The American Manifesto

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by pseudobrit, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #1
    George W. Bush is the perfect man to represent and lead America. He is an extension of our culture, a mirror of our true wants and needs.

    He is doing exactly as he must to protect our interests. Democrat or Republican, northerner or southerner, liberal or conservative, young and old, he’s probably the guy you want. Even the Americans who think he’s screwing up Iraq want him. Even the Americans who are pro-choice want him. Even the Americans who are pissed because the manufacturing is being offshored to China and the tech jobs are being outsourced to India want him.

    If you want to keep your job, you car, your clean running water, your air conditioning (heat -- not lightning, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or extreme cold, is the deadliest killer weather in the United States), your nice house, your computer, your TV, your DVD collection -- let’s just say that anything you enjoy or require (or think your enjoy or require) in life -- you want George Bush. Or someone very much like him.

    Like the concerned citizen who protests the building of a new Wal-Mart but shops there a few times a month, we hate the evil idea while supporting the cause.

    Our entire nation, from our residential layout to our industrial model to our retail system and interstate commerce to our agriculture and eating habits, is fully and wholly dependent on abundant oil. Without abundant oil, you probably wouldn’t have a job. Yes, you. Our economy relies so heavily on oil that it would collapse without billions of barrels of it. We are an industrial machine that cannot function without it. There is no alternative; there is no replacement. It's simply the most portable and usable energy source available. Every facet of our economy and society needs it. And in order to secure the now (or soon) dwindling supply, we need to secure the places and people who have it to make sure we get what we need. Which is why we need to be in Iraq. And Venezuela, Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and ANWR.

    We can’t all make this kind of decision outright. We despise the idea of “blood for oil,” and you’d be inhuman if you didn’t. We don’t want to ruin nature either. Now, while there’s a significant percentage of the population that are shamelessly selfish enough that they’d proudly boast their support of others dying to sustain their lifestyle, the majority of us try to claim some moral integrity. While we worship the automobile.

    We need to account for our own behaviour somehow. The easiest excuse is, of course, that everyone else is doing it. But we needn’t think even that, because more convenient than an excuse is the fact that no one knows another life. The Depression generation is all but gone. Very few Americans have lived outside the confines of our luxurious society.

    We wouldn't understand the hoarding behaviour of my grandmother, who saved empty pickle jars and used plastic wrap. The power goes out for a few hours and we panic or fancy ourselves “roughing it,” but most of the world’s inhabitants have never had electricity. Ever. A telephone is as foreign to them as a bone in the nose is to us.

    We can’t imagine life without the stuff we have. Our materialistic and unsustainable culture, unnatural and dysfunctional though it is, is the one thing that unites us all. This is how we live. This is who we are. We worry about which $2000 computer we’re going to buy on a whim (and on credit) while the rest of the world works a whole year to earn similar or lesser amounts, and still can’t afford the simple amenities we expect from a campground. We impulse-buy $35,000 automobiles.

    So unless you’re prepared to live like a Belizean, unless you’re ready to give up the shopping trips to Circuit City to buy the the big screen, unless you’re willing to see the jobless rate jump to 15% or more, unless you’re willing to have to bundle up at night because you can’t heat your home adequately, unless you're willing to ride your bike to work and the grocery store, vote Republican. No, vote Neocon. Why beat around the bush? Vote for war. Vote blood for oil. Vote for a new car. Vote for HDTV. Vote for brand names. Vote for the suburban house. Vote for all the stuff you want. Vote for your family.

    Vote for yourself.

    You know you want to, America. You know you will.
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #2
    ah yes, the resource grab. i remember some discussions of such from quite a while ago. nice to see you back, sir.
     
  3. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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  4. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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  5. ~loserman~ macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    The sad part is there is much truth in your statement.
    The entire foreign and domestic policies of the U.S government has been working to sustain our "way of life" since we have been a nation.
    Noam Chomski has covered this well.
     
  6. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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  7. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #7
    I don't know what to make of this, as I don't hang around the political forums, suffice to say...scary.
     
  8. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Please read up on Lee Kuan Yew if you want to understand why some countries are poor and some aren't. He's one of the few people ever to take a country from developing to developed in one generation, an incredible achievement. He obviously knows something about industrialized wealth and the poverty of developed countries. Study him, and you'll know exactly what's missing from Belize, or even countries next door to Singapore like Indonesia and Malaysia.

    Your cause and effect are all backwards - the US did not get rich by invading other countries or having its citizens shop at Walmart or by driving gas guzzlers. Those are symptoms of wealth. We became wealthy because stable government and economic freedom laid the foundations for mass production and huge gains in worker productivity. Bush's adventures are squandering that wealth, which could be used to build a better infrastructure - schools, hospitals, rail, alternative energy plants, etc. This is why the economy typically performs better under Democrats than republicans, conventional wisdom notwithstanding. And it's also why Canada's economy is outperforming ours, because its basically run by Democrats.

    By linking a strong economy and a wealthy citizenry to republicanism, you've perpetuated the republican party myth that their policies are best for the economy. If any other country tried to act like us, they'd be bankrupted in a week. It's only because we are so wealthy that we can support Bush's economic follies.
     
  9. ~loserman~ macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Lee was once quoted as saying he preferred to be feared than loved. He has implemented some harsh measures to allegedly suppress political opposition and freedom of speech, such as outlawing public demonstrations without an explicit police permit, the restriction of the press publication, the use of defamation lawsuits to bankrupt political opponents.
    On one occasion, after a court ruling in favor of Lee was overturned by the Privy Council, the right of appeal to the Council was abolished. During his premiership from 1965 to 1990, he incarcerated Chia Thye Poh, a former MP of an opposition party, the Barisan Socialis, for twenty-two years under the Internal Security Act for being an alleged member of the Malayan Communist Party, only to be released in 1989. He abolished the "Trial by Jury" in the courts, hence giving full authority to the judges in their judicial decisions.

    Lets not forget Singapore's laws that allow caning.
    And death penalties for "drug trafficking" as little as 30 grams of cocaine or 500 grams of pot.
    Hanging yes thats something we really need to re-emplement.(340 people hanged between 1991 and 2000)

    "The basic difference in our approach springs from our traditional Asian value system which places the interests of the community over and above that of the individual," Singapore's Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew said in a speech.

    "In criminal law legislation, our priority is the security and well being of law-abiding citizens rather than the rights of the criminal to be protected from incriminating evidence." Lee Kuan Yew

    Yes we really need these policies :rolleyes:
     
  10. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    My point is that there is a now proven road map for taking "poor" countries to developed status in a few decades that has worked in Singapore, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, etc, and that could work for many other countries. This path may offend your western sensibilities because it emphasizes political stability over political freedoms, but it does work, and in doing so, it shows us where wealth really comes from.

    Wealth doesn't come from consumerism or imperialism or deficit spending or any of the other symptoms the original poster mentioned. Every banana republic has those. It also doesn't come from political freedoms, as you may believe. Russia didn't get any wealthier by becoming a democracy. And wealth doesn't come from oil or other natural resources. Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel lack any natural resources.

    The example of Singapore and other developing countries shows us that wealth comes from political stability, effective government, an overall lack of corruption, economic freedom, and state-led investment in infrastructure. Are we in the US moving closer or further away from those things? I would argue further away at this point.
     
  11. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #11
    during the 2000 primaries, i remember then-gov. bush bragging about the number of businesses he got to relocate to TX, implying that he was good for business.

    at the time, i wondered how he planned on doing that for the US as a whole. after all, moving companies around in the US isn't going to provide a net gain at the national level. and i doubted he'd be able to attract more foreign business than would be lost (as is indeed the case).

    but perhaps there was another lesson hidden there. specifically, the idea that it's okay to grab resources from elsewhere to bolster your own, even to the detriment of others. i submit that the neocon natural resource grab (oil now, just wait for the water wars) is the same idea. i do believe the neocons are content to watch the rest of the world struggle so long as americans have it easy.

    personally, i'm in the "we're all in this together" camp.
     
  12. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #12
    These countries did achieve high growth, but It's not like these are the only examples in the world that have. (And Japan was never poor, and achieved high growth as a democracy). What about Ireland? Ireland's per capita GDP is half again to two times as high as the success stories you're citing and used to be the poorest country in Western Europe. Israel isn't an economic sense in any "development" sense. Almost any country that's subsidized at the rates Israel has been would do just fine.

    You're right that corruption and ineffective government are obstacles to development, but the solution to that is often political freedoms (the right to vote out ineffective governments and the free press to expose corruption). And economic freedom and state-led investment in infrastructure are, potentially, opposites. Although I completely agree that you need both.
     
  13. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #13
    Actually, all those Asian tiger economies mentioned acheived their high growth rates through tight economic control and protectionism, the exact opposite of what the neocons espouse. Economies that are just beginning to develop can't compete with fully moderized systems. They don't have the resources or the knowledge to be competitive. Japan after thewar was very centralized and protectionist. The government decided what the focus for the economy was going to be. They didn't even *begin* to liberalize for decades. They're still very protectionist by modern standards. And they're the second largest economy in the world. It's not a coincidence. All this talk by the neocons of economic free marketism only works with evenly matched countries. As it stands, if the whole world went completely free market today, the poor countries would get crushed, abused, and used up by the rich countries. I don't know where their economists are getting their data, but regardless, they're dumbasses.

    The trick is knowing when to let go of the centralization and protectionism to let the market take over. And to know when the market isn't acheiving needed targets, (like the US health care system) It's a delicate balance.
     
  14. pseudobrit thread starter macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #14
    The US got rich when it became an industrial giant. It became an industrial giant by exploiting natural resources, mainly energy resources. First coal, now oil.

    A $70 barrel of oil contains more energy than months of human labour.

    People can't heat their homes with stable government and economic freedom.

    Cranes, planes, trucks, tractors, pumps, grain silo dryers and hydraulics all run on oil or gas and do work that cannot be supplanted by mass production or 100% human efficiency. We cannot do the things we do today without oil. Nor could Ireland, Israel, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Taiwan. You'll find all of these economies hugely dependent on energy resources.

    Taiwan, for instance, uses more oil than the entire nation of Australia.

    There are 250 million oil-burning vehicles on the road. When we start running out of oil, how will we replace these vehicles? Any new mass-produced type of vehicle, regardless of fuel type, will require a massive amount of energy to manufacture it. So we're stuck in a paradox. And that paradox isn't just automobiles, but the entire oil-based economy.

    We need oil to build a future without oil, but we won't begin building this future until we're out of it.
     
  15. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #15
    [​IMG]

    I think a lot of our current problems are a result of the loss of pragmatism and the reluctance to change in order to stay competitive. Too much greed, to much willingness to take a shortcut over putting in real effort.
     
  16. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #16
    Taiwan, for instance, has more people than the entire nation of Australia.
     
  17. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #17
    This isn't entirely true. Those countries were able to have the best of both worlds in some respects: protected domestic industries and countries willing to buy the exports they were best at producing. The rules of the game are so different now that import substitution seems somewhat unrealistic. Also, a lot of developing countries are not likely to be competitive in industries that the major purchasing countries are necessarily going to allow to be imported.
     
  18. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Miloblithe - But political freedom can be both a positive or negative. There are plenty of fledgling democracies like Russia or the Philippines where the political process creates so much instability that they can barely function, let alone take steps towards positive improvement. Political stability is the biggest contributor to economic success.

    Psuedobrit - You're putting the cart before the horse. Oil usage isn't a cause of wealth, it's a symptom. Otherwise, why doesn't Saudi Arabia just keep all of its oil and become the biggest industrial powerhouse in the world? And why are so many countries without oil or natural resources wealthy? (i.e. Japan and Taiwan)

    Thanatoast - Your development thesis doesn't make sense. Under that process, a country could become protectionist, develop national industries, and then open its markets and compete. But in almost every case that's happened, the industries have been enormously uncompetitive - think China's state owned companies or India's low quality domestic goods. Most foreign companies that have been successful have gone global early in their lives and adapted to competitive pressures - think Sony, Nintendo, and Honda.
     
  19. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #19
    Welcome back PB!

    Cultural homogenity plays a large part in the above examples of economic success although both Singapore and Malaysia aren't as homogenous as Korea and Japan.

    I too, agree that we are losing the political stability battle, I think much of the blame can be laid at the feet of our two-party system coupled with the crushing effects of globalization. When it comes to economic freedom corporations have been given free rein while the "little guys" pay the price.
     
  20. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Political stability is very underrated. It's not just about having a coup, like the Philippines seems to have every few years, it's also about whether your government's effective. To me, this war on terrorism has shown us how ineffective our system is. Our elected representatives spend 90% of their time either trying to stay in power, or trying to get power from somebody else. They put more energy into fundraising than they do governing. In 1998/1999 when Clinton should have been worrying about Osama bin Laden, he was getting impeached. In the 2004 election when we should have debated how to capture Iraq and Osama, we were debating gay marriage. I could add twenty more things to the list starting with broken airport security and no-fly lists to the energy bill and ending with Iraq of course.

    Sure, I blame the republicans mostly for turning up the volume, but the democrats have also been more obstructionist than ever without a positive agenda. But you put it all together and you have a country that's too busy infighting and jockeying for position to deal with major issues like our very survival. Nobody cares about gay marriage and social security reform, we want to survive bin Laden. We want to make sure the companies we work for or invest in aren't looted by their management. Some decent health care would be nice too. And end the gang violence that's in most major cities. Those are the big issues. I believe our governments become completly ineffective. At a minimum it's incapable of prioritizing. It's ridiculous and sad.
     

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