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The New American Idiot

PureX

Veteran Member
How the American Idiot Made America Unlivable
America is a Poor Country Now, in Ways that are Likely to be Permanent

"What the American Idiot has done to America is to make it an impoverished country. Not just any kind of poverty — what you might call deep poverty.

Let me explain.


New Zealand has zero new cases of Corona. In America, they’re spinning out of control. One way to think about it is to say that your chances of dying of this lethal pandemic are now…infinitely higher in America than in New Zealand. Compared to Europe and Canada, they’re about a hundred times higher.

That’s a kind of poverty, too. A poverty of public health. Americans have spent decades being impoverished of public health by the American Idiot — the kind of person who votes against better healthcare for everyone, including themselves, their kids, their parents. What the? What kind of idiot does that? A very, very large number of Americans.

The result of that attitude was a society poor in a gruesome and strange way — poor in public health itself. What I mean by that is that American life expectancy is the lowest in the rich world, and plummeting, that Americans have the highest rates of all kinds of preventable chronic diseases, from diabetes to obesity to heart disease. You can see it on American faces, in fact: a society poor in health is a society of unhealthy people.

... This is a syndrome unique to America — a form of poverty that Europeans and Canadians struggle to understand, because, well, they’ve mostly eliminated it. But in America, health poverty is endemic.

So endemic that you can see America’s gotten shockingly poorer and poorer in health — right down to the resurgence of old, conquered diseases, from measles to mumps. Again, that’s the work of the American Idiot — the kind of person who won’t vaccinate their kids, which is an idea that in the end takes society right back to the medieval days of endemic smallpox and polio.

... Americans are culturally impoverished, too. The American Idiot has turned American culture into the one of the world’s regressive, short-sighted, narrow-minded, and, well…idiotic. Literally the tiniest shreds of decency and sanity come under a murderous, withering barrage of denial and false “debate” — from things as simple as wearing masks to ones as large as educating Americans about how the rest of the rich world and even the poor one now has vastly better functioning societies.

Huge chunks of American culture are so hateful, foolish, or bizarre that they’d be either illegal, laughable, or bewildering in much of the rest of the world, from Canada, Europe, or Asia. “Debating” whether the answer to school shootings — which happen nowhere else — is to arm teachers? The idea that billionaires are somehow good for society, or that things like healthcare, retirement, pensions, income, and safety aren’t human rights? That money is all that should matter? Nearly everyone else in the world finds such notions jaw-droppingly foolish by now, which is how the American Idiot made his country a laughingstock the world over."

Read the essay, it's not long ... link here

Why do you think we have gone this way? Why have we become so determined to be so stupid about almost everything we think and do?

 
Last edited:

metis

aged ecumenical anthropologist
As harsh as the words are, it's hard to argue with them.

Americans used to be quite pragmatic and science oriented, but now we are more ideologically constipated, self-centered, and quite "tribal". We have elevated sheer belief to a high level minus facts to support them, would rather be entertained than to do any studying, and "my opinion is right" is somehow proof alone that it's right. We have become quite materialistic, hedonistic, and lying is acceptable as long as we get away with it. If we get caught, it's the fault of the person who caught us.

IOW, the "Ugly American": Ugly American (pejorative) - Wikipedia .
 

PureX

Veteran Member
As harsh as the words are, it's hard to argue with them.

Americans used to be quite pragmatic and science oriented, but now we are more ideologically constipated, self-centered, and quite "tribal". We have elevated sheer belief to a high level minus facts to support them, would rather be entertained than to do any studying, and "my opinion is right" is somehow proof alone that it's right. We have become quite materialistic, hedonistic, and lying is acceptable as long as we get away with it. If we get caught, it's the fault of the person who caught us.

IOW, the "Ugly American": Ugly American (pejorative) - Wikipedia .
But why do you think we have gone this way? What is driving us to wallow in our idiocy, rather than seeking to learn new and better ways of thinking and doing things?
 

sun rise

The world is on fire
Premium Member
I certainly agree with the statement of our current condition. After WWII, the US led the world in power and material accomplishment. We had it easy for a long time and had no real desire to look at the deep rooted problems we have - they could be easily ignored.

Now the sky is full of metaphorical chickens soon to be roosting. And our collective immaturity is painfully obvious with anti-mask wearing, I don't care about tomorrow and you partying and believing congenital liars on the part of a lot of society.

But I'm not a pessimist. I believe there's a reservoir of positive energy that will emerge after the crap has been painfully burned off.
 

PureX

Veteran Member
I certainly agree with the statement of our current condition. After WWII, the US led the world in power and material accomplishment. We had it easy for a long time and had no real desire to look at the deep rooted problems we have - they could be easily ignored.

Now the sky is full of metaphorical chickens soon to be roosting. And our collective immaturity is painfully obvious with anti-mask wearing, I don't care about tomorrow and you partying and believing congenital liars on the part of a lot of society.

But I'm not a pessimist. I believe there's a reservoir of positive energy that will emerge after the crap has been painfully burned off.
I hear not a peep about 'organizing' for change. And I find that very worrisome. We have had our moments of idiocy in the past, certainly, but people organized, and went to the streets, and forced the nation to wake up and change.

But this time I see nothing of that. Even the protests in the news are few and far between and very poorly organized and messaged. What are those people in Portland even protesting, exactly? And if the media is ignoring their message, why aren't the getting it out there, themselves? It's as if we've all just given in to our own demise.
 

Stevicus

Veteran Member
Staff member
Premium Member
Why do you think we have gone this way? Why have we become so determined to be so stupid about almost everything we think and do?

I don't think it's that people are "stupid." I think people have gotten more self-centered, selfish, more of a "me first" attitude. They only know or care about that which personally affects them.

There's also a certain underlying social Darwinism in the way a lot of people think. The idea that "only the strong shall survive." There's always been that idea in America in one form or another. There's a certain cold indifference to it, but it's how people often are.

To some degree, I think what America may be experiencing is a certain cumulative effect of long-term damage to our national consciousness, at least in the sense that a lot of the political rhetoric seems like people are just "fed up" with all the BS, and each side blames the other for causing it.

The anger is real. A lot of people have good reason to feel fed up with all the BS, but anger, just like any other strong emotion, can cause humans to do stupid things and agree to stupid ideas (and they might even vote for stupid politicians).
 

Twilight Hue

Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.
How the American Idiot Made America Unlivable
America is a Poor Country Now, in Ways that are Likely to be Permanent

"What the American Idiot has done to America is to make it an impoverished country. Not just any kind of poverty — what you might call deep poverty.

Let me explain.


New Zealand has zero new cases of Corona. In America, they’re spinning out of control. One way to think about it is to say that your chances of dying of this lethal pandemic are now…infinitely higher in America than in New Zealand. Compared to Europe and Canada, they’re about a hundred times higher.

That’s a kind of poverty, too. A poverty of public health. Americans have spent decades being impoverished of public health by the American Idiot — the kind of person who votes against better healthcare for everyone, including themselves, their kids, their parents. What the? What kind of idiot does that? A very, very large number of Americans.

The result of that attitude was a society poor in a gruesome and strange way — poor in public health itself. What I mean by that is that American life expectancy is the lowest in the rich world, and plummeting, that Americans have the highest rates of all kinds of preventable chronic diseases, from diabetes to obesity to heart disease. You can see it on American faces, in fact: a society poor in health is a society of unhealthy people.

... This is a syndrome unique to America — a form of poverty that Europeans and Canadians struggle to understand, because, well, they’ve mostly eliminated it. But in America, health poverty is endemic.

So endemic that you can see America’s gotten shockingly poorer and poorer in health — right down to the resurgence of old, conquered diseases, from measles to mumps. Again, that’s the work of the American Idiot — the kind of person who won’t vaccinate their kids, which is an idea that in the end takes society right back to the medieval days of endemic smallpox and polio.

... Americans are culturally impoverished, too. The American Idiot has turned American culture into the one of the world’s regressive, short-sighted, narrow-minded, and, well…idiotic. Literally the tiniest shreds of decency and sanity come under a murderous, withering barrage of denial and false “debate” — from things as simple as wearing masks to ones as large as educating Americans about how the rest of the rich world and even the poor one now has vastly better functioning societies.

Huge chunks of American culture are so hateful, foolish, or bizarre that they’d be either illegal, laughable, or bewildering in much of the rest of the world, from Canada, Europe, or Asia. “Debating” whether the answer to school shootings — which happen nowhere else — is to arm teachers? The idea that billionaires are somehow good for society, or that things like healthcare, retirement, pensions, income, and safety aren’t human rights? That money is all that should matter? Nearly everyone else in the world finds such notions jaw-droppingly foolish by now, which is how the American Idiot made his country a laughingstock the world over."

Read the essay, it's not long ... link here

Why do you think we have gone this way? Why have we become so determined to be so stupid about almost everything we think and do?
There's no question we have our issues here in the US, but I don't ascribe with, "the grass is greener" on the other side given the tumultuous history of many European nations.

I also find comparisons difficult as well. A place like New Zealand for instance is vastly different from the United States especially when you look at the demographics.
 

Twilight Hue

Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.
I don't think it's that people are "stupid." I think people have gotten more self-centered, selfish, more of a "me first" attitude. They only know or care about that which personally affects them.

There's also a certain underlying social Darwinism in the way a lot of people think. The idea that "only the strong shall survive." There's always been that idea in America in one form or another. There's a certain cold indifference to it, but it's how people often are.

To some degree, I think what America may be experiencing is a certain cumulative effect of long-term damage to our national consciousness, at least in the sense that a lot of the political rhetoric seems like people are just "fed up" with all the BS, and each side blames the other for causing it.

The anger is real. A lot of people have good reason to feel fed up with all the BS, but anger, just like any other strong emotion, can cause humans to do stupid things and agree to stupid ideas (and they might even vote for stupid politicians).
I kind of think of it as 'growing pains'. Something every nation experiences over time and with generations that are experimenting and trying new things

If anything , I think we lost our sense of history and therefore lost our sense of perspective, but in the end I think experience is the best teacher and these type of things will eventually end leading to a more stable future for a period of time.

It seems all nations are relegated to continual cycles of dark ages and renaissance in a strange clockwork way.
 

sun rise

The world is on fire
Premium Member
It seems all nations are relegated to continual cycles of dark ages and renaissance in a strange clockwork way.

Those that survive. Nations like everything else are born, mature and finally die. I think we're in the middle of an adolescent crisis/meltdown using a human model as an analogy.
 

King Phenomenon

Well-Known Member
As harsh as the words are, it's hard to argue with them.

Americans used to be quite pragmatic and science oriented, but now we are more ideologically constipated, self-centered, and quite "tribal". We have elevated sheer belief to a high level minus facts to support them, would rather be entertained than to do any studying, and "my opinion is right" is somehow proof alone that it's right. We have become quite materialistic, hedonistic, and lying is acceptable as long as we get away with it. If we get caught, it's the fault of the person who caught us.

IOW, the "Ugly American": Ugly American (pejorative) - Wikipedia .
Not all.
My beliefs are right for me
 

King Phenomenon

Well-Known Member
As harsh as the words are, it's hard to argue with them.

Americans used to be quite pragmatic and science oriented, but now we are more ideologically constipated, self-centered, and quite "tribal". We have elevated sheer belief to a high level minus facts to support them, would rather be entertained than to do any studying, and "my opinion is right" is somehow proof alone that it's right. We have become quite materialistic, hedonistic, and lying is acceptable as long as we get away with it. If we get caught, it's the fault of the person who caught us.

IOW, the "Ugly American": Ugly American (pejorative) - Wikipedia .
What's wrong with being entertained? I've done enough studying for 15 years in school. What's wrong with taking a little break? I still educate myself a little bit though. And besides a lot of people say half the stuff you learn in school is garbage anyway. I don't say that however
 

Polymath257

Think & Care
Staff member
Premium Member
But why do you think we have gone this way? What is driving us to wallow in our idiocy, rather than seeking to learn new and better ways of thinking and doing things?

This is the classical difficulty with republics and democracies. Aristotle wrote about it 2300 years ago. The people who vote start to vote for the people that will help *them* the most as opposed to those who are best for the country as a whole. That leads to political parties (which our Founding Fathers loathed) and, ultimately, the rise of demagogues. It is hard work staying educated about the issues of the day and entertainment is more fun, so people stop focusing on education and focus more on awards and play. Eventually, you get an uninformed populace that feels self-entitled and refuses to obey simple rules that will keep them and others safe.

At that point, it is common to elect a 'strong man' that claims to be able to solve all the problems, but instead just pushes the issues farther from the attention of those voting while trashing the institutions that supported popular rule. Often that leads to war.

If the society is lucky, they then get a benevolent dictator. If unlucky, they get military rule or a theocracy.
 

Quetzal

A little to the left and slightly out of focus.
Premium Member
I also find comparisons difficult as well. A place like New Zealand for instance is vastly different from the United States especially when you look at the demographics.
I do, too. But I don't know much about NZ and their demographics. Do you have an example by chance?
 

Brickjectivity

Veteran Member
Staff member
Premium Member
Those that survive. Nations like everything else are born, mature and finally die. I think we're in the middle of an adolescent crisis/meltdown using a human model as an analogy.
We're still recovering from two world wars, so give us a chance. That stuff is toxic.
 

Twilight Hue

Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.
I do, too. But I don't know much about NZ and their demographics. Do you have an example by chance?
Well the obvious would be population,
density of population, climate and type of government there alongside the minds and hearts of its people.

Size of United States compared to New Zealand

I would say New Zealand would be a lot easier to manage than the United States in terms of logistics and accessibility.
 

Stevicus

Veteran Member
Staff member
Premium Member
We're still recovering from two world wars, so give us a chance. That stuff is toxic.

Not to mention the Cold War. In fact, that probably did more psychological damage to America than the World Wars. It lasted longer anyway, and included a nuclear arms race and various hot wars, international intrigue, etc. Then there's the War on Terror, War on Drugs. We have a continuous state of war, and no real "peace" to speak of.
 

Father Heathen

Veteran Member
Is.there a way to "break the spell" over the entrenched tribe? Or are they hopelessly dependant upon the "Kool-ade" and doomed to chain themsleves to the mast of a sinking ship?
 
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