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hardcore_gamer

Is the west really as noble as it thinks it is?

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All I keep hearing in the news is how evil countries like Russia and China are and how the noble west only cars about the freedom and democracy of the world, but is there actually anything backing this up? As far as I can tell the west appears to just behave the same as anybody else would by protecting it's own interests, and the US hasn't had much problem with installing dictatorships where it wants if they protect US interest. I also can't really see the Russia as a bad guy when NATO and the west tries to surround it. Is the West really as noble as the news claim it is?

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Western values are noble, but the governments currently in place in the west subvert those purported values. The solution is reform so that the governments reflect their societies' values.

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Sodaholic said:

Western values are noble


I dunno, I think the insane super materialism and excessive individualism aren't exactly very noble. We do have democracy, and certain groups like homosexuals aren't hated as much as elsewhere, but that appears to be one of the only advantages we have over these people. I would take a disciplined Russian boy over the typical spoiled materialist western teenager any day of the week.

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Every leader/religion/country/cultural-bloc has to claim that their beliefs are virtuous, in order to have the support of their people. The nobility of particular beliefs are subjective.

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hardcore_gamer said:

All I keep hearing in the news is how evil countries like Russia and China are and how the noble west only cars about the freedom and democracy of the world, but is there actually anything backing this up?


Of course: all Western sources agree on this, so it must be true. And those that don't agree are obviously secretly funded by Putin. Everything is normal, Citizen, so move along!

hardcore_gamer said:

I dunno, I think the insane super materialism and excessive individualism aren't exactly very noble. We do have democracy, and certain groups like homosexuals aren't hated as much as elsewhere, but that appears to be one of the only advantages we have over these people.


Typically, you will get a response such as "Western democracy, capitalism and set of values are by no means perfect, but they are The Best Of Possible Worlds (TM)", and it's very hard that you'll be able to satisfactorily answer their counterpoint "What is the alternative?".

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All the plebs on my land call me Lord, and my Castle is better than the other Nobles, so yes, we are Noble. Now keep harvesting, nave!

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Which media do you hear the west is noble? A gentleman isn't a gentleman because he says he's a gentleman.

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geo said:

Which media do you hear the west is noble? A gentleman isn't a gentleman because he says he's a gentleman.


But geo, lol, the West has the Moral High Ground thanks to the the Values of Freedom and Democracy that it heralds and upholds. It doesn't need to prove that it's Noble, since those values are inherently Noble, amirite?

The concept of "moral superiority of the West and its inevitable triumph" was really set in stone by Winston's Churchill famous speech on the Iron Curtain.

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Is any society really as noble as it says it is? Of course not. Do you just believe what a government tells you it believes the truth to be?

Also, many things are now accepted as global values they aren't just western. Free trade, minority rights vs majority rule, international diplomatic order, freedom of expression & worship, freedom of information.

A lot of values are not western, they are accepted and improved upon by people of all cosmopolitan societies.

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I was gonna weigh in, but Cuppy said it all and said it better. I can't think of any "truly" noble country/region/etc.

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Maes said:

Typically, you will get a response such as "Western democracy, capitalism and set of values are by no means perfect, but they are The Best Of Possible Worlds (TM)", and it's very hard that you'll be able to satisfactorily answer their counterpoint "What is the alternative?".


I would argue that some kind of a new system of government is needed. I suggest some kind of a Starship troopers style direct democracy where people have to serve their community somehow (not only through the army like in the movies, though) if they want to vote. Perhaps this would install some sense of humility into the ever more spoiled and whiny western brats and get the idea into their heads that the world doesn't exist only for them. I swear that in our current western systems, things will get so bad that at some point the west will just outright suffer a civilizational collapse because of all of the bullshit. I don't believe it for one moment that this kind of "me me me me me!" style society is going to stand a chance in the long term. It will collapse.

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Describing the UK government and UK politics as "noble" would be way too generous, but I'm thankful that I live in a country where I won't have my hands cut off for voting for the wrong party, or risk being killed by speaking out against someone or something powerful, and where child labour isn't a thing anymore.

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What exactly do you want to know? If were secretly plotting to dominate the world? Historically the US has done some pretty amazing things. Currently the US is doing some pretty amazing things. Were also doing some shitty things now and have in the past too. There's a lot of factors here. Do you want to know the country's position in global affairs? Or the quality of life for its citizens?

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Maes said:

But geo, lol, the West has the Moral High Ground thanks to the the Values of Freedom and Democracy that it heralds and upholds. It doesn't need to prove that it's Noble, since those values are inherently Noble, amirite?

The concept of "moral superiority of the West and its inevitable triumph" was really set in stone by Winston's Churchill famous speech on the Iron Curtain.


I'm not sure Freedom and Democracy are here anymore so much as it has become do what the fuck you want. People should do what the fuck they want, because when you try to stop them that's when it becomes an issue that people can make careers out of.

Every nation has its good and bad sides. Its all how you spin things.

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Snakes said:

Depends. German hop farms are very noble, for example.

Pfft, it doesn't get any nobler than hop from Žatec.

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hardcore_gamer said:

I would argue that some kind of a new system of government is needed. I suggest some kind of a Starship troopers style direct democracy where people have to serve their community somehow (not only through the army like in the movies, though) if they want to vote. Perhaps this would install some sense of humility into the ever more spoiled and whiny western brats and get the idea into their heads that the world doesn't exist only for them.

You have evidence that military or civil service gives one humility or that having it provides one with the ability to vote non-erroneously? I think you simply assume it ought to and therefore, will.

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Quast said:

You have evidence that military or civil service gives one humility or that having it provides one with the ability to vote non-erroneously? I think you simply assume it ought to and therefore, will.


People become less selfish when they are made to sacrifice for others at no gain for them self's. Unless you imply that firefighters are police officers who risk their lives for us are no more noble any anybody else?

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Even Heinlein, in his Startship Troopers novel, had characters repeatedly discredit the notion that a citizen (someone who served the Federation and gained the right to vote) was in any way better (at least in terms of political judgment) than a non-citizen.

There was however, a concession that there might be at least a moral difference between somone willing to fight and die fo the Federation and one who didn't. In context, the difference was relevant, since federal service was not compulsory.

But then again, a lot of people just joined hoping to get away with 2-3 years of non-combat service and be able to boast about what Heinlein called (through his novel's characters) a "purely token privilege". Hard to call those "pillars of morality" ;-)

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The model of government in Starship Troopers was something equivalent to a fascist republic. One that respects the rights of "citizens" and generally treated all races as being equal. However, if you didn't directly support the government through civil service (basically a form of slave labor and propaganda), political loyalty, compulsory military service, and contributing to a version of state capitalism, then you were formally placed into an underclass and you may as well be sacrificed for whatever the greater good may be. They were devoted fascists, instituting total war policies and couching everything in the philosophy of republicanism. Even in the movie adaptation all the military dress uniforms were designed to look like NSDP uniforms.

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TheCupboard said:

if you didn't directly support the government through civil service (basically a form of slave labor and propaganda), political loyalty, compulsory military service, and contributing to a version of state capitalism, then you were formally placed into an underclass and you may as well be sacrificed for whatever the greater good may be.


I read the book countless of times, and never did I get this notion from it. My understanding was that "non-citizens" had full civil rights, could be fully productive contributors to capitalism, even own significant property (Rico's father, a non-citizen, was often described as being a wealthy middle-upper class businessman).

However, they didn't have any political rights, which, again according by the book, started and ended with the right to vote and be voted (which is why many characters discarded citizenship as a "token priviliege", which otherwise didn't particularly help most people that had it). As for being "sacrificed for the greater good", that was exactly what happened to those performing Federal services. No such thing was expected out of non-serving civilians. And BTW, nobody became a citizen while still serving...which could last a lifetime.

An often overlooked aspect is that Federal Service was open to literally anyone, as a medical examiner told Rico "Even if you came here in a wheelchair, blind and with both arms amputated, we'd still have to pigeonhole you into some Federal gov't make-job. Maybe counting the fuzz on a caterpillar by touch". All that was required was that you performed in whatever you were assigned to.

Whether the service itself was purely military in nature, is also up to debate, as there are contrasting passages even in the book. However, there certainly were a lot of non-combat, pencil-pushing or menial work positions that qualified as federal service, kinda lika government make-jobs. So you could say Heinlein's society was first and foremost extremely Statalist, if anything else.

TheCupboard said:

They were devoted fascists, instituting total war policies and couching everything in the philosophy of republicanism. Even in the movie adaptation all the military dress uniforms were designed to look like NSDP uniforms.


The movies (especially the first one by Verhoeven) were explicitly shot as parodies of the original. I'd really like to see an adaptation that read deeper into the political-sociological messages in the book, and that didn't only focus on the "Marines IN SPACE!" or "HURR DURR FASCIST MILITARIZED SOCIETY" aspects.

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Agreed that the non-citizens weren't seen as redundant sacrifice or cannon-fodder or whatever. The citizens/Army was making it an important point of protecting them despite their non-involvement. On the other hand, the non-citizens were definitely an underclass. Doesn't Rico himself look at his own parents with slight disgust? Because they don't know what it's like, man, these civilians just don't understand. Citizens tolerate non-citizens, but they don't respect them and they don't bother to discuss politics with them. The non-citizens don't have a say in them anyways, right? Just a yapping noise in the background. It's most definitely a fascistic society, one that works so well, because it's already been cleansed and forced into order. Liberal fascism, what a wonderful oxymoron.

It's really just Heinlein wishing for a strong America, one that's free, but united within, because there are aliensRussians to defeat. Sacrificing your right for "internal strife" so common in democracies in order to unify the nation against evil outside forces is as brown as brown gets.

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Well, isn't this (usually) tolerant but detached and always a bit condescending attitude vs outsiders common with any professional, hobby or vocational association or club? E.g. Cops vs non-cops, Medical Doctors vs non-Medical Doctors, Engineers vs Non-Engineers, Party members vs non-Party Members etc.? Members of X vs Posers & Wannabes?

Complete with a "Thou is not entitled to speak about X" attitude, if you are not a (recognized) member of the "X club".

dew said:

Sacrificing your right for "internal strife" so common in democracies in order to unify the nation against evil outside forces is as brown as brown gets.


As Deng Xiaoping said "It doesn't matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice". Or brown as brown gets, in this case.

dew said:

Liberal fascism, what a wonderful oxymoron.


There are also nonliberal democracies, "democraduras", debtocracies, "reduced sovereignity" democracies, technocratic semi-democracies, reduced democracies in general etc. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. It might be brown as brown gets on one side, but also grey as grey gets on the other (or there might be no grass at all).

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The US lost all of its nobility years ago. Anyone who would say otherwise still has a pair of blinders on. We are talking about country who's government is completely corrupt and who's cheif export is warfare. If more US citizens detached themselves from the mainstream media and from the lie that is American politics they wouldn't call this country noble. Because they would see our country for what it really is. I just hope more people take their blinders off before permanent damage has been done. But, I would be lying to you if I didn't say that the realist in me says it already has.

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to be fair the chief export these days is obesity

And the nature of warfare which the US chooses to export is much different than during the Cold War. Now the US military kind of ignores territorial sovereignty and goes after guerilla groups who threaten US citizens & strategic allies who possess economic leverage over the US. The US wages cyberwarfare, espionage, targeted strikes with special ops & airstrikes. I think you will see a heavy reluctance to put boots on the ground for the next couple of decades at least. The budget and all-volunteer military simply won't provide for extended police actions and expensive regime change operations. The US also has a lingering credibility issue thanks to the phony 2003 Iraq occupation and blatant lies to the international community.

What the US is choosing to do (at least under Obama's term) is acting overtly in areas of strategic US interest. Most countries are unable to afford doing this due to small size, small GDP, high rates of debt and unemployment. The thing is, the US retains super power status in terms of economic leverage, military capability, and retardedly large nuclear arsenal. The rest of the world is kind of along for the ride as one super power acts critically in its own self-interest while the EU, China, Russia, and to a lesser extent India act as a counter-balance to large shifts in the geopolitical arena. The US's overall influence is gradually decaying, eventually all that will remain is an equal tripartite of the US, EU, and China with India and Brazil heading up the rear.

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"STFU, serfs, and enjoy the obesity that your Noble Lord bestows upon you!"

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TheCupboard said:

The US's overall influence is gradually decaying, eventually all that will remain is an equal tripartite of the US, EU, and China with India and Brazil heading up the rear.


What makes you think the EU will be a power block? It's leadership is doing a good job of alienating many of it's member states, with support for leaving the union growing in such countries as the UK.

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The EU has a foreign policy and is a "power" in any meaning of the word? That's news to me.

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The EU is feeling something of a double-dip or triple-dip recession. This is a temporary condition caused by idiotic austerity measures from 2007-2014. Basically none of the political leaders really learned a lesson and tried to repudiate Keynesian principles as strongly as their electorates would permit them to. However the EU as a whole has a larger banking system, GDP, population, better healthcare & education systems than the US. The real problem is a rapidly aging population and not enough young workers and innovators to take the place of retired persons. Still, once a series of immigration legislative packages are passed, the EU is positioned to be a strong power in the coming years.

Right now, the Union consists only of economic integration. This was a mistake that probably will be fixed in the coming decades and they will unite in some form of political integration, maybe something like republican confederacy. What many political theorists in the US are thinking is that the EU would be much more successful should they combine economic integration (which greatly reduced the unproductive force of nationalism and bolstered exports) with total political integration under a common European constitution. This would permit more effective regulatory agencies, reduce waste on military spending, and allow more coherent economic incentives to be passed. Right now, it's kind of odd that certain European governments can create business incentives within national borders and the businesses can take their tax credits or whatever and spend them in other countries of the EU, essentially negating whatever positive effects they might have had within the borders of the country who passed incentive legislation in the first place.

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