# The "ignorant American" - a fair prejudice?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by GRO$$, Jan 7, 2005. Thread Status: Not open for further replies. 1. ### UndecidedBannedBanned Messages: 4,731 But Bismarck has no more reason to be in American HS history texts at the high school level that Roosevelt does in European HS texts. Are you serious? Honestly now Spyke I think this is where American exceptionalism creeps in, there is no way that Teddy was even close historically in significance to Bismarck. It was Bismarck who began the Germanic overseas empire, the German navy, the militarization of Germany, defeated France in 1871 which is noted as the first match for WWI, it was Bismarck’s alliances that were meant to keep the peace, that was a main existential reason for WWI, it was under his leadership that Germany became a world industrial power, no US president has even accomplished as much as Bismarck. Teddy did a little with the parks, the Panama Canal…woopie…outside of American’s “backyard” he was irrelevant. There is no reason why a German or a Canadian for that matter should learn about Teddy…yes he was one of America’s great presidents…but America’s only. Bismarck is significant to Europeans because of German unification, and because of his secret alliances. That's not any more significant to an American high school student as is Roosevelt's being say the first Progressive president, or setting the standard for an increasingly powerful executive office in the 20th century (and he did that without even being a war-time president), or for the Panama Canal, or the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Donctrine, or his Big Stick policy, or the Great White Fleet should be to a European HS student. Ok so because Teddy was progressive that garners him a place in a German’s history book? Is there a special “Amerika” chapter in German history books that I am not aware of? Spyke no one outside the US cares about Teedy’s progressivism, or executive manoeuvrings, the Panama Canal should get an honourable mention…the US naval expansion was aimed towards Japan more then Germany, and as a result if anything you should be saying Japanese students should be learning about Teddy. What he did internally in the US is not of great significance to anyone outside the US. although Roosevelt is certainly important in American history by any standard And? Explain to me why a German student should two shits? Note you said “American history” not world history, Bismarck was intergral to the world’s geo-political situation. If one doesn’t understand Bismarck, and the unification of Germany one has no idea about the next 100 years of history, I think we can all live without Teddy in retrospect. Bismarck had nothing to do with the war itself either, however, it was policies of both Bismarck and Roosevelt during their tenures that made their two nations involvement in the war probable, Bismarck through his secret alliances, Roosevelt through his aggressive doctrine, his build up of the navy, and his belief that great nations (which he wanted the US to be) were nations that took action. I reject the notion of yours that Roosevelt’s policies of naval aggrandizement was anything more then posturing to Japan, and possibly Great Britain. Roosevelt’s doctrine was directed in the third world, yes it’s a nice aside to American imperialism prior to 1914, but in relation to German it was nothing. Secondly no one was really scared of the American navy…the real thing the US had going for her was her millions of “doughboys”, money, and untapped industrial power. All of which precede Teddy. Bismarck policies made all this possible, Roosevelt’s policies could have made America marginally more powerful. Wilson even tried to keep the US out of the war for the first 3 years, while Roosevelt, as a private citizen, increasingly publicly criticized Wislon for not getting involved, arguing that the US should fight for what she believed in. He was out of office…thus irrelevant. He argued that if the US was going to be a great nation she should act like it. He believed the US should be involved in world affairs. According to him, the nations that didn't, withered away Remember that commercial from Burger King… “where’s the beef?” Again rhetoric and idealism sure are nice, but mean nothing. He was an advocate of the war with Spain, of Hawaiian annexation, of Philippine annexation, of the Panama Canal so his navy could be a 'two-ocean' navy, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for arbitrating an end to the Russo-Japanese War at Portsmouth. he was anything but an isolationist. He was fighting in the 1898 war wasn’t he? All those annexations were prior to his ascension into the presidency so I don’t hold him responsible. The Nobel Prize…honourable but that still doesn’t mean the US in a holistic sense was an extroverted nation, that’s a stretch. The Panama Canal the most outrageous show of American imperialism, forcibly cutting Colombia out of Central America…that’s something to be proud of…so really the only act of which I can surmise that he did that was really “extroverted” was the Panama Canal. Of course there was a choice. No one attacked the US or declared war on her. The death of a few American civilians due to u-boats, while tragic, or the affront to the US by the Zimmerman message, did not make US involvement 'necessary'. Yes it did…who was going to pay the US back her debts if the allies lost? That was the real necessity. 2. ### Google AdSenseGuest Advertisement to hide all adverts. 3. ### marvJust a dumb hillbilly...Registered Senior Member Messages: 743 I've never heard of Zinn until you mentioned him. GRO$$, you're still a teenager. I'm more that three times your age, with more than three times your experience and exposure to this world. It ain't pretty, but there's a natural flow to history, and many things you've yet to learn. For instance, those migrations ocurred in stages, some more than 20,000 years ago. Mitochondrial DNA suggests even earlier migrations by sea of Polynesian peoples. Does that make anyone migrating 12,000 years ago an invader?

The Qur'an on slavery...
...also 4:36, 4:92, 23:5-6, 24:31, 24:58, and 33:55.

Imigrants? See above.

Is civilization relative? Of course it is.
Well I suppose so as long as canabilism and human sacrifice are excluded.
It's hard to argue with a spear point in the rib cage of a mammoth (I wrote mastodon earlier in error), or rock paintings showing horse and camel hunts in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, and oral traditions of hunting giant bison.

5. ### UndecidedBannedBanned

Messages:
4,731
The Qur'an on slavery......also 4:36, 4:92, 23:5-6, 24:31, 24:58, and 33:55.

Yes but that quote which you showed me does not extol the virtues of slavery…I want normative statements. Not historical interpretation of a real event. Your going to have to try again.

Imigrants? See above.

You mean this:

For instance, those migrations ocurred in stages, some more than 20,000 years ago. Mitochondrial DNA suggests even earlier migrations by sea of Polynesian peoples. Does that make anyone migrating 12,000 years ago an invader?

Firstly I don’t see the logic in that statement at all…and if no other humans beings were living in American they weren’t invading anything because it belonged to no one…In order for your theorem to work somehow you have to prove that the Natives were not natives, which of course is impossible. Stop beating a dead horse Marv.

Is civilization relative? Of course it is.

Then that means that I don’t want to hear anymore on these relativist value judgements.

Well I suppose so as long as canabilism and human sacrifice are excluded.

You want to talk about human sacrifice who was it that gilded natives in Gold for torture, who gave natives covers with small pox all over it? Cannibalism, every society at some point in time must have had a ritual of this nature.

It's hard to argue with a spear point in the rib cage of a mammoth (I wrote mastodon earlier in error), or rock paintings showing horse and camel hunts in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, and oral traditions of hunting giant bison.

That doesn’t prove anything…it proves that they did what every single human society did…kill animals for sustenance. You aren’t proving anything marv…

7. ### one_ravenGod is a Chinese WhisperValued Senior Member

Messages:
13,433
Whether Teddy or Bismarck was more influential on the world stage is really a tangent of minor consequence, because of the statement that started the whole tangent.
Although I can't relly speak for the German high school history courses (they are likely as mired in pro-German propaganda as we are in pro-America propaganda) I can say that friend I have in Europe (mostly England, France and Holland, but other countrues as well) DO know who Teddy Roosevent is, and, in fact, have a more in depth understanding his career and significance in American history than most of my American friends.
Eurpoeans have a better understanding of American history that has little to no effect at all outside America than Americans do.
Partly, I'm sure due to pro-America propaganda... For example, I know more than a few people that grew up in California and learned NOTHING in school about the fact that California once belonged to Mexico. The treatment of American Indians is another prime example. But I think it goes much deeper than simple propaganda. Perhaps the propaganda (largely cold war driven) shaped our minds so much to drive us to not care about "those insignificant countries over there" the "arrogant French pussies" and "evil Russians and commies".
Not to mention the fact that so many people here that I speak to have Nationalitic Pride down to an art form, except they think it's Patriotism.
They think that America is the only "free" country in the world and everyone else is starving or oppressed in some way.
It really is pathetic.

8. ### top moskerAriloulaleelayRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
458
Oh. My. Gawd.

You totally did not just compare a brilliant philosopher who believed in honesty in an open government and who all but founded this country on the basic rights of freedom of man from tyranny to a pseudo theocro-fascist silver spoon fed idiot. That's fine and well that you like the guy, but please don't say Bush is a patriot.

Right, but they were here before any other civilizations. In essence, they were the native hominids of the north american continent. If we are to use your line of reasoning, then both you and I are natives of Africa (not to mention the north americans.)

Some of the central American tribes did practice such things, but were hardly the norm. I think the point is that the natives were a completely unique culture from anything europe and the west had seen before and white europeans managed to annhilate their culture within in a few years for the sole purpouse of greed.

You are referring to the ancestors of the native americans, not their descendents that came in contact with europeans. They did in fact have a highly advanced civilization that respected and was based around nature. Everything from crop rotations to land especially for hunting and producing game.

I think Marv just likes to post to get a knee jerk reaction. Maybe he can take over for Tucker Carlson and they won't have to cancel the show.

9. ### LavaLet discovery flowRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
156
I (European) talk with mericans regularly. Overall their level of cluelessness and self centredness amazes me. But dont get me wrong, we have our faults here as well, every country does. Every country has things that are awful about it.

Theres just something different about America, cant quite put my finger on it. Maybe its the moral vacuum that so many live in, I dont know.

I'm a member of a country that enslaved a large portion of the whole world in the 1800s, causing an untold tide of death and utter misery, and whose fellow countrymen still describe this attribute as 'Great'

US and UK are friends, and like many friends there's always going to be something you just shake your head in disbelief over. That's life.

Lava

10. ### one_ravenGod is a Chinese WhisperValued Senior Member

Messages:
13,433
It is certainly possible that I only know exceptional Europeans, but I know Europeans from many walks of life and socio-econimic backgrounds.
I am not a history buff, and probably know less than most on this sub-forum with regards to history and politics, but I still know a lot more than most everyone I know in this country.
The historical knowledge (world history including America) and political savvy of Europeans I know puts me to shame.

As for Marv's statements about native americans...
First off, I would like to echo everything top mosker just said.

It doesn't matter in the least where they originally came from (relevant to this discussion, anyway) they were the first settlers to this land.
It WAS their land, and we stole it from them simply because we could (setting the standard for future American real estate deals).
You can't speak of native americans as a single homogenous whole.
Their practices, rituals, beliefs and societies varied widely.
There was very little cannibalism in North America and, as far as I know, the little that did happen was celebrations in time of war (which was also practiced in much of the rest of the world at one time or another).
Warriors in many early cultures ate the hearts of their victims.
Did you really condemn them for slavery?
Is it that slavery did not exist in America (or anywhere else in the world)?
Who DIDN'T practice slavery? That list would be shorter.
Warfare was no more common than warfare in Europe throughout history.
This was a country of many nations of people living together. War happened here just as it did everywhere else.
The majority of the nations lived peacefully, and they respected nature a great deal.
If they didn't they would have destroyed the natural resources of this country LONG ago (as we have been doing since we arrived) and killed themselves off or moved as most of them were not greatly agrarian, rather they lived off the naturally ocurring resources and migrated.

Even if their lifestyle was as bad and brutal as you are trying to make it out to be, does that really gives us the right to destroy their villages, kill them in astounding numbers and steal their land?
Why, how very American of you.

11. ### surendererRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
879

OMG Marv your constant bashing of Islam is annoying :bugeye: you know a muslim will tell you it's different because thats not what Zakat is....sigh...... open a new thread bashing Islam instead of spamming every thread you post in with it

12. ### TheMatrixIsRealRegistered Member

Messages:
14
I don't know if you were trying to be sarcastic in that last sentence, but I can't think of anything MORE American than killing people in astounding numbers and stealing their land.

13. ### SpykeRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,006

Yes, indeed, thank you...

...just send my prize to Anytown, USA.

Rather than continuing back and forth through every point, let's cut it down to what's relevant, which, of course, is you're still missing the original point. I've not said Roosevelt should be significant in German history. All I've said from the beginning is Bismarck is no more significant to American history as Roosevelt is to European history. Changing my argument is not a nice thing to do. Tsk tsk. Americans no more need an understanding of Bismarck than Europeans need an understanding of Roosevelt. Period.

Not really.. From the prespective of an American student, as far as understanding 20th century history is concerned, it is really only necessary to have knowledge of Germany from the time of Wilhelm II's ascension. It was his desire to rival Britain as an imperial power that is of real significance to modern history. As far as Bismarck's alliance system, the various treaties had been designed to isolate France, but Wilhelm had not renewed some of them anyway, and imperial rivalries had caused interests to shift between the players by 1914 anyway.

I don't doubt that, just as I don't doubt that there are some American students who likely know more about European history than some European students.

No, that's a generalization. You can only say that some Europeans have a better understanding than some Americans.

14. ### androidnothing human insideRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,104
America is miscegenation and fast food. That's the end result of democracy.

15. ### one_ravenGod is a Chinese WhisperValued Senior Member

Messages:
13,433
Yes, it is a generalization.
This whole thread is about generalizations and whether or not they are deserved.
In this case, I think they are.
I can say more than "SOME" - I can say that in my experience MOST Europeans have a much better understanding than MOST Americans have.
Not just from people I personally know, either.
From second-hand accounts and every study I have ever heard of, as well.
Also, from my personal experience in the American public school system and what we are taught.

So, yes, I think the generalizations are certainly well-founded.

16. ### pathMilitant wiseguyRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,314
You will find whatever you are looking for, regardless of which country you are in. If your mind is made up that certain nationalities are ignorant then that is what you will find (other evidence will be ignored but the answer you seek will jump out at you).

17. ### one_ravenGod is a Chinese WhisperValued Senior Member

Messages:
13,433
That's awfully presumtuous.

18. ### pathMilitant wiseguyRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,314
Has anyone else in the forum lived for at least 8 years in both the US and a european country?(there must be some others) Trust me ignorance as well as brilliance can be found everywhere.

Call it experience

Last edited: Jan 8, 2005
19. ### spuriousmonkeyBannedBanned

Messages:
24,066
I only lived in 2 different European countries, but both social wellfare states with a good educational system. Needless to say the ignorance level is similar, but in a positive way.

It is a bit difficult to judge the ignorance level of other people, because I seem to know more than the average person. Many people therefore seem ignorant of many things. But then again I gave up on newsmedia, so I am currently totally ignorant of current events. Some people who meet me for the first time and can only talk about what is on the telly might think I am ignorant.

But if we are talking about what we used to call in school 'general knowledge' I think this is lacking more and more with current generations. But I can't help the feeling that this due maybe to a shift in importance of what general knowledge exactly is. Maybe it is more important nowadays to know the colour of Britney spears' favourite knickers than to know anything on classical Russian literature.

off topic: apparently the finnish scholing system is amongst one of the best of the world. And it is for free.

http://virtual.finland.fi/netcomm/news/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=30625#fre

Last edited: Jan 8, 2005

Messages:
1,314
21. ### surendererRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
879

Ya I agree Path...Ive been born and raised in the US.....lived 6 years in Iceland and 4 years in the M.E.(doesnt need to be 8 to see you are correct)

22. ### LavaLet discovery flowRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
156
Of course its not for free, teachers have to get paid, equipment bought etc. Its just a question of how its paid for. Nothing free about it.

Lava

23. ### spuriousmonkeyBannedBanned

Messages:
24,066
really...I would have never figured that out by myself.