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Mapping

 
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Originally posted by Joe King:

Before someone comes in and says "America will never loose its power", the British said the same thing.


Maybe, but then again Britain, at the time of empire, only had about 40 million people, living on a small island with not that many natural resources, right next to plenty of enemies/competitors. The US has 300 million(?) in a vast country abounding with natural resources.
 
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Originally posted by Steve Wink:

Maybe, but then again Britain, at the time of empire, only had about 40 million people, living on a small island with not that many natural resources, right next to plenty of enemies/competitors. The US has 300 million(?) in a vast country abounding with natural resources.


So did the USSR. Also at the time of the Empire, Britain could draw upon many of the empire's resources. I'm not saying that America will fall soon, but dont assume that it'll last forever.
 
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I did some soul-searching and now I can better explain my inability to agree with "America is the greatest country in the world" proposal.
Joe, from your posts I made a conclusion that your approach to this problem is relativistic: if America is on average better than any other country, then it is "the greatest". My scale is absolute in some dimensions: if country X didn't score 100%, it cannot be called "the greatest". To explain: 9/11 terract that killed 3000 people was widely considered a horrific even, it shocked America, and it shocked the world. As a part of the war on terror, Afghanistan was bombed. There is no official data on how many innocent people were killed, but according to various estimations the number was higher than 3000. Liberation of Iraq added several thousand more to the list of murdered. You must agree that this is equally horrific. I understand that there is a difference: in the first case intentions were evil, in the last two -- to fight the evil. Unfortunately, the state of mankind is such that it is not always possible to fight the evil without doing evil. Until we progress to the state when no single innocent person will have to be murdered for whatever reason, no country can be called "the greatest".
Maybe this metaphor can help: imagine that there is a literature contest, and there are a few really good works submitted, and one is even obviously better than the rest. Yet none meets the criteria. In this case jury will decide not to award the first prize.
Does this make sense?
 
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My scale is absolute in some dimensions: if country X didn't score 100%, it cannot be called "the greatest".
Actually, if a country scored 100%, it would be "perfect", in addition to "the greatest". It's certainly a lot easier to argue your point when you change what words mean. I understand what you're saying, but it doesn't change the meaning of the word "greatest", and I'll get to that in a moment. I guess it depends on what "is" is, right?

You must agree that this is equally horrific.
Absolutely not. Every person in Iraq knew we were coming, and it was pretty obvious where. We gave Saddam numerous options to give up, he didn't. What sort of options did those people who were burned alive in the WTC have? The ones who roasted to death screaming in agony, crushed to death by tons of concrete, trapped in stairwells suffocating under the bodies of their friends and coworkers - what warning were they given? Sorry, Map, but you will never convince me that casualties of a declared war are the same as the victims of a terrorist attack. I consider those words a grave insult and unconscionably disrespectful to those that died that tragic day, both the victims of the attack and the heroic men and women who gave their lives trying to save them.

Until we progress to the state when no single innocent person will have to be murdered for whatever reason, no country can be called "the greatest".
More precisely, no country can be called "perfect". But they can be called the greatest. Once again, you redefine the word. By your standards, "the greatest" means "perfectly civilized". If you think we will ever be a perfect society, if you think murder will end while humans roam the planet, you're far more naive than I am, so basically you have changed the meaning of "the greatest" is something unattainable. That being the case, your interpretation is impractical and unusable, so let's go back to the original meaning, shall we?
Because we can certainly determine which country is currently doing the best job. That would be a more appropriate use of the term "the greatest", and that is what I'm trying to identify: which country is currently donig the best job of being civilized.

Maybe this metaphor can help: imagine that there is a literature contest, and there are a few really good works submitted, and one is even obviously better than the rest. Yet none meets the criteria. In this case jury will decide not to award the first prize.
So, Map, here's your point: the US isn't perfect. While I appreciate your taking the time to point that out in great detail, nobody said we were, so that's not the issue here. We're comparing countries, not trying to see if somehow humanity has reached perfect enlightenment.
You see, I have no problem with people who say the US isn't perfect. How could I? I'm one of them!
I have problems with the people who call America BAD, and make it clear that they believe America is one of the most evil countries on the planet, and equate it with the Great Satan, and say all manner of other despicable things. It happens right here on this board, and it happens all over the world. What I was trying to do was to identify by what measure people make that judgment.
I've never said the US was perfect. And I've even said I could allow as to how someone might not think it the best country in the world. But I don't believe hat it's a bad country, and my primary goal here is to find out from the America bashers a real, quantifiable reason they believe it is.
I have seen none. There has been no lucid argument pointing to America as a bad country overall. We've heard harping on one or two issues, but nobody has given a hard, quantitative comparison showing even one country that overall is a better place than the US. And as the days stretch on, it's clear to me that no such comparison will be forthcoming.
So sure, Map, you can say that America isn't perfect. I agree. There are things to work on. But I can still say with all sincerity that I believe America to be the greatest country on the earth. I challenged the naysayers to prove me wrong. And as long as the people who do all the complaining can't meet this simple challenge, then I'm not going to worry about their complaints.
Joe
[ January 29, 2004: Message edited by: Joe Pluta ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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It's certainly a lot easier to argue your point when you change what words mean.
I did? Perhaps you wanted to say that we need to agree on what each of us understand by "great" to clear possible confusion? Perhaps it would be more productive than to indirectly accuse me in dishonest methods of discussion? You don't think so?
The American Heritage Dictionary lists 16 possible meanings:
great great´┐Żer, great´┐Żest
1. Very large in size.
2. Larger in size than others of the same kind.
3. Large in quantity or number
4. Extensive in time or distance
5. Remarkable or outstanding in magnitude, degree, or extent
6. Of outstanding significance or importance
7. Chief or principal
8. Superior in quality or character; noble
9. Powerful; influential
10. Eminent; distinguished
11. Grand; aristocratic.
12. Informal. Enthusiastic
13. Informal. Very skillful
14. Informal. Very good; first-rate
15. Being one generation removed from the relative specified. Often used in combination: a great-granddaughter.
16. Archaic. Pregnant.
So which one do you, Joe, use during this discussion?
 
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That being the case, your interpretation is impractical and unusable, so let's go back to the original meaning, shall we?
In other words to your meaning.
Because we can certainly determine which country is currently doing the best job. That would be a more appropriate use of the term "the greatest", and that is what I'm trying to identify: which country is currently donig the best job of being civilized.
Joe, I understand what you are doing, I just have a problem with the word "the greatest" and I tried to explain what this problem is. If you reformulate "America is the greatest country in the world" as "America is currently doing the best job of being civilized" -- then I have no problems. Except that now we have a good chance to get bogged down in arguing over what it means to be "civilised".
I have problems with the people who call America BAD, and make it clear that they believe America is one of the most evil countries on the planet, and equate it with the Great Satan, and say all manner of other despicable things. It happens right here on this board <...> But I don't believe hat it's a bad country, and my primary goal here is to find out from the America bashers a real, quantifiable reason they believe it is. I have seen none.
Perhaps because nobody said that "America is BAD" and "one of the most evil countries on the planet"? From whom do you expect an answer, why don't you tell the names?
but nobody has given a hard, quantitative comparison showing even one country that overall is a better place than the US.
Well, Eugene mentioned Norway, which was once nominated by UN, if I am not mistaken, as the best country to live in or something like that.
[ January 29, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
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We've heard harping on one or two issues, but nobody has given a hard, quantitative comparison showing even one country that overall is a better place than the US.
The Human Development Report filed by the U.N. Development Program :
http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2002/en/indicator/indicator.cfm?File=cty_f_USA.html
The USA position is 6th.
 
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Here are data for 2003 (PDF)
Human development index
1 Norway
2 Iceland
3 Sweden
4 Australia
5 Netherlands
6 Belgium
7 United States
8 Canada
9 Japan
10 Switzerland
...
 
Joe Pluta
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The Human Development Report filed by the U.N. Development Program :
The USA position is 6th.

Thank you, Map!
The HDI is another nice way to measure a few statistics. The HDI is based on literacy, life expectancy and GDP. It is rated in a number from 0 to 1, and the range between the top eight spots is .007 (from .937 to .944). The top positions are held by the smaller, relatively well to do European states like Norway and Sweden (although Australia sneaks in at number four, .002 ahead of the US and Canada).
In any event, using the 1-10 scale, the US rates a 10 on this rating as well. This continues to corroborate my position, although the fact that Norway ranks high on lots of lists might make you begin to wonder if perhaps Norway is the world's best kept secret, eh?
My guess is Norway would probably do less well on certain things like scientific research and better on things like pollution. The more you look at it, the more it looks like Norway might have a reasonable claim on "Greatest Country in the World". It's a bit on the smallish side, so there are some issues there, and personally I'd be more tempted to choose Belgium - it has awesome historical architecture. And chocolate.
Joe
 
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I really don't have time to play Webster's Dictionary with someone who equates terrorism with military action.
posted by Mapraputa Is January 29, 2004 07:20 PM
"I understand that there is a difference: in the first case intentions were evil, in the last two -- to fight the evil."
I think, you should apologize, Joe.
Sorry, Map, but you will never convince me that casualties of a declared war are the same as the victims of a terrorist attack. I consider those words a grave insult and unconscionably disrespectful to those that died that tragic day, both the victims of the attack and the heroic men and women who gave their lives trying to save them.
Joe, do you realize what you are saying? So all these killed in Iraq - it is their own fault that they were killed??? What about Afghanistan, they must have seen bomb falling, so they could run away, but they preferred to stay to be killed?
Now I see what makes America the greatest country.
 
Joe Pluta
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Joe: I really don't have time to play Webster's Dictionary with someone who equates terrorism with military action.
Map: I think, you should apologize, Joe.
I deleted the post you are quoting because I didn't like my tone (my wife would say I was "typing mad"), but since you're quoting it, I guess I have to address it. I said you equated terrorism with military action because you said the deaths in Iraq were "equally horrific" to the deaths in the WTC. ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE. That sort of peace-at-any-costs rhetoric serves only to disrespect the dead and disparage the men and women of the military.
If anyone need to apologize, it is you, to the families of the WTC victims and to the men and women of the military forces of the coalition who liberated Iraq. Don't ever expect me to let words like those slide by.

Joe, do you realize what you are saying? So all these killed in Iraq - it is their own fault that they were killed??? What about Afghanistan, they must have seen bomb falling, so they could run away, but they preferred to stay to be killed?
Map, how many times will you bring up this argument? We all know that it is not the fault of the civilians that they die in a military action. However, there is a fundamental difference between a military action and a terrorist action. We tried to minimize the deaths of innocent civilians, while the terrorists sought only to kill as many innocent civilians as possible. You seemed to ignore that distinction as you went on to make a backhanded swipe at my country.

Now I see what makes America the greatest country.
I didn't bring up the WTC, you did. You then tried to use the coalition military response in Iraq it as example of "evil" that the US is doing, on a par with the WTC attack. You tried equating a properly executed multilateral military action to a terrorist bombing and I called you on it. You actually try to say that the war in Iraq is ethically equivalent to flying a planeload of civilians into a high-rise building.
And then you have the audacity to ask me to apologize.
[[sigh]]
Joe
[ January 29, 2004: Message edited by: Joe Pluta ]
 
Joe Pluta
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By the way, that source you posted has some really scary figures.
For example, the average life expectancy in Sierra Leone is 34.5 years. The annual gross domestic product of Tanzania is $520 per person. The literacy rate in Yemen is 47.7% - and it's only 16.5% in Niger.
So much suffering.
Joe
 
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Joe: I said you equated terrorism with military action because you said the deaths in Iraq were "equally horrific" to the deaths in the WTC. ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE.
Any death of an innocent person is horrific. Any two deaths of innocent persons are equally horrific.
That sort of peace-at-any-costs rhetoric
I probably didn't express myself clear enough. I am not advocating peace-at-any-costs at all. I just remind about the cost.
serves only to disrespect the dead and disparage the men and women of the military.
Sigh.
If anyone need to apologize, it is you, to the families of the WTC victims and to the men and women of the military forces of the coalition who liberated Iraq. Don't ever expect me to let words like those slide by.
I read about a soldier during this war, who had to kill people and then had serious morale problems trying to reconcile himself with the fact that he killed a human being. I do not think he was the only one. Seems that men and women of the military forces have more respect for human life.
Map, how many times will you bring up this argument?
I think, I did only once?
We all know that it is not the fault of the civilians that they die in a military action.
Joe Pluta: "Every person in Iraq knew we were coming, and it was pretty obvious where. We gave Saddam numerous options to give up, he didn't. What sort of options did those people who were burned alive in the WTC have?"
Perhaps I misunderstood you.
However, there is a fundamental difference between a military action and a terrorist action - one which you seem fundamentally incapable of grasping.
Give me some credit. :roll: I do realize that during this military campaign everything (or almost everything) was made to minimize casualties. I think, any other country would do worse.
you then go on to use that misperception to make a backhanded swipe at my country.

In any war there are casualties! Casualties are NOT GOOD! This is all I said! Is this anti-American?
You tried equating a properly executed multilateral military action to a terrorist bombing and I called you on it.
I showed both differences (intentions) and similarities (dead bodies).
You actually try to say that the war in Iraq is ethically equivalent to flying a planeload of civilians into a high-rise building.
I am tired and need to do go sleep. Did you look at other indicators? Like "Infant mortality rate", "Research and development expenditures", "Public expenditure on health (as % of GDP)" Kinda anti-American. In fact, I didn't know all that until you asked for numbers.
 
Steve Wink
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Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
[QB The more you look at it, the more it looks like Norway might have a reasonable claim on "Greatest Country in the World". It's a bit on the smallish side, so there are some issues there, and personally I'd be more tempted to choose Belgium - it has awesome historical architecture. And chocolate.
Joe[/QB]


And the beer, but it doesn't have the beaches, climate or sense of humour of Australia, so I'd choose them instead.
[ January 30, 2004: Message edited by: Steve Wink ]
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Joe Pluta:

Every person in Iraq knew we were coming, and it was pretty obvious where.


This is one of the most callous, uncaring and shocking things I have ever seen written on this site. I hope I'm reading this wrong, because it sounds as if you are saying that the people in bagdhad deserved to die because they knew that americans were coming and didnt get out of the way. Do you have any idea how impossible that would have been for them? They lived in constant fear of their dictator and had little say in what they did. They most likely feared being punished for fleeing.

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:

... you will never convince me that casualties of a declared war are the same as the victims of a terrorist attack.


Even worse, you are saying that the life of a person killed in a terrorist attack is worth far more than the life of a person killed in a war. This is dispicable. I cant put into words how much this horrifies me. How about the thousands of people that died in london during the blitz? What were their lives worth? Half a 9/11 victim? A quarter of a 9/11 victim? I really hope that you didnt mean what I thought you meant. If so I appologise, but if not... well I cant believe that someone would think that and still call themselves civilised.
 
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Originally posted by Joe King:
Even worse, you are saying that the life of a person killed in a terrorist attack is worth far more than the life of a person killed in a war.

No he isn't. He is saying that a death in a terrorist attack is different than a death in war. People dying during an air raid on Hamburg are not the same as people dying in a hijacked airplane being crashed into a building. Victims of terrorist attacks are murder victims.
 
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Did you look at other indicators? Like "Infant mortality rate", "Research and development expenditures", "Public expenditure on health (as % of GDP)" Kinda anti-American.
I don't see how you get that. Except in mortality rates, we rank consistently in the top one-tenth of the world, often in the top 10, and sometimes at the very top. There are very few scores where we don't get a 10 on a 1-10 scale. We consistently outscore any country even close to us in size. The largest country with a better overall score is Canada, with about 1/10th the population. Norway, on the other hand, is closer to 1/100th our size.
We do fall a bit short in mortality statistics. This is probably a combination of largely inter-related factors: drugs, AIDS and violence. We rank around 20-30 in various measures of mortality, which drops us to a "9" in those areas.
Anyway, the more I look at these figures, the more I see my country as the greatest country in the world. Norway might edge us out by a tiny fraction statistically, but with only four or five million people it's easier to take care of everyone.
At the same time, some people (especially Norwegians ) have a valid claim to make for a handful of other countries. But by and large these figures pretty clearly show that America is not a bad country by any measure.
Thanks for showing me these, Map, because it's clear that one thing we need to focus on in America is mortality. We need to combat the violence in our country. I need to think about that, and determine what needs to be done, and then elect officials who will take care of those things.
Joe
[ January 30, 2004: Message edited by: Joe Pluta ]
 
Joe Pluta
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Even worse, you are saying that the life of a person killed in a terrorist attack is worth far more than the life of a person killed in a war. This is dispicable.
I wasn't comparing the victims, I was comparing the acts. While I mourn the life of all who die, the focus is on the acts themselves. Perhaps you missed my point: in war, we aim to minimize civilian casualties, while the sole purpose of a terrorist attack is to kill as many civilians as possible.
I take offense at comparisons of the two acts.
Joe
 
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They lived in constant fear of their dictator and had little say in what they did.
Thus a war to liberate them was a good thing. It is a tragedy that some civilians died, but we tried to minimize those casulaties.
There was no justification of any kind for flying planes into the WTC.
That's it, plain and simple. I won't sit by when people call the military action in Iraq "evil" and equate it to terrorist attacks.
Joe
 
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
That being the case, your interpretation is impractical and unusable, so let's go back to the original meaning, shall we?
In other words to your meaning.
Because we can certainly determine which country is currently doing the best job. That would be a more appropriate use of the term "the greatest", and that is what I'm trying to identify: which country is currently donig the best job of being civilized.
Joe, I understand what you are doing, I just have a problem with the word "the greatest" and I tried to explain what this problem is. If you reformulate "America is the greatest country in the world" as "America is currently doing the best job of being civilized" -- then I have no problems. Except that now we have a good chance to get bogged down in arguing over what it means to be "civilised".
I have problems with the people who call America BAD, and make it clear that they believe America is one of the most evil countries on the planet, and equate it with the Great Satan, and say all manner of other despicable things. It happens right here on this board <...> But I don't believe hat it's a bad country, and my primary goal here is to find out from the America bashers a real, quantifiable reason they believe it is. I have seen none.
Perhaps because nobody said that "America is BAD" and "one of the most evil countries on the planet"? From whom do you expect an answer, why don't you tell the names?
but nobody has given a hard, quantitative comparison showing even one country that overall is a better place than the US.
Well, Eugene mentioned Norway, which was once nominated by UN, if I am not mistaken, as the best country to live in or something like that.


Map, I think the meaning of the word greatest is > that everyboy else. It is certainly not same as perfect. So there is no point in arguing about what greatest means to you or to Joe or to me. It is pretty much standard. Don't you think so?
If somebody says that America is the greatest country, I think a valid agrument could be, "No, America isn't. Norway is the greatest because x, y, z reasons.". But you cannot says, "America isn't the greates because they killed innocents in Iraq, Afghanistan etc.". Nobody is denying that America has done a lot of bad stuff too.
So in any case, there has to be a greatest country at at any given time. It, which ever it is, may not be perfect but it certainly is better than the rest. So I don't understand what are you people arguing about?
 
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Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
[b]Anyway, the more I look at these figures, the more I see my country as the greatest country in the world.[b]
Map, why are you wasting your time? Why are you beating your head against the wall trying to convince Joe that his country is not necessarily the Greatest in the World? Are you masochistic? Or are you expecting some sort of cogent argument to help you better understand the issue? Either way, your quest is doomed to failure.
Alan

 
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What a ping-pong match this has been. Sigh.
I tried to stay away from jumping in; but the recent posts were too much for my resolve.
Now we are debating what the word 'greatest' means! Just so as to bolster one's position. Any superlative adjective cannot exist in vacuum. It can only be with respect to others. Ergo, 'greatest' has to be wrt to others. That means we have to compare. If someone is the 'best' in the class, that means that someone is better than all the rest in that class. Again a comparison had to have occurred to have come to this conclusion. So for Map to redefine what 'greatest' means in this context, IMHO, is a rather feeble attempt to win this argument.
If the fact that innocents have been killed in Iraq & Afghanistan by US bombing is the sole reason to say that US is evil & is not the greatest country in the world today then I guess there is nothing to discuss. That to me seems as though the conclusion was already arrived at (that US is evil/not the greatest country) followed by reasons to support that conclusion. Besides, which country that has been involved in wars has not killed innocents? At least US tries to minimize the innocent casualty. There is absolutely no way to eliminate the deaths of innocents in such wars. Did the UK try to minimize this during her imperial/colonial past? Did Russia? Did France? And what about Germany?
It is true that comparison requires factors/attributes to compare and different people will have different opinions on what these factors/attributes should be. And one can always find numbers/statistics to support one's own factors/attributes. But if one looks (objectively) at the trend for the last 100 years of mass/individual migration, one will see that US is the number 1 choice for most. Why would that be? Perhaps because within the factors/attributes that this majority has considered US has stood out as the best place to be in. Will Norway welcome these people (even if they had the room for it). Will Belgium?
I guess there are some dyed-in-the-wool anti-US folks whose vision is so distorted by the prism of their anti-americanism that they will never admit anything contrary to their POVs.
 
Sadanand Murthy
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Originally posted by Alan Labout:

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
[b]Anyway, the more I look at these figures, the more I see my country as the greatest country in the world.[b]
Map, why are you wasting your time? Why are you beating your head against the wall trying to convince Joe that his country is not necessarily the Greatest in the World? Are you masochistic? Or are you expecting some sort of cogent argument to help you better understand the issue? Either way, your quest is doomed to failure.
Alan


The same can be asked of Joe.
OK. All you who are claiming that US is not the greatest country in today's world answer just 1 question. If you had to leave your country and go & settle down in another country, which country would you prefer to emigrate to and why?

 
Terimaki Tojay
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Originally posted by Sadanand Murthy:

The same can be asked of Joe.
OK. All you who are claiming that US is not the greatest country in today's world answer just 1 question. If you had to leave your country and go & settle down in another country, which country would you prefer to emigrate to and why?


There is no need to ask this question. They've already answered it most truthfuly but emigrating to the US
 
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Definition attempt N 1: Map, I think the meaning of the word greatest is > that everyboy else.
Err. Ok. Now it's even clearer than before. ">" means "more than" if I am not mistaken. Do you mean "better" ?
Definition attempt N 2: Ergo, 'greatest' has to be wrt to others. That means we have to compare. If someone is the 'best' in the class, that means that someone is better than all the rest in that class.
So "greatest" simply means "the best"? Then why to say "greatest" and not "the best"? For me, in this context "greatest" has overtones of AHD's N8 definition: "Superior in quality or character; noble". This is what bothers me considered certain circumstances that we discussed with Joe whole last evening until exasperation.
 
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SM: OK. All you who are claiming that US is not the greatest country in today's world answer just 1 question. If you had to leave your country and go & settle down in another country, which country would you prefer to emigrate to and why?
Ok:
1 Norway
2 Iceland
3 Sweden
4 Australia
5 Netherlands
6 Belgium
Why -- because UN said so.
Seriously, Canada and Australia look like a nice choice. Why? About the same quality of life like in the USA, emigration-friendly policies, and more liberal (I worked hard for not to say "more progressive") society.
 
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So "greatest" simply means "the best"? Then why to say "greatest" and not "the best"? For me, in this context "greatest" has overtones of AHD's N8 definition: "Superior in quality or character; noble". This is what bothers me considered certain circumstances that we discussed with Joe whole last evening until exasperation.
Map, why do you think I went to the trouble of listing all those categories and then asking for people to apply numerical grades? If I were simply ranting on "AMERICAN IS BEST!" without providing any reasons or asking for input, I could understand you being upset, but that's not the case. Regardless of your personal interpretation of the word "greatest", it's clear that I was looking for a comparison; a real, factual comparison. In no place did I use the word "noble" or anything like it.
I don't understand why every time I praise my country you get upset. It's as if you take it personally, and that every compliment for America somehow diminishes you. That's a sad way to live, I think.
Joe
 
Terimaki Tojay
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
SM: OK. All you who are claiming that US is not the greatest country in today's world answer just 1 question. If you had to leave your country and go & settle down in another country, which country would you prefer to emigrate to and why?
Ok:
1 Norway
2 Iceland
3 Sweden
4 Australia
5 Netherlands
6 Belgium
Why -- because UN said so.
Seriously, Canada and Australia look like a nice choice. Why? About the same quality of life like in the USA, emigration-friendly policies, and more liberal (I worked hard for not to say "more progressive") society.


Perfectly valid arguments. Now you are on the right track. No need to argue about what greatest means
Now let's move on. For you, US is clearly not the greatest country. That's one vote less for the US. My *theory* is that if you count all the votes, US will be the winner.
BTW, if you don't find US to be the greatest country, why did you chose to be in the US? Why not in Norway? I know why I am not there. Because they wouldn't allow me in Even if I get in somehow, I don't know how long skinheads will let me live
 
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TT: There is no need to ask this question. They've already answered it most truthfuly but emigrating to the US
This reminds me an old anecdote.
A guy runs along the street. People ask him: "where do you run?" He stops, then says: "Why everybody ask me where I run? Why nobody asks me *from* where I run?"
I do not know about other countries, but when in Russia people decide to leave, there are 5 main choices: Germany and Israel - if you are of eligible nationality or can buy fake papers, and USA, Canada, Australia otherwise. Why people go there? Because these countries accept emigrants - that's why! Why people line up for the American Green Card lottery -- because there is one! If UK had this kind od lottery, do you think people wouldn't line up for it?
Heck, somebody even calculated that there is about a million of illegal immigrants now in Russia. Does that mean that Russia is a great country? Na, it means that there are countries that suck even more.
[ January 30, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Terimaki Tojay
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Heck, somebody even calculated that there is about a million of illegal immigrants now in Russia. Does that mean that Russia is a great country? Na, it means that there are countries that suck even more.


That's obvious, isn't it. What is not obvious is if a bangldeshi is given a chance to mirgate to India, Russia and US, which one will he choose? I'll bet my *** that he will choose US. So which is better? US, right?
 
Joe Pluta
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USA, Canada, Australia
And of those three, why did you pick the worst one?
Joe
 
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
[b]
I do not know about other countries, but when in Russia people decide to leave, there are 5 main choices: Germany and Israel - if you are of eligible nationality or can buy fake papers, and USA, Canada, Australia otherwise.


We let jews and russians with german family roots in. A lot of them really high qualified. Lot of them have huge problems to find a job in this stagnant economy. Stagnant economy is even worse for immigrants than for locals.
In the last 4 years I've allways had russian co-workers. Nice people. Great sense of humour. I don't have time to learn russian. But I fear that I am missing the best jokes and lots of good technical discussions. Last week I worked in a room, where russian was dominant language. Y yo no comprendo ni una sola palabra.
 
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Joe: Regardless of your personal interpretation of the word "greatest", it's clear that I was looking for a comparison; a real, factual comparison.
Joe, of course it was my personal interpretation of the word "greatest", (we all have only personal interpretations, the shared are kept in dictionaries) and I tried to explain what bothers me personally when somebody (not necessarily you) uses it in this context. I did formulate your understanding as "your approach to this problem is relativistic: if America is on average better than any other country, then it is "the greatest" -- is this correct? I suppose every person who utters "America is the greatest" has something perhaps slightly different in mind, and I tried to show that on the other end of communication tube other meanings can be read, possibly different from those intended. Peace. Call your comparison table whatever you want.
P.S. And I did not try to "win" this argument by redefining "the greatest" -- this would be childish. In fact, I do not even have an intention to "win", as the argument itself is pointless, as it was already demonstrated by another members of our "troika".
 
Joe Pluta
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I suppose every person who utters "America is the greatest" has something perhaps slightly different in mind, and I tried to show that on the other end of communication tube other meanings can be read, possibly different from those intended.
Well, if that's an example of "the other end of the communication tube" then I can see why there is such rampant misunderstanding. It was VERY clear what I was trying to do, and you instead read into it from your own personal prejudices. I'm sorry that happened, but there's little I can do about it. I have no control over your emotions. Only you can ensure that you will come into the conversation with an open mind.
Joe
 
Alan Labout
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Originally posted by Sadanand Murthy:
It is true that comparison requires factors/attributes to compare and different people will have different opinions on what these factors/attributes should be. And one can always find numbers/statistics to support one's own factors/attributes. But if one looks (objectively) at the trend for the last 100 years of mass/individual migration, one will see that US is the number 1 choice for most. Why would that be? Perhaps because within the factors/attributes that this majority has considered US has stood out as the best place to be in.
Nobody ever said that the US is not an attractive option for people around the world. Cheeseburgers are also an attractive alternative to more healthy forms of food. Brittany Spears is "chosen" by more people than Mozart nowadays, but that, of course, does not make her music in any way "better." So what's this about some sort of "majority" casting the decisive vote?
(Perhaps that's a topic for a new thread? Which music is the "greatest in the world"? Or how about which flavor of ice cream is the "tastiest in the world"?)
America is an elite Ivy League college that attracts the best students based on its reputation. These students go on to do great things, which in turn enhances its ability to attract the best students.
Or perhaps, for you sports fans: The U.S. is the New York Yankees of recent years, who instead of developing homegrown talent through their own farm system, prefer to lure talented players from other teams just when these players are peaking and their teams' investments in them are ready to pay off.
You can't argue with the results in either of these cases. But you definitely can argue with the means. And I think that's the problem that most of us so-called "America bashers" (is that what we are now calling people who dare to argue that America is not "the greatest country in the world"?) have with the US and its position in the world.
BTW: Perhaps it would help the discussion if we substituted "greatest" with something less loaded like "most successful"?
Alan
[ January 30, 2004: Message edited by: Alan Labout ]

 
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Joe again: Well, if that's an example of "the other end of the communication tube" then I can see why there is such rampant misunderstanding.
I realize that my objections to the "greatest" look unnatural for most participants, but you see what the problem is. None of us thinks totally on his/her own, we all are influences by our culture, and in mine this objection is completely natural.
Here is one of the most famous quotes from maybe the best Dostoevsky's novel "The Brothers Karamazov". Hey, I was brought up on it!
"I don't want harmony. From love for humanity I don't want it. I would rather be left with the unavenged suffering. I would rather remain with my unavenged suffering and unsatisfied indignation, even if I were wrong. Besides, too high a price is asked for harmony; it's beyond our means to pay so much to enter on it. And so I hasten to give back my entrance ticket, and if I am an honest man I am bound to give it back as soon as possible. And that I am doing. It's not God that I don't accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return him the ticket."
"That's rebellion," murmered Alyosha, looking down.
"Rebellion? I am sorry you call it that," said Ivan earnestly. "One can hardly live in rebellion, and I want to live. Tell me yourself, I challenge your answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature -- that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance -- and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth."
"No, I wouldn't consent," said Alyosha softly.
The Brothers Karamazov. Part II. Book V: Pro and Contra. Chapter 4: Rebellion
http://www.classicreader.com/read.php/sid.1/bookid.276/sec.35/
I hope you do not think Dostoevsky wrote this to bring down America…
After all what happened since Dostoevsky wrote his Brothers, this answer cannot be understood literally, I suppose. But in some highest, metaphysical sense it is still the truest.
 
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Alan: Map, why are you wasting your time? Why are you beating your head against the wall trying to convince Joe that his country is not necessarily the Greatest in the World?
I wish I could answer this question. For one thing, I will not be here the next week and I will miss you all and Joe too For another, I do not really want to convince Joe, just to make him understand me. Do you think, this attempt is doomed to failure too?
 
Alan Labout
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Alan: Map, why are you wasting your time? Why are you beating your head against the wall trying to convince Joe that his country is not necessarily the Greatest in the World?
I wish I could answer this question. For one thing, I will not be here the next week and I will miss you all and Joe too For another, I do not really want to convince Joe, just to make him understand me. Do you think, this attempt is doomed to failure too?


I think that when you agree that the U.S. is the greatest country on earth, then yes, he will understand you...
 
Alan Labout
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
[b]
"No, I wouldn't consent," said Alyosha softly.


...And I don't think citing Dostoevsky is going to help!
 
Joe Pluta
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For another, I do not really want to convince Joe, just to make him understand me.
Understand you how? What are you trying to explain? That you don't like the word "greatest" when applied to America?
Joe
 
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