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The Fall of the American Empire

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by speed, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. OldScratch

    OldScratch Member

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    I'm not sure Americans are uniquely selfish in the traditional sense of that word. Americans are known to give freely to all manner of charitable causes(domestic and otherwise), disaser relief and the like, nevermind the coerced largesse of obscene taxation. In fact, given the amount of money doled out to the collective underclasses of America, some might suggest we are too damned generous for our own good.

    What I think we are more so, is entirely self-absorbed. Perhaps this is just a weak semantic distinction, but I see a difference. Most folks I know are almost pathologically caught-up in their own little pscychodrama they call life. Even when they pay lip-service to "the issues" of the day, they rarely have a real connection to the problems - or any real desire to get involved to remedy or address the situation personally.
    There seems to be no sense of responsibility to anything larger than one's immediate family...and in some cases, even that devotion is questionable. It could only be in a time of such terminal self-absorption that scores of individuals would resist even the natural urge to procreate, favoring instead lives of liesure, instant gratification, and a sort of perpetual, overgrown adolescence.
     
  2. StocktontoMalone

    StocktontoMalone The Cynical Realist

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    Hey OS......I guess you said it better than I did...lol

    The point I wanted to make was that throwing money at an issue isn't the way to solve the issue; but that's what we do.

    The problem of domestic violence is growing worldwide, but especially here, in the US. The statistics regarding children who die violently are all out of proportion with the rest of the world. An American child is FIVE times more likely to be killed before the age of 18 than a child living in another industrialized nation. The rate of gun deaths and suicides amoung our children is more than twice that of other countries. We like to think ourselves as progressive and enlightened, but you have to wonder. Homelessness is an alternative to dying, but not an especially attractive one. In a time in which the homeless problem is growing by leaps and bounds worldwide--- due, to varying extents, to increases in the population, job elimination, technological advances, disintegration of the family structure, violence, and the rising cost of housing--- the response state by state and city by city has been an all out effort to crack down on homelessness by passing new ordinances designed to move these people to where we can't see them. Stop them from panhandling, don't let them sleep in our parks and public places, conduct police sweeps to round them up, and get them the hell out of town, that's our solution. Is there a concerted effort to get at the root problems of homelessness, to find ways to rehabilitate and reform, to address the differences between types of homelessness so that those who need one kind of treatment versus another can get it? How many tax dollars are being spent to build shelters and provide showers and hot meals? What efforts aare being made to explore the ways in which domestic violence contributes to the problem, especially where woman and children are concerned?

    We have thousands of people living homeless on the streets of our cities at the same time that we have men and woman earning millions of dollars a year running companies that make products whose continued useage will ruin our health, environment, and our values......the irony in incredible. It's obsene........

    We throw money around all the time....But does anyone actuallt think that this will solve anything?
     
  3. speed

    speed Member

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    I totally concur. We are adolescents, or even pre-adolescents in our way of thinking. Sure it helps with business and efficiency--as one wants everything or is greedy like a selfish teen all the time--but not much else.

    Anyway, I dont know what can be done to fix this. Surely a political or philosophical solution is totally unfeasible (this cockamamied benevolent fascism, or socialism, or even liberterianism is no answer to anything); truly, since I think of things through the economic sphere (yes, I do believe many of our problems are directly tied to the mysterious and unknown laws of economics), I think change (and by that, cultural change) will only come when economic change happens. And for the last 30 years, the economic change towards agglomerization of business, globalization, standardization, short-term profit, and extreme individualism, amongst other things, has made our culture much, much worse than before. I can tell a extreme shift even from the early 90's that I think is due to such profound and quick economic shifts in the world economy. Really, rural areas and even small to medium sized cities (under 100,000, or up to-200,000) are dying due to lack of decent jobs. These areas used to exemplify the American spirit (active in civic activities, the army, traditional values, promoting the American dream), but have turned into depressed, drug addicted dens of desolation. The big cities and their surroundings are really where everything is happening. Maybe the decent sized but not major cities (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, etc) will dry up next.

    Hence, what I am saying is that pondering our currrent culture and society, it is obvious that economics is the central question and influence. Only when economics changes and goes away from extreme individualism, corporatism, etc, I dont see our infantile culture changing for the better.
     
  4. Violens

    Violens Member

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    I speak as one that doesn't know nothing of "real" about US (never been there..for now); what's wrong with Kentucky? Only thing I heard to say is that the real "unlucky" state is Kansas..is this true?

    Probably is this "external vision" (that you all who live there don't have) that makes me wonder of a life in the US; I have to say that first of all I'd like to visit coasts' big cities (Miami, NY and San Francisco, LA)..probably these "giants" create a sort of smoke, a fake image of the nation that doesn't make see things clear to foreigners..:lol:

    Ah, I have to greet with you for your job! Here a thing like that would be impossible in such a little time..ok this is personal and I really don't want to be "unkind" (if you want tell me "no" and I won't insist)..what kind of studies did give you the degree to do what you do? Better, how does the scholar system work in there?
     
  5. Violens

    Violens Member

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    This makes me think that a famous italian proverb "l'erba del vicino è sempre più verde" = "neighbourhood's grass is ever more green" litterally :lol: is true statement.
     
  6. speed

    speed Member

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    Kentucky is sort of a hillbilly backwater, with rather poor education, lousy infrastructure, and a corrupt good old boy mentality. I dont know what would be comparable to Italy, maybe a less corrupt Sicily or Campania without the beauty, history and charm? The Eastern part of the State (the hills--Deliverance style, hehe) contains the lowest per capita incomes of any area outside of indian reservation.

    Oh, just a master degree and some luck. I dont care much for our college system, but I suppose it is considered somehow the best in the world. One leaves without much knowledge, but with some specialized knowledge or skills in some specific field.
     
  7. infoterror

    infoterror Member

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    Economics reflects what ideas are popular enough to motivate people. Your problem as a society, America, is bad values (individualism) and low IQs.
     
  8. felinusz

    felinusz New Metal Member

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    It seems to me that maye of you have forgetten something extremely important.


    AMERICA IS IN POSESSION OF ACCURATE, POWERFUL, AND HIGHLY ADVANCED NUCLEAR WEAPONS!



    I cannot emphasise this enough ;). Yes, there are a multitude of problems with western culture, with western politics, with western military.

    But the fact remains, the west puts some damn good "life insurance" onto their credit card bill each month.
     
  9. infoterror

    infoterror Member

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    Selfishness, or ego-centricism? I'd bet the latter, which is rewarded by unselfishness:

     
  10. OldScratch

    OldScratch Member

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    Clearly the latter. That is essentially where I was trying to go with the second part of that post, ie. our consumate self-absorption...while we wallow in the "unselfishness" of our ego-centric altruism.
     
  11. infoterror

    infoterror Member

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    Psychologically, it's much easier that way. My post was a support post; sorry if that wasn't clear.
     
  12. speed

    speed Member

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    Interesting article/book review on the problem with America's younger generation (economic debt, and lower standards of income by our generation, making it easy to sell out to corporate America or personal yuppie greed, impossible to protest, create art, etc):http://salon.com/books/review/2007/07/10/trap/
     
  13. OldScratch

    OldScratch Member

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    I should have realized that!!:rolleyes:
     
  14. Virg

    Virg New Metal Member

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    ...Not to knock your opinions which you so matter-of-factly state, but are you aware of the various IQ statistics of the United States when compared to other countries?

    Would we be better in a "non-individualistic" system such as the USSR?
     
  15. Virg

    Virg New Metal Member

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    People are motivated by their appetites. They want to be sexually attractive, socially accepted and in a position of power and influence. The three of those are kind of over-lapping goals but you get the point.

    I don't understand your point throughout; altrusim is false and ego-centric, yet individualism is a "bad value". Seems like you are contradicting yourself...
     
  16. infoterror

    infoterror Member

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    So the world exists in a duality of altruism/individualism?

    Nigga please

    There are other paths, because those are just polar extremes.
     
  17. KingFelagund

    KingFelagund New Metal Member

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    There's a great deal to be said (and has been said) on the idea originally expressed in this post. While I do not entirely agree, I think that the fate of any nation is in the degree to which it self-determines itself.

    The sense of decline you are describing, I feel, finds its origins in the alienation of the individual, both mentally and spiritually. Kierkegaard, in some of his earliest essays, illustrated for us the horrible ends of a state that becomes so large, so faceless, and so plastic that it no longer serves as utility to its people.

    The unfortunate fact of daily American existence is that it is dangerously contented (I am an American, by the way.) It is materially contented to the point that it has forgotten its revolutionary roots. And like all revolutionary ideals that fail to be perpetuated by their ancestors, the system has fallen into the hands of those whose primary goal is self-preservation. The nation of the United States was founded by a generation of people who were not afraid to resist their government (King George) when it succumbed to unreasonable excesses. Where are those people today, whilst our phone lines are tapped, our Habeas Corpus suspended, and a new politically abusive scandal is reviewed on the news daily?

    This is all camouflaged under a new kind of media whitewash that goes on daily. Instead of hearing about the new partisan policies afflicting our liberty, we have reports on the affairs of pop-stars and celebrities. And who do we have to fault for this? Merely the public at large that continues to consume and pay for this drivel. Our culture has become synonymous with the excesses of the rich, and therefore has lost most of its admirable and artistic qualities.

    It is a shame that the psychotic policy of on display in the American leadership right now has come to symbolize for the world the American mindset wholly... because there are many Americans who are both patriotic and reasonable, as well as respectful of the world. The great Albert Camus once said that we can love our country, but that loving it necessitates that we hold it and those who lead it to a standard of excellence.

    If there is any hope for an American resurgence then it must start in a fundamental reassessment of values... one that ceases to make heroes of the decadent and empowers the individual to defy draconian institution.
     

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