Why are Americans so Stupid?

  Disbelief, dismay, anger, depression, numbness.  I felt the same as many of you.  And wondered what possessed so many Americans to vote for Bush against the better interests of the rest of the planet, the United States, and even of the Republicans in the bottom 98% income bracket.  Aside from all questions of software manipulation, discarded ballots, challenged registrations, and divinely wrought chad hanging, quite a few voters did choose the Cowboy.  Why?

  There’s been no shortage of explanations in these posts and elsewhere—fundamentalist Christians, biased media, appeals to fear and xenophobia, simplicity of message—probably all of these are true to some extent, along with other factors, but they beg the question:  Why are Americans so stupid?  Why do they fall for these transparent ploys?

  Now, don’t get me wrong:  First of all, everyone’s stupid when it comes to politics and Americans are in good company there.  And I don’t think Americans are genetically stupider than Europeans, or Africans, or anyone else.  Jared Diamond does make a good case in Guns, Germs, and Steel for the superior intellect of the few surviving hunter-gatherers (he has worked for years in Papua New Guinea) who have been rigorously selected up to the present, unlike us well fed agriculturalist/couch potatoes, but probably the important differences are environmental.

  Most Americans today do seem different from most Europeans, broadly speaking, Americans are more isolationist, less well-informed about politics and science, less interested in the fate of other nations, and more likely to hold absurd beliefs (astrology, alien abduction, virgin birth, Uri Geller…).  The difference is not pronounced—people here (I live in Vienna) swallow all kinds of nonsense too—but no one I know here, from the Greens through the Socialist to the Freedom Party (sort of a neonazi neocon group), likes Bush and everyone (not just my Muslim friend) thinks the war in Iraq is an unmitigated disaster.  Why the difference?

  My suspicions:  First of all, European countries are small, the US is big.  Europeans have had to cope with many different neighbors, languages, and cultures for centuries.  It’s easier for Americans to think that their nation is the whole world.  Second, television.  The average American watches more than four hours of TV a day, the average European about an hour less.  Television sucks out your brain, especially the simplistic pap that passes for entertainment in the States.  Third, Europeans walk more. Many of my friends, like myself, don’t even have cars.  Driving around in a metal box and seeing the world through safety glass can lead one to think that it’s all just another TV program.

  On the other hand, maybe the main difference is that the US is a major military power, and power corrupts. Americans are manipulated to support stupid wars because the powers that be need the oil, and can get it, through force of arms.

  My comparison, anecdotal and undocumented as it is, is between the US and Europe because the standards of living and access to information are comparable—who can blame the Kokovoko Islanders for being superstitious?

  Anyway, I’d like to hear your opinions on this.

331 thoughts on “Why are Americans so Stupid?

  1. Daryl Cantrell -what is your url?  your post was interesting and summed up some of my own thoughts.  I may vote republican, but i am not a bible-banger.  i don’t care what gays do and i am pro-choice.

    GeekMom -i’m going to have to diagree with you on that one.  sure, if you want to fully understand another culture, you need to immerise yourself in it anthropologist-style.  but you don’t need to go primal to learn a great deal from another culture.

    zilch -i hear ya, you’re just ranting.  i’m just ranting in response.

    i hear a lot of people saying that bush lies, but when it boils down to it, nobody can really prove it.  what has he lied about and where is the proof?  i really don’t understand the hate that some people show towards him.  it’s as if he is some sort of child-molesting wierdo that sniffs around in people’s underwear drawers while they’re out.

  2. Just a thought. If you have to have lived in Europe or abroad to really understand them, does that mean that you have to lived in America to understand us?

    Many of the opinions here are interesting. Personally I think it really sucks that Bush won, but I don’t view it as the end of the world. I just hope there will be a backlash to all that Bush does so that the return stroke at the end of his administration will make things better. Dunno.

  3. RL, that was Daryl who made the comments about the EU…

    Nicki, that is not an oxy-moron.  I know plenty of liberal relgious people.

    “AND NO! you do not just fall into MONEY! you work for your money, and the harder you work the better off you will be, that is one of the fundamentals that this country was founded on, if you work harder you WILL get ahead, it may take you awhile, but you will get ahead.”

    BULL HOCKEY.  Many of my family members have worked and continue to work themselves to death and have nothing to show for it.  Indeed, my father has worked his butt off for years in a blisteringly hot steel factory and yet they continue to take away his benefits and cut his pay.  That “fundamental” was not listed in the bill of rights or the constitution, it was born in Americans’ cultural imagination as a result of people like Dave Thomas.  Rags to riches is the mantra of people who hate welfare and immigrants and want to distinguish themselves as one of the “hard workers” so they can justify cutting social welfare programs.  “Clearly, you don’t work as hard as I do because you don’t have have as good a lifestyle as I do, so why should I pick up the slack with my taxes?”  That reasoning is faulty.

    “Yes, I have traveled outside the country, but do not have any close friends there. This doesn’t mean that I am nieve or live the “cushy

  4. GeekMom: Only here in the isolationist backwaters of America could you talk about the ideal of a monolithic, monolingual culture without getting laughed out of the bar.

    I imagine that’s true: for all their talk about “openness to differing viewpoints”, most lefties are just as dogmatic about their viewpoints as people on the right.

    I’ve seen where this “plum pudding” approach to building a society out of many languages and culture leads.  At best you have Canada, where francophones and english-speakers have a spat every 15 years or so and threaten to break up.  More common are the Balkans, the Congos, the Ethiopias, and trouble spots like the Basque separatists in Spain or the IRA in Northern Ireland.  No thanks, I’ll take my well-assimilated monoculture any day.

    GeekMom: What you don’t understand is that extremism is an idea, a response to certain conditions, and those conditions can be changed, and that idea can be fought.  And I’ll give you a hint:  you’re not going to stamp out extremists by killing them.

    Worked for the fucking Nazis.  I think it will work this time too.  Did you think Muslim extremism will disappear next week?  When whole generations of young Muslims have taken up romatic mantle of the “Noble Martyr for Our People”, only to come back a week later in a pine box or a plastic bag.. Well, then we’ll see support for extremism fade to a distant memory.

    If it takes us the next 20 years, that’s fine.  Nothing worth doing is easy.  We’re losing, what, about 700 soldiers a year?  That’s tragic, and even one is too many.  But let’s keep things in perspective: 50,000 Americans die every year just due to auto accidents.  36,000 people in this country die from the flu annually.  Hell, many more people die from the weather every year than we’re losing in Iraq.

  5. When we talk about muslim extremist, we have to be careful, the U.S. has been using them or bombing them for close to 30 years now. so…

    I wonder what would happen if let’s say russia would invade Canada and then Alaska ,then Mexico to finaly get to the heart of america to grab whatever wealth there is. And let’s say they’d be successful at it.

    You would see some amazing out of the ordinary stuff happening from the American people.

    Unfortunately the concept of “If you don’t kill them, they will you” does exist and some people are indeed ready for action regardless of the consequences outside field of view.

  6. Daryl, it’s easy to talk of killing for freedom or retribution (well at least it is for some) when you don’t have to be the one doing the killing, or be the one who’s dying, for that matter.

    Just for honesty and good faith’s sake, why don’t you level with us. How many people have you killed and what method(s) did you use?

  7. You know, I think that if people approached building a multicultural society with openness instead of damning it from the start with prejudice, we might get somewhere.  This integration of immigrants into European societies is still very young, so I think we should see how it goes before we announce that it’s impossible. 

    Talk about isolationists and monolithic, monolinguistic societies—I live in Japan, which is volumes more monolithic and even monolinguistic than America despite the 6,000 foreigners employed in the public schools as teachers’ aids every year, and the thousands more teaching foreign languages for private
    companies.  Japanese love talking to foreigners just to prove to themselves that no one besides the Japanese are Japanese, and we foreigners can never truly assimilate.  They make a big deal about the environment and peace, but Japanese culture still has the same basic structure that fueled their actions in WW2: ethnocentrism.

    And the truth is that America is full of the same.  So Europe is losing its cultures.  You say that like culture was ever a static thing.

  8. Shana- for your information, I do not make that much money, I work two jobs, am a full time student with 18 hours and I play softball fall and spring seasons to pay for my schooling. I am not a rich person but I do not believe that the rich should not have to pay any more taxes.
     
    For example- The top 1% of Americans with gross anual incomes of $196,000 pay 29% of ALL americans taxes. The top 5% of Americans with GAI of $91,000 pay over HALF of all americans taxes. In contrast to the last two statistics the bottom 50% of americans with GAI of 22,000 paid less than %5. These numbers dont make any sense! What happened to the phrase the more you work the more you get back, now it is: the more you work, the more you make, the more they take.

    And that is the reason I am going to school is to make money.  Lord knows no one likes to go to school but I am bettering myself by having more on the proverbial “plate”. I know the more work I put in now, the better job oppurtunities I will have and the more money I will make later when I am not a brokeass college student who is looking in my car for change for cigarettes.

    Again, I am agreeing with Daryl, but to try to help the arguement: Do you all think that WWII was a good cause? Damn Skippy it was. We lost more people over than we ever will in Iraq and the only reason that we are frettin’ over it now is because the advancements in the communication system- I am not complaining because I am grateful that I can hear news LIVE, but you have to take the good with the bad here.

    Every American life is precious, and if it came down to it, I would be the first fucker in line to volunteer to help my country if it was necessary!

    But the thing is that we do not need people to volunteer to help our country, I had a ship date of March 11 this year to leave for the airforce,  I was a DEP person, and got arrested for an underage consumption ticket a week before my date, they would not take me because of it. I scored a 98 on my ASVAB and they still wouldnt take me, they actually turned away about 108,000 air force recrutees that did not even recieve a signing bonus, I was up for a 6 grand signing bonus.  I ended up saying “screw it” b/c I was gonna go back to school, but you know what I mean.

    Brock- someone died for your freedom, why dont you appreciate it? You may not have known them but believe it or not it really happened. That sounded bitchy, but was not intended to, I just wish more people realize we have it better than most, I know I do not have to wear a burka in the streets or fear being raped, or killed for speaking my mind- for that I am grateful.

    This brief argument turned into a rant; pardon the length, I usually go for the short and sweet.

    I will talk to you all tomorrow, have a great night!

  9. I’d love to be able to have this discussion with all of you in a Viennese coffeehouse, but this is the next best thing.  If we humans can continue to exchange ideas like this, we’re that much closer to getting what we all want, even if we don’t agree on the particulars: peace, freedom, life.

    OK.  Rufus-Leroy- what you said.  By “stupid” I didn’t mean, um, “stupid”, but just gullible, susceptible to every snake-oil salesman as you say.  BTW, I believe that “Yankee ingenuity” is not mythical, and is something Americans can be justly proud of.  The pioneer mentality can be a source of creativity and strength.  It can also, of course, lead to intolerance and worse.  Unfortunately, I’m afraid you are correct in saying that the ingenuity part is largely out the window.

    Daryl- why not go one further: Bush as Emperor of the World?  Then we wouldn’t have these pesky liberals whining about hanging chads.  And wouldn’t he look sporting with a crown?
    OK, let’s look at your claims about Europe:
    1) Europe is poor.  Sure, the GNP of the EU is lower than that of the US.  But because a large percentage of the GNP in America goes to weapons and defense contracts, not to mention straight into the pockets of the filthy rich (a Republican speciality), we (putting on my European hat for a moment) have more left over for trifles the Americans have increasingly to do without: decent schools, public transportation, environment… How many homeless people do you see a day?  I don’t see any, and I live in a big city.  But, hey, if money (as GNP) is more important than all that, America is the place to be.
    2) Europe is dying.  Yes, we have negative population growth.  So what?  Do you think the world is better off, the more there are of us?  Go to Mexico or Sri Lanka to experience the joys of unbridled population growth.  Why do you think oil is such a big issue, worth killing for?
    3) European culture is dying off.  This is simply ignorant.  I live here, and it’s not.  When cultures collide, lots of things happen, good and bad.  Sure, there are problems.  But Europeans are even more defensive of their culture, for good and ill, now that there are more immigrants here.  Hell, if we can survive Macdonalds, I’m not worried about the kebab stands.
    The one point where I agree with you is that our confrontation with Radical Islam is a fight to the death.  We differ, however, in what that means.  For me it means that terror must be stopped by whatever means work.  And invading Iraq was the best gift Bush could give Bin Laden- America is Al Quaeda’s best recruiter.  All Bush needs to do now is attack Iran, and Bin Laden can retire, his work well done.
    One last point- you took issue with my statement “Americans are more isolationist..less interested in the fate of other nations”.  I admit, that was phrased poorly.  I should have appended “unless they can see a profit to be made”.

    Brock-

    Crawl out from under that table.  We need you.

    Serge and GeekMom-  what you said.  Crusades don’t stop extremists, they create them.

    Shana- Right. The American Dream remains a dream to all too many…

    Even most liberals don’t want to live under Sharia law (although it would be daringly multi-culti, as they say here), but history shows how well democracy is served by bombing the hell out of a country and telling them how lucky they are that we’re on their side.

  10. Nicki- I just saw your last post.  I commend you for wanting to serve your country in the armed forces.  Such bravery and selflessness is precious.  And I agree that it was good we fought in WWII in defense of liberty.  But whose liberty are we defending in Iraq?  Sure, Saddam is gone and that’s good, but are the Iraqis better off now- at least tens of thousands dead, chaos everywhere, and radical Islam on the rise?  This is not a good fight.  And we are not safer from terrorism now- rather the contrary.  We should have concentrated all our efforts in finding Bin Laden while we had a chance.  Iraq had nothing to do with Al Quaeda- even Rumsfeld admitted as much- but they sure do now.  Nothing like bombing schools and hospitals to recruit for extremists.

    You are right in saying that we should be thankful to those who died, that we might live in freedom.  I imagine you and I agree about lots of things.  Thanks for taking part.

  11. Day before yesterday, I cut my left palm memorably while sharpening a plane blade.  Today, emptying the compost, I forgot and banged the pail, twice, with my left hand.  Ouch.

    So who’s stupid?

  12. Here’s a though most liberals haven’t bothered to consider: what if the United States is actually better off with Bush as President?  What if Americans voted for Bush not because they’re stupid or ignorant, but because it’s in their best interest?

    I don’t doubt that many of the people who voted for Bush believed it was in their best interests to do so, I just disagree on whether it was in their best interests. Is it possible the U.S. is better off with Bush as President? Sure it’s possible and I have considered that possibility and I have decided that, in my view, that is not the case. But then I’d imagine you and I have very different ideas on what’s best for the U.S..

    In fact let’s go one better: Europe is better off with Bush as President.

    Most Europeans would seem to disagree.

    Hell, why not go all the way: Les Jenkins is, in a personal sense, better off with Bush as President.

    I certainly disagree on this point.

    For all Bush’s many, many faults (*cough* economic malaise…), he does understand something which both Europe and John Kerry don’t seem to: that the fight against Islamic Extremism is a fight to the death.  Radical Islam is absolutely willing to take advantage of the West’s secular society and individual rights while in the minority.  Once it’s achieved majority status, however, you can forget about rights, secularism, or the separation of Church and State.  Next stop: Sharia law, and proselytizing Christianity (or Bhuddism or Atheism for that matter) will be a capital crime.

    Are you seriously suggesting it would be any different if the Christian Dominionists manage to achieve their very similar goals? I also think it’s a mistake to think that the only solution in the fight against radical Islam is total elimination of the people involved in it. If I were to take that same approach against Fundamentalist Christians whom I consider to be of a similar bent held in check only by the rest of American society then there’d be a war much closer to home that would need to be fought. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would have to find a cave to hideout in and pretty damn quick.

    There’s a widely-held view amongst liberals that Europe is more “enlightened

  13. Daryl,

    I’m curious, how exactly is Europe “better off” with   the current administration in office? I would think that Spain’s dangerous move toward fascism in the election following the Madrid train bombing, which I might add was in response to Spain’s support of the war in Iraq, would have been turn for the worse for Europe. That and the growing political division between the Eastern and Western blocks because of Romania’s and the Czech Republic’s support of the war would also create some problems for Europe because of Bush. But then again, you’re blanket statement of how everyone is better off with him in office, despite his views of civil liberties as being “negotiable” and that he’s the first president in office to see a net loss in overall jobs during his tenure, is enough to convince me. Note the sarcasm Daryl, because to be perfectly honest your argument was, well, “fuckin’ weak”.

  14. Daryl, even if for the sake of argument Europe WERE “dying” (and I’m sure I could cherry-pick arguments to make the same claim for the US), how about Asia?  Want to tell me how they’re “dying”? 

    Or do you want to try to tell me that nobody in Asia is worth listening to and learning from either?

    I’ve seen this silly agenda before, and it truly is in the mouths of the possibly intelligent but definitely, belligerently ignorant.

  15. Yes, I suppose I could tip-toe through the tulips with him as well geekmom, but I just don’t have the energy for it. I would love to be belligerent, but that never comes across well. I could try and explain failed economics policies, attacks on civil liberties, and the fact that Bush is nothing more than an incompetent ass but it just takes way too long.

  16. Brock: Just for honesty and good faith’s sake, why don’t you level with us. How many people have you killed and what method(s) did you use?

    Earlier, GeekMom tried to limit debate to only those people who had lived overseas for an extended time.  Here we see that Brock has one-upped her, and wants to limit participation in the debate to actual killers.  Why not do both: We’ll only accept someone’s opinion as valid if they’ve travelled overseas to kill people.  So we can just let the soldiers in Iraq pick the President, since the rest of us apparently don’t have any useful input to offer.

    I suppose I should warn you that overseas soldiers voted for Bush by an even wider margin than Texas….

    Les: I don’t recall any of the (liberals) I’ve talked to who’ve suggested that Europe is more enlightened, in a general sense, than the U.S.

    Les, maybe you don’t personally feel that way, but let’s keep things in perspective: The title of this blog entry was “Why are Americans so Stupid?”  And I see a lot more people here trying to answer the question than rejecting the premises of the question.

    Les: As for your message forums, I stopped coming by mainly because I appear to be the sole liberal in residence … Yourself and Rob are the only two people there who have any regard for me anyway as Adam and Herb both hate my guts..

    Hate your guts, that’s pretty strong don’t ya think?  I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that hated you, but I can ask them if you’d like.  In any case, things get pretty rough-and-tumble on the Lost Temple, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a beer at the end of the day.

    Hell, you should see me and Justin go at it; it’s worse than anything I’ve ever seen at SEB.  Funny side-note: when Justin and I argue, I’m the liberal.  And just FYI, Adam is at least as liberal as Les Jenkins and probably a bit more.

    Les: If the Fundamentalist Christians get their way that line on my page would be gone within the next 15 years. From where I’m standing you’re suggesting that I should support an evil at home to protect myself from an evil abroad. Why would you think I would find that in my best interests?

    Putting even the most whacko right-winger from Christian Dominion in the same category as your run-of-the-mill Islamic Jihadist is completely outrageous.  I might not agree with a lot of the things Focus on the Family says, but I don’t see any of their sons and daughters blowing up school buses in Denver.  I’m pretty sure they don’t regard burning down synagogues as and beheading Atheists as “God’s Work”.  Can you say the same about the butchers in Iraq?

    I’ll close with a few lines from that column on Slate which I linked to:

    Hitchens: Only one faction in American politics has found itself able to make excuses for the kind of religious fanaticism that immediately menaces us in the here and now. And that faction, I am sorry and furious to say, is the left. From the first day of the immolation of the World Trade Center, right down to the present moment, a gallery of pseudointellectuals has been willing to represent the worst face of Islam as the voice of the oppressed … The blood-maddened thugs in Iraq, who would rather bring down the roof on a suffering people than allow them to vote, pictured prettily as “insurgents” or even, by Michael Moore, as the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers. If this is liberal secularism, I’ll take a modest, God-fearing, deer-hunting Baptist from Kentucky every time, as long as he didn’t want to impose his principles on me (which our Constitution forbids him to do).

    George Bush may subjectively be a Christian, but he—and the U.S. armed forces—have objectively done more for secularism than the whole of the American agnostic community combined and doubled. The demolition of the Taliban, the huge damage inflicted on the al-Qaida network, and the confrontation with theocratic saboteurs in Iraq represent huge advances for the non-fundamentalist forces in many countries. The “antiwar” faction even recognizes this achievement, if only indirectly, by complaining about the way in which it has infuriated the Islamic religious extremists around the world. But does it accept the apparent corollary—that we should have been pursuing a policy to which the fanatics had no objection?

  17. Do you all think that WWII was a good cause? Damn Skippy it was. We lost more people over than we ever will in Iraq and the only reason that we are frettin’ over it now is because the advancements in the communication system- I am not complaining because I am grateful that I can hear news LIVE, but you have to take the good with the bad here.

    Not to be rude, but I’m really tired of people trying to offer up the war in Iraq as being anywhere near similar to World War II. First off, for as horrible as Saddam may have been, he was no Hitler. Secondly, in the case of World War II we didn’t pre-emptively strike Germany based on faulty intelligence estimates of his WMDs. While there was quite a bit of behind-the-scenes work by the government to support the allies prior to us officially going to war it still took a direct attack on America to make it official. Certainly it’s open to debate whether or not we should have waited that long, but the suggestion that we were “nipping another Hitler in the bud” is simply ludicrous. Thirdly, even if Saddam were still in power and all sanctions were lifted he’d have little hope of mustering either the manpower or the resources needed to become a threat on the scale of Hitler. Which isn’t to say he couldn’t have been a danger or that he wouldn’t have tried to take over more countries, but to try and compare him to Hitler is pure hyperbole. Fourthly, there was little moral ambiguity behind the decision of going to war in WWII which is completely different from the decision to go to war in Iraq.

    Stop trying to justify the Iraq war by attempting to link it to WWII and pointing out that, relatively speaking, we’ve lost fewer Americans now than we did back then. It just isn’t a valid argument. You belittle and demean the sacrifices of the men and women who fought in WWII by trying to compare their struggle to the duck-shoot that for the most part is the Iraq war. Hitler stood a real chance of achieving his goals, Saddam never had a chance to make it out of the Middle East.

    Brock- someone died for your freedom, why dont you appreciate it? You may not have known them but believe it or not it really happened. That sounded bitchy, but was not intended to, I just wish more people realize we have it better than most, I know I do not have to wear a burka in the streets or fear being raped, or killed for speaking my mind- for that I am grateful.

    Why would you assume that Brock, myself, or anyone here doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices of past Americans to ensure our freedoms? And how does that justify in any way our current actions in Iraq? You go on to imply that there was a real danger of you waking up to find America an Islamic nation had we not gone to war in Iraq and taken Saddam out of power and that is simply nonsense.

    I find some irony in your statement that you’re grateful that you won’t be forced to “wear a burka in the streets or fear being raped, or killed for speaking my mind” in light of this comment where you stated that you “want the right to be able to pray in school or in public, and I want my children (if I choose to have them) to stand every morning in class and say the pledge of Allegence with “God

  18. les -you’re right, this war is not similar to world war II.  this war is far worse because it includes the average american that just want to make it through the day in it’s list of casualties.  if we don’t fight the enemy on their soil, they will fight us on ours.  forget the WMD, forget the oil.  we’re in iraq to give fundamentalist muslims a target that can fight back, and chooses so as their profession.  iraq is a delaying action with the hope of creating an environment that will be a less suitable place for terrorists to call home.

    i am one of the few conservatives that sometimes read and post here.  i try to think of your blog as a place where people can bounce ideas off one another, as apposed to a place where people with the same ideas post to reinforce their common beliefs and gang up on people that believe otherwise.  i’ve seen both here, but i’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

  19. Fuck. I just finished a huge response that took me a couple of hours inbetween other projects to craft and I somehow manage to lose it. Being a bit disguted at the moment I have neither the time nor the inclination to re-do it.

  20. Earlier, GeekMom tried to limit debate to only those people who had lived overseas for an extended time.

    Daryl, you’re still brimming with it.  I told you exactly what I said—that you can’t understand where people are coming from unless you have lived in their country with them.  You can’t refute that, so you keep trying to dance around it.  I’m perfectly happy to have you debate here, as long as you acknowledge that you have no understanding of other countries’ points of view.  (In fact, you appear to have a pretty limited grasp of anyone’s issues but your very narrow right-wing perspective, but that’s neither here nor there.)

    Hitchens in this case is sadly mistaken.  Bush isn’t trying to save the world for secularists; he’s trying to make it safe for CHRISTIANS. That “Crusade” slip of his was awfully Freudian.  And he isn’t even getting that done; he’s just making us enemies faster than we can kill them.

  21. i hate it when that happens.  like when you get done with a huge post on some forum and click ‘submit’ and you get 404’ed or a server error.

  22. GeekMom: you can’t understand where people are coming from unless you have lived in their country with them … you have no understanding of other countries’ points of view.

    100% bunk.  I don’t need to spend a year slacking off in France to recognize appeasement, weakness, and capitulation.

    Here’s a picture of a French military honor guard protecting the casket of Yasser Arafat: The murderer who helped bring the bombing of civilian targets into the mainstream of Arab thought.  Memo to France: parlez-vous moral bankruptcy?

    GeekMom: even if for the sake of argument Europe WERE “dying

  23. god damn frogs.  what, you’re a sick terrorist?  why don’t you come here so we can take care of your murderous ass. 

    you’ve gotta love how those fucking frogs deny us help with iraq because they are so righteous, then beg for u.s. aid in the ivory coast after they smoke 54 unarmed civillians and wound over 1000 others.  i hope bush tells them to fuck off.  they are an insult to the thousands of american g.i.s burried on their soil.

    here is an article about their actions:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6463181/

  24. Daryl, I have one question only – have you or have not lived in a foreign country, immersed with the local population? Please limit yourself to a Yes or No answer.

  25. Hey grey!
    How about some gratitude towars the “frogs”?
    After all is was the “frogs” who bankrolled the american war of indepence.Without the “frogs”
    you’d probaly still be a british colony.

  26. “frogs!” What is that?
    How old are you?…14
    You’ve just proved that you know nothing About foreign politics or even history.

    Being Canadian I think I’ve tasted a bit of the retarded intolerance of some retarded americans and also the administration in place.

    Guess why so many of the classic allies have not participated in the war in Iraq. The same reason half of your country thought it was a bad idea.

    And guess why some countries helped….

    If the United States ever falls under attack from some other country, Watch all the allies come and help at the drop of a dime.

    Deals and rules have been made in the past to actually bring a sense of international democracy in case of conflict or to avoid large scale conflict.

    Guess which country does not follow these rules.

    MOre to come later…gotta eat!

  27. Daryl, I have one question only – have you or have not lived in a foreign country, immersed with the local population? Please limit yourself to a Yes or No answer.

    First things first: that question is a logical fallacy: appeal to authority. You do not have to live in a country to have an opinion about it’s culture, and you certainly don’t have to live in a country to make an argument based on readily verifiable facts.

    I’m not Daryl, but unlike Daryl I actually am a right-winger and I did vote for Bush. I am also one of those born-again evangelical Christians we keep hearing about.

    I would like to answer your question, but I won’t answer it just yet. I think merely asking the question is a good insight into the mind of the liberal elite. The unspoken assumption in that question is that Bush supporters are a bunch of ignorant, provincial rednecks. If they had more learning’ and did some more travellin’ they would be able to break out of their narrow mindset and would acquire a more civilized European-influenced worldview. N’est pa?

    Now I would like to answer your question, and the answer is ‘yes’. My parents teach foriegn languages and they each speak 4 or 5. My first trip France was when I was two and I have been back many times since then, most recently when I was doing a family stay in Austria to work on my German in my college days.

    Daryl himself has spent a good deal of time backpacking and travelling through Europe. I think he’s (nearly) bankrupted himself twice doing so.

    Anyways, I was raised in a family of New England liberals who took me to France every summer but never to church. And I can see first hand with my siblings why Europe has a declining birth rate, and why Europe is in a long slow decline. Those provincial gun totin’ rednecks aren’t so dumb afterall.

  28. sure, without the frogs we may still be a british coloney, but i doubt it.  even if we were, i don’t think you or i would care.  i like the brits.  i’m deeply grateful for their support in our present war.  they remember ww I and ww II and are honoring our nation’s friendship.

    we showed the frogs our gratitude in two world wars.  i think we’ve paid them back in blood that FAR exceeds the value of the money they gave us several times over.  they owe us some fucking gratitude.

  29. First things first: that question is a logical fallacy: appeal to authority.

    The purpose of my question is to establish factual background to Daryl’s position. Kindly leave it to me how I evaluate whatever information is forthcoming. Having said that, thank you for projecting.

  30. yes, serge, i’m 14 if it suits your fancy.

    You’ve just proved that you know nothing About foreign politics or even history

    obviously.  i have a different opinion, so i must know nothing.

  31. I am taking back what I wrote earlier. It was stupid and not very mature. I apologize.

    Just to answer you Grey, I didn’t think you “knew nothing”. as a matter of fact I am sure you know more than me. i just thought It was obvious that France had approached the U.S. about la côte d’ivoire out of respect. Since France has been arguing about Iraq I think they are being extra careful. It’s kinda like asking permission. Any friend of America would do that.

    France hasn’t been in the spotlight for some time now and I think they are enjoying their little corner of the stage. Everybody wants to be in the spotlight. Look at Great Britain and others.

    That’s where the big deals are.

  32. Putting even the most whacko right-winger from Christian Dominion in the same category as your run-of-the-mill Islamic Jihadist is completely outrageous.  I might not agree with a lot of the things Focus on the Family says, but I don’t see any of their sons and daughters blowing up school buses in Denver.  I’m pretty sure they don’t regard burning down synagogues as and beheading Atheists as “God’s Work

  33. Man, white people in general are crazy. I hate to throw stereotypes at you guys (even though I’m black) I think white people, regardless of their ethnic origins, are all crazy.

    And this meaningless debate about neo nazi-conservative politics (this is mainly for all you democrips, rebloodicans, and independents i.e. ex-hippies), are all psychotic, delusional, paranoids all out to destroy everything on this planet that doesn’t resemble anything caucasian.

    It’s in your natures. Deal with it!

    That’s why I’m glad to be black (not proud but glad by definition terms), atheist, neutral (especially when it comes to politics), and cool as ice.

    Peace.

  34. Um, what the hell was that, Ben?  Are you drunk?

    Yeah, so, on with my post:

    But actually, it gets even worse: The people in these countries are also much older.  Median ages for females in these countries is in the 40-45 range, meaning the majority of women can no longer have children.  (The median for US women is 37 yrs)

    That would be because of the baby boom.  European countries have restabilized their pop.s after ww2 and are now leveling off.  You do that when you don’t have wide open spaces.  Further, you treat culture like a living static thing, which it is not.  Culture, in other terms, behavior cannot die.  It does not become extinct.  And as Les said, even if you want to reword that into “European culture is becoming less practiced”, it’s still in no danger of being forgotten altogether.  European countries have a European majority that continue to act like Europeans. 

    I will pick it up again, what the hell is with this frog thing?  Are you calling french people frogs?  I will admit to never having heard of that before and if that’s a slur, what’s next, towel-heads?  Can we please refrain from these cheapass remarks?

    First things first: that question is a logical fallacy: appeal to authority. You do not have to live in a country to have an opinion about it’s culture, and you certainly don’t have to live in a country to make an argument based on readily verifiable facts.

    The question was not whether or not you have an opinion.  The question is whether or not you UNDERSTAND their points of view.  Quite a different thing.  Understanding someone else’s POV influences your opinion, and IMO, understanding a foreigner’s opinion makes you more justified to comment on it.

  35. Great, all the radical ideas are coming out to play.

    Grey Wrote: if we don’t fight the enemy on their soil, they will fight us on ours.  forget the WMD, forget the oil.  we’re in iraq to give fundamentalist muslims a target that can fight back, and chooses so as their profession.

    Do you really believe that combat would have broken in out in Kansas if we hadn’t invaded Iraq?  We’re fighting with insurgents in Iraq, not terrorists.  They have neither the means, manpower, nor desire to wage a large scale conflict with the US.  Hence the name ‘insurgency’.  The thought of the terrorists bringing the fight to America is the premise of fear that keeps this country polarized.

    Grey wrote: you’ve gotta love how those fucking frogs deny us help with iraq because they are so righteous, then beg for u.s. aid in the ivory coast after they smoke 54 unarmed civillians and wound over 1000 others.

    How soon we forget, the French were one of the first countries to offer troops for the coalition effort in Iraq.  They had even staged some 20K troops and budgeted accordingly.  All they asked is that the US have UN backing before taking preemptive action against a sovereign nation.  It was only after Bush failed to garner that backing and broke of subsequent UN talks in favor of a military strike that France backed away from the table.

    France may not big on testosterone but they are predictable and generally play by the political rules laid out on the global game board.

    Justin wrote: I’m not Daryl, but unlike Daryl I actually am a right-winger and I did vote for Bush. I am also one of those born-again evangelical Christians we keep hearing about.

    I would like to answer your question, but I won’t answer it just yet.

    You could have just written that last sentence I would have guessed you were an Evangelical Christian.

    You do not have to live in a country to have an opinion about it’s culture, and you certainly don’t have to live in a country to make an argument based on readily verifiable facts.

    No, you don’t need to live anywhere to have an opinion.  Everybody has one and most people can read books.  So while you’re statement is technically correct, living in a foreign country provides one with an insight that cannot be obtained through other means and to speculate about that would be merely proffering your opinion.

    Serge wrote: I am taking back what I wrote earlier. It was stupid and not very mature. I apologize.

    Your stock just went up in my book.

    Putting even the most whacko right-winger from Christian Dominion in the same category as your run-of-the-mill Islamic Jihadist is completely outrageous.

    Maybe in your mind.  A fundie, is a fundie, is a fundie, and throughout history to the present day they have done whatever it takes to further their message and silence the opposition…all in the name of one god or another.

    And this meaningless debate about neo nazi-conservative politics (this is mainly for all you democrips, rebloodicans, and independents i.e. ex-hippies), are all psychotic, delusional, paranoids all out to destroy everything on this planet that doesn’t resemble anything caucasian.

    Uh, yeah…  How’d I get to be an ex-hippie without ever being hippie to begin with?

  36. PS, why does everyone bitch about France not supporting the Iraq war?  Are they not allowed to have an opinion because we helped them in the past?

    If a friend saved me from falling off the egde of the cliff, I would be grateful.  If that same friend later asked for my help in killing someone that may have threatened her, I would not help her.  I think I would be justified…just because she helped me once does not mean I am then required to commit acts of violence in her name.  Foreign policy should not be an old boys club.

  37. A fundie, is a fundie, is a fundie, and throughout history to the present day they have done whatever it takes to further their message and silence the opposition…all in the name of one god or another.

    If you want to equate a culture of honor killings, clitorectemys and the celebrated murdering of infidels (which includes athiests) with Christianity, that is your perogative. Just realize that, thread title notwithstanding, Americans are not stupid and the vast majority of Americans will not make that connection. All you are doing is driving them out of the Democratic party.

  38. Um, clitoridectomies were performed in America as recently as the 1950s.
    Scroll down to the section on America

    Also, the crusades?  Witch burning?  Attacks on gays?  As I said earlier, bombing abortion clinics?  How is that not the attacking and killing of non-Christians?  The saints and Jesus are all very popular martyrs worshipped by many Christians. 

    Extremism calls out the worst in people, whether its Christian extremism, Muslim ext., Jewish, Buddhist, or whatever.

  39. If you want to equate a culture of honor killings, clitorectemys and the celebrated murdering of infidels (which includes athiests) with Christianity, that is your perogative.

    No need for splitting hairs, all the things you’ve mentioned have been carried out by Christians, plus many other variations on the theme as Shana has pointed out.

    So, I stand by my original statement.  Islamic Jihadists, Evangelical Christians, same animal, different wrapper.  Actually, according to my records, Evangelicals have a slight lead in bloodshed in the name of Christ than do the Jihads.  Congratulations.  Either way, extremists aren’t a good thing as you can clearly see when it’s coming from the other side.

  40. AI continue to stand by my point: Americans are not stupid and a plurality of them are not going to be convinced that life in America is comparable to life under the Taliban. The Democrats are bound and determined to ignore the Christopher Hitchens article that Daryl linked to, and will instead drive more Democrats into the Republican party.

    That’s how I ended out a Republican, it only happened a months ago. After hearing the umpteenth comparison between Bush and Hitler, I realized that I shared no common ground with the Democratic party anymore.

  41. AI continue to stand by my point: Americans are not stupid and a plurality of them are not going to be convinced that life in America is comparable to life under the Taliban.

    So, you’ve lost your soapbox and now you’re restating the tired “Americans aren’t stupid” bit?  I never said American life was comparable to life in Afghanistan under the Taliban, I supported the previous statement that a fundie is a fundie is a fundie.  Quite a different thing.  I did not ignore the Hitchens article, I disagreed with it.

    And if that’s what drove you to be a republican,  well that’s a pretty sorry reason to change.  I hope you had some more solid reasoning regarding the platform itself as opposed to the rants of a few followers.

    Dude, I have a lot of free time this afternoon…

  42. I’d love to have more free time to respond to everyone, and I think this discussion is important, but I gotta get the workshop ready for a concert, so this will be brief.

    The position of the conservatives here seems to have boiled down to:  we’re fighting Muslims on their soil, so they won’t invade us and force us to live under Sharia law.  I think everyone here probably agrees that living with current American (Western Civilization in general) laws and culture, warts and all, is preferable to what the Taliban has to offer.  If it were really a simple case of a fight to the death, winner take all, I would be on the side of the West.  But this is not the case for anyone but the extremists.  As others here have pointed out, it’s extremism that leads to terror that is the problem.  And by attacking countries that have not attacked us, we are not fighting terror- we are creating the very conditions under which terror flourishes.  As my Turkish friend said, what is terror? When an Iraqi family loses its children to invaders, is that not terror for them?  Who will they turn to?  Fundamentalist Islam is having a field day there, in what had been an increasingly secularized country- our doing.  You will say, we deposed an evil dictator.  Sure- but how are the Iraqis better off now?  We certainly aren’t better off- we’re playing right into Bin Laden’s hands.  He doesn’t care how many Iraqis die- they are martyrs to fuel the flames of the jihad.  Why do you suppose he told Americans not to vote for Bush?  He’s a smart guy.  Bush is the best thing that could happen for his cause: the same fight to the death many conservatives seem to want.  Rallying against an enemy is a time-honored technique of tyrants to consolidate power, well understood by Bin Laden and Bush.  Lincoln said (if memory serves) “The best way to get rid of an enemy is to make a friend out of him”.  Now, I don’t think we are going to make friends out of Bin Laden and his followers.  But by making enemies out of all the Muslims who just want to live in peace, we are not making the world a better place for the Christians, or the Muslims, or anyone else.

    And Daryl- how about responding to my answers to your précis on the collapse of European civilization, instead of just complaining that the “frogs” let us down?  As far as I know, frogs are amphibians, and they have enough on their plate, what with the disappearance of habitats worldwide, without having to help us in ill-considered wars.

  43. Whoops- just reread the posts, and saw that it was Grey, not Daryl, who complained about the “frogs”.  My apologies.  Otherwise, all my points stand.

    And rereading my last post, I realized that I could be seen as saying Bush was a tyrant as bad as Bin Laden.  I don’t believe that-  Bush is at best a petty tyrant, Bin Laden a brilliant deranged opportunist.  All I wanted to say is that they both know something about consolidating power.

  44. What zilch said.

    I had hopes that this may turns into an interesting debate. Perhaps another time.

    The one thing that bothers me about comparing Bush to Hitler is that it compares to sending a child to do a man’s job – and I don’t mean this in a sense flattering to Bush.

  45. Shana and deadscot, thanks for continuing the debate and making such good points.  I don’t get to the computer for most of the day, and when I do, I’m having to type with one spitup-covered hand.  grin

    And the prize for confirming every negative stereotype about right-wing Americans goes to Grey with his “fuck the frogs.”  Smooth move, dude.  Tell me, does it make you feel all tingly and macho to talk like that?  Which other ethnic slurs do you use to prop up your ego?

    Finally, there is a sure-fire way to tell when someone is feeling insecure—and that’s when he breaks down and calls you an elitist.  Works every time.

    Gotta go, folks, I’ve got a 3-month-old dual national’s diaper to change.

  46. So, you’ve lost your soapbox and now you’re restating the tired “Americans aren’t stupid

  47. GeekMom- Amen.

    I hear you about the problems of dealing with dual nationals- I don’t have to change diapers anymore, but have to fight with the one to get on the computer, and worry about when the other one’s coming home.  I’m sure real Americans don’t have these problems…

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