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Thread: What are the criteria that define an American?

  1. #36
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsie View Post
    That's a nice description of the struggle of humanism since the Enlightenment - but its not uniquely 'American'.
    America isn't even the best example, I'm thinking of the entrenched racism and the legal (prison) system.
    Finland and some other Northern European countries have been more successful in aspiring to the 'Virtues of the Enlightenment'.

    I think the OP is asking what qualities distinguish Americans from every other western liberal democracy....

    War is very American. Not just the heaps of wars they've been in since the beginning of the 20th Century, but War on Drugs, War on Terror and so on. Wasn't there a war on crime too?

    Militarism and prisons. Very American.
    Guns....
    Indeed. And applicable across a range of human institutions. Religion, for instance. Some lofty values... on paper. Some folks who work hard at living those values. Some who give lip service only. Some who actively pervert those values for various reasons reflection their own personal damaged states. Which wolf?
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  2. #37
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by jerryrichter View Post
    George Will in a PBS documentary about nationality said to the effect that to be a German or a Frenchman one considers where your grandfather came from, where you were born,who your earlier ancestors were. To be an American simply means that you assent to a collection of values contained in the Constitution. To be American is more an intellectual and philosophical act than a genetic status.
    Exactly. Which is why I offered up a definition referencing the founding documents and our efforts to uphold them (or failure to).
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    England is HIS arrogant piece of tripe.
    Are you just lashing out because that is what you do, or do you really not find this
    America, the nation, has undertaken the defense of these principles
    arrogant bs?
    Last edited by Peerie Maa; 09-14-2018 at 08:42 AM.
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Are you just lashing out because that is what you do, or do you really not find thisarrogant bs?
    You're the one who 'lashed out', Nick.

    What part of this is arrogant?

    Do you believe Osborne meant that the US is the ONLY defender of those principles?

    America, the nation, has undertaken the defense of these principles
    If you were to claim that Great Britain defends those principles, would you call bollocks on yourself?
    Rattling the teacups.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    I think mostly Americans are people who got sick of all the crap where they lived before, yes? The non-native born, anyhow.

    Our country is terrible and flawed, but folks are still beating the door down to get here. Odd, eh?

    I grew up in a real cultural bouillabaisse, and Iím not sure it would have been possible anywhere else.

    Of course, we must remember these governments and institutions are all waking dreams and irrelevant to actual life.

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    Some Dumb Guy

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Me, I'm thinking about moving to the Faulkland Islands

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Iíve been eyeing static caravan parks all morning. I already got a Mastiff and a duck punt. I am all set.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    Funny, I find Osborne one of the more grounded political commentators on this forum.
    If that's a compliment, I'll take it!
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsie View Post
    That must be the first time i have ever seen the word Humility and England in the same sentence. Made me smile.
    Does naive fit in anywhere?

    Good call on the Bollocks though.



    Humility clearly doesn't apply there.
    But it does point at a word i'd have thrown in the ring - exceptionalism.
    Staggering emphasis on perfect teeth, is another one.

    (San Marino? - and my own call on the first republic to be founded on liberal ideals; Corsica. Even included female sufferage back in 1755!).
    Maybe. Corsica was quickly squashed; San Marino was pre-enlightenment. But if you like, "The ideals San Marino, Corsica and America were founded on became the ideals of etc. and the United Nations."
    He's a Mexican. -- Donald Trump.
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    'Americans' are more or less permanent human residents of the USA. (Common usage, ignoring the rest of the North and South American continents, but let that pass,) That's all that's required; not ideas or convictions or anything else. Now Americans may have other common characteristics beyond being members of the same species - most of us probably do, in fact - but it sure isn't required.
    Takes more than residency to make a citizen.

    If you meet the additional legal criteria, then comes the moral question.

    A missile hits a village in Yemen. People are killed and maimed, property destroyed. Children orphaned. What's your response? Gee, too bad? A soldier gets killed. You going to look their family in the eye and say, gee, I just don't know? I don't have any ideas or convictions?

    Bull S. You paid for it with your taxes and it was done in your name. You did it. Now clear your mind, take a deep breath, and face the responsibility: the question is why, and you owe the world an answer. You live under government by consent. It's your government. Its based on certain ideas. Do you also hold them, yes or no?

    Sure, you can be nothing more than a citizen, in the formal sense. You're a useless parasite, an accounting fiction. The premise of the nation whose protection you accept is that you will discharge your moral responsibilities as a citizen. Which brings us back to the question, what are they?

    The Red wants to be free of all this in order to be tribal and feel secure. The Blue wants to spend the time on being hip, which means taking security for granted.

    The whole world is turning against freedom and liberty in order to evade the burden on the conscience. Why can't freedom be free? -- they whimper, as the killing and dying goes on.
    He's a Mexican. -- Donald Trump.
    America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama. -- Governor Chris Christie (R) New Jersey
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  11. #46
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsie View Post
    I think the OP is asking what qualities distinguish Americans from every other western liberal democracy.....
    No. I'm talking about the minimum definition, elements of. And I've said, anyone else is free to adopt them. They are encouraged to, and they have. They're only American in terms of history, and then only partially.
    He's a Mexican. -- Donald Trump.
    America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama. -- Governor Chris Christie (R) New Jersey
    It wasn't racism, it was an attack on Christianity. -- Fox News
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  12. #47
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    So... a U.S. citizen... or a GOOD U.S. citizen?

    The former is about residency and associated legal formalities.

    A 'good' U.S. citizen involves feeding the right wolf. Or perhaps, at the least, refraining from feeding the wrong one.
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    So... a U.S. citizen... or a GOOD U.S. citizen?

    The former is about residency and associated legal formalities.

    A 'good' U.S. citizen involves feeding the right wolf. Or perhaps, at the least, refraining from feeding the wrong one.
    There's only one kind that fits the requirements of the design.
    He's a Mexican. -- Donald Trump.
    America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama. -- Governor Chris Christie (R) New Jersey
    It wasn't racism, it was an attack on Christianity. -- Fox News
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  14. #49
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    (offered as a humourous aside...)

    Offer criteria to define an American? Jeeze, youse guys can't define what your constitution's second amendment means, fer gawd's sakes, much less define what the common features of nationality would look like!
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    (offered as a humourous aside...)

    Offer criteria to define an American? Jeeze, youse guys can't define what your constitution's second amendment means, fer gawd's sakes, much less define what the common features of nationality would look like!
    Very true. Some people say the 2d is at the core. They're wrong. In any case, there are things nearer the core than the 2d, as to which there is much wider and deeper agreement.
    He's a Mexican. -- Donald Trump.
    America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama. -- Governor Chris Christie (R) New Jersey
    It wasn't racism, it was an attack on Christianity. -- Fox News
    Crying white mothers are ratings gold. -- National Rifle Association

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    I fear the answer is subjective, which, I suppose, is part of the American spirit; we each get to define "American" for ourselves.

    Some seem to believe "America, love it or leave it". Others believe if we find something wrong, we should fix it.

    I'd say being an American is holding in our hearts an image of America. Sadly, most fall short of that image.
    How do we form a mutiny? Our new captain is navigating poorly.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    You're the one who 'lashed out', Nick.

    What part of this is arrogant?

    Do you believe Osborne meant that the US is the ONLY defender of those principles?



    If you were to claim that Great Britain defends those principles, would you call bollocks on yourself?
    I'm saying that the US is not noted for defending any principles, apart from isolationism or protecting their financial interest.
    I found Osbornes statement to be wrong in his assumption that the US does anything for altruistic reasons and demonstrated a form of arrogance to assume that it would be an acceptable position to take.
    I would not be daft enough to claim the same for any nation state, They all put their own interest first, even when stepping up to honour a treaty as we did in Europe, twice.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post

    Our country is terrible and flawed, but folks are still beating the door down to get here. Odd, eh?

    I grew up in a real cultural bouillabaisse, and I’m not sure it would have been possible anywhere else.
    The USA is a great country, but countries like Switzerland, NZ, Australia, Canada, Austria and Germany have higher proportions of immigrants. I'm not sure of the situation in the USA but Australia, for example, has national broadcasting in 74 languages, which is a pretty good cultural mix.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    The USA is a great country, but countries like Switzerland, NZ, Australia, Canada, Austria and Germany have higher proportions of immigrants. I'm not sure of the situation in the USA but Australia, for example, has national broadcasting in 74 languages, which is a pretty good cultural mix.

    Okay? So?

    Leaving out half my post doesnít change the tenor.

    All governments and countries are ridiculous fictions, constructs that have nothing to do with life.

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    Robert

  20. #55
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    I was addressing the issue about whether other countries offer a good multicultural mix because your post implied no country could offer one like the USA, that's all.

    I didn't work long in government, but I did see that they have a fair bit to do with real life. When a government inspects brothels to ensure that no one is working as a sex slave, it's real life. When they try to ensure that aged care workers are not criminals who steal from the elderly, it's life. When they tell someone who has been scammed that they will be protected, it's life.

    Note that I specifically, and honestly, remarked that the USA was a great country.

  21. #56
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    I was addressing the issue about whether other countries offer a good multicultural mix because your post implied no country could offer one like the USA, that's all.

    I didn't work long in government, but I did see that they have a fair bit to do with real life. When a government inspects brothels to ensure that no one is working as a sex slave, it's real life. When they try to ensure that aged care workers are not criminals who steal from the elderly, it's life. When they tell someone who has been scammed that they will be protected, it's life.

    Note that I specifically, and honestly, remarked that the USA was a great country.
    Yes.

    I grew up learning three languages in school. As part of school. I learned bits of three others from school kids. Thatís all I meant. My experience growing up was to be exposed to multiple disparate cultures, from Greece to Pakistan to Laos to Ethiopia.
    Most of the kids I met came from places where it was more homogeneous, as a rule, and somewhere like here, which has a government founded by immigrants, and is peopled mostly by immigrants, would seem to be a place to foster heterogeneity.
    Any such place would, so, yes I would imagine Australia and Britain and etc are also. I donít know though, so I canít say. See? Iím not sure.


    As to life. Someone dies of a stroke. Who cares where they live or what form of government?

    Similarly, someone has a medical emergency. Who cares where, or what form of government?

    Governments are like religions in that they are fabrications of man to cope with life.

    Life is predators and prey. Kill or be killed. Live to live another day, and hopefully breed. Thatís it. Thatís all Life is. The rest is a figment of our big brains.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    The question will be easier for people to answer after the next Presidential election.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    The question will be easier for people to answer after the next Presidential election.
    Trump is working on an excutive order preventing that.
    "In the case of a national crisis the presidental election shall be cancelled".
    And we have a national crisis.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    The USA is a great country, but countries like Switzerland, NZ, Australia, Canada, Austria and Germany have higher proportions of immigrants. I'm not sure of the situation in the USA but Australia, for example, has national broadcasting in 74 languages, which is a pretty good cultural mix.
    The US's population of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including those of more than one race made up about 2 percent of the total population in 2014. Most of the other 98% are immigrants except the descendants of those living in the Southwest when we took it from Mexico and some similar ones in other territories.
    I am right now in a region that is about 70% black folks.

    I agree with Keith's post #17.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    You paid for it with your taxes and it was done in your name. You did it. Now clear your mind, take a deep breath, and face the responsibility: the question is why, and you owe the world an answer. You live under government by consent. It's your government.
    Nonsense. There are many things "my" government does without my consent, and despite my protests. The invasion of Afghanistan. The invasion of Iraq on the heels of a flood of lies about WMD. The "election" of G. W. Bush. Citizens United. Etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum.

    "The consent of the governed" is not, as you imagine, the foundational principle of today's government. It is nothing more than a convenient fiction. Thus, the responsibility you want to assign to, apparently, anyone with U.S. citizenship does not exist in any meaningful way.

    What to do about that? That's a good question. But to claim that I, or anyone else who has withheld their consent from these policies, is responsible for them is to misunderstand what "responsibility" means.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Nonsense. There are many things "my" government does without my consent, and despite my protests. The invasion of Afghanistan. The invasion of Iraq on the heels of a flood of lies about WMD. The "election" of G. W. Bush. Citizens United. Etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum.

    "The consent of the governed" is not, as you imagine, the foundational principle of today's government. It is nothing more than a convenient fiction. Thus, the responsibility you want to assign to, apparently, anyone with U.S. citizenship does not exist in any meaningful way.

    What to do about that? That's a good question. But to claim that I, or anyone else who has withheld their consent from these policies, is responsible for them is to misunderstand what "responsibility" means.

    Tom
    For how many years have you felt that way?

    In all of those years, what have you done about it?

    If the answer is "not a lot" then you do own it by default.
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    I'm saying that the US is not noted for defending any principles, apart from isolationism or protecting their financial interest.
    I found Osbornes statement to be wrong in his assumption that the US does anything for altruistic reasons and demonstrated a form of arrogance to assume that it would be an acceptable position to take.
    I would not be daft enough to claim the same for any nation state, They all put their own interest first, even when stepping up to honour a treaty as we did in Europe, twice.
    Soooo . . . That's why you lashed out?

    Because you perceived OR's claim that one nation isn't as corrupt and self-serving as you regard your own to be?

    Between you and skuthorp, we should all just mail our gronicles to Vlad.
    Rattling the teacups.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    I'm saying that the US is not noted for defending any principles, apart from isolationism or protecting their financial interest.
    I found Osbornes statement to be wrong in his assumption that the US does anything for altruistic reasons and demonstrated a form of arrogance to assume that it would be an acceptable position to take.
    I would not be daft enough to claim the same for any nation state, They all put their own interest first, even when stepping up to honour a treaty as we did in Europe, twice.
    What I said was

    History has worked out in such a way that America, the nation, has undertaken the defense of these principles, that's all.
    A drunk undertakes to stop drinking. That's one thing. Does he stop? That's another.

    If he tells everyone of his undertaking, what releases him from it? If he says, I didn't know what I was saying, you explain it to him, and say, now you do. Then what?

    From then on he either re-affirms it or dis-affirms it. That's what "undertaking" means.

    What was undertaken was not altruism. If you recognize someone's rights you're not giving them anything.

    For a nation to act in its self-interest is not ipso facto a violation of anyone's rights.
    He's a Mexican. -- Donald Trump.
    America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama. -- Governor Chris Christie (R) New Jersey
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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    You know whatís really funny? What the joke is?

    Gold is gold in every country.

    The idea of nation/statehood is the greatest con ever. Ever.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    You know what’s really funny? What the joke is?

    Gold is gold in every country.

    The idea of nation/statehood is the greatest con ever. Ever.

    Peace,
    Robert
    Yeah.

    Every government is just a trick.

    They're all equally corrupt because they are founded on lies.

    Every politician is corrupt.

    Vote/don't vote, it's all the same.
    . . .
    Rattling the teacups.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    . . .
    Now, you know me better than that.

    But here we have folks at each other’s throats over flags and nationhood, all while “defending” the same principles of enlightenment, inclusiveness, etc., etc.

    It trickles down into the states themselves, as is evident in our own beleaguered nation.

    The joke is, people don’t know we just MADE ALL THIS UP. Nobody knows what to do, or what’s going to happen, because we’re literally inventing this all on the fly. We been trying this type of thing since Hammurabi and his Cube, at least...

    There is no rule book but what we apply to ourselves by common consent. People have lost that notion.

    ”Government” is no longer groups of concerned citizens, it has become a separate entity in it’s own right. In a manner of speaking. Citizens have come to feel they are a separate group from the politicians. Devin Nunes, for example, is just a guy to me. A guy who doesn’t understand what his job as a representative is. He thinks he’s part of some “thing” separate from the people.

    That is the problem, and the plan.

    It’s a con, because the people will never believe they have the power because they’ve been convinced they don’t.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Gold is gold in every country.
    perhaps go read some david ricardo
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    perhaps go read some david ricardo
    I woulda said green, but who has green money, anymore?

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Now, you know me better than that.

    But here we have folks at each other’s throats over flags and nationhood, all while “defending” the same principles of enlightenment, inclusiveness, etc., etc.

    It trickles down into the states themselves, as is evident in our own beleaguered nation.

    The joke is, people don’t know we just MADE ALL THIS UP. Nobody knows what to do, or what’s going to happen, because we’re literally inventing this all on the fly. We been trying this type of thing since Hammurabi and his Cube, at least...

    There is no rule book but what we apply to ourselves by common consent. People have lost that notion.

    ”Government” is no longer groups of concerned citizens, it has become a separate entity in it’s own right. In a manner of speaking. Citizens have come to feel they are a separate group from the politicians. Devin Nunes, for example, is just a guy to me. A guy who doesn’t understand what his job as a representative is. He thinks he’s part of some “thing” separate from the people.

    That is the problem, and the plan.

    It’s a con, because the people will never believe they have the power because they’ve been convinced they don’t.

    Peace,
    Robert
    We need to do a brisket . . . or six.
    Rattling the teacups.

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    Default Re: What are the criteria that define an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    What I said was



    A drunk undertakes to stop drinking. That's one thing. Does he stop? That's another.

    If he tells everyone of his undertaking, what releases him from it? If he says, I didn't know what I was saying, you explain it to him, and say, now you do. Then what?

    From then on he either re-affirms it or dis-affirms it. That's what "undertaking" means.

    What was undertaken was not altruism. If you recognize someone's rights you're not giving them anything.

    For a nation to act in its self-interest is not ipso facto a violation of anyone's rights.
    For this Englishman the word "Undertaking" is something that you set out to do, you might not succeed but you try. "a task that is taken on; an enterprise." I don'xt think that the US of A has actually tried. They have for example claimed to be "Exporting Democracy" which would be a clever trick because what they have is not a good example of the concept, and it is usually propaganda to hide their actual motives.
    I assume that you are using the other meaning "a formal pledge or promise to do something". Which can be a totally empty promise in this worlds politics.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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