Is Michael Moore Anti-American Exceptionalism?

So, take heart. And take a look around you. You live in a nation full of progressive-thinking, liberal-leaning, good-hearted people. Give yourself a pat on the back-you won! We won! Let's take a victory lap together and then get to work on fixing the Great Disconnect -how it is that, in a nation of lefties, the right hand controls everything. They do not represent the will of the people, and that has to change. Start acting like the victors you are and get out there to claim the country that is truly ours. -Michael Moore, "Dude, Where's My Country?"

Amanda Marcotte writes:

But I do think liberals who dislike Moore so strongly are genuine in their distaste and not just trotting it out to appear fair’n'balanced. And I think that Ezra’s review points to why—the overarching theme of Moore’s career has been an attack on American exceptionalism, . . . the belief that America is somehow better or at least different and can’t be held up to the same standards as other countries is endemic.

I am an American Exceptionalist, but not in the way Amanda describes. I hold America to higher standards. I expect the best from the United States. And, I think Michael Moore is an American Exceptionalist too. I think he argues that the United States SHOULD be better. I think that is the theme of his work. Not anti-Exceptionalism. Consider this from "Dude, Where's My Country?":

THERE IS A COUNTRY I would like to tell you about. It is a country like no other on the planet. Many of you, I am certain, would love to live there.

It is a very, very liberal, liberated, and free-thinking country. Its people hate the thought of going to war. The vast majority of its men have never served in any kind of military and they aren't rushing to sign up now. They abhor guns and support any and all efforts to restrict the usage of personal firearms. Its citizens are strong supporters of labor unions and workers' rights. They believe that corporations are up to no good and should not be trusted.

The majority of its residents strongly believe in equal rights for women and oppose any attempt by the government or religious groups who would seek to control their reproductive organs. In overwhelming numbers, the people of this country I speak of believe that gay and lesbian people should have the same opportunities as straight people and they should not be discriminated against in any way.

In this country nearly everyone wants to have the strongest protections necessary to ensure a clean environment. And they take personal responsibility by doing a number of things every single day to cut down on pollution and waste.

This country is so far to the left that 80 percent of its people believe in universal health care and racial diversity on college campuses.

This country I know of is so hippy-dippy-free-love and all that jazz that only a quarter of its people believe that drug users should go straight to jail-perhaps because, as their president has, 41 percent of the citizens have admitted to using illegal drugs themselves! And when it comes to holy matrimony, the number of people who live together and don't get married is up 72 percent in the past decade, and 43 percent of them have children.

I'm telling you, this country is so commie-pinko-weirdo, its conservative party can never get more than 25 percent of its recurring voters to join it, while the vast majority of its citizens define themselves as either members of the liberal party, or worse-independent or anarchist (the latter just simply refusing ever to vote!).

So, where is this utopia I write about, this land of liberal-lefty, peacenik tree-huggers (and how soon can you and I move there)?

Is it Sweden?


The Moon?

No! You don't have to go to the moon because . . . you're already there! This Land O' Left paradise I speak of is none other than . . . the United States of America . . .

This is not a man who hates America. This is a man who thinks America is a special place and who wants his country back. I think, frankly, Michael Moore expects the best from America as he is an American Exceptionalist, as just about all of us are.

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    There was a discussion earlier (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:17:40 AM EST
    about Dan Ellsberg over at dkos. It brought back for me a moment in the spring of 2005, when he visited at class I was in on the Cold War. I had a little chat with him afterwards, and he told me that the problem with the senior officials who ran the Vietnam war was that it seemed impossible for them to imagine that America could ever make a wrong decision. He said the feeling was especially acute for Kissinger, who held up the Holocaust as the ultimate example of evil--indeed, the only one; because America could never match that, it would never be able to do any wrong.

    I, like you, expect the best from my country, which is part of the reason why these last six years have been so depressing. The fact that Congressional Democrats have  decided to use those bad things that we have done as a nation for political gain, instead of trying to stop them, is especially depressing. They should know better.

    They shoud BE better (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:35:06 AM EST
    You are an American Exceptionalist too.

    Yeah, I think so. n/t (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:41:27 AM EST
    We should be an exceptional country (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:48:09 AM EST
    This means living up to our standards, not down to the standards of countries and leaders I wouldn't want to live under.

    Put me in your camp here too.

    Amen! (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:56:06 PM EST
    I don't care if you would torture my children if you could, I am still not going to torture yours!  My beautiful mind can handle the truth but my beautiful mind can't handle deciding that it is okay that I devolve into slime.  If one is born into the slime and becomes a lotus flower terrific, but if one was born into a lotus flower sanctuary it cannot unbloom without willfully becoming slime.

    If American Exceptionalis were true ... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:54:39 AM EST
    ... we would not be in Iraq.  Sorry for the change in topic, but let's stick to reality here.  As a loyal American who has lived for many years in other countries, I think this idea of American Exceptionalism is silly rhetoric.

    Say what? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:09:21 PM EST
    Are you saying that the concept of Exceptionalism is the cause of all war?

    Or is it just American Exceptiuonalism that causes wars?

    Check your facts. There have been wars of invasion forever.


    Why would you think I said that? (none / 0) (#14)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:13:09 PM EST
    Of course I did not say either of those things!  I merely say that American Exceptionalism is not true.  If it is merely intended as an expectation, it is not a realistic expectation.  It's just silly rhetoric in my opinion.  A nice thought perhaps, but not reality.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:21:48 PM EST
    I think America has been, by and large, the greatest nation and experiment in modern history.

    Reality please (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:26:39 PM EST
    A fine sentiment, but how do you justify such a statement in reality?  Do we have a more just healtcare system?  A lower infant mortality rate?  Do we have a more just educational system?  How about our foreign policy?  

    Those all suck right now (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:37:45 PM EST
    but the terrific thing is that we know that and we know that by apllying ourselves to the sytem that is America we can change that.  I don't like the position we are in right now either but it is just a snapshot in time and it doesn't need to be the end of our story.

    Again, the subject is American Exceptionalism (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:46:52 PM EST
    Do you think that we will soon improve these systems so that they are as just as those of other Western democracies?  That would be great, not likely, but it would not be greater than others have already accomplished.

    The totality of the American Experience (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:48:36 PM EST
    is my reference.

    And the answer to your question is yes.


    Really? (none / 0) (#30)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:52:48 PM EST
    Soon?  Let's take one example:  Are you really aware of the educational systems of Western Europe?  Who has proposed providing such universal access to premium hihger education in the US?

    I demand better (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:39:31 PM EST
    and America has always been better than this.

    Bush is the worst President in history.

    America must be better.


    Weren't we discussing American Exceptionalism? (none / 0) (#27)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:48:41 PM EST
    I'm inclined to agree with all 3 of these points, but they don't support American Exceptionalism.

    I was respondng to your comment (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:50:59 PM EST
    Obviously Bush has betrayed American Exceptionalism.

    The enemy of my enemy is not my friend (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:54:39 PM EST
    Just because Bush has not lived up to a false sense of American superiority doesn't make it true.

    I respectfully disagree (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by sparky on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:56:25 AM EST
    American exceptionalism is a nice idea but like many other nice ideas it has had a number of pernicious consequences. It's time for it to be consigned to the dustbin of history. If you want reasons here are two:
    1. The repeated use of American exceptionalism as a justification for all kinds of misadventures abroad.  A current example of this is the "democracies are better judges of other countries" argument being advanced for attacking Iran.
    2. There are 300 million people in the US. It's simply implausible to argue that a country that size is "exceptional" unless you mean that, say, China is more "exceptional."

    Incidentally, I don't think it's possible to disaggregate "exceptionalism" from "we're better than other people." How about something not so freighted, like, "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness"?

    Do you think those who would do those things (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:07:38 PM EST
    would NOt be jingoistic knaves absent the idea that America can and should be better?

    That is its OWN form of American Exceptionalism.


    No, (none / 0) (#45)
    by sparky on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 03:19:06 PM EST
    provided I understood your question correctly: that exceptionalism alone causes adventuring. That would be an implausible notion, at least outside the western hemisphere. It would also be at odds with my point about the number of people in the US (to be more explicit: given that number of people some of them would seize upon ANY justification for adventuring).

    To clarify: I don't think discarding the exceptionalism notion entails complacency about the state of affairs in the US.


    "liberals who dislike Moore so strongly" (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Zappatero on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:08:37 PM EST
    who are these libs who dislike Moore? Everyone I know loves him.

    I dunno (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:10:14 PM EST
    I do criticize his occasional trivial looseness with some facts.

    But I really love his stuff.


    Trivial? (none / 0) (#15)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:20:24 PM EST
    I love his stuff too, but sometimes his looseness with facts is more than trivial, sometimes it is seriously misleading, funny but not always respectable.

    Michael Moore is a Muckraker... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Dadler on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:24:22 PM EST
    ...in the classic American sense of the word.  The kind of voice totalitarians want to kill immediately.  

    As for American Exceptionalism, I think its a poorly chosen term that suggests a haughty superiority and feeling that we just don't have to play by the same rules.  To me, it's a simiilar paradigm to that which Bush uses to keep his mind free from actual thinking or feeling.  

    I believe, for lack of a better grammatical bastardizing, in Free American Imaginationism.

    Einstein famously said that imagination is more important than knowledge, and he was right.  Imagination is where knowledge comes FROM.

    America has to play by tougher rules (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:38:06 PM EST
    is my take on it.

    We don't get to torture.

    We do not let the State snoop into our perosnal lives.

    America MUST be better.

    If that is haughty superiority, then sobeit.  


    Certainly, I agree with that (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Dadler on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:46:19 PM EST
    I'm only saying that for me, and apparently others, the Exceptionlism term is something that suggests we're the ONLY people who play by these more enlightened rules.  Other civilized peoples of the world would disagree, rightfully -- like, say, those people from the actual places where the actual Enlightenment originated.  We're just too loud and obnoxious too much of the time with our "We're Number One!" mentality.  We act like our sh*t doesn't stink or if it does it's a qualitatively different stink than the rest of the second-place world.  Our beneficial geography has kept us safe from those major wars that have destroyed other large regions of "the old world" over centuries, millenia.  And we act like it too much of the time.  We act like a teenager convinced he knows more about the world than his painfully old and embarassingly unstylish parents and neighbors and teachers and citizens.

    We MUST do better is right, and I could hardly agree more.  


    Dadler (none / 0) (#65)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:58:51 PM EST
    ..in the classic American sense of the word.  The kind of voice totalitarians want to kill immediately.  

    I think Castro's actions proves you wrong.


    I am an American Exceptionalist as (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:32:12 PM EST
    described by you without a doubt.  I have alway bristled at that idea that somehow America is inherently GREAT.  We have every resource and potential though to set and live by very high standards where human rights as well as achievement are concerned and no excuse for not doing so.

    Exceptionalism (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:46:47 PM EST
    should, imo, mean not having any excuses because exceptionalists don't make excuses.

    They take responsibility instead.


    Michael Moore (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by JanL on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:48:42 PM EST
    I have been a fan of Moore's since the old "TV Nation" days, and I like him now.  I don't pretend to know all the "facts" he is "fast & loose" with, but I do know that he has creatively and humorously called out our politicians(and corporations)in such a way as to leave the righties foaming at the mouth.  I enjoy that part of Michael Moore the very best.  I think he is a proud American and wants us "idiot liberals" to do better than we have on standing by our principles.  I thought we had done a pretty good job of getting started with that in Nov. 2006 - only time will tell if that is so.  

    Rewrite the definition as you please (5.00 / 4) (#43)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:08:32 PM EST
    The standard meaning of American Exceptionalism is of course something very different and much darker in the outlawry it's been used to rationalize:

    The term was first used in respect of the United States by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1831.[1] American exceptionalism is close to the idea of Manifest Destiny, a term used by Jacksonian Democrats in the 1840s to promote the annexation of much of what is now the Western United States (the Oregon Territory, the Texas Annexation, and the Mexican Cession). The term was later used in the 1890s by Republicans as a theoretical justification for U.S. expansion outside of North America.

    The term has also come to describe the belief that the United States has an exceptional position among countries, and should not be bound by international law except where it serves American interests. This position is driven by a (usually implicit) premise that the United States cannot violate international law (and in particular international human rights norms) because of the view that America itself was largely responsible for instigating those norms in the first place...

    The basis most commonly cited for American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States and its people hold a special place in the world, by offering opportunity and hope for humanity, derived from a unique balance of public and private interests governed by constitutional ideals that are focused on personal and economic freedom[citation needed]. It is therefore used by United States citizens to indicate a moral superiority of America or Americans. Others use it to refer to the American concept as itself an exceptional ideal which gives the country a privileged position, and which may or may not always be upheld by the actual people and government of the nation.

    But I'm all for the version of it you suggest here. We'd all be better off if that became the standard meaning, and the basis of action.

    It was used nefariously (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 04:03:30 PM EST
    B ut that is not and was not its meaning.

    But that's how it's generally understood now (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:14:05 PM EST
    on the basis of how it's actually been used.

    It's a dangerous concept used to justify ignorant and aggressive jingoism. In an insular anti-intellectual culture it will always be used that way by those in power, IMO. The country isn't what Tocqueville wrote about anymore - the concentration of wealth and the power it brings, and the increasing difficulty for the average hard-working person to share in that wealth, more resembles the stifling European situation than the American one of his time.

    Under current circumstances, the standard understanding of the concept leads directly to the crimes and excesses of neoconservatism.


    I'm taking the phrase back (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:31:39 PM EST
    I know (none / 0) (#60)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:11:43 PM EST
    And more power to you. But you're the only one making that differentiation between the two very different definitions. Amanda and Ezra are using the other one. As such you risk at least confusing the discussion, and at worst supporting and playing into the other meaning - "the way we do things is the best way to do things because ... it's the way we do things."

    Alien (none / 0) (#69)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:13:17 PM EST
    I think if you look at the "middle class" then vs now you will find now much better.

    Alein - You're funny (none / 0) (#53)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:36:53 PM EST
    a term used by Jacksonian Democrats in the 1840s to promote the annexation of much of what is now the Western United States (the Oregon Territory, the Texas Annexation, and the Mexican Cession). The term was later used in the 1890s by Republicans as a theoretical justification for U.S. expansion outside of North America.

    Question. Are you saying that the citizens of the areas in question would have been better off if they had not been made part of the US??

    Hint:  If Mexico grew up to be such a great country, where in the he*l are all these Mexicans coming from???????????


    Jim (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:12:33 PM EST
    You're funny too. :)

    Alien - It;s not a trick. (1.00 / 0) (#67)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:02:34 PM EST
    Answer the question.

    If Texas had remained... and CA, etc..... would the residents be better off??


    Of course, (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:23:30 PM EST
    the NRA never "took advantage" of Heston, his celebrity, or, his waning reasoning powers. Ever.

    Jondee (none / 0) (#54)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:37:40 PM EST
    I think Heston had the viewws before he started having his "problems."

    Yes, I forgot: (none / 0) (#79)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:46:54 AM EST
    he started having "his problems" the five minutes after his views began to be exposed.

    I'm sorry, (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Al on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 04:52:05 PM EST
    but George Bush is not an invader from outer space. He gamed the system successfully to win the presidency once, and was elected a second time.

    If I read Michael Moore correctly, he isn't saying America is exceptional, he's saying the leading classes are indifferent if not downright hostile to the interests of common people, and he wants his country back. That's something completely different.

    Exceptionalism in the Air (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:56:35 PM EST
    MUst be:

    Digby -

    Responding to Glenn at #15, I think it's an extreme version of American exceptionalism, which is a concept that was bound to get us in trouble at some point.
    A lot of use friends and family members who aren't super politcally attentive as bellweathers. I know you do, and so do I.

    One of the most common questions people have is to really wonder why anyone would hate Americans enough to want to attack us and kill us. What they know about America is what they do in their own lives - work, raise their kids, shop, not hurt anyone, etc. So they can't understand why anyone would find that threatening or why it would provoke hatred.

    And if it's explained what we are actually doing in the world, the countries we are occupying and bombing and interfering in and controlling - and how they would react if their country were occupied and bombed by one country that is the most militarized and powerful in the world -- it's as though that is new information to them. Those things are really done without most people thinking about it very much.

    So "American exceptionalism" -- in its most dangerous form -- is really based on a complete lack of information and knowledge. It comes from the discrepancy between how Americans think about what we do/are and what, in reality, we do/are. I think that discrepency can be bridged as long as it doesn't come from a place of anti-exceptionalism (i.e, that America itself is the embodiment of all Evil and everyone else in the world its sanctified victims).

    From comment 53 at FLD discussion of Glen Greenwalds new book:

    American Exceptionalism (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:30:03 AM EST
    somewhat like "torture", is another term that the current crop of people who wrap themselves in the flag and try in vain to convince others to see them as American Exceptionalists try to redefine to suit themselves.

    Their idea of American Exceptionalism is to drag you and everyone else down to their level.

    THEIR idea (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:34:01 AM EST
    not ours.

    E, you are an American Exceptionalist too.

    You expect and want better for and from America.


    I try. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:39:36 AM EST
    You are an American Exceptionalist too.

    It is their idea. We see it here every day.


    THEIR idea of (none / 0) (#37)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:18:54 PM EST
    Maybe (none / 0) (#40)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:37:06 PM EST
    America needs an Exceptional new National Anthem?

    When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
    Out of the corner of my eye.
    I turned to look but it was gone.
    I cannot put my finger on it now.
    The child is grown, the dream is gone.
    I have become comfortably numb.

    Exceptionalism (none / 0) (#49)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:42:17 PM EST
    "Zeitgeist is originally a German expression that means 'the mind of the age', literally translated as 'time (Zeit) mind (Geist)'.

    It denotes the intellectual and cultural climate of an era."


    The more you begin to investigate what we think we understand, where we came from, what we think we're doing, the more begin to see we've been lied to, we've been lied to by every institution...

    Or (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:58:58 PM EST
    Not to quibble but a less awkward translation is:
     the spirit of the times.

    Correctamundo... (5.00 / 0) (#87)
    by desertswine on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 04:07:44 PM EST
    Geist = ghost

    or spirit.


    Either way (none / 0) (#51)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:31:22 PM EST
    it's a good movie.

    Oh (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:42:07 PM EST
    I didn't realize that it was a film title.  Looks interesting, I will check out the movie later.

    My german is not the greatest but I always thought Geist meant Spirit. Didn't know it also meant mind.  


    The "Exceptionalism" (none / 0) (#56)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:44:36 PM EST
    of the the production is what caught my interest.

    Particularly Part 3 (none / 0) (#57)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:46:27 PM EST
    Don't mind the men behind the curtain

    Exceptionally well produced (none / 0) (#59)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:03:22 PM EST
    What i don't like about moore (none / 0) (#23)
    by Stewieeeee on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:45:33 PM EST
    is he made the gun-freak heston look sympathetic.

    Sympathetic to what? (none / 0) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:57:54 PM EST
    to the audience (none / 0) (#34)
    by Stewieeeee on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:03:17 PM EST
    to anyone who thinks, completely regardless of your viewpoint on the issue, that ambushing someone after they've invited you into their home is a kind of uncool thing to do.

    Sympathetic to whom (none / 0) (#35)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:03:21 PM EST
    Sympathetic who don't appreciate taking advantage of a sick old man with Alzheimer's.

    I didn't feel that way (4.50 / 2) (#36)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:17:36 PM EST
    Charleton Heston has led an exceptional life.  We all get old.  To me it isn't an excuse to not have to be responsible for our actions as you shut your Hollywood door in the face of someone saying things your conscience doesn't want to hear.  I was born in Colorado and currently living in Colorado when Columbine happened as he rode into town in the middle of parents and Denver's grief and did his cold dead hand sh*t.  I just can feel a whole lot of sympathy for that freak no matter how old he his.  Alzheimer's?  It hadn't seemed to have affected his speech giving abilities and his ability and pack and trot to a spot on the globe in short order.

    Tracy (1.00 / 1) (#66)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:00:34 PM EST
    He has a disease that destroys the brain.

    Try and catch on every now and then.


    A lot of people have diseases (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:45:42 PM EST
    that destroy their brains and never share when its onset was and they just keep gipping and gipping and typing and typing ;)  When was the onset of Heston's?  Did he choose to be the President of the NRA partially braindead or was he still mentally healthy then?  When Moore questioned him wasn't he still on the Board of Directors of the NRA?  How can he hold such positions but not be responible for the position he holds.  Gimme an "f"n break here.

    Tracy (1.00 / 0) (#72)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:19:42 PM EST
    May you never grow old.

    Dude, I'm halfway to old (5.00 / 0) (#82)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:44:46 PM EST
    with two female family members who died of Alzheimer's which is pretty horrifying, your brain just conks out before the bod and then takes the bod with it.  If I end up with Alzheimer's you won't find me being the President of or sitting on the Board of Directors of the NRA even if they held a gun to my diseased head, I won't be in the audience during a rally either waving NRA pom-poms around cuz I don't know where I am or what the h*ll I'm doing!

    Tracy (none / 0) (#90)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 09:53:39 PM EST
    How do you know??

    Exactly (none / 0) (#93)
    by robrecht on Tue Jun 26, 2007 at 12:02:19 AM EST
    The disease develops slowly over years.  Subtle symptoms may only be recognized in retrospect as one's thinking starts to change.  Brilliant people may be able to mask the effects of the disease from themselves and others for years.

    Is trolling left leaning sites a symptom too? (4.00 / 0) (#80)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:49:19 AM EST
    Michael Moore hurts his own cause (none / 0) (#38)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:21:49 PM EST
    I hope no one takes advantage of you if you develop Alzheimer's disease.  I've seen people die of it and it isn't pretty.  Making a political point at the expense of a handicapped person only serves to discredit those who should know better.

    I understand that Alzheimer's is personal to you (none / 0) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:36:51 PM EST
    right now.  I have lost two beloved elderly Aunts to Alzheimers.  I have no evidence though as to where Heston is in the diseases progress and he obviously chose his spot at the NRA long before the NRA decided to exploit him in his illness if in deed they have done that.

    I might be wrong about that (none / 0) (#42)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:57:55 PM EST
    What I meant was that Moore took advantage of Heston when he had Alzheimer's disease, but it may be that Moore did not know this at the time, in which case I was mistaken and apologize.

    oh please robrecht (none / 0) (#62)
    by cpinva on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:45:00 PM EST
    are you really that stupid, or do you just play at being an intentionally ignorant idiot here? has to be one or the other, make a decision.

    the idea BTD is expressing, whether it be called "american exceptionalism" or "higher expectations", is the basic framework of our country, that those born and raised here grew up with:

    we expect our country to always do the right thing, period. what other countries do isn't relevant, nor is it an acceptable reason for us not doing the right thing.

    does this mean it always has? of course not, don't be a twit. if that's your argument against it, go find a better one, it's pretty lame.

    expectation and reality aren't, by definition, mutually inclusive. however, most of us continue to strive for that, knowing full well that it is probably unattainable.

    the best we can probably hope for is a slow, but constant evolution, towards that higher moral plane.

    stupid, intentionally ignorant idiot, twit, lame (1.00 / 1) (#63)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:55:50 PM EST
    Thankfully, those are NOT my only options.  Maybe you could try and make your point without name calling (stupid, intentionally ignorant idiot, twit, lame)?

    Why in the world do you think What other countries do is irrelevant? I think we would do well to learn from other countries.


    robrecht (1.00 / 0) (#68)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:10:01 PM EST
    Okay, I'm happy to learn.

    And who would be these countries????

    Got some names??


    Justice and equal access (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:16:27 PM EST
    With respect to healthcare and educational systems, we could learn a lot from France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, etc.  Higher education isn't only for the children of the wealthy, but rather for those with the desire and ability to learn.

    robrecht (1.00 / 0) (#73)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:25:25 PM EST
    Justice and equal access??

    That's words of wisdom and of rhyme that can mean anything at anytime....

    How many people died in France in their heat wave last year??

    Do you think that man has a god given right to go to school while someone else pays?

    If so, how long and how much should someone else pay??

    Do you think the person getting the education should be required to pay back all the freebees?

    Have you compared the unemployment rates??

    It isn't that simple, is it??


    Who's being simplistic here? (none / 0) (#74)
    by robrecht on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 06:17:41 AM EST
    Did I say it was THAT simple?  No, why would you imply that I did?

    BTW, I am not bound to choose between false dichotomies, but I certainly do believe that people should be expected to pay back to society the benefits they've recieved.  In fact, I believe that was my point.  European systems have a much stronger tradition of recognizing and supporting the common good of society, while we emphasize protecting the rights of individual initiative and familial wealth.  It is not a black and white, good vs evil choice.

    So is your position that there is nothing to learn from Western European democracies because of France's heat wave last year and their unemployment rate?

    I submit you might at least learn to abandon tactics of false argumentation ... at least if you're interested in a real discussion.s


    robrecht (1.00 / 0) (#77)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 09:59:46 AM EST
    European systems have a much stronger tradition of recognizing and supporting the common good of society,

    Oh, really? Well, Hitler did get the economy straightened out. Stalin did get those peasants off their farms and into the collectives...  Of course a few million died..France had a revolution that devoured itself...Kosovo had a rather nasty dust up...

    Do you remember this?

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    The heat wave deaths were examples of something that would have been a source of immense outrage in the US, it didn't look like that in France.

    The unemployment rate is a direct comment on the success of society to compete and adjust to the world around us.

    I could go on, but I think you see my point.


    No, I think you're avoiding the point entirely ... (5.00 / 0) (#89)
    by robrecht on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 06:32:23 PM EST
    ... which is your right.  Hitler and Stalin are silly deflections of the issues under discussion in my opinion.

    But try to have a good day anyway.


    robrecht (none / 0) (#91)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 10:06:20 PM EST
    Come now. You are the one who told us that Europe did things better. When I show you a couple of examples of what Europe has done, you retreat.

    Europe, under the protective shield of the US vs the Soviets has grown fat and lazy. It believes that it has some magical right to month long vacations and lifetime employment... if you can get a job.

    But enough of what I believe... How about some examples, instead of claims, supporting your position..


    Good luck! (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by robrecht on Tue Jun 26, 2007 at 12:10:34 AM EST
    I was trying to have an intelligent discussion about healthcare and educational systems and you launched into an anti-European polemic about Hitler and Stalin.  Let us know if you want to get back on topic or might want to consider answering my question.  Otherwise, no thanks.

    da (1.00 / 1) (#83)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 02:52:59 PM EST
    So you have nothing to offer except an attack.

    Well, we knew that.

    yadda yadda


    We already know (5.00 / 0) (#81)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:04:15 PM EST
    ef it didnt or-iginate in the the good ole U.S of A it aint worth nothin'. Aint that right, Jim?

    To hail with them Greeks, Romans, 'n them high falutin folks in The Rennaisance 'n The European Enlightenment..We got more billionaires and more bombs.


    jondee (1.00 / 0) (#84)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 02:54:26 PM EST
    Can you speak standard english?

    No? Didn't think so.

    What a bore you have turned into.


    Well, for example (none / 0) (#75)
    by Al on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 08:23:52 AM EST
    the European Union is doing a good job of investigating the secret CIA torture camps in Europe.

    Al (1.00 / 0) (#85)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 02:56:19 PM EST
    Too bad they didn't try and do it 70 years ago...

    Of course there was that small matter of Hitler..

    Yes indeed. Old Europe has so much to be proud of.


    Including fornulating (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 06:14:26 PM EST
    just about every valuable premise, political and ethical, that the U.S was founded upon. But, ideas (and now, maybe even thought) is for liberal elites; gimme Fox News anytime.

    jondee (1.00 / 1) (#92)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 10:09:11 PM EST
    Actually that was mostly English, with a smattering of French, German and Dutch.

    Actually, Sean (5.00 / 0) (#96)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 26, 2007 at 12:00:13 PM EST
    you dont know what the hell you're talking about; perusual. Most of those Englishmen were the products of a classical education; your pin-head-in-chief and the rest of that proud-to-be-ignint posse you're always plugging dont even know where the classical radio station is.

    Oh, and good luck with your ... (1.00 / 1) (#64)
    by robrecht on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:57:45 PM EST
    ... slow but constant evolution!

    He's the left's Rush Limbaugh (none / 0) (#76)
    by Slado on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 09:04:15 AM EST
    That's the only way I can frame him.

    He is a strong advocate for the philosophies of the left.   His critics try to tear him down by showing he doesn't really practice what he preaches but so what?  Is he loose witht he facts? Yes.  But he makes a point strongly and elegantly that many of the people of this country can't make for themselves.  

    Like Rush his critics would rather shut him down or tear him down personally then argue with him and that is hypocritical.

    You don't have to go to his movies and you don't have to listen to Rush.  If you want to argue with these guys call into Rush's show or make a movie that makes the other point but it bugs me when both sides try to make these guys out to be vilians when they are simply entertainers making strong points to get the debate started.