United States - the best country in the world?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by 777, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. 777
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    777 Member

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    Please note that this thread is not intended as an anti-American post. I am hoping that this thread creates thought-provoking and intelligent discussion.

    I am presenting the thread as concisely as possible so I didn’t go into greater details on my points. If I did, this thread would have turned into a book.

    I have read in many places that America is the best country in the world. Why does it merit this title versus any other country? What makes any particular country the best in the world, and not just by definition one of having been born there?

    I think it is impossible to quantify what makes a country the best in the world. There are too many variables to consider. This is why I don’t believe that there is such thing as the best country in the world. There are better and then there are worse places to live in. Count your blessings if you were born in one of the better ones.

    As a sample I will compare only two countries that I am intimately familiar with since I have lived in both for many years, the United States and Finland.

    Both countries are generally good places to live in so I will not dwell in the negative aspects for there are to be found some in both. No country is a utopia.

    What makes these two countries great places to live in are democratic governments, freedom of speech and religion, freedom to own property and establish businesses, relatively safe environment and general high standard of living.

    Where United States supercedes Finland (and all the other countries, as well) is in their military power. The taxes are lower here than in Finland which allows greater access to financial success. In America, all the ethnicities live in relative peace with each other and the borders are always open for new immigrants which speaks volumes of tolerance.

    Finland, on the other hand, provides universal health care, longer vacation times, paid maternal leave, great public education and university education without any tuition fees. (Finland is hardly multicultural so I cannot say anything about immigration policies and levels of tolerance).

    The question then becomes, what “services” provided by the government are a priority for any particular individual? For instance, is it more important to spend more tax dollars on military than on universal health care system? Is it better to have lower taxes than practically a free university education for everyone? (There are an infinite number of questions that could be posed here but I am trying to keep this short).

    For me, personally, I would not mind paying higher taxes if, in return, the society as a whole is well taken care of. Regardless of economic background everyone would have access to the same services, such as the university education.

    New views would be appreciated, and not the same old arguments that I took the liberty in presenting here:

    There is an argument that when the government takes care of the basic needs of its citizens, as in a socialist system, it breeds laziness. Most people, I believe, want to be productive members of any particular society. However, there will always be those who don’t want to do their share, be it in whatever country. Laziness, lack of discipline and ambition have no national boundaries.

    Then there is the argument that because everyone wants come to the United States, by default, it must be the greatest country in the world. I don’t believe it is that simple. United States has established a precedent as a country of immigrants, unlike any other place in the world. It has one of the most open immigration policies which allows for greater access for foreigners. Had any other civilized country such an open immigration policy, the political and economic refugees might seek access to those countries as well in equal numbers. Also, many immigrants come here, not because it may be the best country in the world, but because of the financial opportunities. Some of them, once they have made their fortune, go back to their own countries.

    An end must come to every point of view. To finish off, I feel very fortunate having been able to be born in Finland and being able to live in United States. Both countries are great in their own right. No ax to grind with either.

    Thank you
     
  2. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    The simple matter is America is the best country in the world because its free. Finland is socialist. Why on earth do you seem think that making your neighbor pay for your health care is such an amazing accomplishment?

    Why is universal college tuition such a great benefit? People dont appreciate what they havent earned for themselves. its human nature. If everyone has their college paid for they dont value it as much. And indicates to men and women that the way the world works is to whine until someone takes care of your problems.

    America is great beacause we trust the people. we dont need the government to babysit us. It has three main responsibilities: National Defense, Regulating trade, and international diplomacy. Everything else is done by the people. We have had some of the greatest advances of cilivization because we let the people determine their own destiny.

    Fact is, without the United States no nation, including Finland, would be where it is today.

    As for immigrants returning to their home nations after they make their money. Good for them. Let them bring alittle America back to their oppressive homes. Let the Spirit of freedom reign there like it does here. Maybe then there would be no more need to immigrate here and we can all be great.

    But greatness will only come with Freedom, and not with socialism. Socialism in its current form will destroy the human spirit.
     
  3. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Avatar, :clap:

    Triple 7, we don't need others to think we're 'the best', most of us feel that way, but no need to bash others. You don't hear many Americans telling Europeans who they should choose as their leaders, but so many newspapers over there and even tourists here believe they can tell us! LOL Hans Blix thinks we're so important, that EVERYONE throughout the world should get to vote in our election! What arrogance!
     
  4. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    777---If you wanna believe that Finland is the greatest country in the world simply because you have a bond with it and enjoy it, then go ahead and shout it from the top of one of your beautiful mountains !!!! You will not offend any Americans. I am glad that you are proud of your country !!!!!! We are not trying deny others the feeling of national pride .
     
  5. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    I think that America is one of the best countries in the world. I don't know enough about all other countries to make a completely informed opinion. Yet, I think that America has just about enough of a capitalist policy to promote growth and productivity. It also has some socialistic policies to help those who can't "make it" on their own. It is unfortunate when the "share the wealth" policies manage to help those who can, but won't, be self reliant. Still, to some degree, I think that a small safety-net is needed. Anyway, I think that America has a relatively good balance in regard to capitalism (and the opportunity that it provides) and socialism (and the safety that it provides). That is a large reason, in my opinion, as to why I think that America is a great country.
     
  6. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    A thought on the subject:

    What makes America great is not only our freedom, though this we cherish, but our commitment to seeing others free as well.
     
  7. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    Why are both the United States and Finland contenders for the title of great country? And Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway?

    Why aren't Haiti, Belize, Cambodia, Nigeria, the Sudan, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Cameroon and Kenya contenders?

    Why WAS South Africa a great nation, but now is mired in crime and poverty and starvation?

    Why IS the United States rapidly sliding toward third-world status?

    What's the common thread here? Bueller? Bueller?
     
  8. Jimmyeatworld
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    Jimmyeatworld Silver Member

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    One of the things that makes America great is the fact that even fruit cakes like William Joyce have a right to state their opinion, no matter how twisted they are.

    Most of the time, saying "the greatest country in the world" is basically just bumper sticker pride. American's are going to say the United States is the greatest, Canadians are going to say Canada is the greatest, etc. Any country that has basic freedoms is going to be the greatest country in the world to the right thinking people that live there, as it should be.

    The reason I think America really is the greatest country in the world can be seen through comparison. The situation in Iraq is a good example. When people in the United States are asked for their opinion, they can give it. Even though Iraq is no longer ruled by a terrorist dictator, some of the people there who have lived thier entire lives in fear still won't speak out against him. The reason for this, I believe, is because a little more than a year ago they would have had their tongue cut out if they dared to say anything against Saddam and they still fear that could happen. Sad thing is, there are still places like that in the world.

    Apparently it isn't just Americans that think the U.S. is the greatest country in the world. When people manage to escape countries ruled by dictators, where do they want to go? Not Great Britain, not Canada, not Finland, though those are all fine countries. They want to come to America.

    Finally, I'll quote President John F. Kennedy when he was referring to the Soviet Union.

    "Our country may have it's problems, but it never had to put up a wall to keep people from leaving."
     
  9. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    :clap: :clap:
     
  10. 777
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    777 Member

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    Quote:
    "The simple matter is America is the best country in the world because its free. Finland is socialist."

    Just because a country is socialist it does not mean it lacks in freedom in any way. The government allows us the same freedoms as in the USA. (I cannot think of any type of freedom denied from me in Finland any different from the United States). We have the freedom of speech, just like in here. We have the freedom of entrepreneurial spirit and on an on it goes. In freedom, as I see it, America and Finland stand neck to neck. I would like to know if there is any freedom here not given to people in countries like Finland, Great Britain, Canada etc. When I posted my thread, I did not want to drag in countries that were ruled by dictators. I intended the comparison to be between democratic, well-do to countries.

    Also, having access to free university education does not mean that it is not appreciated. It is very hard to be accepted into one Once you are in, it is not an opportunity anyone wastes.

    The thread is not about national pride either. Obviously we all feel that in which case, by definition, one's country must be the best in the world. I would like to go deeper than that in this thread.

    Lastly, there was a comment "Why on earth do you seem think that making your neighbor pay for your health care is such an amazing accomplishment?"

    I don't think it is an accomplisment per say. I believe when basic needs such as health care and good education are provided for it benefits the society as a whole. For instance, well educated citizenry is good for economy.

    Thank you
     

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