Is/Was American the greatest society ever?

I asserted the other day that it was a “fact” that America built the greatest society the world has ever seen and Ozzie reasonably asked me to prove this was a fact and not merely my opinion. He has a point, but let’s see what facts we can offer.

It is, of course, opinion that America created the greatest form of government and greatest constitution ever, but it is a fact that dozens of countries have patterned their constitutions after ours. It is a fact that no society can boast the 200 year history of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion that we have.

Ozzie rightly points out that some of this freedom has been lost in recent years. In fact, the point of my earlier comment was that the greatest society ever has been eroded in recent years. The greatest society ever was the America of the 1940′s through 70′s. We have gone downhill in a host of areas since then.

Slavery is the greatest scar on our constitution but no other society can boast of a Civil War in which so many white men died to free black slaves. As an aside, there is a myth that, as Helen put it, “Our (white people’s) riches were made by the (free) slave labor of African Americans.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that by the time of the Civil War the free northern states had economically far outstripped the slave southern states. And, of course, at the time of the Civil War, all of America was an economic backwater. Our great riches were created only after the elimination of slavery. Our riches resulted from our freedom, not our slavery.

It is a fact that at least the America of the 1940′s though 70′s was the most prosperous the world had ever seen. It is a fact that the America of that time, and even today, created the greatest military the world has ever seen.

I know without even bothering to look that it’s a fact that more Americans have won Nobel prizes than citizens of any other nation, and by a very wide margin. Americans invented everything from the telephone to teflon. Americans were the first to fly and the first (and so far only) to walk on the moon. What we didn’t invent, we perfected. More important medical breakthroughs were made by American than by any other country, both technological breakthroughs and cures. Americans harnessed the atom, for better and worse.

An American first proposed the League of Nations and America gave a home to the United Nations.

Whenever there is a disaster anywhere in the world Americans are first in line to help.

Someone pointed out in the thread than contained Ozzie’s and my comments that the average poor person in America has a larger homes than the average person in Europe. A comedian once point out that America was the only country whose poor people were fat.

In a sense, of course, Ozzie is right. It is merely my opinion that it is a fact that America created the greatest society ever seen. But, I’m sure if the Bookwormroom readers put your minds to it you can come up with hundreds of facts to support that opinion. At some point the weight of these facts becomes so overwhelming that there’s not much room left for difference of opinion. Help me out here. What irrefutable facts support, or for that matter oppose, the theory that America created the greatest society ever seen? Thanks in advance for your comments.

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Comments

  1. Ozzie says

    ” know that of all the countries and/or national societies in the world, the USA has them all beat by a mile. Maybe even an order of magnitude.

    1. Freedom of speech
    2. Freedom to bear arms (not just firearms)
    3. Freedom of religion
    4. Freedom of association” – gkong3

    Yep, the Bill of Rights has set us apart, but regardless which party is in power, those rights have been under steady assault.
    (when the Village Voice’s Nat Hentoff called President Clinton a “serial violator of the Bill Of Rights,” he was tapping into an authoritarian trend that’s been turbo-charged in recent years).

    Sadly, many Americans would give up the B.O.R for safety, ignoring all the warnings the Founders issued.

  2. Duchess of Austin says

    Dear Ozzie:

    I can see by your posts that you are indeed a throwback to your european ancestors, the Irish. The Irish are famous for their bi-polarness as a race of people…i.e., they wallow in their sorrows, write depressing sonnets and generally see the glass as half empty unless they are in the clouds, silly….giddy with happiness and overflowing with Irish vitality.

    Oh, and the reason that the Irish have only recently achieved their independence from Britain is because all the petty Irish clan chiefs in history were too busy getting their “own” and undermined any bid for independence by not being able to work together, so the British divided and conquered. As for the potato famine that prompted your family’s immigration, the american’s are not responsible for that, but it’s funny that this country did take your ancestors in, when, guess what? They didn’t have to. I just happens that the Americans were a generous people then, and we’re a generous people now.

    Methinks you are in one of those metaphorical valleys where the glass isn’t just half empty, it’s cracked.

    You are one of those morbid Americans who should really go to some foreign country, tear up your passport, and live among the people who are being ruled by an honest-to-god dictator. Try being as powerless as they are, then whine to me that America is the root of all evil.

    I dunno about yours, but every male in my family for the last 3 generations has done his duty to his country and served in the military. Millions in our history have died so that you have the freedom to make an ass out of yourself in a public forum.

    When was the last time the jackbooted secret police invaded the sanctum of your bedroom in the middle of the night to drag you to the gulag for your subversive comments? Oh, wait….we don’t HAVE any secret police! And oh, wait….even if we did, they CAN’T arrest you for subversive comments, because we are guaranteed free speech by our Constitution!

    America is not the root of all contemporary evil, and if you really feel that way, you should join your comrades in poverty in venezuela or cuba in solidarity! Instead, you sit in your comfy chair, in your nice house, in a suburb somewhere on a relatively new computer and excoriate the country that gave you and your immigrant family succor…..puleeze.

    I bet you’ve never missed a meal in your life.

  3. Oldflyer says

    Gkong3, Thanks for your comments.

    A few more reactions to various postings.
    Racism. The U.S. of the 21st century gets a bum rap on this one. Sure slavery was a big deal, and it took nearly a hundred years after the cataclysmic solution to address the aftermath. But, we did. But racist attitudes are not the sole province of any race or nationality. Gkong3 can speak to Chinese attitudes–that go back through recorded time and exist today. Anybody ever hear a Norwegian talk about a Swede? A Brit about a Sikh (or any other Rag head as they elegantly put it)? The Irish about the English? Well, it is pretty humorous when the comments come in the middle of a discussion of American racism. I suggest that anyone who is inclined to call America racist just take a look around them during the course of their day. Not many countries look like we do.

    Loss of liberty is a real concern right now. What concerns me is the “Do Gooder Nanny Staters”. The elite litte jerks who think they can manage our lives better than we can — and insist on doing it for “our own good”. They are a much bigger threat than the mythical jack booted “Cheneyites”.

    Off topic. One of my daughter’s on-again, off-again romantic interest is a jack of many trades in the Vail, Co area. One of his numerous projects has been managing a ranch that belonged to a TV celebrity. It has recently been purchased by the CEO of (gasp) Halliburton. I am happy to report that this fellow is alleged to be a real nice, down to earth guy. I know that report will irritate a number of people.

  4. Ozzie says

    I can see by your posts that you are indeed a throwback to your european ancestors, the Irish- Austin

    Thanks!

    “The Irish are famous for their bi-polarness as a race of people…i.e., they wallow in their sorrows, write depressing sonnets and generally see the glass as half empty unless they are in the clouds, silly….giddy with happiness and overflowing with Irish vitality.” – Austin

    Now, if were I just a drunkard, I could completely fulfill the Irish stereotype.

    “America is not the root of all contemporary evil, and if you really feel that way, you should join your comrades in poverty in venezuela or cuba in solidarity.” -Austin

    Oh, please. I say that America is on the decline, and that our civil liberties are in danger and you translate that to mean that I think America is the root of all evil?

  5. Ymarsakar says

    New blood is extremely important to the health of any community, society, civilization, or nation.

    Since assimilating new blood was perfectly consistent with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness which were written as the ideals of this nation and what the US Constitution was designed to produce, America benefited enormously from choosing the correct ethics and philosophy.

    Bad ethics and philosophy inevitably produce socialism, communism, and fascism.

    Last generation’s Chinese see blacks as inferior and whites as superior. Don’t know about current generation Chinese.

  6. Ymarsakar says

    They left because they were compelled to leave.

    You mean they left cause America was better than starving in Ireland.

    But you can’t admit that because that would provide objective proof for why America is better. And if America is better, and all the other nations and alternatives are worse, would not this make America the best? But of course, you can’t admit that kind of logic for only opinions matter to you.

  7. Ymarsakar says

    Oh, please. I say that America is on the decline, and that our civil liberties are in danger and you translate that to mean that I think America is the root of all evil?

    It’s just cause you sound like a moral relativist and excuser for things like UN corruption.

    Most moral relativists are also anti-Americans, but not all. All, however, are more or less nihilists of one sort or another.

  8. says

    Dear Duchess of Austin,

    Concerning your comment to Ozzie: “You are one of those morbid Americans who should really go to some foreign country, tear up your passport, and live among the people who are being ruled by an honest-to-god dictator. Try being as powerless as they are, then whine to me that America is the root of all evil.”

    If all the Americans who said this or something similar to an American or group of Americans who were dissatisfied with some aspect of American life took their own advise and left, those of us with the complaints to fix them. Then we’d really have the nation you think we have now. You could return and see the improvement.

  9. Ozzie says

    You mean they left cause America was better than starving in Ireland.

    But you can’t admit that because that would provide objective proof for why America is better. – Ymar

    At the time America WAS better than Ireland, especially for those who were hungry and looking for a better life.

    According to my husband, who went to Ireland last year, the Irish no longer see America as a great shining beacon.

    Bummer.

    “It’s just cause you sound like a moral relativist and excuser for things like UN corruption.” – Ymar

    What the hell?

    Yeah. When I’m not being typically Irish, and discussing ways America is the “root of all evil” I spend my days excusing UN corruption.

    Some of you are reading my words and then filling in bizarre details from the voices in your own heads.

  10. Danny Lemieux says

    Would everyone please lighten up?

    I am the first to get my hair up at the rampant anti-Americanism exhibited by Leftist jerks (Democrats include) who miss no opportunity to blame America first.

    However, I really haven’t read anything by Ozzie that has been in any way offensive. Methinks people are reading way too much into his posts. What gives?

  11. Duchess of Austin says

    What I see is a perverse kind of pessimism invading this country and it’s driven by the main stream media (have you ever noticed that when you watch the news the stories are all about how things like germs can kill you and other stories of doom and gloom?) and people who can’t see the positive like, Ozzie.

    Yes, America has made some mistakes….show me a superpower that hasn’t. Every dominant culture since the dawn of time has made mistakes, but what makes America great is that we own our mistakes and move on.

    Overall, our society works because we have made a policy of assimilating our immigrants and making them a part of the fabric of our country instead of relegating them to ghettos (and I use this term in it’s historical context) to live an insular life isolation from the rest of us. This is the mistake the Europeans have made and it’s coming back to bite them now.

    I love my Country, and I am proud of its accomplishments.

  12. Danny Lemieux says

    So, Duchess of Austin, am I right in surmising that you would NOT see a Democrat victory this autumn as a sign of our country in decline?

  13. Oldflyer says

    Saw it Gringo. I didn’t address any specific posts other than Gkong3′s since he said he was posting as someone who is not American. I agree with what you say. It would really be educational for many folks who are hyper-critical of the U.S. to travel more– and not just to the so-called third world.

    But, would they see? I had a very wealthy Brazilian tell me that they were so fortunate that there was no poverty in their city, unlike Rio and Sao Paulo. She apparently simply did not see the families living in cardboard containers underneath every overpass; and the multiude of pitiful souls begging around the fringes of the downtown park–which you would never enter at night. Very convenient.

  14. Ymarsakar says

    Yeah. When I’m not being typically Irish, and discussing ways America is the “root of all evil” I spend my days excusing UN corruption.

    While you may not do it here or elsewhere, that is usually what moral relativists do. That’s just the trend and there’s nothing I can do to change the statistics about that.

  15. Ymarsakar says

    Some of you are reading my words and then filling in bizarre details from the voices in your own heads.

    I gave you an explanation for why people respond to your comments the way they sometimes have.

    Why this means your political opponents have voices in their own heads, is not very clear.

    Methinks people are reading way too much into his posts.

    Given that O has a husband, I tend to think that’s her hint that he’s a she.

    According to my husband, who went to Ireland last year, the Irish no longer see America as a great shining beacon.

    Let’s wrap this little argument up in spades.

    Your view is that it depends on opinion, because you give neither respect nor time to objective criteria standards, whether America is best in anything.

    Our view is that there exists a fundamental underlying reality that decides for us what is “best” or not. That our opinions do not change this underlying reality one way or another, not directly at least.

    Given such things, you have invalidated your own opinions, O, from our consideration. We cannot consider your views valid or even deserving of respect for it is just opinion and can never be anything more than opinion. And just like arm pits, everyone has one or two.

    The same applies to you, O, for you can never partake of our epistemological system which premises reality on an objective standard say the standard on who has won a war. You say it’s just opinion, that if the Irish now see that America is worse because they are ignorant enough to believe European media, that this means America is no longer best. And America was better and best in the past because the Irish thought America was better.

    In the final tally, O, what matters to you is how good your people’s propaganda is. Europe’s anti-America propaganda is extremely good and thus can convince countless millions that America is not better and nor is America the best nation in the world, in the history of the world.

    That’s not what matters to us, of course.

  16. Ymarsakar says

    If all the Americans who said this or something similar to an American or group of Americans who were dissatisfied with some aspect of American life took their own advise and left, those of us with the complaints to fix them.

    You mean like when George Washington and the Founding Fathers exiled and told the Colonial Loyalists that they must leave for Canada, after the 13 Colonies had won the Revolutionary War?

    That did great things for America, since it left the complainers somewhere else while leaving the true believers behind to work and build things up.

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