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Don Anderson

TEDCRED 50+

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I need help with a dilemma: What does it mean to be American? And Why does it work?

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Up-date to thread’s scope: (July 10th)

Thanks for all the comments, they have been very helpful.
I have sorted out my feeling on being American, it maybe a jumbled mess but it is working for me. And to avoid rehashing what has been said I’ll leave it at that.

But the large diversity of views here, and within America’s culture, politics, values, heritages, etc. I have to ask;

Why does it work?

By most standards we are a highly dysfunctional group, and should be a failed society.
But here we are a great nation, and by most logic that should not be the case.
Yes we are the home of the free and the brave, but also home of tyrants, cowards, passive, aggressive, moral and immoral and I could go on and on forever.

Americans are often labeled as racist and intolerant, if that was true we would not have more nationalities and different cultures than any other country in the world.
Being American is a lessen tolerance and that is something we can’t experience in heaven, but I feel the lessen goes deeper than that.


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Is American where you live, or is American a belief in freedom and liberty for all?

Firstly let me state I believe we are here to learn from experience that we can’t have in heaven. And recently I have had two events in my life that have me confused as to the lesion I should be learning from them.

My Background: I’m just an average lower-middleclass Midwest American.

Experience 1: I have been researching my ancestry for about a year now, and I feel pride with my findings. So far my ancestors range from English noble that came to America in 1633, to peasant framer and serving maid from Prussia (Germany) in 1820. No slave owners, only union army soldiers, fought for America in the war for independence, etc.

Experience 2: Many people throughout the world, now are fighting and/or protesting for freedom and libe

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Closing Statement from Don Anderson

I just noticed that when I added the up-date at the top it cutoff some at the bottom.
Basically Experience 2 was feeling shame for the current America and how all the founding values gone, and asked how to address the confecting feelings.
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I have concluded that I can feel pride for upholding the founding values of America, and as I witness its fail I should feel sadness instead of shame. And find comfort in that like the Roman Empire it values will live on thought out the world, even though it exists in name only.

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    Jul 25 2013: Problem: Outsourcing of US jobs
    Create a tax on a US company when they create a job overseas.

    Education: Too Expensive
    Require institution like Harvard to offer very low cost online classes.

    Increase Growth in the US:
    Increase immigration we need a larger a population to grow. But favor small business owners.

    Change tax policy to reward work vs. passive income generation.
    Create large enterprise zones in sparsely populated regions like Wyoming.
    Limit the amount that a large company can advertise. They drown out and pollute the marketing channel for smaller businesses.
    Give consumers the ability to Opt out of all advertising: TV, radio, direct mail. Marketing has controlled behavior and highjacked the culture.
    Prohibit Govt. officials to have any contact with govt. when they leave office. (lobbying)
    Start a national "work from home" campaign for office workers to reduce consumption of gasoline and clogged highways.
    Create non corporate "channels" on the internet that serve society.
    Create local financing units where small investors can pool assets and invest in a portfolio of local startups. Cut military spending and stop meddling with countries around the World.
    Create a culture of compassion and brotherly love at home and abroad.
    Raise the consciousness of need based consumption vs. greed based consumption.
    Replace national prosperity accounting of GNP with Gross National Happiness analysis.
    • Jul 25 2013: Outsourcing: Already being done. Taxes becoming less important as labor supply rises and demand for lower-paying jobs increases. The problem is too many low-paying jobs created by economies of scale. Change the scale.

      Education: An online Harvard education is not a Harvard education. Content is largely the same regardless of the institution. The difference is in the quality of teaching and peer interaction. If you want book learnin', go to the University of Phoenix. If you want experience and certifiable ability, go to Harvard. In person. The bigger problem is in primary and secondary education, not so much post-secondary.

      Increase Growth: A larger population? So we can have a larger labor supply that will encourage lower wages? For me, the solution is in something besides taxes that encourage a distribution, rather than an accumulation of excessive capital. More taxes equals more bureaucracy (and its expense).

      Labor vs. passive income: If by passive income you mean welfare, right on. If you mean making money by trading paper, it's encouraging from the standpoint of developing individual skills. England lost a lot of it's cultural leadership when its economy changed from colonialism (development) to financing. If I invest in a pool of local startups, what's wrong with doing so successfully? I have provided necessary capital, and created an income for myself. And helped to do so for others. Got to make space for it.

      Enterprise zones: Already being done. And they're so desperate for an enterprise they give away their potential tax revenue for the sake of the tax revenue from the jobs created. Marginal.
    • Jul 25 2013: Advertising: Opting out is good online, but all the other media remains. Maybe tighter regulations on deceptive or misleading advertising would be sufficient. It's hard to regulate free speech.

      Government officials: We'd lose a lot of valuable people with long experience in government if everyone had to retire from public life after completing their service. Regulations regarding interaction would be more effective.

      Cut military spending and stop meddling: Simply do a better job of prioritizing our interests and acting with conviction on a specific goal. Support our allies and those who would become so at the expense of doing so until the job is done instead of cutting and running. Fix the VA in conjunction with the healthcare system.

      Compassion and need vs greed: We already have compassion. No one else does as much as we do, world wide, to alleviate hunger, disease, and oppression. We could do more, on curing these problems, but they'll not be solved simply by alleviation. How much is enough? The promise of no limits is essential to hope, and more people hope to live here than anywhere else on the planet. There is a lot of misinformed and misguided consumption, but without the hope of achieving even a piece of it, why try? Just settle for your government handout and what you can cheat your neighbor for.

      We prefer a dangerous freedom to a peaceful slavery, aware that choices have consequences, and keep working on solutions together because agreement is preferable to the alternatives. We already know what they are. A nicer society has to be achieved by deciding what negatives we are willing to tolerate in order to achieve something acceptable. And letting us try as hard as we can, with all the excess it leads to, in order to get the data we need to achieve it. We can agree only when our knowledge is shared.

      Work from home: Already being done, just perhaps not on the scale you'd like. But you can't do everything online.

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