, which the OP mentioned in a post. I'll quote next time . The healthcare thing is up in the air for me, because my dad works for a private heathcare company and Obamacare was not looking great and he had good arguements too, but I think free healthcare sounds good in theory, so I don't really have a side there.

    As for laziness, it is there, statistics and averages are statistics and averages. Yes our productivity is higher, it's much easier to produce things more efficiently in higher quantities today because of technology. Now I've met plenty of hardworking Americans that don't deserve the reputation, I've also met many who do deserve it. If politics shows anything it's that one bad mark can ruin your entire reputation because that's what everybody focuses on. Eventually it gets blown out of proportion. I'm not saying Americans are lazy as a whole, I'm saying that's how people SEE us. So the Americans that are lazy need to get up and work.

    I agree with basically everything you said about the military, athough the kill list sounds a bit conspiracy theorist (don't worry I know about Guantanamo). But that is a military reputation, I'm talking about a social reputation which we have because some people are lazy and it's been blown out of proportion.

    By the way my friends weren't "ostracized" that would imply they were trying to fit in, they were treated poorly as tourists which isn't a good rap for France's tourism industry, that is the reputation France now has in my eyes. They were not treated poorly in Spain, even though they were only on layover there and decided to walk the streets. They had to carry their suitcases with them everywhere which would give you an annoying reputation in the eyes of fellow Americans, but they were treated fine.

    Please don't go for the throat until you understand the situation, as you can see, I agree with a lot of what you are saying
    Of the heart-aching, hard-working, hope-having, horse-loving and horse-less variety. We are a sad species indeed.


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  4. #144
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    Remember that the lack of regulation in the American economy was ignited the collapse of the global economy in the 2008 crash.

    And since WWII at least, the US has made sure the rest of the world knew it would use its wealth as well as legitimate and illegitimate military and political means to get what it wanted.

    If Western Europe has a bone to pick with us as "lazy" or self-serving, they aren't entirely wrong. If some tourists feel a bit of a cold shoulder post-2008, I'd say they should just consider it the cost of doing business as an American.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  5. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    Remember that the lack of regulation in the American economy was ignited the collapse of the global economy in the 2008 crash.

    And since WWII at least, the US has made sure the rest of the world knew it would use its wealth as well as legitimate and illegitimate military and political means to get what it wanted.

    If Western Europe has a bone to pick with us as "lazy" or self-serving, they aren't entirely wrong. If some tourists feel a bit of a cold shoulder post-2008, I'd say they should just consider it the cost of doing business as an American.
    I don't completely disagree with you, I just think it's not a good strategy for their tourism industries is all, because the number one place my friend mentioned as unpleasant was their hotel b/c of the hotel staff. It might just be that particular place because people vacation in France all the time with no problem.
    Of the heart-aching, hard-working, hope-having, horse-loving and horse-less variety. We are a sad species indeed.



  6. #146
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    With all due respect, I don't think France is obligated to give a sh!t about the wishes of American tourists given the state of things and our part in it.

    All things being equal, sure-- create a great experience for tourists. But it would suit Americans much better to have a little humility right about now.
    The armchair saddler
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  7. #147
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    For as long as I can remember in my long life, the French, Parisians in particular, have had a reputation for being nasty to tourists--especially tourists who don't try and speak French. I daresay they are just as nasty to Brits and Germans as to Americans, since both of those are their traditional enemies--centuries of being enemies and fighting wars on French territory with all the associated killing. IIRC, their view is that the rest of the world needs what France has to offer more than France needs the rest of the world.

    You're young; you'll learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by AbbieS View Post
    I don't completely disagree with you, I just think it's not a good strategy for their tourism industries is all, because the number one place my friend mentioned as unpleasant was their hotel b/c of the hotel staff. It might just be that particular place because people vacation in France all the time with no problem.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
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  8. #148
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    mvp, Yes, I agree, Americans are not known for their humility and we're not obligated to special treatment because we're Americans and especially not if someone doesn't like us; it might be personal, social, or economical, the reason doesn't matter, we're not above them and they have a right to their feelings and to act on them (short of bodily harm).

    We're killing this thread debating my friend's and her family's treatment during their trip to France. I didn't mean for this to happen I swear!

    So to resume the OP said:

    Instead of defining Socialism, how about making the question a little more clear. Do you think too many people depend on the government now for things they should be providing for themselves? Do you think the trend is for more dependence to the government to supply all that you need?

    If someone is physically or mentally disabled and unable to provide for themselves then they definitely should get assistance but some people that should be able to provide for themselves have become dependent on the government for their whole lives.

    The government has gone from providing the basics necessities of life (food, housing, etc.) to providing things like cell phones.

    On a tangent note, have you noticed that several of the politicians that tout the 'redistribution of wealth' are quite wealthy and yet they don't redistribute their own wealth. Some of them RARELY give non political donations. I think this is ironic. If the redistribution of wealth is so vital then why not start with yourself and lead by example?
    Of the heart-aching, hard-working, hope-having, horse-loving and horse-less variety. We are a sad species indeed.



  9. #149
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    So, now this has turned into a French-bashing thread.

    I've been to France twice, several years apart, and spent a week each time--and both times I was treated exceptionally well. The first time, I was in the Vosge (sp?) mountains in the Alsace region, and the second time I was in Paris. I had *one* person in Paris (@ the Pompidou) who was ever-so-slightly snippy with me, just a bit of an attitude but nothing that really bothered me. No big deal. Everyone else was just lovely--one lady on the metro even went out of her way to help me and my friend when there was an announcement over the loudspeaker about the next station being closed, and having to get on a bus to go to the next station. She had us go with her so we wouldn't get lost, made sure we knew where we were going, and gave us lots us great tips/advice for sightseeing, etc. And, yes, she was a native Parisian.

    I can tell you, though, when I spent a semester abroad in the Czech Republic, I was often *horrified* at the behavior of my fellow classmates and sometimes even my professor. I can't tell you how many times I thought, "Well, if any people over here aren't too fond of Americans, THIS is why."

    As for Social Security being some sort of handout--?!?! It's taken out of our paychecks. That is not a handout.



  10. #150
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    If we're talking personal experiences, I've been to France several times, totaling several months over 40 years, and I never found many French people who would fall over themselves to help tourists who didn't speak French. But then again, I've never found very many Americans who would do the same for tourists with whom they couldn't communicate relatively easily.

    What I did find was a French sense of cultural superiority. That's not French bashing, because French culture is, on the whole, superior.
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  11. #151
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    Ahhhh I'm sorry, no French bashing, that wasn't supposed to happen! I just used one example that I thought would make a good supporting point about how people look at each other and make/earn reputations/judgements. It just happened to be in France! As I said:

    It might just be that particular place because people vacation in France all the time with no problem.
    Back to Socialism!
    Of the heart-aching, hard-working, hope-having, horse-loving and horse-less variety. We are a sad species indeed.



  12. #152
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    Lazy? I do not think so. If anything the stereotype is that Americans live to work and that their lives and self-identities revolve around their jobs and that these are sad things. The first question you ask upon meeting someone is usually "what do you do?" Europeans tend to be absolutely baffled by American labour standards, lack of holiday time, long hours, lack of unionization, lack of parental leave, and having healthcare tied to employment. And of course the conservative nature of politics, individualism, isolationism, cultural imperialism, militarism, etc. There is a sort of brutality in American culture that is quite foreign, which can seem odd because Americans are often so extremely friendly and welcoming and there is a kind of overt cultural sentimentality that somehow does not translate into a sense of social well-being or ethical geopolitical and economic practices.

    Of course there are significant historical reasons for this state of affairs, dating back to colonization itself. And America also had one of the most notable and fruitful social welfare policies in history - the New Deal. But since the 1980s America has experienced a mass rightward shift in politics, including economic policy (the rise of neoliberalism, hyper-globalization, etc.), that has in many ways drastically separated it from the rest of the western world. Reaganism and Thatcherism are quite a lovely couple and the UK does have commonalities with the US in its trajectory (the UK has its own kind of brutality), as does Canada, but the US is the most extreme of any of the western nations.

    I remember when McDonald's came to Sweden, tried to prevent unionization, and were quickly forced to allow collective bargaining. Toys R Us tried to do the same about a decade later and worker agitation - not only from Toys R Us employees but unions in other parts of the supply chain in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway - led to the first union at Toys R Us ever. So these practices are not just things people in European countries read about in papers and say "how awful!", they're practices America exports and that are fundamentally against our own sense of ethical economic models.

    Those are some real reasons for anti-American sentiment, along with JER's eloquent post above.



  13. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbbieS View Post
    agree with basically everything you said about the military, athough the kill list sounds a bit conspiracy theorist (don't worry I know about Guantanamo).
    The assassination list is real. This column has all the links you need to get your head around it.



  14. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbbieS View Post
    Whoa!!!

    The healthcare thing is up in the air for me, because my dad works for a private heathcare company and Obamacare was not looking great and he had good arguements too, but I think free healthcare sounds good in theory, so I don't really have a side there.
    If anybody thinks healthcare is expensive now.(My ins cost tripled in last 3 years to completely devouring my pension) .. Wait till it's "free"



  15. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbbieS View Post
    Ahhhh I'm sorry, no French bashing, that wasn't supposed to happen! I just used one example that I thought would make a good supporting point about how people look at each other and make/earn reputations/judgements. It just happened to be in France! As I said:
    Back to Socialism!

    I think the increased influence of the socialist party in Post-WWII France played a role in the politics during that reconstruction period.

    I'd also think that some socialist ideologies were a factor that drove the european unification.

    Americans have to remember that Western Europe suffered damage from WWII in ways that America did not. The difference in experiences had influence over how our respective societies developed in the aftermath.

    Unfortunately for America, the ideologies of "winning" and "power", seemed to become a driving force for the choices that would shape America towards what it would later become.

    Europe's socialist inclinations are exactly what one might expect a population that experienced massive devastation and loss of civilian life to gravitate towards to try to prevent such insanity from ever occurring again.



  16. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by alterhorse View Post
    I think the increased influence of the socialist party in Post-WWII France played a role in the politics during that reconstruction period.

    I'd also think that some socialist ideologies were a factor that drove the european unification.

    Americans have to remember that Western Europe suffered damage from WWII in ways that America did not. The difference in experiences had influence over how our respective societies developed in the aftermath.

    Unfortunately for America, the ideologies of "winning" and "power", seemed to become a driving force for the choices that would shape America towards what it would later become.

    Europe's socialist inclinations are exactly what one might expect a population that experienced massive devastation and loss of civilian life to gravitate towards to try to prevent such insanity from ever occurring again.
    You have a good point.

    We were "shocked and awed" by the 9/11 attacks. Meh-- walk about Berlin where you can see bombed Cathedrals/ Look at the films of firebombed London. Ask why you can't find public garbage cans in the London tube (because too many nailbombs were being set off in them). Yeah, we had Pearl Harbor-- but in a remote part of the US that didn't look anything like "us."

    So Americans have a limited understanding of suffering. It is always removed.

    Oh, and we don't have the connection to Continental Philosophy that Europeans do. Between our following the British turn to Analytic Philosophy and the home-grown invention of Pragmatism, there's not the intellectual basis for any sophisticated kind of Socialism in your average American bear.

    Our intellectual isolationism is too bad.
    The armchair saddler
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  17. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    You have a good point.

    We were "shocked and awed" by the 9/11 attacks. Meh-- walk about Berlin where you can see bombed Cathedrals/ Look at the films of firebombed London. Ask why you can't find public garbage cans in the London tube (because too many nailbombs were being set off in them). Yeah, we had Pearl Harbor-- but in a remote part of the US that didn't look anything like "us."

    So Americans have a limited understanding of suffering. It is always removed.

    Oh, and we don't have the connection to Continental Philosophy that Europeans do. Between our following the British turn to Analytic Philosophy and the home-grown invention of Pragmatism, there's not the intellectual basis for any sophisticated kind of Socialism in your average American bear.

    Our intellectual isolationism is too bad.
    You are disgusting!


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  18. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noms View Post
    You are disgusting!
    Oh really? Given the damage we have done to other nations in wars before anything arrived here, how do you figure?

    It's the height of hypocrisy to think that bombing the shit out of other nations for our own purposes is run-of-the-mill world politics and to get verklempt about the discovery that the same can be done to us.
    The armchair saddler
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  19. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbbieS View Post
    About the dependence, I was talking about trivial things like cell phones and other not basic needs, which the OP mentioned in a post.
    People abuse the system, both rich and poor. Bill Gates has a reputation for donating to humanitarian causes, Doris Buffet is known as the Sunshine Lady, but the Romneys and Waltons do not.

    Just like there are reasons to try to give more people the opportunity to own their own home there is a good reason for the "Obamaphones" The idea actually started in the Reagan administration with land lines. Without a phone it is hard to apply for a job or call 911. It was later expanded to cell phones and is paid for by a telecommunication tax.
    I wasn't always a Smurf
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  20. #160
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    I think this is as good a definition of a liberal as any
    ". . . My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it."

    (Ted Kennedy's eulogy for his brother)

    I am proud to call myself a liberal
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


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