Anti-Americanism - Ubiquity & Scrutiny

If you really got to know the Arabs, Brazilians, Chinese, Germans, Greeks, Guatemalans or any other nationality, you would find lots of things about them not to like. And if you were bombarded by their cultures and preferences every place you went, you probably would come to resent them. Fortunately for all involved, we mostly are not. One problem for the U.S. is that everyone watches us very closely - cannot avoid us - and thinks they know us.

BTW - thanks for you comments on my anti-American series. I am trying to write a speech about the subject and if you continue to indulge me with your comments, it will be much better than if I have to rely on my own thinking. I especially like the negative comments, that help me test the limits.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

Anyone familiar with the politics and society of any country anywhere in the world will be appalled by the many of the details. You will find dishonesty, corruption, aggression and mendacity all over. They may well be balanced by virtues, but virtues rarely make the news and negative experiences are remembered (and exaggerated) much more than positive ones. For example, the U.S. is a link text relatively honest society. So why do Pew Research polls show that publics in most countries do not see Americans as honest? Unless these all these people are living in Northern Europe, New Zealand, or Singapore there is a good chance their own people are significantly less honest than Americans. It is our 24/7 news going worldwide. When Harry Reid is accused of dishonest dealing by taking a couple of boxing tickets, the whole world finds out. When something much worse happens in the Philipines, Pakistan or Peru, nobody outside the local region pays much attention. In many parts of the developing world corruption is like the weather; everybody talks about it but nobody does anything about it.

Interestingly, according to the research the more honest countries think the U.S. is more honest, while the more corrupt countries think it is not. Perhaps a persons perception of the world really is a confession of character.

So another challenge (opportunity?) for the U.S. is that people see too much of us.

Since I have been stealing quotations from Mark Twain throughout this post, let me close with the rest of his sentiment on familiarity. “The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it.”

Posted by Jack at May 30, 2006 1:50 PM
Comments
Comment #152655

“Unless these all these people are living in Northern Europe, New Zealand, or Singapore there is a good chance their own people are significantly less honest than Americans.”

Pretty bold statement. Do you have proof?

Posted by: Vincent Vega at May 30, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #152660

I’m not quite sure what your point is here.

Is there some independant way of viewing honesty? Is my truth, your truth?

What these polls are about are perceptions which you simplify beyond what they actually say,in my opinion. People are complex and so are their views of the world.

You seem to spend a lot of time examing your bellybutton or mirror watching to me. There is an obsession with many Republicans over perception rather than substance. I guess that’s why they obseess over flag waving issues. Perhaps they have difficulty seeing why people don’t like being screwed over, while their leaders attempt to convince them it is the press’ fault or a problem with perception. I call this the Grover Norquist effect.

To quote Spike Lee loosely, Do the right thing and the rest will follow.

Posted by: gergle at May 30, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #152661
Unless these all these people are living in Northern Europe, New Zealand, or Singapore there is a good chance their own people are significantly less honest than Americans.

And they say Americans are arrogant…

Posted by: Woody Mena at May 30, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #152663
You seem to spend a lot of time examing your bellybutton or mirror watching to me. There is an obsession with many Republicans over perception rather than substance.

Yeah, no kidding. When something comes out that embarrasses the administration and/or Republicans, there is always a flurry of rage directed at the MSM and Democratic politicians from the right-wing blogosphere. Apparently if Ann Coulter went ahead and blew up the New York Times nothing bad would ever happen to this country again. I seriously wonder if some of these guys think that Iraqis have to read the New York Times to find out what is happening in their own country. Everything seems great, but then they read an op-ed piece by Frank Rich and they hate Americans…

Posted by: Woody Mena at May 30, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #152666

This is one of the best quotes I have heard in these forums….

“I seriously wonder if some of these guys think that Iraqis have to read the New York Times to find out what is happening in their own country.”

That is classic.

Posted by: Vincent Vega at May 30, 2006 2:36 PM
Comment #152667

Woody,

I wonder if the Iraqis had to read in the NY Times today that 1500 new troops were SENT to Iraq. I thought the insugency was in its “Last Throes…”

Posted by: Vincent Vega at May 30, 2006 2:40 PM
Comment #152670

Vincent

I am relying on the transparency international data (not an American organization BTW)and my own travel and living experience. I don’t think the TI data is perfect, but it tracks with my experience. If you look at the data, Iceland is the least corrupt, followed by Finland and New Zealand. The U.S. does all right, not great but better than most. We are in the same general band as Germany, Canada and Ireland.

Woody

That is exactly the problem. We need to compare. It is not arrogant to point out comparisions.

Gergle

I am studying specifically up on this issue. That is why I am writing these things. But I am clearly not the only one talking about it. The difference is that I am actually trying to find the truth, while many Bush or U.S. bashers are unaccustomed to having their rhetoric questioned.

And perception is key in many cases. Most foreigners (and many Americans) rely on a stereotype to understand the U.S. If you want, you can call it a mental model. But it is not reality. I want to understand how it diverges from reality and maybe get some idea why.

There are lots of real reasons not to like the U.S. but my experience is that much of the emotion is based on myth and inudendo.

Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2006 2:48 PM
Comment #152671

Is the poor opinion of America in some countries only caused by corruption? Did you think that sometimes people dislike America because American policy, reached by legitimate means and with the consent of the nation, negatively impacts their society?
When people lose their jobs to immigrants do the not feel anti-immigrant? When someone is killed by an American Soldier does their family not resent America?
I would like to point out that 17th in a corruption survey isn’t very good for the supposed leaders of the free world. We are better than China sure, but is that good enough?
I do agree with you that it is easy to criticize America because it is in front of everyone. Everyone is watching our every move. However, is that not the price one pays for fame, for success? I always hate it when a celebrity complains about being in the spotlight. Everything in this world comes at a price. We can only improve by accepting criticism, to reject it is to deny completely that we have fault worthy of attention.
They say it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and seconds to destroy one. It doesnt matter what we do right, it only matters when we screw up. This is a sad fact every pitiful employee in America knows.
Corruption can be defined as impairment of virtue and moral principles. Id say that there’s plenty corruption in America. Id say that my virtue has been impaired at times. The only way i can say i am a good person is not by comparing myself to a rapist but by comparing myself to who i was the day before. I can identify my faults and correct them day to day.
I think the same should be true of America.

Posted by: stopculture at May 30, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #152682


We do seem to have a corner on the market for pseudo-intellectuals who disguise third reich thinking as research. The very real threat to the american population lies in the sad fact that even a few may be swayed by such bilge.
Grow up,Jack! Yes,there is a boogey man,but he only exists when you hold a mirror up to frightened,unreasoning neanderthals.Those who believe that creating fear and misunderstanding is the only answer to their own problems,deserve to be dismissed out of hand. I notice that in your statements you always clarify by saying “the research shows” or “it would be much better than relying on my own thinking” While honest countries may indeed think the same of us, I don’t think we can apply that to your statements. Hiding behind inflammatory research,while claiming to be merely a student of this makes you in my mind, the most dishonest of all.

Posted by: jblym at May 30, 2006 3:09 PM
Comment #152683

A canadian friend of mine recently said, “You know we talk alot of shit about America, but wtf would we do without them.” He went on to say that Canadians can enjoy a higher benifit from their tax dollars because they are under the protection of the US. How much did Canada spend on their military last year?
Another thing, in china you run across the occasional taxi driver who will rant at you about BuShi, but when you look around at all the people are wearing US clothing and watching US movies you get the feeling over all Chinese people have a high opinion of the USA. That could change if we say press the issue with Taiwan, and begin bombing their country.
It seems that most countries we are not bombing are at this point simply annoyed with america, but overall can look at all the benifits the US brings to the world. This can all change if we continue to make unilateral decisions and continue to ignore the efforts the UN is trying to make in Eurasia.

Posted by: stopculture at May 30, 2006 3:10 PM
Comment #152688

I think the major difference between past anti-Americanism and now is that there seems to more “official” anti-American sentiment, especially from Europe. Citizens of other countires griping about American’s supposed laziness or ignorance to the world outside our borders is one thing, and is probably pretty equal when comparing most countries (ever hear the British talk about the French?). But when heads of state and politicians in major European countries are using their anti-American tilt as political capital, it is a different matter entirely.

Posted by: David S at May 30, 2006 3:33 PM
Comment #152690

Jack,

we are the one world superpower. We export American hegemony under corporatism or, more recently, at gunpoint. It is this precondition - imperialism - that drives opinions about us. The flames of world opinion are happily fanned by those countries who would gladly take our place.

But be clear we are imperialists who claim moral superiority - despite our history of regime change, genocide and preferring friendly dictators to democracy.

What makes Americans appear foolish? Our national ignorance - our own rose colored glasses to our government’s actions. What makes our leaders look dishonest? Their knowledge of American foreign policy while simultaneously playing to our ignorance/patriotic fervor.

Right now, being dishonest with our soldiers about why we are in Iraq is the most offensive example from this administration.

I am a realist Jack. It doesn’t make me love my country any less - but I don’t go around pretending our hands are clean.

I am also a realist about our critics around the world. I know that most who point to the truth of our past do so for their own gain.

It’s an unjust world and we are part of it.

Get over it. Stop whining about it.

Posted by: CPAdams at May 30, 2006 3:43 PM
Comment #152696

stopculture,

nice posts!

Jack,

quick question: explain to me how you extrapolate anti-Americanism from the corruption survey.

Did you actually read the survey and the methodology behind it? Who was surveyed? A handful of international organizations, residents of the countries, business leaders, and expatriates doing business in the countries. The margin of error indicates that all the surveyed groups agreed - our goverment (at all levels) can be bought more easily than 16 other countries in the world.

Jack,

you didn’t need the survey - a democrat could have told you that this administration was for sale!

Posted by: CPAdams at May 30, 2006 4:00 PM
Comment #152697

Stopculure

I think 17th is fine, when you look at the comparisons and who is above. That places us in about the 90th percentile in # of countries and very much higher if you take into account population and GDP. All the countries above us together would not have a population equal to the U.S. and they would have about half the GDP. For a country in our weight class, its not bad. I don’t know how the total EU would do, but I am sure it would not be better than the U.S. given that it has 25 members and only 8 are above us. I am sure some of our 50 states do better than others. And as you point out, other big and diverse countries such as China, Russia etc are not even close.

This, of course, is not the only source of American image. I am testing them one by one, as I wrote in the first post. Thanks for the comment.

Jblm

Transparency international is well respected. It is not an American institution and we do not come up #1. My post was mostly about scrutiny. I used corruption as an example to question the U.S. image versus reality. Anyone who has traveled, done business or lived overseas knows corruption varies by country. In some places it is hard to go though an average day without having someone try to rip you off. Others not. I am sorry if this insults your sensibilities. I know it is more fun to bash the U.S. in isolation from the faults of others.

DavidS

I agree with you. I will write something on that soon. Many leaders no longer feel there is any penalty for going against the U.S. and there are some benefits.

Re British, French etc - I also agree with that. The problem is that for much of the world the U.S. is the one they can criticize in addition to that pesky neighbor.

CPAdams

I am trying to figure it out. In some ways I think we may just have to develop a thicker skin.

I have noticed that the correlation between what people say about the U.S. and what they do is weak. The same people who say that dislike the U.S. still seek visas; they still drink Coke and eat at McDonalds. Maybe it does not matter so much. I think one of our national faults is that we want to be loved. I am not sure that is possible or necessary for a superpower, but that is a different topic.

Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #152702

Jack,

Do you have any nostalgia about the past?
This issue would not be very perplexing if you do have such feelings.

Any preference for a culture that no longer exists would help you understand a country where they consume McDonalds and Coke and still resent American culture.

Our corporations view other countries as markets to exploit, not cultures to preserve. Can McDonalds make a fortune in Cambodia or Peru? Absolutely. Do Cambodia or Peru need McDonalds? Not at all.

If the strategy is right, the marketing plans will work and many will enjoy a Big Mac. But people who value their distinct cultures first will resent American consumerism.

It’s not complicated, is it?

Posted by: CPAdams at May 30, 2006 4:22 PM
Comment #152707

“The same people who say that dislike the U.S. still seek visas; they still drink Coke and eat at McDonalds. Maybe it does not matter so much.”

Doesn’t matter? You must not live very close to New York, DC or Pennsyvania because it mattered on 9-11.

Why shouldn’t matter now?

Posted by: Vincent Vega at May 30, 2006 4:25 PM
Comment #152710

CPAdams,

I would like to piggyback your statement.

The poll that Jack is using for this site proves your point. Who likes us the most? India. Why? Because they have the jobs my buddies in the tech industry used to have. They have Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Getty Images and many other major companines in their country now.

Posted by: Vincent Vega at May 30, 2006 4:29 PM
Comment #152716

Advice for people living outside the United States:

When you meet an American, kick him. He will know why.

Jack,
The difficulty is that anti-americanism takes different forms and arises for different reasons. For example, OBL might exhibit anti-americanism because of US support for Israel, forcible US occupation of two Arab capitals, cultural corruption, and economic exploitation of oil by supporting corrupt regimes. That anti-americanism can take form as violent attacks. The anti-americanism of Argentina might be meaningless, since it is part of the Argentina national character to always blame someone else. This manifests itself in a lot of whining and posturing, and ineffectual breast beating, but no action. In Britain, they detest the “cowboy” image projected by Bush. The actual action may be ousting Blair for being a Bush poodle.

There is a great deal of anti-american sentiment which has been caused by US policy: refusal to participate in Kyoto, supporting Israel, invading Iraq, and so on.

When we restore competent leadership I am confident much of the negative attitude will fade. The “Ugly American” abroad will always be a problem though. Americans do not speak other languages, know geography, or play well with other cultures. It is lke the person who is insensitive to the feelings of others, but morbidly sensitive when is own are hurt.

So, if you live outside the United States, and you see an American, kick him. He will know why.

Posted by: phx8 at May 30, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #152718

I am not sure what they need in Peru or Cambodia. I am not sure some elite group should decide for them. Maybe they can have the choice to buy (or not).

Vincent

It should matter to us to control the border. But surely you are not advocating we keep all Arabs out.

My only point is that people’s behavior is not closely correlated with their self reported perceptions. In the end, what you do matters more than what you say.

The murderous rage of 9/11 killers is not the same as the reported rage of demonstrators in Paris who smash the windows of a McDonalds and then go get a burger at the one down the street. We may be able to talk to the latter, while the former may require sterner measures.

Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2006 4:46 PM
Comment #152719

Jack,

upon further reflection, I think your problem with world opinion is that you are committed to American imperialism.

To invoke the founding fathers for a moment, they did not believe in exporting our way of life and government, only lending emotional support to other nations.

I think opinions about the US only matter in the context of maintaining world domination. If being number one doesn’t matter, neither does Chad, Saudia Arabia or Chile’s opinion about us.

Posted by: CPAdams at May 30, 2006 4:47 PM
Comment #152721

Jack,

I am not sure what they need in Peru or Cambodia. I am not sure some elite group should decide for them. Maybe they can have the choice to buy (or not).

As I said, if you value some past culture, you can empathize with those who could resent our culture overwhelming theirs.

If there is nothing you value, then this issue can’t possibly make sense to you. I am sure this is not the case, so I do question the sincerity of your reply.

Posted by: CPAdams at May 30, 2006 4:56 PM
Comment #152722

Phx8

I would not kick an Arab or a German. Why should it be funny to be anti-American in that way?

If people really believe their American sterotypes, they would not dare kick an American unless he is a very small one or they have a lot of friends nearby. And if they would dare kick one, they don’t believe what they tell pollster (probably this)

I am exploring the various sources of anti-Americanism. Policies change. Anti-Americanism endures. I know that some policies make things worse, but that is not the only cause.

As for learning languages, many foreigners learn English because it is the world language. Native speakers of English have much less incentive. What language do you learn? Spanish? Almost no use outside Latin America or the Iberian Penninsula. French? W. Africa and France. Russian? Old Soviet Union, but don’t use it in the Baltics. Chinese? Lots of people speak it, but most of them are in the same place. In the most remote corner of the world, you can almost always find an English speaker.

I know how hard it is to learn foreign languages. (I SPOKE 4; I speak 1/2 if I am lucky) Few people can REALLY speak more than one because it requires constant practice. And an English speaker won’t even get to practice that much if he is in business where everyone speaks English.

Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2006 4:57 PM
Comment #152723

phx8,

I think Jack’s post is a a fine example of ugly American - displaying ignorance of other cultures while simultaneously being thin skinned about their opinions about us.

Posted by: CPAdams at May 30, 2006 5:01 PM
Comment #152726

CP

YOu have to trade things off. If you want diversity, you will lose localism. Personally, I like the old ways. When I go to Germany, I want to see people living in those cute little villages, leading their cows up the hill. In Asia, I want to see traditional rice cultivation. In Peru, we can have pictureque poor villages and in Africa huts made of cowhide. The trouble is PEOPLE prefer to make other choices. When I lived in Poland, there was a guy down the road who still harvested by hand and horse. I was sad when he got a tractor. He didn’t agree with the need to protect his tradional way of life.

How fervently do you defend you ancestral culture? Do you eat tacos and pizza? Do you try Chinese food? I grew up on traditional American meat and potatoes. I hardly ever eat that any more.

Cultures are all about change and people should be all about culture.

Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2006 5:03 PM
Comment #152729

CP

To answer your other post, I don’t care what people call us. I just answer back. It is not thin skinned. I also am not ignorant of other cultures. As I wrote (and I am telling the truth) I spoke 4 languages and I could read Greek and Latin. I have traveled widely. I bet if you and I took a test on world cultures, I would win. It is just that after seeing so many things, I no longer am quite so PC as I was years back.

Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #152730

CPAdams:
“I think Jack’s post is a a fine example of ugly American - displaying ignorance of other cultures while simultaneously being thin skinned about their opinions about us.”

Spot on, CP.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 30, 2006 5:08 PM
Comment #152732

Jack,

the stereotypes are real. How many Americans have you met abroad:

- searching desperately for a McDonalds because of remarkably limited palates?

- unappreciative of archeological sites or ancient buildings?

- demanding that locals bow to our customs and preferences?

Brits are the next group that come to mind in displaying this behavior - probably our shared imperial history.

As I said earlier, because we are imperialists, that’s why. It is neither complicated nor requires much depth of thought.

Posted by: CPAdams at May 30, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #152742

Vincent Vega,

I am to please.

Jack,

To echo phx8’s comment, I think I great deal of anti-American sentiment, especially in the Middle East, can be traced to our almost unqualified support of Israel. Fairly or not, the US is seen as supporting a “rogue nation” that violates human rights. Look at all of UN general assembly resolutions that have left the US standing almost alone with Israel.

Posted by: Woody Mena at May 30, 2006 5:35 PM
Comment #152745

CP

Ever been to Orlando and watched the foreign tourist head for Sawgrass Mall. Or in N. Virginia, the home of Mt Vernon and Monticello, the leading foreign tourist spot is Potomac Mills (an outlet mall) Or do you know that the average Japanese tourist never gets past Hawaii. Do you really think they are trying to soak up culture and art? Another big destination is Las Vegas.

There are many “ugly” Americans but there are also many who want to learn about others. Have you ever noticed that the leading scholars on many cultural subjects usually spend time in the U.S.?

We generally don’t speak other languages well for reasons I mentioned above. But consider this. You are planning a trip to all 25 EU member countries. Which language do want to be able to speak if you can only have one? How many would you have to learn in order to speak in the local language in all of them?

Adrienne

I am wounded.

I had a tutor in Norwegian a while back. We got to know each other very well. She came with her stereotypes about Americans. After we discussed art and culture, she was surprised at how much I knew and Americans in general surprised her when she got to know us. Then once we were discussing Beethoven. In my poor Norwegian, I told her that, while I liked the 9th Symphony, the last movement went on too long. That is why we have fast forward buttons, I told her.

She was scadalized. She said that she now understood that Americans know a lot, but they feel they have a right to judge for themselves, even the masters Yeah. Or should I say ja.

Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2006 5:40 PM
Comment #152748

Jackie…Jackie….
Don’t worry about me,because unlike you I have also traveled and realize that to ascribe corruption to what may simply be normal cultural practice is silly. When in Rome,Jack do as the Romans. To even try to adopt a philosophy that says do it my way or your a crook,is asinine.
In Japan,it is normal and customary to honor an associate in business with gifts,but to you this would mean that they are all underhanded,corrupt,with poor moral compasses. Why,to even call what goes on in other countries,corruption is to project your own prejudical value system onto people who never asked you to! By agreeing with the principles of this survey,you put yourself in the position of being the final arbitrator of all thats good and right. What colossal ego! What stupendous nerve!



Posted by: jblym at May 30, 2006 5:49 PM
Comment #152752

Jack,

I get that you want to stir this one up. I agree that other cultures stereotype us too though, because of the pervasiveness of American culture, they’re often closer to the mark than we are.

Your question wanted to know why anti-American attitudes persist. I’ve stated my answer - because we are the strongest nation on the planet and as a result we export our culture with complete indifference to others (much as the Romans and British before us).

If that isn’t a complete answer for you, I must refer back to phx8’s explanation of ugly American and why your lack of understanding provides evidence of this attitude.

Posted by: CPAdams at May 30, 2006 5:53 PM
Comment #152753

jblym

If you want to go the moral relativism route, then you have no basis to criticize the U.S. either. It seems to offend you that the U.S. might be better at some things or maybe not the worst.

We all know there is a difference between social gifts and bribery. At least I do.

And I lived overseas quite a while. I bet I know a little more than you, son.

Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2006 5:56 PM
Comment #152756

CP

I don’t disagere with the power thing.

I am not sure foreign sterotypes of us are more accurate, however. If you knew a country mostly through movies and television, I am not sure what you would know.

Generally, foreigners know more about us than we know about them, but whenever you make a judgement, you should have a confidence level. I think foreigners’ confidence level in what they know is sometimes too high BECAUSE of the pseudo familiarity with our popular culture.

I know almost nothing about the people of Mozambique, but I KNOW I don’t know. Some people might actually have a similar level of understanding about the U.S., but not be as self aware.

Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #152759

Jack,
Anti-americanism is not the same as ethnocentrism or xenophobia. Every culture exhibits these to some extent. Every culture is defined by its traditions & conventions, so by definition some fear of change natural; and whe it goes to far, it turns into xenophobia.

But cultural self-centeredness is not the same as anti-americanism.

There seem to be two major threads:

1) Anti-americanism as resentment of cultural domination, especially when it is forced, or otherwise insensitive. People can embrace some aspects of the culture whiie rejecting others.

2) Anti-americanism as resentment of politcal policy.

Posted by: phx8 at May 30, 2006 6:06 PM
Comment #152762

It is a mystery: If the United States is so corrupt and hated by the rest of the world, why is it that so many millions of immigrants, both legal and illegal, from all nations, risk life and limb to get GET here? They evidently have a happier picture of what awaits them here, than the life they are forced to endure in their homelands! It is a fact that whenever there is a crisis anywhere in the world, the first one on the scene with aid is the U.S.. Yet no matter how much we give, we are always critized—-we are told it is never enough! When a smaller country is invaded by a more powerful neighbor, it is the US Military that is begged for help. And then we are condemned for rushing to the smaller country’s aid! In times of disaster, we are there, but where was the world when Katrina struck OUR shores? We can count the nations that came to help on the fingers of one hand! That is fine..maybe we should do the same when disaster strikes other lands—but we WON”T! And why? Because we ARE America! And we WILL help, as we have always helped, even nations that are our avowed enemies. Because no matter how corrupt the world says we are, they know without a doubt, our hearts are big,and we are generous!

Posted by: Angel 1 at May 30, 2006 6:13 PM
Comment #152769

Jack- How can you suggest that I cannot criticize
the practices inherent in the very culture that I live in? If I am espousing the notion that “When in Rome,do as the Romans” it is only because within the context of living in the U.S.,I am the roman.
Moral relativism is a copout. I subscribe to the theory that there are universal truths in the world,and that there are universal evils,i.e. murder for pleasure. I don’t believe that the U.S. or anyone else has the moral superiority to be judge to others buisness practices. Son.

Posted by: jblym at May 30, 2006 6:45 PM
Comment #152774

Of course there is anti-Americanism in the world, for two reasons: 1. No one like a winner. Those who are less successful (losers) will do everything they can (sore loosers) to put down the winner because it makes them feel better. 2. We have anti-American Americans, enemies within our our country, who shamelessly promote anything sniffing of bad news about America while not discussing the good.

The U.S. has always been right, this is why everyone wants to emigrate to the U.S. and why our culture, food, etc. are copied all over the world. Let them bad mouth us. since they are wrong, why should we care?

Posted by: Rob Hemmen at May 30, 2006 6:51 PM
Comment #152775

jblym

So you can judge ONLY America and only because you are one. Sort of goes against all the tenets of a liberal education (small l) doesn’t it? We are supposed to be able through our educations to understand the other. Judgement is part of that.

In business, you have to judge. The way I see it, people can do what they want, but I don’t have to invest or do business with them.

Remember the early PC in India. Indians had what the Brits considered a bad habit of burning widows on the funeral pyres. The Brit (being un PC) wanted to stop that. Some locals explained the PC fact of life and he relented. He said something like, “I see. I will respect your values, but you have to respect mine. You can burn widows since it is your cultural dictate. My culture dicates that I hang anyone who does it.” Nice and fair all around, don’t you think?

BTW - I don’t know which part of the U.S. you come from, but we have a pretty diverse country ourselves. YOu might not be allowed to make many judgements if you limit yourself to your own kind.

Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2006 6:53 PM
Comment #152782


After WW2, most of the world liked us, they respected us, trusted us and looked to us for leadership.

Then came the cold war, the arms race and the petty dictators. Next, came Viet Nam and the corporate New World Order. And now, Iraq and the 2nd cold war.

And so most of the world has learned to dislike us, lost respect for us, no longer trust us, and fear us. They expected better from us.

Posted by: jlw at May 30, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #152789

I sure am thankful that a large number of those penning above are not making decisions for our government.

Is man complex? Only in ones own imagination.

God gave man wisdom for what he isn’t and
humor for what he is.

I have travelled to only three other nations; Cuba (under Batista), Canada and Mexico. In each case there were times that I went to the less fortunate part of a city or village only to learn something about how things stay together or fall apart in that small dot on the map.

When I lived in the midwest, I took a friend of mine with me to take our FCC license exams in Chicago. I purposely took him thru the south side when nothing is pretty and poverty is plentiful. He was scared out of his jock. For me it was not a new experience. But my friend learned a little bit that day.

What I found above was a certain level of elitism. An elitist is the most poverty stricken person on earth.

BTW I am just an average soul on this earth. Or as one of my favorite songs says, “I’m just a poor wayfarin’ stranger a travellin’ through this world of woe”.

Posted by: tomh at May 30, 2006 7:55 PM
Comment #152799

Jack,
Re-read Angel 1”S post, and please answer the mystery of immigrants. Here we are trying to figure out how to limit immigration from Central and South America, et al, and you are concerned about how OTHER countries perceive US?


Yes, many countries don’t like us, part of it is because the tourists who travel there. Maybe you may run into some of them - they come across as ‘know-it-alls’, the ones who criticize the old ways of doing something, those who do not appreciate what these other countries have been though over thousands of years, the ones who are constantly putting the countries ‘down in comparison to the US..

We tend to come across like the teenager who hasn’t grown up enough to appreciate the past, hasn’t experienced enough of life to realize that they still have a lot to learn, the ones who try desperately to ‘fit-in’ by wearing strange clothes (so they can all be different) or making up strange words, that don’t make sense, etc.

Maybe we need to learn from other countries, instead of ‘saving’ them. Getting to know one’s neighbors makes everyone on the block much safer and happier than simply showing up with disaster strikes, pretending we really care, (I.e.patronizing them) and then want something in return.

It doesn’t help when we basically ignore the countries that do offer to help us,( i.e. after 9/11 and Katrine.

Just maybe we have actually brought on a lot of it on ourselves.

Posted by: Linda H. at May 30, 2006 8:26 PM
Comment #152814

Linda H. , You make some valid points; to our shame, many of our countrymen make fools of themselves when overseas—as Snoop Dog recently did in England—and as he is a well-known personality, it gets much media attention. It is this type of behavior that makes U.S. tourists unwelcome guests in other nations, and can you really blame the host countries? Yet, most American visitors are not rude—simply boisterous and loud due to happy, high spirits. We are a young nation compared to those of Europe, and they consider us quite “Below them in manners”, yet they do not consider our dollars untouchable! Still, when they immigrate to our lands, they do not try to learn out ways, they endeavor to turn where ever they settle into a carbon copy of where they just left! That is the reason we have the barrios, Chinatowns, etc. This keeps the distrust and separatism alive.They do not want America: what they truly want is for THEIR nation to have the freedoms and opportunies of America, and then they could remain there, happily hating us with the rest of their people!

Posted by: Angel 1 at May 30, 2006 9:11 PM
Comment #152834

Jblym

The reason I use research is because I don’t want to just make things up. I also mentioned that the research fit in well with my extensive experience. You are free to make up what you want. You can call names. I have had worse from people much better at it. And you know I am right. That is why you get so upset.

Jlw

Yes, the world was so great in 1949. You might want to consult some primary sources on that.

LindaH

I plan to write something re U.S. power. Our problem is that everything we do affects others. If we help them it makes a difference and if we ignore them it makes a difference.

I am not sure our overall image DOES make a difference. That is something I have been thinking about. People say they like the U.S. (or not) but in many cases it does not change their behavior in practical ways. On the other hand, public perceptions affect our policy options.

You are right about the ignoring post 9/11. There was a problem with that, however. Most countries don’t have any lift capacity, so they cannot move their troops or their supplies. The U.S. must provide the transport. If you are trying to do something urgently, you might not have the time to accept the help. The practical fact is we did not NEED much help right after 9/11. (The major exception to this was AWACs. We had insufficient capacity to patrol our own space, since all our force was deployed outward to protect Europe or Asia.) The political fact is that we should have taken it, even though it cost us to do it.

Angel

You can add the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore to that list. And most Americans are well behaved overseas. I really don’t perceive very much personal anti-Americanism except among some lefties and even they are happy enough to take those devalued U.S. dollars. (see above re behaviors)

Posted by: Jack at May 30, 2006 10:22 PM
Comment #152859

True Americans are the lovliest people in the world. “Nuff said?

Posted by: Sabra at May 31, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #152865

Angel and Jack,
Maybe you haven’t been oversea recently. I just got back,after living as a student in Vichy, France, London, Madrid, and Florence, for one month each. (that’s why I’ve been on and off here since January.

The one thing I noticed while there was the rudeness of many of the American tourists. Many American tourists didn’t seem to know what a trash can was for, laughed that the funny accents of the waiters, and shop clerks, worn definitely inappropriate clothing (after all we ARE VISITORS), break items in stores, and did not even offer to pay for them, poured their drinks and food onto the outside patios, as if it was funny, etc. Oh, and complain. About everything.

They showed no respect to the citizens of the countries we were in, let alone any respect to the people they were with. Frankly I was embarrassed, and no I’m not a total “Ole foogie (sic)” . At least of the other students I was with didn’t seem to think so. Many of them were just as perturbed as I was - and they were in their 20’s.

We were laughed out because we “thought we could do everything by ourselves….” and our country istoo big for it’s bitches” (you should try to translate that phrase in Spanish) that we think we know everything, and “don’t need anyone else to help us”, except to “help us make bigger fools of ourselves than we already have, and that didn’t require much help…”
Here, I think they were referring not only to 9/11 but also KATRINA as well. Both areas where our President basically laughed in their faces.

BTW, Jack they not only offered us men,and supplies, but also MONEY. We helped most of those countries, and as they still owe us for our help, why couldn’t we be bothered to help them pay part of their debts to us, when we obviously needed it and do. It would certainly have been better than thumbing our noses at them. However, that seems to be one of OUR President’s greatest talents. Hurting other people in the name of - I don’t honestly know what…

Yes there were many American’s who were polite, but just like the one kid who chews gum and sticks it on his desk, causing all kids banned from chewing gum, the (what do I call them?) as.h..es? made far more of an impression than the polite ones. Of course maybe that’s why I felt out-numbered.

So not only do many of our citizens simply add to the problem of Anti-Americanism, as well as our government, maybe we have the attitude problem.

As I said, America comes across as an ignorant and patronizing teenager who hasn’t been disciplined or taught how to handle itself in Public.

I believe how we act definitely comes into play in how those other countries see us. Our media also depicts us the same way as the visitors do. Whether it be our TV shows, news, music, commericals, it isn’t the best image to send all over the world. No I’m not suggesting censureship, which I abhor,but I can’t help believing that helps create some of our bad images over there.

Jack,
I still ask, if our reputation is as bad as you seem to paint it, why are so many people literally dying to get in here?
No,I’m not condtradicting myself, but you never mentioned ANGEL’s point about the IMMIGRATES that we are so busily trying figure out how to deal with…
What about them, Jack?


Posted by: Linda H. at May 31, 2006 1:11 AM
Comment #152867

Referring to my last post, my apologies for the grammar errors I made. I was rather “ticked-off” and took it out on my grammar.

Posted by: Linda H. at May 31, 2006 1:16 AM
Comment #152893

Jack,

The murderous rage of 9/11 killers is not the same as the reported rage of demonstrators in Paris who smash the windows of a McDonalds and then go get a burger at the one down the street.

Just for your information, in this case it was not much the american symbol they were smashing the windows but more the “Mc jobs” symbol. Quick, an belgium fastfood chain equally present in France than McDo get some of their windows broken too, as several intern jobs agencies…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 31, 2006 6:02 AM
Comment #152902

Jack,

While you and I agree on many things I think, we also diverge on several. I enjoy most of your posts, including this one. I give you a hard time sometimes because I know you can take it, and it helps us all think more deeply.

In your quest for truth, I am reminded of the movie Absence of Malice, where Paul Newman teaches Sally Fields the difference between Acurracy and Truth. Throughout the movie she claims to be on a quest for truth, and when the tables are turned, and a reporter asks her if her statement regarding her own embarrassing situation is the truth, she responds, ” No, it isn’t the truth, but it’s accurate.”

Posted by: gergle at May 31, 2006 7:27 AM
Comment #152906

Angel1,

It is a fact that whenever there is a crisis anywhere in the world, the first one on the scene with aid is the U.S.

What was the first amount of aid promised by Bush right after the Tsunami already?

Plus, many humantarian organizations like Red Cross or Medecins du Monde are really international NGOs, they’re way bigger than any nations border limits.

In times of disaster, we are there, but where was the world when Katrina struck OUR shores?

The world aid was on Bush office from day one and for several days. He first said “thanks but we don’t need it” then, next week, “okay, maybe we should accept you aid”.

Rob Hemmen,

The U.S. has always been right, this is why everyone wants to emigrate to the U.S. and why our culture, food, etc. are copied all over the world.

Food? What american food is so great that everybody is coying all over the world?
(American) corporates is pushing it all over the world, that’s not the same. That’s called fast food.
But when one really want to eat great food, they don’t turn to american fastfood but international food. I bet many american like pizzas, sushis, coffees, french freedom fries,

USA have many many great stuffs that everybody like everywhere (its pioneer spirit, its freedom) but its food is really not one of them, sorry.

Let them bad mouth us. since they are wrong, why should we care?

9/11?

PS: nobody could be always right. Every change is due to lessons (mis-)learned from errors. And change is life.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 31, 2006 8:19 AM
Comment #152907

I bet many american like pizzas, sushis, coffees, french freedom fries, chinese, indian, brasilian, african and mexican foods.
Okay, anglo-saxons knows how to make great cookies, that’s right. Doesn’t make a menu. Not everywhere, at least.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 31, 2006 8:23 AM
Comment #152918

Rudeness is not the sole perogative of Americans. Having lived in Europe for three years, and visited several other countries while there, I can assure I have witnessed first-hand the lack of manners from people of ALL races! And have you walked down the sidewalks of any U.S. city with a large population of immigrants—especially those who might be presumed to be illegal? How many times have you been shoved out of the way, or even off the walk? How many curses have been shouted at you (even if you DIIDN’T understand them), or obscene gestures flung your way? As a retired correctional officer (sixteen years in an all-male facility) I have seen the worst of human nature, and no one race has an edge on the other when it comes to manners. Even their visitors can be so rude, you would love to slam the gates in their faces, and rescind their visiting prividge, but of course, you can’t. Many of those in the facility,and their visitors, are ILLEGAL immigrants, and their rudeness is unbelievable. And yes, for people like the Dixie Chicks to diss our President is one thing, but to do so in a foreign country is unforgivable! I do not always agree with Mr.Bush, but I keep it in America, not fuel the fires of Anti-Americanism by blaring it to the world in a foreign country. With people such as those, it is no wonder the rest of the world has no tolerance for American visitors—-YOU stay home, just send your MONEY by itself! We STILL love IT!

Posted by: Angel 1 at May 31, 2006 9:23 AM
Comment #152920

Gergle

My definition of truth might be different than yours. For me truth is what is useful and what seems to be confirmed by current and subsequent circumstances. It is between your accuracy and “truth”. You may have noticed a quirk of my writing. I use a formulation such as “behaviors weakly correlated with their reported opinions”. This means I think they are lying, but I am not sure if even they know it. People can passionately believe they have found the truth and still be mistaken. The person who flies in a private airplane to an environmental conference is lying about his commitment to a better environment, but he probably doesn’t know it.

I don’t think we can ever know the truth in the metaphysical sense. But if we inquire long and hard enough, we will come closer and closer to the practical and useful truth. That is what I am looking for here. My goal is to try to understand where the U.S. image is important (behaviors not words); where it needs improvement and how (IF possible) to improve it, and if it is not possible to improve, how to mitigate the ill effects.

LindaH

I don’t know what we can do about rude Americans. Most people who come to the U.S. come away with a good impression of the American people. But the in your face attitude of many is off putting.

One thing I would say about Americans is that many of us as slobs. Women go around is sweat pants; men wear T-shirts that exhibit their fat bellies. I admit to being a little ashamed of my compatriots when I see that. BUT you notice it. There are the many that you don’t notice. It is confirmation bias. This is a significant problem for us. BTW a decade ago I thought I could always pick out Americans on a European street and it was probably possible. It is getting harder. I really cannot do it accurately anymore unless I could hear their accents. Tourists are beginning to look alike.

Besides, have you seen those Europeans in Speedos? That is as bad as anything we do.

Philippe

The secret to American success in assimilating immigrants is our food. The original American food was so bad that almost any foreign group coming to America could make money in the restaurant or food business selling whatever they made back home. The problem you have in France is that your food is too good so there is not that niche.

But things evolve in the U.S. Pizzas, Bagels, Tacos etc are different in America. The Pizza as we now know it worldwide was developed in New York and Chicago (thin in NYC; deep dish in Chicago). Hamburger and hotdogs hardly resemble their German ancestors. Even “freedom fries” have their story. When McD went to E. Europe (the land of the potato) they had to get local farmers to change the type of crop they grew, since McD fries require particular consistent water content.

Speaking of potatoes, you know they came from America (south) and your late king Louis XVI tried to get the people to eat them. They wouldn’t and you know the result. Potatos became popular right during your revolution, when the marauding armies burned crops all over Europe. Since potatoes grow underground, they were a better bet.

Posted by: Jack at May 31, 2006 9:30 AM
Comment #152971

What’s with all this “Americans are loud, rude” tourists crap?! So what! The french are rude; the British are uptight and old school. Yada, yada, yada. They’re still going to take our money as we do theirs.


And, old school Europe is nice to see; however, let’s not forget that much of europe (Western europe in particular) is losing their country to Islam, ever hear of “Eurabia”? And, the way they’re acting towards Iran; it’s like they did when Hitler came to power, nothing!!


Now, I will say that I just came from Bermuda and I (certainly) make fun ( quitely to myself) of the knickerbockers they wear. Though, I truly appreciated how everyone says good morning…


Posted by: rahdigly at May 31, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #152997

I still want to know, if so many coutries are Anti-America, why do they want to come here to live!

I still maintain the following:
Re:

…they offered to help both when 9/11 occurred and also KATRINA . Both areas where our President basically laughed in their faces.

They not only offered us men,and supplies, but also MONEY. We have helped most of those countries, and as they still owe us for our help, why couldn’t we be bothered to help them re-pay part of their debt to us, when we obviously needed it and still do. It would certainly have been better than thumbing our noses at them. However, that seems to be one of OUR President’s greatest talents. Hurting other people in the name of - I don’t honestly know what…

Could someone please explain that to me?

Re: the rudeness of Americans - I suggest we agree to disagree. I have my recent experiences and you folks have yours.


Posted by: Linda H. at May 31, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #152998

Jblym, CPAdams, PHX8, and VincentVega,

I find it funny that you automatically criticize Jack on his opinions and studies; criticize him for being self-righteous… You call him names too. Questioning one’s logic is one thing, but you go further than that.

- So you all think that you are so right? Are you yourselves not self-righteous in your own opinions then? Where do you get off being so right?!

It must be nice from a group of so called “open minded” people to know it all…

Many people like yourselves are very arrogant in their opinions and very condescending. Human nature at it’s worst.

Posted by: ChrisC at May 31, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #153018

I am watching he events in Afghanistan.

I have heard a few things.

First I hear that an accident occured, in which several Afghans died when run into by US military truck.

Then I hear there was a riot that ensued.

Then I hear that rioting has continued.

I ask why. First I hear brakes failed. Now I hear they overheated and failed. Which would suggest excessive speed. No mention of the steering. I wonder why would a truck, even with failing brakes run into and kill several people? Near my home when I was in High School, a truck driver had his brakes fail down a notoriusly steep and winding road. He threw his son into the sleeper, and steered the truck down the gauntlet of curves until the last curve. There were workmen on the road there and rather than run them over, the driver swerved, wrecking his truck. He was tossed from the cab, run over and killed. His son and the Workers all were unscathed.

While I wouldn’t expect heroics, I personnaly would find it hard to steer into people, if I had other options.

Then I hear guns were fired at the crowd killing more. Then I hear that shots were fired in the air. Then I hear we are investigating whether shots were fired in the air or into the crowd.

In the US there would have been arrests, tests for intoxicaion and a public investigation.

There has now been passed Afghan legislation requiring that the US turn over the soldiers to Afghan courts.

My impression. Something happened that outraged people. It seems unlikely that it was simply a political show, given it’s randomness. The explaination to the “accident” seems thin. It seems some carelessness or callousness were involved, which possibly led to the impromptu riot. Is it isolated? Perhaps. Perhaps there is the pervasive arrogance that seems to characterize both US conflicts. Perhaps there is a reluctance for the military to be forthcoming. Perhaps this is a source of US perception problems.

Perhaps it is past time to bring our soldiers home. Leaving soldiers to persue Bin Laden seems appropiate. Soldiers make poor policemen. Afghan warlords have fended off foreigners for years. Why is it, that some seem to think we can do better?
We should have developed our own faction. Bribery, CIA recruitment, would seem to be appropiate actions. Continuing to occupy these foreign lands seems completely unproductive and perhaps counter productive.


Posted by: gergle at May 31, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #153023

Gergle

I don’t know, but I think there is a good chance it was a traffic accident. Roads are bad and crowded in these cities with a mix of cars, people and animals.

It is always a problem in these hot situation. Remember that truck driver who was almost killed during the Rodney King riots?

We have to see what really happened, but it clearly is not so easy to handle as a similar accident in the U.S.

Posted by: Jack at May 31, 2006 2:34 PM
Comment #153027


Jack: I nearly missed your little one liner to me. Did I mention how great things were in 1949? But, since you brought it up, things could have gone a lot worse for us had it not been for the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. Western Europe could have gone the way of Eastern Europe. Greece and Turkey could have been lost as well.

My contention is that American corporate capitalism and the wars and foreign policy that is bering run by them is responsible for much of the anti-American sentiment in the world.

I know, I just dont’t get corporate capitalism and the market. They are going to save the world by making every country so interdependant on each that war will be impossible. What then Jack, when there are no more enemies of the peoples of the world except those who own 90% of the worlds resources and wealth. What plan do you think the wealthy will rely on to protect themselves and their wealth from the riff raff.

What entity do you think is responsible for turning the American people into hedonists? What entity wants to turn all the people of the world into hedonists.

A little off track Jack, who do you think is responsible for making many in our country believe that our government should be subserviant to the law of God by interjecting such words as one nation under God and In God we trust?

Posted by: jlw at May 31, 2006 2:46 PM
Comment #153034

Jlw

“In God we trust”, I think that was Abraham Lincoln. “The under God” is from 1954 to show the contrast with atheistic communism.

The Marshall Plan was a great success. It built the infrastructure for business to prosper. I also have admired Truman and wrote on many posts that I wish Dems were still like that today.

I think we disagree about wealth. Humans create wealth for humans. If someone owns 90% of the wealth, he is not poor. You are mistaking potential for achieved wealth. The free market has created great wealth all around the world. And the time of American leadership has been the most prosperous time in world history. As you mention, Europe in 1949 was a basket case. The part influenced by the U.S. grew prosperous. The part kept behind the Iron Curtin did not. The same goes for Japan and South Korea. The more countries are integrated with the U.S. economy, the better off they are.

The free market is not the same as capitalism. The free market includes rule of law (you cannot have a free market unless you protect contracts and individuals), some regulation and the market mechanism. There are alternatives to free markets, but only if you want to be poor and backward.

Of course the U.S. is part of a global system. We also benefit. That is the wonder of the free market. It is not zero sum. We all get richer by all of us getting richer.

I am still working on the origins and effects of anti-Americanism. First I am not sure it is all that bad. Second, it is mostly sound and fury meaning little except in the Islamic world, where some people have an alterative vision for society that is destructive.

Anyway, I plan to write a few more on this topic to explore it more.

Posted by: Jack at May 31, 2006 3:03 PM
Comment #153058

Jack- Please explain to me how devout religious practices,in India,are related to different cultural bias in business relationship.
Yes, the British would have hung anyone who threw a widow onto a funeral pyre. but that is because they felt they had the right to take over and occupy a sovereign nation. Again, not really relevant to our discussion of varying business ethics in other cultures. But a real good illustration that the Republicans in our government,refuse to learn from history.
I would also like to point out to both you and Chris C. that I was not calling you names, only stating the disdain I feel for anyone who would use data in a twisted form to satisfy their own agenda.
And finally Jack,please don’t be offended by my sincere attempts to put you on the right path. I understand that you, like many I have written to,suffer from a fossilization of your thought processes. I never take it personally,and am willing to work with you to correct this obvious flaw in what is clearly a fine mind.

Posted by: jblym at May 31, 2006 3:50 PM
Comment #153074

jblym

It is very hard to offend me. I know what I am. I don’t wish to be different. That is the advantage of being a fossil.

The India story illustrates the difficulty of not judging other cultures. At many points in my career I have had to deal with other cultures. At first I thought I had no right to judge them, but I found that impractical. So I developed a practical philosophy. I judge in relation to the stated goals. If you want to stay up all night drinking beer and eating potato chips, it is your business. But if you tell me your goal is good health and a successful career (and you don’t play lead guitar for a heavy metal band) I judge that you are lying to me and maybe yourself. If I have an interaction with you, I will limit it to the things I think you can do. We both made a choice.

I have been in some parts of the world where most people seem to tell me the truth as they see it (Norway). My experience is that most middle class Americans are honest, except in some particular subjects. I have been in other places where people seem to have a more flexible notion of truth. I have also found a correlation between dishonestly (as I define lying, cheating and stealing) and general poverty. I have come to believe that poor societies that are dishonest are not dishonest because they are poor; they are poor because they are dishonest. They lack the trust factor needed in a civil society. Again, it is their business, but I need not make excuses for noticing it and acting to protect my interests.

Posted by: Jack at May 31, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #153092


Jack: Keep the faith with the market if you wish. I choose not to. If history teaches us anything at all, it teaches us to be highly skeptical of any government or economic system that makes great promises. Because any institute of man is easily rotted to the core when the thirst for greed and power is a intregal part of the equation. Even institutions based on the rule of law.

What about hedonism Jack? What role has that played in the great success of the market?

How does the market work without capital?

Posted by: jlw at May 31, 2006 5:01 PM
Comment #153157

jlw

The market economy produces lots of things I may not like. But it gives choice.

Hedonism is not a market invention. The leaders of dictatorships and royalty in controlled systems are the most hedonist.

A good characteristic of the market in the U.S. sense has been its stimatizing of those who don’t work. In most societies, the rich feel free to do nothing. In fact, many societies degrade work. A rich landowner in Latin America didn’t help out with the dirty work. Chinese elites grew their fingernails so long to show that they COULDN’T do manual work.

I disrespect anyone, rich or poor, who doesn’t work at something. So do most Americans.

Posted by: Jack at May 31, 2006 8:05 PM
Comment #153198


” To perpetuate such prosperity, economists repeated the basic marketing strategy of the 1920’s: the public must be taught to consume more and to expect more.” ” A motivational researcher told a business group that the fundimental challenge facing the modern capitalist economy was to demonstrate to the consumer that ” the hedonistic approach to life is a moral, not an immoral one.” ” from America by Tindall and Shi.

No one can doubt that their strategy has been very successful. Many have doubt’s that this strategy will be both beneficial and successful in the future. Many good things that could be very beneficial to mankind go undone because there is no profit in doing them therefor, they aren’t worth doing. The only thing that is really worth doing is what generates more consumption because that is where the profit is.

Jack: I am not one who has a problem seeing the good that a market economy has brought to us, nor do i have a problem seeing the down side. A market economy is the best system we have devised but, we could devise a better one if we tried.

Posted by: jlw at May 31, 2006 10:10 PM
Comment #153201

jlw

We have tried. Usually these involve someone telling others what they should want. We get the revoltionary socialists (Nazis) who hate hedonists too. Or the revolutionary socialists (communists) who think they know how much every worker needs. In our country, we have the milder forms of the disease that just create housing projects run by gang lords.

I don’t believe there is any decent alternative to a market economy. People make choices. Some of them will be bad. But it still is better than the alternatives.

Posted by: Jack at May 31, 2006 10:25 PM
Comment #153310

I find it strange that they very nations who have received the most of our largesse are the one who are MOST Anti-American! Take the French, for example. Remember Kaiser Wilhelm and his Prussian Army (most of you from history books),! And how about that sweet, friendly little neighbor, Adolph? You know, the one so intent on taking over all of Europe, and would have done so, IF the U.S. hadn’t sacrificed so many of our young men and women! As I recall, that friendly little guy had already taken France and stomped her under his jackboots, and NOW they rank right along side Iran, Germany, and the Islamic Nations in their hatred of us. And That is the thanks America gets for pulling their chestnuts out of the fire—-twice! By the way, we also loaned them three TRILLION dollars to rebuild! No, America is not perfect, but try living under the governments of some other countries, especially those with Sharia laws, the ones who are most Anti-America. You will be mighty glad to come home, and might even become PRO-Americans!

Posted by: Angel 1 at June 1, 2006 9:58 AM
Comment #153391

Angel1,

IF the U.S. hadn’t sacrificed so many of our young men and women!

Oh, that “IF” game! Again.
IF french hadn’t sacrified some young men, there would have been no US at all today but just an UK colony. Such game is meaningless, see?

Yes, US gave back France the freedom Nazis take her 5 years before. Could we enjoy fully this freedom or are we supposed to be an US puppet nation forever???
Take your time to pounder your reply.

By the way, we also loaned them three TRILLION dollars to rebuild!

Without interests? Did we not paid back?
Do you have to say “thank you, I agree with you on all” forever to your once banker?

Mutual respect and actual friendship is way different than “you own me this or that”, you know.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 1, 2006 1:44 PM
Comment #153492

Phillipe

Actually, you did not pay it back. The only country to pay off its war debt was/is Finland. But it doesn’t matter. We all learned the lesson of WWI that when you fight a war together, you really cannot reckon all the costs. After WWII the Marshall Plan brought Europe back and in doing so assured peace for all of us. It was the best investment any country ever made and it paid off hundreds of times.

I do believe, however, EU people should give proper credit to the U.S. and NATO. Without that there certainly would be no EU. Security always trumps trade.

You know I sometimes get annoyed with you all and I know you guys get mad at us. But we really are all in this together. When you elect Sarkozy I expect we will be even better friends.

Posted by: Jack at June 1, 2006 5:30 PM
Comment #153502

Phillipe, we have nothing against France—it is France who has began to degrade and smear the name of America! What have we done to your country to deserve your contempt? We have always been a friend to France—or so we THOUGHT! It has only been in the past decade that your nation has turned against ours. Is helping to fight your battles a cause for dislike? Is loaning you money a reason for your contempt? Your country has always held a warm spot in the hearts of Americans for your help in our battle for Independence, and your gift of one of our most cherished national emblems—our beloved Statue of Liberty! So why now do you become one of our worst detractors? I would really love to know the true answer, as I can find no legitimate reason for the turn-around!

Posted by: Angel 1 at June 1, 2006 5:57 PM
Comment #153628
we have nothing against France—it is France who has began to degrade and smear the name of America! What have we done to your country to deserve your contempt?

I’m not sure expressing public our disagreement with US Iraq policy, aka rush to war on dubious fear of WMDs, in late 2002 could be considered an act of degradation and smearing of America name.
The fact that most of worldwide opinions share France view make this disagreement hugely common, that’s all.
France didn’t and don’t run a smear campaign against US.

We just say that we think US Iraq War was unjustified (no WMDs) and that innocents (terrorists will rush to Iraq like steel on magnet) will pay a too much high toll for it. Were we wrong? Should we’ve just keep our opinions for ourself instead of trying to warn a friend nation?

So why now do you become one of our worst detractors? I would really love to know the true answer, as I can find no legitimate reason for the turn-around!

Please, we’re far from being the worst one! It’s not because we disagree with some recent US government actions that we want US destroyed or to fail in everything.

As I’ve said in previous “Anti-americanism” thread, Kyoto’s “American Way of Life is not Negociable”, the “Us or Them” and some others unilateral name calling made by your administration contributed way more to our stronger opposition to US on these topics than anything else.
When you think a friend is wrong but don’t want to listen your repeated warnings, you try stronger. Because you care enough about him.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 2, 2006 2:55 AM
Comment #153696

Is that why we hear the Anti-American demonstrations, our President called filthy names, insulting pictures of him splashed all over the front page of your newspapers, your television screens, shouted from your radios? Is that why America is blamed for all the evil that takes place in the entire world? If these are the actions of a ‘FRIENDLY” nation, I suggest we have a few more enemies. At least we know where we stand, with them!

Posted by: Angel 1 at June 2, 2006 11:45 AM
Comment #153713
Is that why we hear the Anti-American demonstrations, our President called filthy names, insulting pictures of him splashed all over the front page of your newspapers, your television screens, shouted from your radios?

Yes, that why.

Is that why America is blamed for all the evil that takes place in the entire world?

No. Only the one confusing US government with US people do that.
As french, I well know how easy a nation’s people can NOT be in control of its nation. Over a short period, let’s hope.

If these are the actions of a ‘FRIENDLY” nation, I suggest we have a few more enemies. At least we know where we stand, with them!

Your call.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 2, 2006 12:12 PM
Comment #153820

Phillipe, if what you say is true, then I suggest we weed out both governments, put in men and women who enough sense to get us back on the friendly footing we had back in the 20’s and 30’s, when the French and the Americans were more like cousins than enemies! Stop dishonoring everything about our nation, and we will stop screaming ‘BOYCOTT ’ everything French!. I believe the time is coming when all of Europe will need each other, AND the U.S. and Canada, if Iran persists in it’s pursuit of nuclear power—-and it will! So let’s dispense with the Anti-Americanism, anti-French, etc, and prepare for what the future holds!

Posted by: Angel 1 at June 2, 2006 5:09 PM
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