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US is an oligarchy, not a democracy
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Apr 18, 2014, 04:24 PM
 
BBC News - Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy

Haven't finished reading the pdf yet
     
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Apr 18, 2014, 04:40 PM
 
The world is an oligarchy, lots of folks are in denial.
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Apr 18, 2014, 05:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
The world is an oligarchy, lots of folks are in denial.
Pretty much. I don't know why anyone would think otherwise. The differences between them are just the minute amount of focus on the individual between societies.
     
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Apr 18, 2014, 05:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
The world is an oligarchy, lots of folks are in denial.
Just wonder if you think that the other 19 of the G20 (for example) are oligarchies.
     
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Apr 18, 2014, 08:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Just wonder if you think that the other 19 of the G20 (for example) are oligarchies.
I definitely think it is safe to say that the power structure is *far* more pronounced in the US.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 07:57 AM
 
It's just far more obvious here in the US. A "representative democracy" is (nowadays) almost by definition an ogliarchy, with the ogliarchs being those who take up politics professionally. The "good versus bad" of this in the US is dependent on the honesty and professionalism of those politicians. Kyrie eleison.

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Apr 19, 2014, 08:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Just wonder if you think that the other 19 of the G20 (for example) are oligarchies.
Have a lot of poor people get elected to office there, do they?
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Apr 19, 2014, 10:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Have a lot of poor people get elected to office there, do they?
Well, if you compare Europe to the US, then yes.

The rich politician is the exception.

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Apr 19, 2014, 10:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Have a lot of poor people get elected to office there, do they?
In Germany, yes, representatives are usually from the middle class. There is an overrepresentation of teachers and other state employees, but these are middle class people. And it doesn't take a fortune to run a campaign, the campaign budgets are comparatively tiny. To my knowledge, it's similar in other European countries. From that perspective, German politicians are amateurs, and I'm happy they are.

After their is over, many higher-level politicians get lucrative jobs, but we are talking about far less money than what is now thought of as very rich in the US, say €200k/year or so. Nothing to sneeze at, but not great. Most of them return to regular jobs.
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Apr 19, 2014, 10:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
It's just far more obvious here in the US. A "representative democracy" is (nowadays) almost by definition an ogliarchy, with the ogliarchs being those who take up politics professionally. The "good versus bad" of this in the US is dependent on the honesty and professionalism of those politicians. Kyrie eleison.
That's different from an oligarchy, Glenn, being an oligarchy has nothing to do with making politics your profession.
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Apr 19, 2014, 12:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Have a lot of poor people get elected to office there, do they?
As others have said, probably more middle class than poor. Although Brazil's last pres could probably be counted as poor or a least had a poor upbringing. Thatcher wasn't rich when she came to power. Tony Blair neither. However David Cameron wasn't just born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he had a platinum cutlery set for hundreds in his arse.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 02:47 PM
 
The comical part is how foreigners look at US politics and fail to understand that our federal gov't does comparatively very little that affects the average American, unlike theirs which typically take a more active hand (meddling) in their business. For those around here in foreign lands, DC is like Hollywood; mostly glam and posturing, with little in the way of substance. The real workhorses are the state and local governments, that's where >90% of the legislation comes from that has an impact on us. Looking at those governments, with the possible exception of state governors, a very small percentage are rich, they're mostly middle class professionals who ran for office because they saw a need and have a desire to help their community.

So, while the mostly-worthless Feds may be dominated by the wealthy (on both sides of the aisle), the nation's true leaders who actually make a difference, aren't.

PS. we've never actually been a democracy, anyway. The USA has always been a constitutional republic. (Where do they get those so-called experts, seriously?)
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Apr 19, 2014, 03:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
The rich politician is the exception.

-t
Same up here in Canada. To a degree it depends on party affiliation, but the NDP for example is firmly working/middle class.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 03:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
The comical part is how foreigners look at US politics and fail to understand that our federal gov't does comparatively very little that affects the average American, unlike theirs which typically take a more active hand (meddling) in their business.
Same thing with your perception of Brussels.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 03:56 PM
 
Guess the Patriot Act didn't impact average Americans, Don't Ask Don't Tell and the Brady Bill under Clinton, Reagan's War on Drugs.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 05:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Guess the Patriot Act didn't impact average Americans, Don't Ask Don't Tell and the Brady Bill under Clinton, Reagan's War on Drugs.
Nope, most Americans weren't affected at all, but all that legislation makes for good drama and a first rate distraction.
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Apr 19, 2014, 06:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
The comical part is how foreigners look at US politics and fail to understand that our federal gov't does comparatively very little that affects the average American, unlike theirs which typically take a more active hand (meddling) in their business. For those around here in foreign lands, DC is like Hollywood; mostly glam and posturing, with little in the way of substance. The real workhorses are the state and local governments, that's where >90% of the legislation comes from that has an impact on us.
This failure of understanding is perfectly understanding though, and I don't think this can be successfully rationalized like it seems like you are trying to do here (if I'm misinterpreting you I apologize). What the state and local governments do they do in spite of the federal government, and this is not a healthy thing. We need a functional, competent, and useful federal government.

And, while federal governments in other countries can meddle like any government can, depending on how you define meddling, I disagree with this characterization of foreign federal governments (particularly those in countries without 50 states) being nothing more than unnecessary meddlers.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 06:46 PM
 
You wouldn't understand besson, you're a foreigner.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 06:51 PM
 
Yo dawg, I hear you like understandings...
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 06:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Nope, most Americans weren't affected at all, but all that legislation makes for good drama and a first rate distraction.

The Patriot Act has been a part of our increased airport security, fears of privacy invasion, and changing views and attitudes towards our personal safety.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was an important milestone in the path towards gay rights, gay marriage, and changing views about homosexuality.

The Brady Bill might have been an important milestone in the issues of gun violence and safety - the sorts of threads like we've had that have generated thousands of pages.

The War on Drugs has been an important part of drug education, our penal system, what should be criminalized, an milestone towards pot legalization, illegal drug trade, the drug economy, etc.

I think what you are saying is that state and local governments can have a more *direct* impact on people, and this I agree with. However, I'd argue that the federal government's impact is even larger, it's just far more indirect and abstract to Joe Sixpack. The federal government is a central part of a lot of national discussion, the issues surrounding it often a fabric of our society. Obamacare alone has impacted our society indirectly more than any state or local issue I can think of. Granted, it's not tangible like a new highway or piece of local infrastructure is, but it has affected most of us in some manner, granted likely mostly indirectly.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 06:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
You wouldn't understand besson, you're a foreigner.
It's kind of annoying that some Americans think that nobody can understand them, yet many have all sorts of opinions about other countries, isn't it?
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 06:58 PM
 
On topic, the Constitution sets up an explicit and strong tension between the Federal Government and the states. That's an angle most (if not all) European governments lack.

That tension was so strong, we kicked the shit out of each other because of it. The end result was a easing of that tension, but it didn't come close to eliminating it.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 08:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
On topic, the Constitution sets up an explicit and strong tension between the Federal Government and the states. That's an angle most (if not all) European governments lack.

That tension was so strong, we kicked the shit out of each other because of it. The end result was a easing of that tension, but it didn't come close to eliminating it.
Woould you care to expound upon the differences between the US federal/state governments, and the EU/state governments?
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 08:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
That's different from an oligarchy, Glenn, being an oligarchy has nothing to do with making politics your profession.
I'd say it has everything to with an oligarchy. More often than not, someone who has made a career out of serving in public office has mastered the skill of taking money in return for legislative favor. These career politicians are just agents for the wealthy.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 08:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Woould you care to expound upon the differences between the US federal/state governments, and the EU/state governments?
Are you asking for contrast between EU Government, and individual states in the member countries?

IOW, you want me to leave out the federal governments of the member countries?
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 09:05 PM
 
No, I want you to compare the relationship between the individual EU states' governments and the EU government with the relationship between your states and the federal government.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 09:53 PM
 
Okay. The actual EU itself didn't make any sense.

Is there a particular government or group of governments you would like me to focus on? Every single government is something of an extreme request.
     
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Apr 19, 2014, 11:35 PM
 
P.S. It may be easier just to demonstrate where I'm wrong. I'm completely open to that possibility.

Positively unAmerican, I know.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 01:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
It's kind of annoying that some Americans think that nobody can understand them, yet many have all sorts of opinions about other countries, isn't it?
Irony there. The USA gets more (ignorant) opinions thrown at it than any other nation in the world, it's why this thread is even here, actually.

Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
You wouldn't understand besson, you're a foreigner.
Correct. It's the most diverse country in the world with the most complex governmental structure, because...

Originally Posted by subego View Post
On topic, the Constitution sets up an explicit and strong tension between the Federal Government and the states. That's an angle most (if not all) European governments lack.

That tension was so strong, we kicked the shit out of each other because of it. The end result was a easing of that tension, but it didn't come close to eliminating it.
... the stress was planned, so that the government can't simply change direction on a whim. It's designed to be unwieldy, to keep it from being able to change policies as the wind blows. A Constitutional amendment is hard to pass, and includes everyone, for that very reason.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
This failure of understanding is perfectly understanding though, and I don't think this can be successfully rationalized like it seems like you are trying to do here (if I'm misinterpreting you I apologize). What the state and local governments do they do in spite of the federal government, and this is not a healthy thing. We need a functional, competent, and useful federal government.

And, while federal governments in other countries can meddle like any government can, depending on how you define meddling, I disagree with this characterization of foreign federal governments (particularly those in countries without 50 states) being nothing more than unnecessary meddlers.
Why should it be easy? Laws shouldn't happen just because there's an emotional outburst, bad things usually happen when that occurs (ACA, Patriot Act, every international trade agreement in the last 30 years). If anything, the Feds need their power trimmed, heavily, especially the Executive branch. I'm really looking forward to the USSC addressing the overreach of executive orders, and cutting back their powers WRT them, dramatically. "Well, at least someone is doing something!" It's better for nothing to be done rather than the wrong somethings, dawg. We had King George and now we have Emperor Obama, and enough is enough.
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Apr 20, 2014, 01:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Irony there. The USA gets more (ignorant) opinions thrown at it than any other nation in the world, it's why this thread is even here, actually.

How do you know this to be the case, and why is the OP's opinion ignorant? You'll find a number of Americans who would agree that it is a valid assessment, I'm sure.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 04:22 AM
 
Of course, because there are a lot of ignorant Americans. While money and corporate interest dominates DC, Left and Right, the parts of government that actually matter the most to people, whether they understand it or not, aren't affected in that way. If a sufficient number of state and local governments decide to ignore bad federal policy (they do that a lot), there's not much DC could, or would, do about it. Look at the states that ignored Federal laws against pot. The Feds are theater at best and a sad joke at worst.
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Apr 20, 2014, 05:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Of course, because there are a lot of ignorant Americans. While money and corporate interest dominates DC, Left and Right, the parts of government that actually matter the most to people, whether they understand it or not, aren't affected in that way. If a sufficient number of state and local governments decide to ignore bad federal policy (they do that a lot), there's not much DC could, or would, do about it. Look at the states that ignored Federal laws against pot. The Feds are theater at best and a sad joke at worst.
Are you saying that congress is not dominated by money and corporate interest as well? Do you really think that the federal government would be completely powerless to the whims of a state government? Sure, state governments can work around nebulous, gray area sorts of matters or matters that would be too costly to deal with in some manner for their return on investment, but this notion that you seem to be implying that the 50 states can just operate as 50 countries without having to worry about what the federal government does is frankly crazy, if this is what you think.

Instead of all of these scenarios involving tyranny and operating without a federal government (or as if they didn't exist), why not just get people to care enough to demand a reform in campaign finance laws, figure out some way to expose political lobbyists, work on electing federal government positions with a somewhat toned down wealth/power disparity, something along these lines? This seems like a far better plan A than pretending that we don't need a decent federal government, or thinking about some sort of violent uprising.

The government can't be a government for the people if the people are in a coma.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 05:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Okay. The actual EU itself didn't make any sense.

Is there a particular government or group of governments you would like me to focus on? Every single government is something of an extreme request.
You were talking about how the US has a completely different structure from most European countries.

My point was that geopolitically, it seems to me that our nations are to centralized EU government as your states are to the US federal government.

Both organizations evolved completely differently, but I'm genuinely interested in a structural comparison of power distribution.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 06:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Are you saying that congress is not dominated by money and corporate interest as well? Do you really think that the federal government would be completely powerless to the whims of a state government? Sure, state governments can work around nebulous, gray area sorts of matters or matters that would be too costly to deal with in some manner for their return on investment, but this notion that you seem to be implying that the 50 states can just operate as 50 countries without having to worry about what the federal government does is frankly crazy, if this is what you think.

Instead of all of these scenarios involving tyranny and operating without a federal government (or as if they didn't exist), why not just get people to care enough to demand a reform in campaign finance laws, figure out some way to expose political lobbyists, work on electing federal government positions with a somewhat toned down wealth/power disparity, something along these lines? This seems like a far better plan A than pretending that we don't need a decent federal government, or thinking about some sort of violent uprising.

The government can't be a government for the people if the people are in a coma.
I didn't say that. If a federal law isn't enforced, how powerful is it? There aren't enough FBI to get everyone. Screw the feds, no one with any self-respect respects the politicians in DC anymore. It can't be saved, and I couldn't care less what happens to it. Frankly speaking, it needs to burn down. This nation *IS* 50 separate little countries, united for the common good. That's why a person here is a citizen of their state, not actually the USA. That's why people have to be extradited from one state to face charges in another.

Also, where did you get the impression that I care what you think of my mental state, and why do you keep saying "We"? Which US state are you a citizen of? AFAIK you don't even live here anymore. That's just weird.
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Apr 20, 2014, 09:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Correct. It's the most diverse country in the world with the most complex governmental structure, because...
Unless you are some sort of Internation Political science expert, how on earth could you even make such a claim? Certain countries in Europe were around hundreds of years before America, changed overlords countless times and still have laws and political attributes that persist to this day. I presume you have heard of the Magna Carta?

And yes besson, far too many people just shrug off what foreigners say about their country, because "it's too complicated, you wouldn't understand". I highly doubt that these people understand the true situation themselves.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 10:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
That's different from an oligarchy, Glenn, being an oligarchy has nothing to do with making politics your profession.
Semantically, there's a difference, but functionally, not so much. The definition of oligarchy is "a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few." (from Dictionary.com) There is a single class that makes up the majority (a vast majority when you look above the local level) of elected officials: professional politicians. They are almost all "well off" (which is to say quite rich), they are almost all educated in the legal profession (with a smattering of other formal professions represented, such as physicians), and are almost all currently completely isolated from real public service - there are almost no veterans in Congress, and very few in state-level offices throughout the nation.

(PERSONAL OPINION here: I also believe that most national office holders here feel that they are "better" than the rest of us, which is reinforced by the culture of the legal (and medical) profession, and that most feel "above" such mundane tasks as military service, local volunteer work and so on. END OPINION)

I don't know how to see the current political structure in the US (and a lot of other Western countries) as not being an oligarchy, because "the few" are a consistent class, and while the faces change, their backgrounds and supporters do not. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that "the few" that govern are actually the supporters of those pols.

I would add that there is no semantic conflict between "representative democracy" and "oligarchy," if the time frame is ignored. "The few" in a representative democracy are simply elected by the voters. In the US particularly, the available candidates are limited by the oligarchical structure in a practical sense, but they are still elected. I think this is a major problem with the current political structure in the US, as party support is almost a prerequisite for a successful campaign, and both major parties are all about money and extreme ideology instead of public service.
( Last edited by ghporter; Apr 20, 2014 at 11:02 AM. )

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Apr 20, 2014, 02:13 PM
 
I share your personal opinion Glen. Especially regarding the UK and France.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 02:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Unless you are some sort of Internation Political science expert, how on earth could you even make such a claim? Certain countries in Europe were around hundreds of years before America, changed overlords countless times and still have laws and political attributes that persist to this day. I presume you have heard of the Magna Carta?

And yes besson, far too many people just shrug off what foreigners say about their country, because "it's too complicated, you wouldn't understand". I highly doubt that these people understand the true situation themselves.
None of your argument makes any sense. It looks like you're confusing "complex and diverse" with oldest. The USA is far and away the most culturally diverse country on Earth, a melting pot of everything else in the world. As for complexity, our state laws alone outnumber anyone else's total laws combined; federal, province, and municipality. The latter is due to the former, with each state in the USA functioning as a small country within a much larger union. So yes, I know what I'm talking about, monsieur.
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Apr 20, 2014, 02:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Semantically, there's a difference, but functionally, not so much. The definition of oligarchy is "a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few." (from Dictionary.com) There is a single class that makes up the majority (a vast majority when you look above the local level) of elected officials: professional politicians. They are almost all "well off" (which is to say quite rich), they are almost all educated in the legal profession (with a smattering of other formal professions represented, such as physicians), and are almost all currently completely isolated from real public service - there are almost no veterans in Congress, and very few in state-level offices throughout the nation.

(PERSONAL OPINION here: I also believe that most national office holders here feel that they are "better" than the rest of us, which is reinforced by the culture of the legal (and medical) profession, and that most feel "above" such mundane tasks as military service, local volunteer work and so on. END OPINION)

I don't know how to see the current political structure in the US (and a lot of other Western countries) as not being an oligarchy, because "the few" are a consistent class, and while the faces change, their backgrounds and supporters do not. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that "the few" that govern are actually the supporters of those pols.

I would add that there is no semantic conflict between "representative democracy" and "oligarchy," if the time frame is ignored. "The few" in a representative democracy are simply elected by the voters. In the US particularly, the available candidates are limited by the oligarchical structure in a practical sense, but they are still elected. I think this is a major problem with the current political structure in the US, as party support is almost a prerequisite for a successful campaign, and both major parties are all about money and extreme ideology instead of public service.
That's the meat of it, the Federal gov't is ruled by lawyers, which are generally rather wealthy, and when there's turmoil and conflict they become even more so. They're in bed with special interests on both sides, milking both teats, and don't care about the citizens of this country, except when there's political unrest during an election year.
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Apr 20, 2014, 03:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
I didn't say that. If a federal law isn't enforced, how powerful is it? There aren't enough FBI to get everyone. Screw the feds, no one with any self-respect respects the politicians in DC anymore. It can't be saved, and I couldn't care less what happens to it. Frankly speaking, it needs to burn down. This nation *IS* 50 separate little countries, united for the common good. That's why a person here is a citizen of their state, not actually the USA. That's why people have to be extradited from one state to face charges in another.
You might be right that it can't be saved. But trying is a way better plan A and more logical one than hoping for it to burn down.

Also, where did you get the impression that I care what you think of my mental state, and why do you keep saying "We"? Which US state are you a citizen of? AFAIK you don't even live here anymore. That's just weird.
Where did you think I commented on your mental state exactly, and what does it matter where I live at the moment? I've lived in the US for 10 years, is that long enough to not be confused?
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 03:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
None of your argument makes any sense. It looks like you're confusing "complex and diverse" with oldest. The USA is far and away the most culturally diverse country on Earth, a melting pot of everything else in the world. As for complexity, our state laws alone outnumber anyone else's total laws combined; federal, province, and municipality. The latter is due to the former, with each state in the USA functioning as a small country within a much larger union. So yes, I know what I'm talking about, monsieur.
Seems like it's you that is confused Shaddim. Again. I didn't disagree that the US is the most diverse country, don't attack me for something that I never said. I was talking about the governmental structure and the way that history has formed said governmental structures, such as the Magna Carta in the UK.

The same sort of system is in place in Europe. European Law, National Law, and in the case of France you also have regions, departments and even communes. Want to build a swimming pool? Well you have European regulations, French regulations and the commune which says what sort of material you can use and even the size of the pool.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 03:47 PM
 
Same in Germany.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 03:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
The USA is far and away the most culturally diverse country on Earth, a melting pot of everything else in the world..
Just to be an annoying nitpicker, I'd like to point out that these two statements are actually mutually exclusive.

A melting pot is the opposite of a diverse society, instead creating a new culture that has been shaped by all the cultural influences it has absorbed and continues to absorb. In the word of the Borg, "you will be assimilated".

Canada, and this is not intended to be a pissing contest/mine is better than yours, instead embraces what's officially called the Cultural Mosaic, which leads to a higher degree of diversity.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 04:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
Just to be an annoying nitpicker, I'd like to point out that these two statements are actually mutually exclusive.

A melting pot is the opposite of a diverse society, instead creating a new culture that has been shaped by all the cultural influences it has absorbed and continues to absorb. In the word of the Borg, "you will be assimilated".

Canada, and this is not intended to be a pissing contest/mine is better than yours, instead embraces what's officially called the Cultural Mosaic, which leads to a higher degree of diversity.

Maybe a higher acceptance of diversity. Toronto is ridiculously diverse, but some of the prairie provinces and some of the others probably skew the total demographic for the entire country.

I think the cultural mosaic thing is mostly apparent in overall attitudes. Perhaps you won't find as many Canadians being confrontational demanding that people learn English, being as anti-immigrant, and there is probably more religious tolerance. I don't think Canada has areas known for the same sort of history of blatant racism, not to say that it doesn't exist.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 06:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
You were talking about how the US has a completely different structure from most European countries.

My point was that geopolitically, it seems to me that our nations are to centralized EU government as your states are to the US federal government.

Both organizations evolved completely differently, but I'm genuinely interested in a structural comparison of power distribution.
Ooooh... okay, that makes even more sense. I thought you were trying for a rhetorical smackdown.

That sounds about right, though the US Federal Government has had a lot more time to accrete power. It's important to note just how weak the original Federal side of things was. The 1st Amendment (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights) was designed only to apply the Federal Government. It was assumed (and in fact, encouraged on some level) for states to enact their own restrictions on speech, religion, and the press.

There used to be state churches.

It was the 14th amendment after the Civil War which was the mechanism by which the Bill of Rights was applied to the states. It's only within (literally) the last five years the Second Amendment got that treatment.

I'll need to do more research, but off-the-cuff I'd say the EU appears as a similarly weak force. Made more so by not having any guns or industry under its direct control.

My understanding is Germany is basically the EU superpower. What is the EU going to do if Germany decides to play a different ballgame?

Make grunting noises?

Toss Germany out? I'd like to grab a bag of popcorn and watch that go down.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 07:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
My understanding is Germany is basically the EU superpower. What is the EU going to do if Germany decides to play a different ballgame?

Make grunting noises?

Toss Germany out? I'd like to grab a bag of popcorn and watch that go down.
Well, the standard playbook contains "guilt tripping" Germany over WWII. It's usually very effective.

I suppose if this doesn't work, war is always an option.

-t
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 07:40 PM
 
Back in the Soviet days, it was always a fun exercise to come up with a plausible scenario for WWIII. The only one I ever liked was the Soviet Union goes to war with China*, and while they have all their resources diverted in Asia, West Germany decides to forcibly repatriate East Germany. Without informing NATO.

The Soviets retaliate, and as the push back starts to get into Western Germany, NATO has to throw in with Germany. With NATOs help, they march through Poland and end up in Soviet territory. That's where the nukes begin. The Soviets are on the ropes, so they start nuking their own industrial assets which had been captured by NATO.

With this scenario, we end up creeping up to Armageddon. Both sides are trying desperately not to destroy the world, so each side is only willing to hit targets with military significance, not population centers.

This can only go on for so long though, and you finally get "Judgement Day", where the Soviets nuke DC and Jersey on Christmas, and we flatten Moscow in return.



*I don't know if this is apocryphal, but I understand the Soviets actually asked us if we would mind if they nuked China. This isn't part of the above fictional scenario. It supposedly really happened.

In regards to this scenario, I felt a realistic touch was the "creeping towards Armageddon" part was only between the US and the Soviets. As soon as the nuclear barrier was broken, the Soviets lit China up, and promptly moved it's forces to the western front.
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 07:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Seems like it's you that is confused Shaddim. Again. I didn't disagree that the US is the most diverse country, don't attack me for something that I never said. I was talking about the governmental structure and the way that history has formed said governmental structures, such as the Magna Carta in the UK.

The same sort of system is in place in Europe. European Law, National Law, and in the case of France you also have regions, departments and even communes. Want to build a swimming pool? Well you have European regulations, French regulations and the commune which says what sort of material you can use and even the size of the pool.
Still none of that addresses my point, did I say they have no government at all? Did I say it was ineffective or inferior? Yes, you indeed seem confused, or have a bug in your butt. None of the countries you referenced are as diverse, or as complex in their governmental structures, as the USA. If you ask an American where they're from, the vast majority of the time they'll tell you a state, if you ask a Frenchman or an Italian, they'll tell you their country, not "Lorraine", for example. Why? Because it's all tied to cultural identity, a part of that diversity I was talking about, and people in the US, more often than not, identify with their home states.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
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Apr 20, 2014, 07:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
Just to be an annoying nitpicker, I'd like to point out that these two statements are actually mutually exclusive.

A melting pot is the opposite of a diverse society, instead creating a new culture that has been shaped by all the cultural influences it has absorbed and continues to absorb. In the word of the Borg, "you will be assimilated".

Canada, and this is not intended to be a pissing contest/mine is better than yours, instead embraces what's officially called the Cultural Mosaic, which leads to a higher degree of diversity.
Incorrect, a quick jaunt to any major city, and most of the minor ones, you'll see entire communities of varying cultures. Around here we're largely Scots and Welsh, with some Irish and German descendants. The old Lutheran church down the road is one of the oldest in the SE USA. Knoxville, about 45 minutes away, has a large, thriving Greek community and enough Armenians to fill a small college basketball arena. Your misguided impression of assimilation isn't surprising, however, we get that a lot from Canadians.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
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Apr 20, 2014, 08:01 PM
 
You're trying to construct a difference.

The US is about 300 million, divided into states, which is what people identify with.

While Europe is about 300 million, divided into states, which is what people identify with.
     
 
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