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3 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2011 - 3:49PM #21
solfeggio
Posts: 9,193

Chari -


That was an excellent post that I found very enlightening.  I read it over a couple of times.  As I see it, then, this American exceptionalism is more of a philosophical concept embraced by only a few rabid patriots, rather than a true aspect of American culture.


I completely agree with you about the Marshall Plan helping Germany recover after the horrors of WWII.  I've always found the subject of German reconstruction very interesting to read about, and especially the contribution of the Marshall Plan.  I'd read a great deal about how Truman and his Secretary of State, George Marshall, put into practise the European Recovery Plan (Marshall Plan), and what a lot of trouble they had convincing the Republican Contress to approve the funds necessary to put the plan into action.


Obviously, President Truman and his aides had learnt a valuable lesson from history and did not want what had happened after WWI to happen again in Germany.


And, it should be remembered that the Marshall Plan involved not just Americans, but other European nations as well.


The bottom line in any recovery programme is, of course, that economic stability always leads to political stability. 


 


 


 

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2011 - 4:15PM #22
solfeggio
Posts: 9,193

Bezant -


Thank you for your well thought out post, which touched on something I had not considered before, which is that ignorance is at the heart of the so-called 'American exceptionalism.'  Or, perhaps, this 'exceptionalism' is just another version of rampant nationalism which, again, is rooted in ignorance.


Ignorance, or a lack of knowledge, always seems to be the cause of just about any problem that comes up, whether in our personal lives or in the wider world.  As Edison once said, we don't know a millionth of one percent about anything.  But that doesn't mean we can't at least make the effort to learn more.


And I've always felt that the more we know about what is happening in other nations of the world, and try to understand why these things are happening, the better equipped we will be to help with those problems.  The obvious example here is the Japanese nuclear catastrophe, of course, which has proved a graphic example to a lot of Americans - and the rest of us as well - the very real dangers of nuclear power.


It's too bad that it took a disaster of those proportions to wake people up, though.


How do we dispell the corrosive effects of ignorance on a populace?  Compulsory secondary school courses in history, geography, and other languages would be enormously helpful as a start in the never-ending process of educating people, I would think.  What we learn in our youth will often stay with us in later years.


 


 

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2011 - 4:23PM #23
solfeggio
Posts: 9,193

Erey -


Your conversation with the German person was right on the money.  I had just recently read something about the French lying about their nuclear energy programmes, and how they have problems getting rid of the waste.  Disposal of waste has always been the big problem.  And it's one that nobody has ever been able to solve.


There are elections now in Germany, and it looks like the Green Party will come out ahead, which is great, because they are the ones most against nuclear power. 


The very real and constant dangers of nuclear power are finally starting to be addressed in places like the U.S., too, which can only lead to positive changes in the way in which Americans get their energy.


I live in a non-nuclear country, and we get our power from hydro-electric dams.  It's not the only solution to providing power for people, but it works for us, and it could work, at least in part, for other countries as well.

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2011 - 5:04PM #24
arielg
Posts: 9,116

The idea that nuclear energy is pollution-free is funny. They never mention the radioactive stuff that will be around for a gazillion years.

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2011 - 5:14PM #25
Erey
Posts: 18,681

Mar 28, 2011 -- 5:04PM, arielg wrote:


The idea that nuclear energy is pollution-free is funny. They never mention the radioactive stuff that will be around for a gazillion years.





I thought the French had a handle on that but evidentaly not.

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 29, 2011 - 4:45PM #26
Bezant
Posts: 1,338

Solf


 


Thanks for raising the issue. :-)


Mar 28, 2011 -- 4:15PM, solfeggio wrote:


Edison once said, we don't know a millionth of one percent about anything.  But that doesn't mean we can't at least make the effort to learn more.




Absolutely.



And I've always felt that the more we know about what is happening in other nations of the world, and try to understand why these things are happening, the better equipped we will be to help with those problems.  The obvious example here is the Japanese nuclear catastrophe, of course, which has proved a graphic example to a lot of Americans - and the rest of us as well - the very real dangers of nuclear power.


It's too bad that it took a disaster of those proportions to wake people up, though.



How do we dispell the corrosive effects of ignorance on a populace?  Compulsory secondary school courses in history, geography, and other languages would be enormously helpful as a start in the never-ending process of educating people, I would think.  What we learn in our youth will often stay with us in later years.



I think 'sharpening' early education is the key.


Compulsory subjects are useful only so long as they are consistently studied and studied over a long period of time, particularly foreign language, which is best learned at an early age and in as immersive an enviornment as possible.


History, I think, needs a more objective, analytical, sceptical approach from an earlier age. And of course basic geography (and maths) never hurts. :-)

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 05, 2011 - 7:55PM #27
rangerken
Posts: 16,406

This thread was moved from the Hot Topics Zone

Libertarian, Conservative, Life member of the NRA and VFW
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