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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:51 am 
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Because we have the fantasy of the United Federation of Planets. A unified, utopian society where hard work and skill are rewarded. The best and the brightest run the show, the less-fortunate are taken care of, and justice prevails. Don't we all want that, no matter how unrealistic it is?

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:57 am 
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micah wrote:
Because we have the fantasy of the United Federation of Planets. A unified, utopian society where hard work and skill are rewarded. The best and the brightest run the show, the less-fortunate are taken care of, and justice prevails. Don't we all want that, no matter how unrealistic it is?

At the sacrifice of all individual cultures? Hell no!

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:36 pm 
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Crazed123 wrote:
GORRAM IT, why is everyone suddenly acting like open imperialism in the name of bringing "peace and prosperity" to the "ailing countries" is a good thing? What happened to separate countries and sovereignty and all that stuff they taught me about in elementary-school social studies? And what happens to the countries that don't want to join the USW?
Don't look at me. I think it's a terrible idea.

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:19 pm 
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Crazed123 wrote:
micah wrote:
Because we have the fantasy of the United Federation of Planets. A unified, utopian society where hard work and skill are rewarded. The best and the brightest run the show, the less-fortunate are taken care of, and justice prevails. Don't we all want that, no matter how unrealistic it is?

At the sacrifice of all individual cultures? Hell no!


FWIW, the two major cultures of the USofA are perfectly intact and there are numerous subcultural entities still thriving. You can still have cultural diversity with political and economic integration. The only convincing evidence I've seen for keeping linguistic diversity are cases where one language confers an actual cognitive processing advantage on its speakers. For example, native speakers of various Asian languages have an edge in mathmatics over Indo-European speakers since the vocalization of individual numbers is shorter by about half in these languages, leaving more space in short term memory for larger numbers. (Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers.) And the solution there is as always for the inferior cultural practitioners to nick the better one.

My opinion on the concept of national sovereignty is that it's an excellent deal for the national politicians and much less so for the various nationals.

We're obviously at the point where a world government with teeth is vitally needed, if only to integrate global environmental policy. Getting there by expanding the US in its current form is a probably not a possibility, or even a good idea, although I admit the notion of a bevy of African and Latin American Senators drowning out the shrill screeches of the Red State senators brings warmth to my heart.

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:19 pm 
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Who drowns out the African and Latin American senators when half of them move to consider a constitutional amendment that pushes the agenda of the "Charismatic Strongman of the Week" party?

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:23 pm 
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The Chinese, Indian, and American members of the House of Representatives.

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:11 pm 
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Actually, I was thinking more along the lines that if the USofA were going to expand, it would do so into areas that don't have strong central governments and where it has ethnic ties via its minoritiy populations. (eg. Hispanics and African Americans.)

Kind of like Rome going out into Gaul. That doesn't exactly weaken the charismatic strongman comparison though.

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:12 pm 
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Duke Leto wrote:
FWIW, the two major cultures of the USofA are perfectly intact and there are numerous subcultural entities still thriving. You can still have cultural diversity with political and economic integration. The only convincing evidence I've seen for keeping linguistic diversity are cases where one language confers an actual cognitive processing advantage on its speakers. For example, native speakers of various Asian languages have an edge in mathmatics over Indo-European speakers since the vocalization of individual numbers is shorter by about half in these languages, leaving more space in short term memory for larger numbers. (Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers.) And the solution there is as always for the inferior cultural practitioners to nick the better one.

Nearly a whole continent with only two major cultures is a bloody travesty! And the reason for linguistic diversity is not because it confers some cognitive advantage but because people want it.

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My opinion on the concept of national sovereignty is that it's an excellent deal for the national politicians and much less so for the various nationals.

We're obviously at the point where a world government with teeth is vitally needed, if only to integrate global environmental policy. Getting there by expanding the US in its current form is a probably not a possibility, or even a good idea, although I admit the notion of a bevy of African and Latin American Senators drowning out the shrill screeches of the Red State senators brings warmth to my heart.

Yes, surely the world government in Washington or Brussels knows what's good for people much better than the actual people! We can finally integrate our environmental policies by forcing all those Thirdy-Worldy countries to stop developing, maintain the Western levels of civil liberties on a global scale so that I can be arrested in India for telling Holocaust jokes, and equalize world economies by dragging the First World down to the levels of globholes where Chinese peasants go to find a marginal improvement on subsistence farming! United States of the World to the rescue, improving everything just like the UN of today -- but more!

MY GOD, the blithe, stupid, chauvinistic reasons people come up with for flagrant imperialism should no longer surprise me, but THEY STILL DO! Especially because if you happen to grab a little bit of land that really belongs to you anyway from people who want to overthrow your country and exterminate you everyone calls you genocidal Nazis. But I won't get into that.

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:26 pm 
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Simon_Jester wrote:
Who drowns out the African and Latin American senators when half of them move to consider a constitutional amendment that pushes the agenda of the "Charismatic Strongman of the Week" party?


I don't think anybody is immune to the allure of the Charismatic Strongman.

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:51 pm 
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Ya know Crazed... are you bothering to read what I'm actully saying or are you just throwing a poop fit in general and I just so happen to be a convenient target?

Fine. You think that cultural diversity is vitally important and that the US is a sick homogenizing cesspool... great, absolutely wonderful. WHY?!?! Your just typing in boldface that that is the way its supposed to be loudly to contradict my assertion that linguistic diversity serves no meaningful purpose other than allowing more efficient idioms to develop is no kind of argument. Your counterargument is always that people "want" to speak their own languages. Well obviously, but are they born speaking whatever the hell it is they first learn? No. And I can assure you that when people do move to a new area where the dominant culture speaks a different language, their children and grandchildren typically have precious little interest in upholding the old language once they assimilate. Unless a strict ghetto is maintained, I know of no circumstance where any language has survived immersion in a larger language area. That indicates to me that the idea that people "want" linguistic diversity is a crock of poop.

Perhaps you are offended because I appear to you to be suggesting that everyone should be forced to learn English and not be allowed to speak their native languages. Well you can be as offended as you damn well like, because I certainly am not advocating any such thing.

Now I take umberance at being called a chauvinistic imperialist because, if you look at my other posts in the thread, you'll see I'm against an expansion of the US to be a US of the World because the United States of America is too politically, culturally and economically unhealthy to do so. So please take the "holier than thou boldface" and shove it.

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:06 pm 
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Malice wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
Who drowns out the African and Latin American senators when half of them move to consider a constitutional amendment that pushes the agenda of the "Charismatic Strongman of the Week" party?


I don't think anybody is immune to the allure of the Charismatic Strongman.
Obama is charismatic, but I don't think he's very strong.

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:21 pm 
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Malice has a point, SJ, I'm not at all fond of Cults of Personality and even as a card carrying Obama revolutionary, the amount of hagiography drifting around him right now gives me the willies.

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:29 pm 
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Last I looked, European countries seem to be retaining their individual languages and cultures just fine.

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:05 am 
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How about Turkish-German minority? And the Wends? And the Sorbs? What about the Bretons and the Provencals? Or the Welsh and the Scots for that matter.

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:18 am 
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Duke Leto wrote:
Fine. You think that cultural diversity is vitally important and that the US is a sick homogenizing cesspool... great, absolutely wonderful. WHY?!?


Cultural diversity is vitally important because it is provides divergent perspectives, which better improve our ability to see ourselves and others (no one perspective is capable of providing the answers to everything, you know). This is also important with regards to language - bilingualism bestows many other traits, chief among them the ability to distinguish ideas from words from a young age (and thus, identify that concepts can have different, equally valid "containers"). The knowledge that our ideas are something different from our language is the first stop to building greater tolerance and understanding across and within cultures.

But also, there's that particular thing that, you know, people like their cultures and languages. Displacing people from their culture and language causes significant unhappiness for the displaced (see Indigenous Australians, First Nations and Native Americans, f'rex). Notice how everyone wants to learn English, but very few people wish to discard the languages they already possess. Many people want to incorporate elements of western culture into their lives, but few people want to ditch that culture wholesale. And we should avoid significant unhappiness whenever possible.

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