Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

Use this forum to discuss the June 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

Post by Sushan »

heracleitos wrote: June 6th, 2022, 9:58 pm
GE Morton wrote: June 6th, 2022, 1:45 pm Well, there was a period when the country could plausibly be described as "great" --- the period between the end of the Civil War and ~1930. During that period the USA became the wealthiest country in the world, and the first in history in which a majority of its citizens were not poor.
The seeds of destruction were already sown in 1913 with the simultaneous introduction of the Federal Reserve and income tax.

The final nail in the coffin was the introduction of mandatory social security contributions by Roosevelt in the nineteen thirties.

It led to all kinds of yearly reporting obligations with a view on massive income confiscation.

It made the USA a less attractive place to live in than the 80% of the globe that does not enforce mass income confiscation policies.

Especially when your income is location independent, e.g. as a digital nomad or nomad capitalist, I do not see why anyone would voluntarily want to become the victim of all these income confiscations.

The USA is also one of these countries where you could easily get trapped into a situation in which the government compels you to keep making payments to an ex-romantic connection while getting nothing in return for your money. They could even go for half or more of your assets in that context. Again, you do not run that risk in 80% of the world.

In other words, the USA is not a good place for your finances, and also not a good place for your private life. Even places like Russia and China are less obnoxious in that respect.
American financial system and the security system maybe meddling too much with the lives of its own citizens. But from what we hear about China and Russia (what we hear may not very well be the truth because all the media are biased today, either towards the American team, or towards the Russian team; Cold war is still going on) these countries have too much restrictions on the lives of their citizens. In Russia you can be easily arrested for what you speak, and in China you are not free to live in a place you like, other than from where you lived since your birth. So the people in the cities have all the benefits while the ones in the rural areas having none. Seemingly the bigger countries are not the better countries at all.
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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LuckyR wrote: June 7th, 2022, 4:08 am
heracleitos wrote: June 6th, 2022, 9:58 pm
GE Morton wrote: June 6th, 2022, 1:45 pm Well, there was a period when the country could plausibly be described as "great" --- the period between the end of the Civil War and ~1930. During that period the USA became the wealthiest country in the world, and the first in history in which a majority of its citizens were not poor.
The seeds of destruction were already sown in 1913 with the simultaneous introduction of the Federal Reserve and income tax.

The final nail in the coffin was the introduction of mandatory social security contributions by Roosevelt in the nineteen thirties.

It led to all kinds of yearly reporting obligations with a view on massive income confiscation.

It made the USA a less attractive place to live in than the 80% of the globe that does not enforce mass income confiscation policies.

Especially when your income is location independent, e.g. as a digital nomad or nomad capitalist, I do not see why anyone would voluntarily want to become the victim of all these income confiscations.

The USA is also one of these countries where you could easily get trapped into a situation in which the government compels you to keep making payments to an ex-romantic connection while getting nothing in return for your money. They could even go for half or more of your assets in that context. Again, you do not run that risk in 80% of the world.

In other words, the USA is not a good place for your finances, and also not a good place for your private life. Even places like Russia and China are less obnoxious in that respect.
Makes total, perfect sense. On another note, how should governments acquire the capital to operate?
Taxes are a necessity. And no one like to give back what they earned for a cause that they do not directly see the benefit. And this disliking goes to higher llevels when you know that your tax money is spent on unnecessary political interventions and international wars, like American behaviour in the war between Ukraine and Russia.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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GE Morton wrote: June 7th, 2022, 1:48 pm
LuckyR wrote: June 7th, 2022, 4:08 am
Makes total, perfect sense. On another note, how should governments acquire the capital to operate?
With taxes, or when possible, via fees charged for services rendered. The question re: taxes is, What sort of tax, imposed upon whom, and to pay for what?
Whatever the payment we make we are bound to pay taxes directly or indirectly. It is common to any part of the world, unless it is a tribal community which do not have the concept of money and taxes. Only the amount that the government requires from you may vary. There are countries that do not directly take taxes from its people, and it attracts many businessmen and investors into such countries. But I do not think even such countries are devoid of indirect taxes.
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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LuckyR wrote: June 7th, 2022, 5:15 pm
GE Morton wrote: June 7th, 2022, 1:48 pm
LuckyR wrote: June 7th, 2022, 4:08 am
Makes total, perfect sense. On another note, how should governments acquire the capital to operate?
With taxes, or when possible, via fees charged for services rendered. The question re: taxes is, What sort of tax, imposed upon whom, and to pay for what?
Ah, but others would like services to spring magically for free out of thin air.
Yes, we all wish for such things, don't we? But in today's world everything has not only a price, but also a tagged along tax as well 🤣
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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Sushan wrote: June 18th, 2022, 10:25 pm
LuckyR wrote: June 7th, 2022, 4:08 am
heracleitos wrote: June 6th, 2022, 9:58 pm
GE Morton wrote: June 6th, 2022, 1:45 pm Well, there was a period when the country could plausibly be described as "great" --- the period between the end of the Civil War and ~1930. During that period the USA became the wealthiest country in the world, and the first in history in which a majority of its citizens were not poor.
The seeds of destruction were already sown in 1913 with the simultaneous introduction of the Federal Reserve and income tax.

The final nail in the coffin was the introduction of mandatory social security contributions by Roosevelt in the nineteen thirties.

It led to all kinds of yearly reporting obligations with a view on massive income confiscation.

It made the USA a less attractive place to live in than the 80% of the globe that does not enforce mass income confiscation policies.

Especially when your income is location independent, e.g. as a digital nomad or nomad capitalist, I do not see why anyone would voluntarily want to become the victim of all these income confiscations.

The USA is also one of these countries where you could easily get trapped into a situation in which the government compels you to keep making payments to an ex-romantic connection while getting nothing in return for your money. They could even go for half or more of your assets in that context. Again, you do not run that risk in 80% of the world.

In other words, the USA is not a good place for your finances, and also not a good place for your private life. Even places like Russia and China are less obnoxious in that respect.
Makes total, perfect sense. On another note, how should governments acquire the capital to operate?
Taxes are a necessity. And no one like to give back what they earned for a cause that they do not directly see the benefit. And this disliking goes to higher llevels when you know that your tax money is spent on unnecessary political interventions and international wars, like American behaviour in the war between Ukraine and Russia.
So which of your first two sentences is correct?
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

Post by LuckyR »

Sushan wrote: June 18th, 2022, 10:31 pm
LuckyR wrote: June 7th, 2022, 5:15 pm
GE Morton wrote: June 7th, 2022, 1:48 pm
LuckyR wrote: June 7th, 2022, 4:08 am
Makes total, perfect sense. On another note, how should governments acquire the capital to operate?
With taxes, or when possible, via fees charged for services rendered. The question re: taxes is, What sort of tax, imposed upon whom, and to pay for what?
Ah, but others would like services to spring magically for free out of thin air.
Yes, we all wish for such things, don't we? But in today's world everything has not only a price, but also a tagged along tax as well 🤣
Problem is, many don't believe that it is an unrealistic wish.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: June 6th, 2022, 10:16 am Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

Because America isn't 'great' and never has been? 🤔
Sushan wrote: June 18th, 2022, 10:13 pm I think it is unfair to mention such a statement regarding greatness of the US as there are many who believed (and still believe) that the US is a great country. But we have to consider why all the people do not have the same feeling about the topic.
I offered a question in response to the topic title, perhaps a good and reasonable question? Is that "unfair"? Of course, there are "many who believed (and still believe) that the US is a great country", but surely this topic seeks to ask whether these people are justified in their belief?

Of course, "we have to consider why all the people do not have the same feeling about the topic" - the title of this topic says clearly that that is its intention, doesn't it? And I think my comment is reasonable: maybe not everyone agrees that America is great because America is not great, and never has been? This is certainly one possible answer to the topic's question. But you think it "unfair". So do you only want answers that are approving of the US...?
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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Sushan wrote: June 18th, 2022, 10:23 pm ...and in China you are not free to live in a place you like, other than from where you lived since your birth.
My friend Wang Ying lives in Shenzhen, 1000s of miles from where she was born. She has just bought a retirement apartment, in another part of China, far from where she works and where she was born.

Your comment seems to reduce to unjustified and untrue anti-Chinese propaganda. Perhaps China, and life in China, for the Chinese, is not as you think it is?
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: June 19th, 2022, 8:03 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: June 6th, 2022, 10:16 am Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

Because America isn't 'great' and never has been? 🤔
Sushan wrote: June 18th, 2022, 10:13 pm I think it is unfair to mention such a statement regarding greatness of the US as there are many who believed (and still believe) that the US is a great country. But we have to consider why all the people do not have the same feeling about the topic.
I offered a question in response to the topic title, perhaps a good and reasonable question? Is that "unfair"? Of course, there are "many who believed (and still believe) that the US is a great country", but surely this topic seeks to ask whether these people are justified in their belief?

Of course, "we have to consider why all the people do not have the same feeling about the topic" - the title of this topic says clearly that that is its intention, doesn't it? And I think my comment is reasonable: maybe not everyone agrees that America is great because America is not great, and never has been? This is certainly one possible answer to the topic's question. But you think it "unfair". So do you only want answers that are approving of the US...?
I am not from US, and I have no intentions in living there. From what I have learned from my history lessons, and from what I see from present news, I do not see America as a great country, but only a meddling nuisance which thinks of itself as a superior being to all the other countries. But, IMO, I think citizens of a country should feel proud about their country, and only if it is really unbelievable, should feel like they live in a great country. Home is the best place to anyone. So I am having the question 'why Americans do not feel the same way?'. And I want to be fair for both parties, and that is why I think it is unfair to say right away that America was not so great as it can affect those who believe in the greatness of their motherland.
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: June 19th, 2022, 8:09 am
Sushan wrote: June 18th, 2022, 10:23 pm ...and in China you are not free to live in a place you like, other than from where you lived since your birth.
My friend Wang Ying lives in Shenzhen, 1000s of miles from where she was born. She has just bought a retirement apartment, in another part of China, far from where she works and where she was born.

Your comment seems to reduce to unjustified and untrue anti-Chinese propaganda. Perhaps China, and life in China, for the Chinese, is not as you think it is?
China as well as Russia are among the few countries who monitor their mass media and social media content. So what we see from outside can be very far away from the truth. I agree that the media that supports the Western world post against China and Russia. But actually there is a law in China that prevents people from shifting from where they born. So people in rural areas are condemned to live their for generations. But I think there are ways around these laws, and having either lots of money or some political connections might let you evade these laws. China is a powerful, and rich country, but all its citizens do not feel the same in contrast to the countries like Switzerland, Portuguese, etc.
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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I'm an American.

The reason I don't think my country is great is largely because it lacks the sort of populace that might make a country great.

This is a country with a long and troubled history of talking about grandiose and nice-sounding things while engaging in all sorts of sordid and disgusting things. Slavery wasn't even that long ago. Women's suffrage doesn't feel like it was that long ago. Marriage equality wasn't that long ago, and the modern GOP is going to target it when Roe falls (for instance look at the Texas GOP's recently announced platform).

This is a country of people obsessed with toxic individualism, rampant greed, utter disregard for other people and the planet. Many people are woefully undereducated and incurious, not always through faults of their own (poverty can do that to people).

I understand that living in poverty today is better than living in poverty at other times in history, and living in poverty in the US is better than living in poverty in less developed countries. What I don't understand is why it's still such a serious problem in one of the richest countries in the world. Most wages are a far cry from what would be a living wage.

Most of the population is absolutely convinced to vote against their own best interests, and those of us that don't always feel like we're voting for a mediocre thing to prevent a really bad alternative from happening.

There are good people in the US, a lot of them. There are a lot of good things about the American Dream, things that are worth fighting for. There's a lot to be hopeful about, things to dream about. But the soul of this country is rotten, and it's long past started to stink.
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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Sushan wrote: June 18th, 2022, 10:23 pm ...and in China you are not free to live in a place you like, other than from where you lived since your birth.
Pattern-chaser wrote: June 19th, 2022, 8:09 am My friend Wang Ying lives in Shenzhen, 1000s of miles from where she was born. She has just bought a retirement apartment, in another part of China, far from where she works and where she was born.

Your comment seems to reduce to unjustified and untrue anti-Chinese propaganda. Perhaps China, and life in China, for the Chinese, is not as you think it is?
Sushan wrote: June 21st, 2022, 10:00 pm China as well as Russia are among the few countries who monitor their mass media and social media content. So what we see from outside can be very far away from the truth. I agree that the media that supports the Western world post against China and Russia. But actually there is a law in China that prevents people from shifting from where they born. So people in rural areas are condemned to live their for generations. But I think there are ways around these laws, and having either lots of money or some political connections might let you evade these laws. China is a powerful, and rich country, but all its citizens do not feel the same in contrast to the countries like Switzerland, Portuguese, etc.
If there was such a law, my friend would be unable to live and work where she does. In this case, you are simply wrong. Sorry.
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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Sushan wrote: June 5th, 2022, 1:23 am
When the former President Donald Trump brought the matter regarding greatness of America on to the stage, for some reason seemingly the most unexpected result has occurred; the country, the Americans expressed different opinions on the matter. When America is the land of freedom and opportunity to the outside world why do the Americans not feel the same about their country? Is it merely politics? Or is it due to something else?
Excuse me, but with due respect, i take that to be a stupid question, whether applied to the Great Brits, the French, and the Chinese. For all agree to flatter themselves is impossible. There must be some humble soul, and some guilt-tripper, somewhere along the line.
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

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Sushan wrote: June 5th, 2022, 1:23 am When the former President Donald Trump brought the matter regarding greatness of America on to the stage, for some reason seemingly the most unexpected result has occurred; the country, the Americans expressed different opinions on the matter. When America is the land of freedom and opportunity to the outside world why do the Americans not feel the same about their country? Is it merely politics? Or is it due to something else?
But it isn't! That's a conceit held by Americans. The USA is not seen as a champion of democracy either, although Americans constantly refer to it being so. That's another conceit held by Americans. America is not a land of freedom and opportunity, it is a religio-authoritarian, Supremacist*, 'Xenophobocracy' that imprisons so many of its own citizens, (recently) controls the very bodies and bodily autonomy of its female citizens, and so on.



* - Supremacist in all its shades of meaning, White Supremacist, Male Supremacist, American-Supremacist, Billionaire-Supremacist, and so forth.
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Re: Even all Americans do not agree on America being great, why?

Post by 3017Metaphysician »

Sushan wrote: June 5th, 2022, 1:23 am This topic is about the June 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell


Donald Trump’s riding the “make America great again” wave to the White House in the 2016 presidential election not only shocked but, in varying degrees, angered and disgruntled the liberal minded establishment, not to mention some of the conservative minded establishment as well.........New York Governor Cuomo expressed deep disdain by voicing his counter statement: “America was never great!” Saying make America great again presumably means that America was once great and that it can through enlightened leadership become great again. Saying America was never great presumably means America’s previous existence was mediocre at best and a miserable failure at worst. One thing for sure, the country is passionately divided over the issue.
(Location 62 - Kindle version)

When the former President Donald Trump brought the matter regarding greatness of America on to the stage, for some reason seemingly the most unexpected result has occurred; the country, the Americans expressed different opinions on the matter. When America is the land of freedom and opportunity to the outside world why do the Americans not feel the same about their country? Is it merely politics? Or is it due to something else?

Of course, considering we (I'm an American/moderate independent) just celebrated our governmental heritage, we value things like Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life,_Lib ... _Happiness

That said, one of the downsides is of course too much focus on individualism and not society as a whole... So a balance is obviously needed...manifested in a compromise between far-left and and far-right Democracy/Republic as a free-form of governing.


Nevertheless, you asked a question that relates to things like political slogans, memes, and other belief systems associated with not only politics and the human condition, but having a sense of freedom as well.

First and foremost consider that politics is a lot like religion in that it requires the cognitive dynamic of both faith and emotion to move it forward.

Secondly, consider that what always made America great were things like certain constitutional freedoms and Judeo-Christian philosophy (Greek ethics/ the Wisdom Books, & the Golden Rule/ love your neighbor as yourself, so on and so forth) as pragmatic/utilitarian value systems that also govern behavior. Most of that stuff works at its best when individuals are free to choose. Accordingly, basic principles of providing for personal freedoms, rights, etc., also have their foundations in other economic belief systems such as Capitalism and free enterprise.

Lastly, and to your specific question, the political slogan of 'make America great again ' is just a meme to invoke a type of emotional reaction/support about a product, service or ideology (to be sold). In that context, a person (Trump/2016) was trying to sell their wares as an novel outsider trying to convince other's that they are the messiah (or perceived to be). Anyway, in common sense language, its analogical reasoning is much like that of an individual who applies for a job, and exaggerates their qualifications as a kind of sales marketing ploy to get the job. In short, repeating meme's appeals to certain individuals who feel similar in their belief systems; telling the people what they want to hear regardless of whether it's actually true or not.

And so, I wouldn't take that slogan too literally, otherwise, as we've seen, one might fall victim to a kind of cult of personality... .

Cult of Personality Lyrics:


I sell the things you need to be
I'm the smiling face on your TV
Oh, I'm the cult of personality
I exploit you, still you love me
I tell you one and one makes three
Oh, I'm the cult of personality

Neon lights, a Nobel Prize
When a mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You won't have to follow me
Only you can set me free...
“Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.”
― William James
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Return to “What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell”

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