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Unread 10-15-2006, 02:05 PM   #1
Monstructor
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Default Question about western civilization VS other civilization.

Somebody mentioned this in the thread about North Korea's nukes. Why is it that western civilization is so stable, especially the countries that speak English? And the countries (which are inhabited entirely by minorities...not trying to be racist, but technically they are entirely inhabited by minorities) that don't know English are so Hellish? You look at Africa and Asia, and they're terrible places to live. There's a bloody military coup every five minuets in Africa, with one new dictator replacing the guy who just replaced the last dictator before him. And North Korea apparently wants to start a nuclear war or is just looking for trouble. It seems like all the trouble is in Africa and Asia (but especially Asia). Why is it that western civilization is advanced, developed and stable and the other places stink so bad? And I'm talking about now, so yeah, I know that blah blah blah they were living in palaces when us white folks were still living in caves (although I should note that the idea of the caveman is inaccurate, because there were never enough caves to support any human population, let alone caves that ever could support human life in any way. The idea of the hunter-gatherer man would be more accurate).

Edit: I guess I should note that if a country is entirely inhabited by that specific race of people then they're not really a minority. But you know what I mean.
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Unread 10-15-2006, 02:48 PM   #2
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Because England is a small island far away.

When we Americans kicked them out of our hemisphere during the revolutionary war, England had more than enough to take car of without worrying about us. Later on, we became really good friends, so there's no hostility left.

Nearly EVERY other scenario involves countries that are very close to eachother, all trying to take a little bit of land off one another like a bunch of starving pirhannas in a small pond.

It's almost like everybody knows somebody who got killed by the bastards they hate who live about 200 miles away. It's hard to imagine that hatred and greed and bitterness about conflicts would fade as easily in such situations the way it did with America and England.
Besides, England hated France more back then anyway.

I'd say that America is probably one of the only countries ever to be suddenly created without any opposition. We got a sweet deal. But Europe has been at eternal warfare since ancient Rome, and the Middle East is divided by religious zealots, and China is ornery because it's got a ton of people and feels unstoppable - Actually, all the asians are freaking ornery bastards. That's because they have the oldest cultures. Japan's only pacifist because WWII proved that their emperor wasn't actually a god.

The bottom line is that I'm lucky and free and everybody else is both unlucky and tormented by tradition, religion and culture.
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Unread 10-15-2006, 02:57 PM   #3
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Well for starters, they're not minorities if their the largest ethnic group in their country (which they are, in the countries they live in). I'm not an expert or anything, but I am of the opinion that (in Africa at least) the problem is historical/cultural. Africa, on the whole, has never really been ruled in teh same sense as the western European countries (one ruler/one group of rulers more or less united), it's been ruled by a huge assortment of tribes, each with its own distinct language, and constantly at war with a bunch of other tribes. Centralized gov't is a pretty new thing for them, they just aren't used to it (remember, it took western Europe hundreds of years to get where it is, you can't rush this kind of thing, just look what happened when France tried it). As for 'English speaking countries,' I don't want to rail on America/Britain, but plenty of non English speaking countries are stable (for instance, most of western Europe).

About Asia...one word. Communism.
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Unread 10-15-2006, 03:08 PM   #4
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Many problems in Africa stem from the European colonization of Africa. They created "countries" based on boundaries that made sense to them, i.e. geographical ones. However, this caused them to lump together tribal groups that had long-lasting rivalies and wars. Now the problem is that these groups (and other random groups, at this point) are all attempting to claim that the country belongs to them, and NOT the other group. Imagine the whole Israel/Palestine situation, except across most of a continent.

Asia is a trickier case. As unsatisfactory of an answer as it is, it's really just how history played out there. All the wars between various countries have lead to hatred that plays out as more wars and crazy dictators and oppression. I'm admittedly not as up on Asian culture and history, because it's not like we ever get taught non-European history in American schools...

Oh, and Sesshoumaru, if you really think the problems in Asia stem from Communism, I think you're horribly misinformed. The problems with North Korea stem from a dictator, not Communism, and that is the biggest problem in the area at this point in time. Your comment just sounds like left-over Cold War thinking to me..."There's a problem? It must be Communism's fault!"
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Unread 10-15-2006, 04:06 PM   #5
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Hey, something I said got a discussion started, sweet.

Anyways, it's in my opinion that we're so organized and such because we started off on a rather organized foot. The entire country, for the most part, was fighting the British, and liked the new political system we put in, and plus, it was all one main religion, Christianity, so that helped too. In essence, because we were homogenous at that time, we were able to set up our culture and civilization without a problem, except for a few minor burps (and now).

It's pretty much the same reason Egypt became so powerful, rather than the Mesopotamian civilizations. While the Meso. civs had the major technological advantages, Egypt was much richer and more powerful than they were, mostly because Egypt was so isolated that it had a nigh-homogenous Civ. If you get off on that foot, you're a lot more resillient to cultural subversion and the dissent it causes.

As for Africa, the whole continent has been treated like crap, so now we're just seeing the effects of "What happens when we use a major continent for slaves, gold, and other amusements, while putting nothing back in, and not really caring what the natives think".

The Middle East is crappy because of the theocracies. They're what happens when a homogenous Civ goes too far, and completely isolates themselves, rather than taking in the new thougts and ideas from the other places around them. Thus, anyone with different ideas is bad, and they get killed.

Asia is... ok, I really don't know too much about Asia, so I won't talk about it.
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Unread 10-15-2006, 04:10 PM   #6
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On the Middle East, I'd only add that a lot of the theocracy there has more to do with Western Civilization going to significant lengths to undermine anything besides theocracy that could have served as a stable organizing principle for society.
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Unread 10-15-2006, 04:17 PM   #7
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This is some pretty interesting stuff, fellas (no, I'm not being sarcastic). Yep, feel free to keep putting more in...
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Unread 10-15-2006, 04:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthfiend
On the Middle East, I'd only add that a lot of the theocracy there has more to do with Western Civilization going to significant lengths to undermine anything besides theocracy that could have served as a stable organizing principle for society.

Hey, I never said we made very good decisions.

But, now a bunch of people there want to kill us, so we have to deal with the consequences (and no, turning the ME into glass doesn't count)

Heck, that's a whole topic in and of itself.
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Unread 10-15-2006, 05:15 PM   #9
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Well, we are stable because we are the hegemony. We are the ruling power of the world. It's true. So, we are relatively stable cuz. nobody want's to incur our wrath.

Then various english speaking countries do a lot of business with us. They are safe by proximity. They tend to share most of our values and are often democratic so they fall under what we percieve as good and best, They fall under our umbrella of influence. We like them cuz. they are like us.

If you look at the countries full of "minorities" (they are only minorities in the u.s.), they often have different values than we do. They are often not democratic, and generally think differently than we do. They fall outside the umbrella of our influence.

Basically, think of it like this. If britain were invaded by say... iraq. We would likely send aid and weapons, maybe even troops we would see this as... a threat to democracy, and by extension us. If china were invaded by iraq, we might send support, but we probably would not, or at least not as much. We would see this as one of the countless wars going on at any time. That don't have much to do with us.

We are... a "sleeping giant" shall we say. Essentially what I mean is, various countries that we "like" are safe do to proximity with us. Countries that we do not "like" are not. The countries that we do not "like" have to worry about invasion, and what not, and so they develop less quickly.

Someday, america may not be the hedgemony. If for example, china became the hegemony, then various english speaking countries would begin to decline and various countries that china is aligned with/ on friendly terms with would begin to prosper and grow.
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Unread 10-15-2006, 05:28 PM   #10
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Well... Africa isn't in as bad a situation as some many think. It's definately not a continent littered with roses and gumdrops, but there are plenty of relatively stable places, South Africa and Nigeria are probably the most notable two.

But yes, the biggest issue there is ethnic conflict and factionalization, for this is the issue which weakens the ability to form a stable government, aid in health and relieve the scourge of disease, and allow a greater and fairer private sector to create jobs - and Europe is quite responsible for these.

I've been going to the news site allAfrica for a while now and ever since Africa has been a whole lot less chaotic in my eyes, and I greatly suggest everyone peek in every once in a while.

Imperialism was also a wrecker of stability in Asia, but Maoism was just as bad or worse, since Maoism inspired the likes of Pol Pot and other Maoist regimes.

Ethnic and religious conflict is also a big issue. Muslims wish to make more theocratic states in the area, fighting unstable regimes which were remnants of the Imperialistic era. Ethnic conflict exists... largely against the Chinese, being called "The Jews of Indonesia" or of any other country where Chinese business thrives.

South Asia... India is largely okay, so long as you're not in any of the Northwestern regions (with the long-running remnant of Imperialism, Pakistan disputing India's right to own certain territories) or anywhere near Sri Lanka (which is currently facing a violent opposition party). Bangladesh is hopelessly poor and Nepal has a strong Maoist movement ready to smash the established government.

The Middle East... Feh... Everyone already knows what's up with that one. Aside from what's been mentioned... Afghanistan might just be the Columbia of Asia.

South America fares better than Central America, which is also, for the most part, hopelessly poor. Crime is the big issue in South America, with suprisingly high rates of crimes committed with firearms with people dying. You also got that Hugo Chavez guy, who is an "unfortunate blessing" who does some good things, but does it through rigging elections and inspiring hatred.

Europe's issues are in the East. Russia's "democracy" is proving to be a farce and outbursts of violence in the Balkans and slavic areas are still not unseen (though it's obviously much better than it was just over a decade ago). Some stories of independence, such as with Monte-negro recently, have been successes, while some have been with ongoing disputes, such as with Kosovo and BosniaPan-slavism has only brought bad things to Europe, so it's better that we have a huge slew of small states.

The only problem with Western Europe is unemployment, radicals in Spain, relilgious conflict in Belfast, and the seasonal French riots.

The US and Canada are big consumers with very high rates of oil and gas consumption. Aside from mild secessionist movements in Quebec, there isn't anything else bad there, aside from the cold.

The US, being the great power of the world, exercises great amounts of influence on the world. Not much imperialism which involves structural change of an occupied territory (aside from our conflicts in the Middle East, of course). The degree of hegemony we do is also overstated, but it exists. The biggest issue with the US is that it has the power to do so much good, but squandors it.

Of course, there's the whole other layer of MNCs that I won't go into right now.

As far as democracy is concerned, it's been said that liberal democracies don't make war with each other. However, they redily partake in war and conflict with people's democracies.

But why are these places less stable? As all have said, imperial and hemegonistic powers have taken advantage of smaller countries for their own good, and when they left, they left a mark of instability on the area.

Of course, these are all simplifications (or even generalizations), but asking us to compare a few billion people to another few billion people is no simple task.
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