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George Orwell said once: "If freedom of speech means anything at all, it is the freedom to say things that people do not want to hear. "

Well, I think things are so bad at this point it's no longer about whether people want to hear it, it's about whether they're even capable of hearing it.

People tend to protect themselves from severe psychological dissonance. The sound of exploding heads is somewhat off-putting.

I had an interesting discussion with Scout here a few weeks ago about that topic.
And it became clear that it is hard to imagine another people on this planet that might be easier to govern.

Does anyone else know of a people that can be moved into line and made to go into the same direction as quickly?
And I m not thinking about peoples like the Chinese, who only stick to the movement because they are forced to do it. I`m looking for a society in which ordinary citizens are as eager in keeping up order and a united opinion as they are here.
Maybe the Japanese?

Can you imagine any action done by the government (which does not touch the average citizen`s finances) that would make as many people demonstrate as are visiting the love parade or other festivals?
Hopefully there is some scientific literature on the reasons for this that I can read (in case I have enough free time in the next months).

And while browsing today`s news, I already found something that the country probably doesn`t want to hear...


The word conservative has several meanings in U.S. politics.

One meaning is "slow to change, preserves older traditional ways."

Another meaning is "decisions based on traditional moral values: self-sufficiency, personally accepting of work and burdens, belief in oneself for personal situation."

Still another is "adhering to our founding principals: government by, for and of people; laws made only by the people, judiciary interprets, executive as administrator; only purpose of government is for common necessities (defense, etc.)."

Our current administration is not particularly conservative by any of these definitions, but has elements of each.

Liberal also has several meanings in the political sense.

Liberally spending other people's money is only a caricature, an exaggeration.

The main traits of the traditional liberal, as differentiated from the odder modern variety, is the concept and public policy pursuit of egalitarianism: not just that all men are created equal - but that all people should BE equal. This leads to some enlightened policies, but starts getting less enlightened as it proceeds towards socialism, income distribution, entitlements, etc.

These meanings are somewhat different, in the U.S., than the way "liberal" is spoken of in the European, specifically German media. The term liberal appears to be shorthand, or a code word, for a less fettered capitalist economy. Specifically, liberal as apparently meant by German (and French) media means that corporations can more easily hire and fire workers; enter and exit markets; create and innovate products - all with low friction from state-imposed controls.

This meaning of liberal is largely unknown in the U.S. where it is more or less given that a light hand on tax and regulation stimulates economic well-being.

This is all an abbreviated treatment of words that have become very loaded and have many interpretations. I hope this at least partially responds to your question.

A propos "What the Country Doesn't Want to Hear," let's hear some news about Haditha:

Pentagon officials say evidence collected in the Haditha probe supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, AP says today.

And as the "anti-American" BBC adds with some sarcastic joy about the Samarra 'incident': "Four US paratroopers charged with murdering three detainees in Iraq smiled before shooting them, a military court has heard from a fellow soldier."

Now, of course, as the US is the beacon of freedom and justice (?), we can expect appropriate court rulings for these crimes, or am I just being naive?

Note from David: Maybe not naive, but certainly premature. AP refers to an "unnamed Pentagon official". It's much too early to discuss "appropriate court rulings": AP: "The decision on whether to press criminal charges ultimately will be made by the commander of the accused Marines' parent unit, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif. " But, of course, the German media already ruled on the case.
Please keep us posted on new rumors...

or am I just being naive?

Not at all. But you are lacking in net etiquette. You are giving quotes w/no supporting links to the source(s), so no one here has the tools to evaluate.

I am not averse to nailing any American soldier guilty of such crimes. Frankly, take 'em out in the back and shoot 'em. End of conversation.

I was out of the country when this story broke and the only international reporting I could get was CNN. And believe me, it was all Haditha all the time. But what they reported had so many holes in it that they did not address, I just threw up my hands in disgust. (If you would like, I'll detail them, but I don't want to abuse the bandwidth here.)

The MSM gets a lot of grief - sometimes it's deserved and sometimes it is not. But the reporting I saw on Haditha was so egregious that I would ask to be forgiven if I doubt. If this really happened, it is so important, it is so unforgivable, that the MSM really should be able to plug every hole in its coverage.

But they didn't. Most of what I hear is still assertion without evidence.

Now, of course, as the US is the beacon of freedom and justice (?), we can expect appropriate court rulings for these crimes

Well, yes, actually, we are. And yes you can.


I know I shouldn't feed the troll, but...

1. The country we are talking about is Germany, not the US. Germany is only too happy to hear bad news about Haditha, so your question is not at all "apropos." I would go so far as to say it is off topic.
2. Don't you think it is interesting that this news is coming from Pentagon officials?
3. The BBC is in fact Looney Left Anti-American, so you can take the inverted commas off, thank you.
4. Yes, the US _is_ in fact the beacon of freedom and justice. Thank you for your agreement. I wasn't expecting it.
5. What court ruling is appropriate in your mind? Have you seen / heard / read all the evidence and testimony? Do you have an inside track to this information that everyone else is lacking? One thing is certain: If the individuals involved are found guilty, there will be appropriate punishment. Contrast this with the "harsh punishment" handed out to terrorists and terrorist sympathizers in Germany. Hello? Hello? Anyone home?
6. Yes, you are being very naive. But not because you are expecting appropriate court rulings, but rather, because you apparently tend to believe reports from BBC and AP, but moreover, because your comments tell us loud and clear which side you really are on.

And may I point out re: RedLinda's post: my point is proven. Not one iota of the topic (i.e. aversion to capitalism) was addressed.

Instead, there was an attempt to divert the conversation to what may - I emphasize 'may' - turn out to be criminal behavior by American soldiers.

So if a few American soldiers may be criminals, there is certainly no point in discussing the merits and problems of the American economic model vis a vis Germany's.

And RedLinda's head remains intact.

@Dave: Interesting question about Japan, and I'm not sure what the answer is. One the one hand, Japan's socity is pretty mono-cultural, more so than any other Western country that I can think of offhand. However, my (admittedly limited) experience is that the average Japanese guy-in-the-street is not highly motivated by political matters generally, unlike a lot of people in Europe and some in America. Japanese culture has a pragmatic aspect that tends to regard all politics with a certain healthy skepticism. Also, they don't have the problem with their media attempting to brainwash them, because they regard mass media as essentially frivolous.

The Japanese guy-in-the-street is pretty much screwed by a political system that tilts heavily rural, despite the preponderance of the population being city dwellers. Now toss in an aging population, a very unhealthy relationship between politicians and business, and pretty near total domination by the LDP. There is a reason for the skepticism.

My in-laws are Japanese. They've lived it. I've been fortunate enough to be able to visit during the "Japan will rule the world '80s" and the resulting meltdown which is finally starting to show signs of ending.

Funny, because the end result is pretty much like some other country we are discussing here. A former go-go economy has been in the doldrums for a while, and the politicians think the answer is higher taxes. Never let experience get in the way of a convenient political theory, I say.

I agree that you can't find a 100% conservative party here.
When I did the Wahlomat test, it come out that I was the closest to FDP (and I'm more for free market than most of the people I talked to). But FDP lacks the family values - for instance, their president, Westerwelle, is gay. They are quite liberal when it comes to such things.
As about CDU, they have these conservative values, like family and stuff, but they aren't much into the free market/small spending thing.
I once listened to the former Arbeitsminister of the Kohl administration (Blüm) and he seemed a big fan of spending/social benefits. It surprised me back then.

As about the Republican Party, someone said that Clinton opposed some bills but Bush signed them all (much spending)
This party doesn't have many conservative values left (it looks like it to me):
-immigration: not solving the problem; I fear in 20 years the democrats will impose the "no army/no borders" policy they hold so dear now
-education: much spending, bad results
-public spending: there's not much to be said here anymore

The funny thing is, every time you talk to someone about a country being on the path to all-thinking-the-same you'll get the answer ("US, of course") even before finishing the sentence.
Of course, the media has sided with the guvernment (CNN, NBC, CBS) and Bush is a media opresser.
But Spiegel's objectivity is beyond any doubt. Once I got the "what do you mean, stop reading Spiegel !??" It was like "you mean I should stop breathing!?"
People easy to govern, I never thought of that. This is so true (sadly)

I guess many people live in a bubble. They never met anyone who thinks differently, so this is the only way of thinking in their world.

The present CDU/CSU is a true old-fashioned "conservative" party in the sense of keeping things as they are, including the Sozialstaat and the like. There is no Conservative parry in Germany in the sense of reducing taxes and spending drastically. In theory the FDP would come closest but I don't think they really mean it, not to any significant extent.

I think FDP wants tax cuts, but they constantly get less votes. So they don't get to "apply" that.


"As about CDU, they have these conservative values, like family and stuff, but they aren't much into the free market/small spending thing.
I once listened to the former Arbeitsminister of the Kohl administration (Blüm) and he seemed a big fan of spending/social benefits. It surprised me back then."

It doesn't surprise me. The roots of German conservatism lead back to Otto von Bismark. Among other things (such as fighting and winning three major wars and uniting Germany in it's modern form), Bismark also instituted the first welfare state with old age pensions and widows penisons (think AFDC in it's earliest form).

I am currently working in Lyon France for a couple of weeks. Reading Le Figaro this morning I see they (gleefully) predict the U.S. (George Bush's) economy is tanking because growth has slowed to 2.5% . . . for one whole quarter !!! Now remind me which economy in old Europe is growing at even one half that rate?
I guess if they can convince their populations that things by comparison are as bad or worse in the heartless "Anglo Saxon" U.S.A. economy, their citizens won't dig too deeply into or ask too many questions about their own moribund economies. Unless you are a conspiracy theorist there is not really a bias there, since you will find the same economic sophistry in the New York Times!


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