Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why America Is The Greatest Country In The World



He failed to mention that America is also number one ... in guns per capita.

42 comments:

jdcllns said...

Yup, we're becoming a big welfare/nanny state just like Canada and Europe.

jdcllns said...

A student asks an incredibly stupid question about what makes America the greatest country on earth, a question no actual student would ever ask. McAvoy, inexplicably pressed by the panel moderator for a real answer (rather than a joke about the New York Jets), blows up, slips into a paternalistic rant, insulting the student (who is of course a young blonde girl), and spitting out a list of improbably memorized context-free nation rankings as proof that America isn’t the bestest thing ever.

http://reason.com/archives/2012/06/25/the-newsroom-finally-a-show-about-elitis

DrBargle said...

Here in Britain, that clip is leading all the trailers. I find it baffling. I'm not sure there is any other free country on the planet where someone saying that the country wasn't the greatest on Earth would cause any great a hoopla. Okay, so the Newsroom is fiction, and that scene is clumsy fiction at that, a jdcllns points out. But that scene wouldn't work in a fictionalised version of, say, Britain. In Britain, who, apart from someone on the sinister end of ultra-nationalism, would ask such a question, or get annoyed when a journalist gave a proper answer? There'd be no drama (or it'd be of a completely different kind).

Aaron E. Steele said...

jdcllns said...
Yup, we're becoming a big welfare/nanny state just like Canada and Europe.

Clearly you enjoy the alternative, a state bathed in the blood of innocents.

Aaron E. Steele said...

We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed. We cared about our neighbours. We put our money where our mouths were. And we never beat our chests. We built great big things. Made ungodly technological advances. Explored the universe. Cured diseases. We cultivated the world's greatest artists AND world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars. Acted like men. We aspired to intelligence. We didn't belittle it, it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election. And we didn't scare so easily. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men. Men who were revered.

The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.

Aaron E. Steele said...

DrBargle said...
I'm not sure there is any other free country on the planet where someone saying that the country wasn't the greatest on Earth would cause any great hoopla.

Yes, I think you're right. But there's nothing wrong with aspiring to greatness.

jdcllns said...

Wow! If you are really worried about bathing in the blood of innocents you should stop driving and ban swimming pools because they cause more deaths per year than guns. But no, you'd rather indict all gun owners without them ever committing a crime.

Rognar said...

One question, if the USA is not the greatest country in the world, which one is?

Clovis Cithog said...

Crime is a complex issue . . .
South Afrika and Mexico have murder rates MUCH higher than the USA, yet they have much stricter gun control laws then the USA or Canada
. . . .

Actually to call America of the past (pre civil rights, pre affirmative action)"Great"
Over simplifies..

. The USA did things well in the past because it was meritocracy and had not fallen prey to the cult of egalitarianism...
equal opportunity - YES
equal advancement - NO

staff.tuhsd.k12.az.us/medel/screwtape.pdf

Aaron E. Steele said...

jdcllns said...
Wow! If you are really worried about bathing in the blood of innocents you should stop driving and ban swimming pools because they cause more deaths per year than guns.

Firearm-related homicides in the USA in 2009: 11,493

Annual average number of drownings in the USA, 2005-2009: 3,880

USA Firearm-related homicides per 100,000 population in 2009: 3.70

Germany firearm-related homicides per 100,000 population in 2009: 0.47

Aaron E. Steele said...

Rognar said...
One question, if the USA is not the greatest country in the world, which one is?

I have no idea. Thoughts?

jdcllns said...

You didn't do automobile deaths. You're much more likely to dye from some idiot driver that from a gun shot.

Aaron E. Steele said...

Clovis Cithog said...
Crime is a complex issue . . .
South Afrika and Mexico have murder rates MUCH higher than the USA, yet they have much stricter gun control laws then the USA or Canada


Is the likes of South Africa and Mexico the crowd that America is running with now?

Don't you aspire to be better than Canada, the UK, Norway, Australia, Sweden, Germany, or New Zealand?

jdcllns said...

Norway has some of the toughest gun laws in the world, but that didn't stop Anders Breivik from gunning down 77 people last summer.

jdcllns said...

Gun Control and the Aurora, Colorado, Shootings

http://reason.com/blog/2012/07/24/gun-control-and-the-aurora-colorado-sho

New York University law professor Richard Epstein argues that strict gun control laws are unlikely to prevent horrific incidents like the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting

jdcllns said...

Gun Control's Twisted Outcome
Restricting firearms has helped make England more crime-ridden than the U.S.

http://reason.com/archives/2002/11/01/gun-controls-twisted-outcome

Aaron E. Steele said...

jdcllns said...
You didn't do automobile deaths. You're much more likely to dye from some idiot driver that from a gun shot.

Don't worry. Google is working on those self-drive cars they've been testing in California. Soon we'll be living in a "Minority Report" world on rfid's and department of pre-crime.

Highway deaths in the USA in 2009: 33,963

You know, you don't have to mindlessly ape the talking-points of the NRA. You're allowed to think for yourself. Just because the NRA's gunfacts.org says there are more drownings than shooting deaths doesn't make it true.

Gun manufacturers have one mandate. Sell guns. Do you imagine they have any interest in seeing less gun-related crime? After all, the fear of being a victim of gun-related crime is driving the sale of handguns.

But that was the point of the video. An informed citizenry is the path to greatness, not an armed citizenry.

jdcllns said...

Why Gun Control (Still) Won't Work
http://reason.com/archives/2011/01/13/why-gun-control-still-wont-wor

Aaron E. Steele said...

jdcllns said...
Norway has some of the toughest gun laws in the world, but that didn't stop Anders Breivik from gunning down 77 people last summer.

Norway gunman utilized lax US gun laws

http://www.topix.com

jdcllns said...

I believe in an armed citizenry who are much better informed that those who get their opinions from Bill Mahar and Aaron Sorkin. You should try and do a little bit more reading on freedom and liberty. You're allowed to think for yourself. You don't have to parrot everything you see on TV.

Aaron E. Steele said...

jdcllns said...
Gun Control and the Aurora, Colorado, Shootings

http://reason.com/blog/2012/07/24/gun-control-and-the-aurora-colorado-sho

New York University law professor Richard Epstein argues that strict gun control laws are unlikely to prevent horrific incidents like the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting


Other nations' restrictive gun laws cut down on shooting deaths

http://azstarnet.com

jdcllns said...

OMG! I forgot Scott Adams rules about arguing with stupid people.

Rognar said...

I know the US has a lot of warts. As we saw with the Iraq War, they sometimes chose to resort to war a little too readily. But the world still looks to them for leadership and they are always there. When Yugoslavia descended into savagery, the Europeans were powerless. Despite having millions of men under arms and having it all go down in their own sandbox, the Euros could do nothing without US leadership.

And say what you want about Afghanistan, but after being attacked on 9/11, the Americans didn't descend into an orgy of violence despite having the means to do so. They gave the Taliban ample opportunity to hand over the Al-Qaeda leaders before going in, and then they stayed to help rebuild. It hasn't turned out as well as we'd hoped, but that's largely because the culture in that part of the world is so foreign and primitive, we in the West simply cannot understand it and we are morally incapable of doing what would be ultimately be necessary to reform their society.

Another point arising from the Bill Maher piece, he claims Holland is freer than America (conveniently, he didn't attempt to quantify freedom). This is a load of bull. No country respects freedom more than the US. Just google Geert Wilders if you want a demonstration of Dutch freedom. Freedom is meaningless if you are not free to be offensive.

America is the most powerful economy in the world. China is catching up, but only on America's coattails and America doesn't have the looming demographic bomb that is coming down the pipe for the Chinese. America has the most powerful military. The Europeans may be America's equal when it comes to scientific achievement, but the EU is in a state of sclerosis. Too few children, too many unassimilated immigrants and a rapidly aging population. The northern European states may weather the coming storm better than the PIIGS, but the crash will still be devastating. Japan is committing national seppuku with its miniscule fertility and its aversion to immigration. Russia is fairing little better.

Sorry, but for all its faults, America simply is the most fundamentally sound and powerful nation on the planet and I thank my lucky stars every day that they are our neighbours.

Aaron E. Steele said...

jdcllns said...
I believe in an armed citizenry who are much better informed that those who get their opinions from Bill Mahar and Aaron Sorkin. You should try and do a little bit more reading on freedom and liberty. You're allowed to think for yourself. You don't have to parrot everything you see on TV.

Well now we get to the crux of it, don't we? Your support for lax gun laws and the culture of death has nothing to do with evidence, and everything to do with blind belief, all evidence to the contrary.

I gave you evidence. Every other first-world country has lower gun-related homicides than the USA. And all of them have sensible gun laws.

Aaron E. Steele said...

jdcllns said...
OMG! I forgot Scott Adams rules about arguing with stupid people.

And I don't recall inviting you to post your uninformed opinions on my blog.

Aaron E. Steele said...

Rognar said...
Sorry, but for all its faults, America simply is the most fundamentally sound and powerful nation on the planet and I thank my lucky stars every day that they are our neighbours.

Don't be sorry, you wouldn't be an Albertan if you didn't hold that opinion.

Rognar said...

Well, I was an Easterner for most of my life, so I'm not sure that's the reason. I do have a lot of American relatives, though.

Aaron E. Steele said...

Me too. My entire immediate family hold American citizenship. But just because you're an American doesn't mean you can't speak the truth.

"And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there?"

DrBargle said...

"Just google Geert Wilders if you want a demonstration of Dutch freedom."

Yup, you're right. A country where a racist and his cronies hold the balance of power in parliament can't be that admirable.

DrBargle said...

"One question, if the USA is not the greatest country in the world, which one is?"

Well, its a stupid question, even stupider than asking what the greatest novel is, or who the greatest human being who ever lived was. There is no answer - there are answers.

If you're fixated on military power and the size of the economy, then the US. If you value equality, not. If you value humane criminal justice system, not. If you think the death penalty is abhorrent, not. If you value worker's rights, not. f you're just going by a brute metric such as life expectancy, murder rates, or literacy rates, not. If you are a fan of association football, rugby (either code) or cricket, not ;-)

Rognar said...

How about most charitable?

www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/19/world-giving-index-us-ran_n_1159562.html

David said...

Everybody wants to think that numbers don't lie. Deaths per capita and murder rates prove that America's "lax gun control" make the country a gun-crime utopia. Everytime some idiot goes on a rampage, this happens. People come out of the woodwork, ready to say how non-great America is.

Well, numbers may not lie, but they can be made to say whatever you want them to. Do all those gun crime numbers include inner city? I'm not saying inner city crime should be ignored, but it does skew numbers. Or maybe somebody quotes percentages that ONLY include big cities. It is all too easy to find numbers that have been engineered to support a particular position.

I can tell you this: I am over 50 years old. I am American, from the Deep South, and I have lived here all my life. I've had a gun since I was strong enough to cock my first BB gun. My whole family is that way. I have never been shot, or even shot at. Nobody in my family, including extended family, has been shot at (outside of war zones, that is).

For me, the bottom line is people. There are great people everywhere you go, willing to help in any way they can. All over the world, not just in America. That's what matters. Somebody with a chip on his shoulder can always find holes to poke in America, or any other country, because it is always easier to judge whole-cloth. But it will always be the people that matter the most.

Eric Wilde said...

DrBargle writes: Well, its a stupid question, even stupider than asking what the greatest novel is, or who the greatest human being who ever lived was. There is no answer - there are answers.

Well said.

Drance said...

Trick question, because there should be no greatest country in the world. We should all be working together to help each other be the best we can be. Is that wishful thinking? Sure. But as an American I don't want us to have total hegemony over the world. What have all these G8 and G20 meetings been for, I ask you? It's time the USA stopped trying to still be the country that turned the tide in WWII. We had a good run as #1 I guess, but nothing should last forever. Things that last forever tend to stagnate. Our country has done a lot of good, but we've also certainly engaged in some underhanded tactics, just like most other countries in the world. It's time to stop worrying who's #1 and focus on making everyone as equal as possible.

As for the idea that an armed citizenry would help lower crime or whatever, where's the proof of that? Wouldn't more guns just mean more people getting shot? Take the Dark Knight Rises shooting in Colorado. Do people really think it would have been a good idea for armed citizens to start shooting back at a psycho in a dark and crowded movie theater?

Drance said...

Aaron wrote: But just because you're an American doesn't mean you can't speak the truth.

Being an American is supposed to mean you CAN speak the truth, or at least what you think is the truth! That's supposed to be the foundation of America, all those rights like freedom of speech. But the mob mentality in this country is making people forget that speaking out against one's own country is healthy. It's supposed to keep you aware and humble and open-minded. I alternate between positive and negative thoughts about America all the time, from day to day. Am I any less American when I think on the negative, or at least what I deem to be negative? I hope not. To be blindly patriotic is not what this country should be about. We are voluntarily giving away our freedom of speech out of FEAR! We are gathing into Democratic and Republican herds like good little sheep, and it makes me sick.

Aaron, is Canada still taking Americans? ;-) I'd like to bring my family on up there!

Aaron E. Steele said...

Lots of Americans in Canada. If I recall correctly, Canada is home to the most Americans living abroad of any country.

I suppose it helps that Canada's right next door, has the same culture and speaks the same language.

Aaron E. Steele said...

David said...
There are great people everywhere you go, willing to help in any way they can.

There are lots of great, caring people in America. It's a great country. And it could be even better.

Kiltedyaksman said...

We don't have the same culture. We have related cultures. We share one of the longest undefended borders in the history of the world - which says something about both our peoples. We do share in the same mass entertainment satellite culture, as many countires do with the US.

Black Vulmea said...

Gutsy post, Aaron.

Couldn't agree more.

teean tee said...

The CDC http://www.cdc.gov/

National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 60, Number 4
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_04.pdf

page 19

Table 2. Deaths, death rates... 2010

Motor vehicle accidents 11.4 per 100,000
Injury by firearms 10.2 per 100,000
Alcohol-induced deaths 12.2 per 100,000

But the hypocrisy of only targeting your favourite "killer" isn't even the point.

All Causes 798.7 per 100,000

so as a fraction of all causes
Motor vehicle accidents 1.4%
Injury by firearms 1.2%
Alcohol-induced deaths 1.5%

These are comparatively tiny causes of mortality, small enough that in any case we might ask that even if an individual doesn't have the intelligence & judgement to weigh the risks and benefits themselves, might we not stay our hand from their freedom and independence, valuing as a society the benefit of everyone exercising their judgement over the attendant risk?

Falls kill 8.4 per 100,000. Unblelievable! Would you be shocked to learn that in this day and age the government actually allows people go wall and rock climbing? That when some people throw a frisbee onto a neighbour's roof they actually don't call the police to get it down for them? That some people even throw themselves out of airplanes without being committed to mental hospitals?

What a crazy, fucked up world it is for those of us who are tormented by the fact that someone, somewhere in Alberta will fall to their death in the next 59.6 hours (http://www.injuryalberta.com/media/Injury Alberta Report.pdf)

A note: please, everyone, review the record of governments vs. their own citizens here http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/MURDER.HTM as part of your own judgement on this matter.

Aaron E. Steele said...

When people die from binge drinking, rock climbing or skydiving, they typically kill themselves, not innocent bystanders.

Folmac said...

Two points about the Newsroom clip:
1) A simplistic question is answered in a simplistic manner to set us up for McAvoy's huffing sermon. This seems too much a 'straw man' argument to me.

2) McAvoy nonetheless tries to feed us nostalgic pap about how America used to be great, as if all bad things have occurred only recently.

America has always balanced its achievements with some ugliness, e.g. slavery, genocide, eugenics, racism, sexism, anti-semitism, homophobia and dubious military interventions.

America has also been incredibly lucky to sit atop vast resources far away from the front lines of WWI & WWII, and enter both wars halfway through. While Europe rebuilt, the US boomed.

The US remains (arguably) great but has room to improve and must now share the stage (and various resources) with other rising nations. A thick skin for criticism is part of free speech, so let fly the slings and arrows.

Two other points:
1) Guns may cause some deaths but do make it difficult for anything like a military coup to succeed in the US, which is a good thing for the world.

2) Which country is best? I have no favorite, but Sweden comes close. Cradle-to-grave security, great quality of life, no corruption, polite cops and a large disposable income even after taxes. Maybe a superpower, but this nation of 9.4 million managed to build the JAS-39 fighter, which competes effectively with what the US is selling. Not bad.