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greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement

TEDCRED 50+

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For those of you who live in other countries, how do you feel toward the United States?

Since I don't travel much from my home near Los Angeles, I often wonder how others feel toward America and Americans.

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      Jan 28 2013: Oh, Kate, I think people will engage quite honestly on this! Americans themselves love to criticize America and other Americans and hold to their own stereotypes. Criticism of America is an American tradition!

      What interests me is how people form their views about other countries and their people or even their own country and its people.

      For example, I wouldn't feel that the media through which I get information about other countries would give me a reliable picture at all about how open-minded the people are.
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        Jan 28 2013: Fritz, why wouldn't the media give you a reliable picture about how open-minded the people are in other countries? After all, doesn't the media have reporters on the ground in other countries who file their stories from those countries and really do interact with the people in those countries.

        Is America more self-critical than other countries? Why might that be?
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          Jan 28 2013: Do you, Greg, feel like you know how open-minded people in Germany are or in England or Japan or Nigeria? How confident are you in your impression? Do you feel like you have a rich picture of the variety of views about a variety of issues in each of these places?

          Maybe you do feel well informed in this respect. I don't feel confident at all that the information I have about other countries is more than superficial. And I am often impressed with how homogeneous in views and disposition people believe Americans are.

          The United States protects dissent via the Bill of Rights. Further, there is a long tradition of distrusting and criticizing authority and "the establishment", including government.

          My statement made no comparison between the United States and any other country in the disposition to self-criticize or dissent. My claim was only that in the US complaining about/criticizing modern culture, government, education, and so forth is ubiquitous and has been for my whole life, at least. Those who do not criticize the country, its people, and its institutions would be the nonconformists in the US, don't you think?
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      Jan 28 2013: Kate, I really didn't mean for it to be loaded. Probably I was mostly thinking that I occasionally hear that certain groups or tribes really hate America, and wondered why that might be? Maybe they're justified in their hate, or maybe it's incorrect thinking.
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          Feb 2 2013: Kate, if Australia is doing some things better, how or why do you think they are able to do it?

          Yeah, I'm no expert on gun culture, being a pacifist who has never owned one. I usually feel glad that my fellow citizenry has guns, because I worry about our government suddenly becoming more dictators, trying to dominate the people by force, and if the people have guns, they could fight this. Knowing the people have guns keeps the government in check.

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