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  1. #31
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post

    I can't be bothered breaking down your post too much, but you need to do some research. Freedom, equality, et cetera, are not American values. They were first really put forward by John Locke, an Englishman, and expanded in the Enlightenment. Democratic ideals first appeared in Classical Athens. So don't bash Europe, that's where your views come from.
    True, but in fairness Europeans tended to over-idealize America as a land of freedom and the great hope for humanity. Take one famous example:

    America, you've got it better
    Than our old continent. Exult!
    You have no decaying castles
    And no basalt.
    Your heart is not troubled,
    In lively pursuits,
    By useless old remembrance
    And empty disputes.

    So use the present day with luck!
    And when your child a poem writes,
    Protect him, with his skill and pluck,
    From tales of bandits, ghosts and knights.
    - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


    This was quite common throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, even into the 20th century to an extent.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    True, but in fairness Europeans tended to over-idealize America as a land of freedom and the great hope for humanity. Take one famous example:

    America, you've got it better
    Than our old continent. Exult!
    You have no decaying castles
    And no basalt.
    Your heart is not troubled,
    In lively pursuits,
    By useless old remembrance
    And empty disputes.

    So use the present day with luck!
    And when your child a poem writes,
    Protect him, with his skill and pluck,
    From tales of bandits, ghosts and knights.
    - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    Goethe wrote that around 200 years ago, are you going to look at how the political context was vastly different?!?

    Central Europe was embroiled one of the bloodiest conflicts it had ever experienced, whereas America was scarcely affected, and the ideals I talked about in the above post were still very strong there at the time, whereas Europe became, understandably, quite reactionary. A lot of people left for America to escape the poverty that followed the Napoleonic Wars and because they had a better chance of owning land. The German speaking peoples are also very regionalised, even more so back then, and endlessly squabble with each other like children. They still haven't united completely after 200 years lol.

    I think that if Goethe was alive today his perspective would be quite different though.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    What do I think of Americans?

    Unfortunately other people have covered what immediately springs to mind

    I think it's worth pointing out that in practice there is no such thing as an American anymore, and hasn't been for at least half a century, maybe more. America has many nations living in one country, and having a passport and waving the flag doesn't mean your blood is tied with the country's founding culture and principles. From their appearance it seems like the people in America have blood from here, there and everywhere. Strange country.

    Another thing that irritates me about them is how they are so obnoxiously loud, and are oblivious as to how affronting other people find this. At a restaurant you can hear the entire conversation an American couple might be having more than the person sitting next to you. The stereotypical American is definitely an ESTJ.

    The third qualm i have is ignorance. Americans are, on average, the most ignorant people I have ever met from a supposedly first world country. I am not just talking about their cultural sophistication or better put lack of it, but just general knowledge of any given subject. I feel sorry for the few people who do have something between their ears in that country, it must be a nightmare for them...
    My family came here from Scotland in the 1700s. There are many, many Americans whose families have been here since the country was founded. There is definitely still such a thing as an American.

    (The loudness gets on my nerves, too.)

  4. #34
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    Goethe wrote that around 200 years ago, are you going to look at how the political context was vastly different?!?
    I know that, and you were referring to the Enlightenment and how America derived it's values from such. Indeed they did, and one common element of the Enlightenment in Europe was the idealization of America as a land of freedom-loving noble savages. Ben Franklin played into this quite a lot to help obtain European support for the American revolutionaries. The historical context of the remark and my argument was made rather clear.

    Nevertheless, as I said, this kind of idealization continued well past the 18th century. The 19th century saw other manifestations of this basic mentality, especially during the American Civil War. I'm quite surprised myself at how extensive this was.

    Several patterns seem to emerge from this. If you wish to have an extensive discussion of the historical developments of European perceptions of America; and how they're as much(or more) about Europe's self-image as they are about America, I'll gladly do so. This is a topic that interests me very much.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    My family came here from Scotland in the 1700s. There are many, many Americans whose families have been here since the country was founded. There is definitely still such a thing as an American.

    (The loudness gets on my nerves, too.)
    I understand that, and i hope you weren't too offended by my comment. What I was trying to say was that because America has become so diverse and wasn't founded with explicit ties to another country (like Canada, Australia and New Zealand were), it has become very difficult to accurately define an American people and culture, at least not without leaving out a lot of people and creating conflict. From what I can see, your government's answer is to just ignore the problem, ignore identity completely.

    Having less and less identity is one of the main reasons the sense of community is declining all over the Western world unless you're religious (in answer to another poster's observation).

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    I know that, and you were referring to the Enlightenment and how America derived it's values from such. Indeed they did, and one common element of the Enlightenment in Europe was the idealization of America as a land of freedom-loving noble savages. Ben Franklin played into this quite a lot to help obtain European support for the American revolutionaries. The historical context of the remark and my argument was made rather clear.

    Nevertheless, as I said, this kind of idealization continued well past the 18th century. The 19th century saw other manifestations of this basic mentality, especially during the American Civil War. I'm quite surprised myself at how extensive this was.

    Several patterns seem to emerge from this. If you wish to have an extensive discussion of the historical developments of European perceptions of America; and how they're as much(or more) about Europe's self-image as they are about America, I'll gladly do so. This is a topic that interests me very much.
    Send me a PM, I don't want to divert the thread.

  7. #37
    Sniffles
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    If you wish, although this thread is about European perceptions of America. A little historical context helps.

  8. #38
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    I understand that, and i hope you weren't too offended by my comment. What I was trying to say was that because America has become so diverse and wasn't founded with explicit ties to another country (like Canada, Australia and New Zealand were), it has become very difficult to accurately define an American people and culture, at least not without leaving out a lot of people and creating conflict. From what I can see, your government's answer is to just ignore the problem, ignore identity completely.

    Having less and less identity is one of the main reasons the sense or community is declining all over the Western world unless you're religious (in answer to another poster's observation).
    Our allegiance is to ourselves.
    Maybe more recent immigrants don't have a sense of identity of community as Americans, but there are scads and hoards and legions of us who do.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    If you wish, although this thread is about European perceptions of America. A little historical context helps.
    I just think I've posted enough in this thread for a while

  10. #40
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    I just think I've posted enough in this thread for a while
    I know the feeling or thought.

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