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American Independence: Good?

Philosophers and rhetoricians, Welcome!

That the US winning its independence was a Good Thing

Aye
11
55%
Nay
4
20%
Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn
5
25%
 
Total votes : 20

American Independence: Good?

Postby Phylax » Fri Jul 01, 2005 12:32 pm

With July 4th looming, and our US colleagues gearing themselves up to burning themselves on barbecues and scaring themselves witless with fireworks to celebrate their independence, I was wondering whether this might be a good topic to debate (with our accustomed tolerance, mutual respect and good humour, of course) the following motion:

This House believes the independence of the United States to be a good thing.
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Postby Yhevhe » Fri Jul 01, 2005 2:03 pm

I'm not much into politics and such, but seeing that England kept what it remained of his colonies way up to the XX century, and really did a pretty bad job and left them in misery (well, that's what I've seen in most cases, unlike Australia), then I think it was the best. I just cannot imagine 13 small and poor countries in the east coast of NA. Of course, all of it depends on the colonial and economic condition of every country.
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Postby Phylax » Fri Jul 01, 2005 3:03 pm

did a pretty bad job and left them in misery


An interesting point of view, but would you claim that Canada, New Zealand, India, South Africa, India, Hong Kong etc. etc., to be typical vales of tears throughout the history of their relationships with GB?
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Postby Turpissimus » Fri Jul 01, 2005 3:27 pm

I'm not much into politics and such, but seeing that England kept what it remained of his colonies way up to the XX century, and really did a pretty bad job and left them in misery (well, that's what I've seen in most cases, unlike Australia), then I think it was the best. I just cannot imagine 13 small and poor countries in the east coast of NA. Of course, all of it depends on the colonial and economic condition of every country.


If George Washington had been defeated, would Canada and the United States be the same big country now? Without 'Manifest Destiny' would the French still control Louisiana, the Mexicans California, and the Iroquois part of New York? Would Americans celebrate Benedict Arnold's Birthday every January 14th?
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Postby Yhevhe » Fri Jul 01, 2005 9:49 pm

And now it seems I don't know much of history and present day :lol: When I think about British colony I can only think about Guyana (neighbour to us), some small isles, and India... And they seemed to be pretty harsh with them. Now Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and specialy Hong Kong are different.

Maybe the difference is because in some places the british found easy to mix with the current civilization, therefore having a good mix of good things. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think India is a country with many poor people. In my opinion, I guess that is cause of the overpopulation and the social system. Another thing is of course it got it's independence before way before other countries, just at some oppresion time I think. Maybe if it had remained a colony for more time the British government would have done good things before letting it go for itself.

Now, as Turpissimus says, such many things could have had happened, and the face of the world would be so different without that independence... so, it's imposible for me to try and predict what is good and what is bad. I'd like to hear more North Americans and British about their opinion, as they know far better than I the story and the context of all this. :)

EDITED: just to not make another unnecesary post... I think this is deep for me, for I'm a very ignorant boy. Sorry for posting about a subject which I didn't know, and for getting a little off-topic. Next time I'll try to know a but more about the subject :)
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Postby Phylax » Fri Jul 01, 2005 11:12 pm

Ah, good Yhevhe, I must resist your syren song, sorely tempted though I am to attempt answers to some of the points you raise :D .

The reason is that the subject of this debate is whether American Independence is/was a good thing, not whether the British Empire was a good thing (except, of course, where it impinges upon the history of the US), although that is a subject I would love to see debated, perhaps in another thread.

Raya's excellent Rules of the Academy suggest that I should lead either for or against the motion. I could in all honesty do both, but my heart is far more in the 'For' camp. However I have just tossed a coin, and since it landed with the monarch's head upwards, I suppose I must takethat as a sign from the Muse of Rhetoric that I ought to oppose the motion. Speak, then, o Muse!
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Postby Eureka » Sat Jul 02, 2005 1:12 am

Yhevhe wrote:I'm not much into politics and such, but seeing that England kept what it remained of his colonies way up to the XX century, and really did a pretty bad job and left them in misery (well, that's what I've seen in most cases, unlike Australia), then I think it was the best. I just cannot imagine 13 small and poor countries in the east coast of NA. Of course, all of it depends on the colonial and economic condition of every country.

Those who did badly were the non-British people who lived under British dominion. Since the Americans were descended from British immigrants, we can be sure that the American states would now resemble Canada, Australia and New Zealand, rather than India, South Africa or Zimbabwe.

In truth, though, American independence was always inevitable in one form or another. We are talking about extensive, rich lands that are separated from London by a great distance. Even if the states were not expanded further through war with France, Spain, Mexico and the native peoples (which is unlikely), we are still talking about a very large population, a good portion of which would be aristocracy.

The difference would be that they would continue to be affect by any social, political, legal or ideological changes in England (at least until such a time as England became powerless or unglamorous), but what exactly would these changes have been?

For one thing, the United States continued to allow slavery long after the practice had been banned in Europe. Emancipation would have been mandated by London, decades before the time of Lincoln’s presidency, and the civil war would have been avoided.

I don't see any reason to believe that the treatment of native peoples would have been any better under the British Empire. After all, they had already massacred several tribes, Caesar style, prior to the revolution.

The gap between rich and poor is significantly larger in the US than in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Without doubt this is an indirect consequence of the revolution, even though it's immediate causes would have only appeared significantly later on.

The states would have provided an extra pool of manpower to fuel Britain's wars. It is tempting to look at this only in the context of world war 2, and see it as American troops and supplies coming in much earlier, and in much greater volume, which would undoubtedly be a good thing (assuming that they didn't just end up being slaughtered on the beaches at Dunkirk). However, for most of history it would merely have meant that American troops would have been sent to fight in British imperialistic wars, to take the freedom (and often the possessions) from Boers, Zulus, Maoris, Arabs, Afghanis... That extra manpower and greater industrial capacity may have prevented the British Empire from collapsing after the end of the second world war (particularly considering their only significant rival would have been Russia).

It's easy to dislike the imperial state for it's violent actions and it's tendency to… (shall we say) centralise wealth within itself, but that is the nature of power, not the nature of those who happen to be powerful.


It's hard to make a simple value judgement on something so complicated. So let me just say this: Colour should never be spelt without a u! So I voted nay.
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Postby Phylax » Sat Jul 02, 2005 1:29 am

This seems to be a good place to start.

The Declaration of Independence has been hailed as one of the great documents of the Enlightenment, and is regarded as seminal to the birth of the US.

I find it difficult to understand the esteem in which it is held. I will skip over the its first paragraph, since it has to do with God, and all appeals to God seem to me to cut through the Gordian Knot of rational argument. In any case, the importance placed on God appears odd in the founding document of a nation which was later to be stern on the separation of religion and state.

The second paragraph reads:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

(Again, we should perhaps ignore the fact that God is invoked.)

Some things in life are self evident, but the majority are not. If I land a hammer on my thumb, that fact is self-evident to me, and probably to you if you happen to be watching. Whether human beings have inalienable rights such as are listed may be true, may not be true. But they are not self-evident.

Indeed, whenever someone claims that something is obvious or self-evident, I have to fight down the urge to reach for my spray-can of bull-sh*t repellent. You see, things that are truly self-evident really do not have to be described as such.

"Equal" is an odd word to use, and perhaps it has in the Declaration a special meaning. Usually it has a mathematical meaning, for example X = 3. Things in normal non-mathematical grammar must be equally something: equally small, equally blue, equally elephant-like. What they are not is simply equal. But perhaps we can assume its special meaning here, that the Founding Fathers meant something like "entitled to equal treatment under law".

Alas for the Founding Fathers that equality in this sense must have come as a surprise to quite a lot of people, and therefore cannnot have been at all self-evident. Remember that a number of the signatories to the Declaration owned slaves. Equality would not have been self-evident to them.

I could write a declaration which said of my friends and me, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the world is flat, the moon is made of green cheese, and small red furry creatures nibble our toes at night." Such an assertion would have no less evidence to support it than does the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.

So is the Declaration merely a call to arms, a warcry, a manifesto? Possibly. But I would have more admiration for it, if instead of its pseudo-philosophizing, it said something rather more to the point, such as "We the undersigned think that King George should put his tax demands (and his tea) up his jacksy. If this is your view, too, join our side. If it's not, join the other."

I will return to later bits of the Declaration. For the moment, I shall sit down in the hope that others will hold forth. I have just noticed that Eureka has. I am glad.

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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Sat Jul 02, 2005 6:48 am

""Equal" is an odd word to use [...]" (Phylax)

Look it up in the dictionary.

.

Without the Revolution, American independence would just be a change of masters, or more precisely, a change of masters' masters.

.

"Equality would not have been self-evident to them [slaves]." (Phylax)

Are we talking independence, or pharisaism?

.

Turp, what does 'chav' mean (and why is it a problem)?
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Postby Eureka » Sat Jul 02, 2005 12:14 pm

Bardo de Saldo wrote:""Equal" is an odd word to use [...]" (Phylax)

Look it up in the dictionary.

Polite as always, Saldbard. :twisted:
Bardo de Saldo wrote:Without the Revolution, American independence would just be a change of masters, or more precisely, a change of masters' masters.

Cynical, and a half-truth. Independence will always be a change of masters, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have on-flowing effects to all sections of society.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"Equality would not have been self-evident to them [slaves]." (Phylax)

Are we talking independence, or pharisaism?

Pharisaism.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:Turp, what does 'chav' mean (and why is it a problem)?

Look it up in a dictionary. :wink:
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Postby Democritus » Sat Jul 02, 2005 4:03 pm

Phylax wrote:This seems to be a good place to start.

The Declaration of Independence has been hailed as one of the great documents of the Enlightenment, and is regarded as seminal to the birth of the US.

I find it difficult to understand the esteem in which it is held.
Phylax wrote:Some things in life are self evident, but the majority are not. If I land a hammer on my thumb, that fact is self-evident to me, and probably to you if you happen to be watching. Whether human beings have inalienable rights such as are listed may be true, may not be true. But they are not self-evident.

Indeed, whenever someone claims that something is obvious or self-evident, I have to fight down the urge to reach for my spray-can of bull-sh*t repellent. You see, things that are truly self-evident really do not have to be described as such.


Remember that this document was written in the eighteenth century, at a time when the whole idea of democracy was something odd and peripheral. European countries typically were monarchies, deriving their secular authority from some kind of religious dogma.

What was new and different about the declaration was that a group of citizens could sit down and declare their own ideas, and that that declaration would have enough force to create a working, substantial state. Before that time there weren't too many examples of that happening. In fact, at the time, most people were convinced that the entire project would descend into chaos, because it was thought the people would be unable to govern themselves without the strong hand of a king.

The document amounts to a forceful rejection of monarchy, aristrocracy, and the ideas which justify them. Nowadays, that's old news, but at the time it was truly revolutionary.

The document refers vaguely to god or "divine providence," but it is decidedly not sectarian. It didn't ask the Pope for his affirmation, nor did it attempt to ground itself in any particular religious theology. It did not refer to the Bible. It also did not refer to any specific bloodline or language or any ethnic traditions. All it says is, we think these things are so, and that's enough. Even today, you can find many people who object to this kind of moral reasoning.

The American revolution preceded the French revolution. Rebellion against a king was not something to be taken lightly. Many people considered the act impious.

The founders were overtly attempting to resurrect a form of government which existed in ancient Greece and Rome, but which was mostly unknown in their day. Nowadays, two-hundred-odd years later, democracy is so widespread that we take it for granted. We shouldn't.

The document is important, not simply because of what it said, but because the project it laid out turned out to be a big success. The little country did not collapse into chaos and internecine wars.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Sat Jul 02, 2005 5:51 pm

" :twisted: " (Eureka)

Beware of the Dark Force, Eureka.

"Cynical [...]" (Eureka)

Cynical: Scornful of the motives or virtue of others.

Not cynical, Eureka. Cynical would be something like "American independence was just a change of masters". Note that what is known outside the U.S. as The U.S. War of Independence is called in the U.S. The American Revolution.

"Pharisaism." (Eureka)

Shoot.

"Look it up in a dictionary." (Eureka.)

I had. Thanks to google, I know now that chav means trailer trash. Many of my neighbors live in trailer parks next to titty bars, and while not very chic, I don't consider them to be a problem.
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Postby Eureka » Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:25 am

Bardo de Saldo wrote:Beware of the Dark Force, Eureka.

It is too late for me, my son.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:Cynical: Scornful of the motives or virtue of others.

Not cynical, Eureka. Cynical would be something like "American independence was just a change of masters". Note that what is known outside the U.S. as The U.S. War of Independence is called in the U.S. The American Revolution.

Ah, I see what you're saying. However, substantial social change within America wouldn't have required the "revolution". After all, it happened in other British colonies and required neither revolution nor independence.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:Shoot.

I can't; we have gun laws. :wink:
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Sun Jul 03, 2005 7:23 pm

"[...] half truth." (Eureka)

I disagree. Statement: Hannibal's army crossed the Alps. (True.) The fact that he lost half of his army in the effort doesn't make my statement a half truth.

" [...] "revolution" [...]" (Eureka)

I also used to think that the American Revolution wasn't really a revolution, lacking the "masses butchering the elite" element. I've changed my mind, and now Yankee Doodle has his place in my Revolutionary Hall of Fame, next to the Ché and Buenaventura Durruti.

"After all, it happened in other British colonies and required neither revolution nor independence." (Eureka)

True, it just required the fear of revolution and independence. Revolution is bad for business, and the cost of social reform can be written off as anti-revolutionary tax. On a side note, I just remembered something Colin Powell (the son of Jamaican emigrants) said: that if his parents had emigrated to the U.K., he wouldn't have made it past master sargeant.

"[...] gun laws." (Eureka)

Is this the direction you want this philosophical skirmish to take? Be warned: I got my 12-gauge fully loaded with orthodontic and personal-hygiene buckshot. :wink:
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Mon Jul 04, 2005 5:08 am

"[...] the fear of revolution [...]." (Myself)

Now that was cynical. I was talking about Spaniards and Mexicans, of course. I'm sure that Canadians are just good hearted. Can you imagine a blood thirsty mob of Canadians?

Australians are a different case. They are the Andalusians of the British World, funny by nature, the salt of the Earth. They could never take The Revolution seriously.


Where's the rest of that Declaration, Phylax? I'm still sceptical.
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Postby Phylax » Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:54 am

I think this is deep for me, for I'm a very ignorant boy.

No you're not, Yhevhe! Please do keep posting to this thread!

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Postby Phylax » Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:59 am

Where's the rest of that Declaration, Phylax? I'm still sceptical.

Coming soon, Bardo, I promise! When I have had a chance to pick out the facts from the fallacies ... :D
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Postby Eureka » Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:38 am

Bardo de Saldo wrote:"[...] half truth." (Eureka)

I disagree. Statement: Hannibal's army crossed the Alps. (True.) The fact that he lost half of his army in the effort doesn't make my statement a half truth.

That doesn't apply. We were quantifying the affects of independence, not qualifying the movements of ancient elephant aficionados.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"After all, it happened in other British colonies and required neither revolution nor independence." (Eureka)

True, it just required the fear of revolution and independence. Revolution is bad for business, and the cost of social reform can be written off as anti-revolutionary tax.

Bah! Not all large-scale change within a society requires violence, or the prospect of violence. Mao said, "All power flows through the barrel of a gun." And he was wrong. The trade union leaders, journalists and demonstration organisers would agree with me.

Let's look at this so called "revolution". I have never studied the American War of Independence, as it is here so called, but I do know that the system of government was not decided upon until after the war. In fact, for a while after the war it was assumed that the new system would be an oligarchy (if it isn't now), a "landowners' democracy". Clearly the revolution was a separate event from the war of independence.

But why was the war? The reason commonly given is that the London parliament had placed a miniscule tax on tea. Even with the slippery-slope argument, the word insufficient seems... insufficient.

Surely the only possible reason is trade. Much of the purpose of colonisation for the Brits was to ensure a market for British goods. Independence allowed the American colonies to decide their own trading arrangements. It's not surprising that these agrarian states would see their interests being served in not having their economic policy dictated by a country with surplus of agricultural products. If Britain had a conflict with Spain or France, the American states could be prevented from trading with them or their colonies. It could cause a recession in the colonies, but it might also hurt one of the "old enemies" slightly, and which one is more important?
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"[...] the fear of revolution [...]." (Myself)

Now that was cynical. I was talking about Spaniards and Mexicans, of course. I'm sure that Canadians are just good hearted. Can you imagine a blood thirsty mob of Canadians?

It seems like you're taking stereotypes about crime rates, and extrapolating them to the overall violence quotient (VC) for and entire people.

The reason why Canadians and Australians didn't rebel is, as before, about trade. Just as the imperial trading block stifled American free enterprise, it protected Canadian and Australian exports. There was not reason to rebel, apart from the idealism of the enlightenment, and Irish nationhood.

You may be interested to know that even in the early days of colonialism there were attempts at independence. A group of Irish convicts, sentenced to transportation for their part in insurrection, rebelled, seized weapons and attempted to march on Sydney. They were defeated, and so share the same obscurity as the ill-fated American attempt to include Canada in their independence.

For decades socialist polemicists gave lip service to republicanism, but, with all economic and military interests being against it, it was never a serious prospect until after WWII.

I'm not familiar with Canadian history, but I'm sure there are similar, pragmatic reasons for their loyalty.
Bardo de Saldo wrote: Australians are a different case. They are the Andalusians of the British World, funny by nature, the salt of the Earth. They could never take The Revolution seriously.

My knowledge of Spain's provinces is a bit thin, so I don't know if you're trying to be insulting or not.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:05 am

"That doesn't apply. We were quantifying the affects of independence, not qualifying the movements of ancient elephant aficionados." (Eureka)

To quantify or to qualify, that's not the question. The question is that nit-picking, what simple statement of fact doesn't become a half truth?

"Nice day." (Not for the farmers awaiting rain.)
"I just farted." (Ruining the lives of millions of air-borne bacteria.)

"Independence will always be a change of masters, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have on-flowing effects to all sections of society." (Eureka)

Tell that to Emperor Bokassa's dessert.

.

"Bah!" (Eureka)

We're impressed by your rhetorical prowess.

"The trade union leaders, journalists and demonstration organisers would agree with me." (Eureka)

Under what conditions?

Why do you keep bringing up the social reforms of the second half of the 20th century? Get real: the battle of Yorktown wasn't fought over Social Security, and 1776 was not 1946. In 1776 Ghandi would have been impaled, quartered and roasted in front of a cheering crowd.

"Surely the only possible reason [for the American Revolution] is trade." (Eureka.)

Cynical, and 1/16 truth. You guys are just sore.


"A group of Irish convicts, sentenced to transportation for their part in insurrection, rebelled, seized weapons and attempted to march on Sydney." (Eureka)

OK, OK, I'll find a place for your guys in the Revolutionary Hall of Fame. Next to Spartacus.

.

"My knowledge of Spain's provinces is a bit thin, so I don't know if you're trying to be insulting or not." (Eureka)

Comparing Australians to any Spaniard is a selfless act of generosity on my part. Now, if you think that being funny and savory is an insult, my apologies.
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Postby Eureka » Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:12 am

Bardo de Saldo wrote:"That doesn't apply. We were quantifying the affects of independence, not qualifying the movements of ancient elephant aficionados." (Eureka)

To quantify or to qualify, that's not the question. The question is that nit-picking, what simple statement of fact doesn't become a half truth?

"Nice day." (Not for the farmers awaiting rain.)
"I just farted." (Ruining the lives of millions of air-borne bacteria.)

You could argue that at a maximum level of nit-picking, all true and quantifiable statements become partially untrue.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"Independence will always be a change of masters, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have on-flowing effects to all sections of society." (Eureka)

Tell that to Emperor Bokassa's dessert.

That charming gormand came to power via a revolution. A government such as his would be much less likely to take shape gradually. ln fact, almost all of the the worst governments in human history were the results of revolutions (just to clarify, I'm not talking about the US government here).
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"Bah!" (Eureka)

We're impressed by your rhetorical prowess.

So we should be.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"The trade union leaders, journalists and demonstration organisers would agree with me." (Eureka)

Under what conditions?

lf you're arguing that their power is dependent on the government not cracking down on them, you should look at what happened in several European Soviet-block countries when their governments attempted such a crack-down. (OK, sometimes those crack-downs actually succeeded, but often they do not.)
Bardo de Saldo wrote:Why do you keep bringing up the social reforms of the second half of the 20th century?
I never mentioned them. I was referring to the democratisation of said countries. Let's not forget that America only became what we would now recognise as a complete democracy in the 1950's and 60's due to the civil-rights movement.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:Get real: the battle of Yorktown wasn't fought over Social Security,

Once again, I never said it was, but social security is an inevitable result of peoplepower. Incidently, I stumbled across a speech by an Athenian defending his right to an invalid pension, so it's nothing new.
Bardo de Saldo wrote: and 1776 was not 1946.

Yes, but 1946 was merely the point at which the empire had collapsed, the democratisation of said counties had occurred long before then.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:In 1776 Ghandi would have been impaled, quartered and roasted in front of a cheering crowd.

True, he was either insane or a political genius, because his tactics relied on synching perfectly with British public opinion.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"Surely the only possible reason [for the American Revolution] is trade." (Eureka.)

Cynical, and 1/16 truth. You guys are just sore.

Well then, what were the reasons for the war?

And in reference to part of my last post, why should a people rebel if they would only have impoverished themselves by seceding?
Bardo de Saldo wrote:My knowledge of Spain's provinces is a bit thin, so I don't know if you're trying to be insulting or not." (Eureka)

Comparing Australians to any Spaniard is a selfless act of generosity on my part. Now, if you think that being funny and savory is an insult, my apologies.

Well, they have had a fair few revolutions, so they must be pretty good.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Mon Jul 25, 2005 8:10 am

"Well then, what were the reasons for the war?" (Eureka)

They are stated very clearly in the Declaration of Independence, economic reasons included (add a pinch of personal ambition).

"And in reference to part of my last post, why should a people rebel if they would only have impoverished themselves by seceding?" (Eureka)

The signers of the Declaration were rich, and would have remained so under British rule. If they had lost (not an unlikely outcome) they would have been ruined, to say the least.

"Well, they [Spaniards] have had a fair few revolutions, so they must be pretty good." (Eureka)

Thanks. More like desperate with nothing to lose. If we had had a couple of Jeffersons and Washingtons instead of the retarded kings, amoral rich, butcher generals, petty liberals and retrograde priests that the Divine Providence sent our way (not that we didn't deserve them) we'd be philosophizing in Spanish right now.

Maybe we should let the Brits and the Yanks fight it out themselves and go grab a beer.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:56 pm

Excuse my patriotic outburst, Eureka. Australians are also the best. We're all the best! Except for the French, of course.

(A wink to the French.)
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Postby Eureka » Sat Jul 30, 2005 11:49 am

Bardo de Saldo wrote:The signers of the Declaration were rich, and would have remained so under British rule. If they had lost (not an unlikely outcome) they would have been ruined, to say the least.

As Aristophanes said, wealth is the one thing for which a man's appetite can never be sated.

But anyway, that's just the thing. Since when are democratic revolutions ever initiated by the landed gentry?
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"Well, they [Spaniards] have had a fair few revolutions, so they must be pretty good." (Eureka)

Thanks. More like desperate with nothing to lose. If we had had a couple of Jeffersons and Washingtons instead of the retarded kings, amoral rich, butcher generals, petty liberals and retrograde priests that the Divine Providence sent our way (not that we didn't deserve them) we'd be philosophizing in Spanish right now.

That's a long list of culprits, but one of my pet hates is mixing up the words amoral and immoral. Also, do you mean "liberals" in the American or European sense of the word?
Bardo de Saldo wrote: Maybe we should let the Brits and the Yanks fight it out themselves and go grab a beer.

What kinda beer? Nothing American or English, I hope. :wink:
Bardo de Saldo wrote:Excuse my patriotic outburst, Eureka. Australians are also the best. We're all the best! Except for the French, of course.

(A wink to the French.)

Everyone likes France, even if they won't admit it.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Sun Jul 31, 2005 4:32 am

"Since when are democratic revolutions ever initiated by the landed gentry?" ( :idea: !)

Since frogs started growing hair.

"That's a long list of culprits ..." ( :idea: !)

It gets worse (don't get me started). Sometimes I think that I should just pledge allegiance and ask José if he can see.

"... one of my pet hates is mixing up the words amoral and immoral." ( :idea: !)

Have some faith in your bard. I know the difference, and I mean amoral, in the sense that knowing right from wrong, they don't give a **** when it comes to filling their pockets.

"... do you mean "liberals" in the American or European sense of the word?" ( :idea: !)

A liberal (from the latin for freedom) person is a liberal person. One cannot be a True-Honest-to-Goodness-American without being liberal. The fact that the hate mongering faction of U.S. Republicans (read pharisaic pill-popping Rush Limbaugh and those of his ilk) try to demonize and ridicule the term doesn't change its meaning. (They wouldn't do it if the Democrats didn't try to monopolize the word, anyway.)

"What kinda beer?" ( :idea: !)

I'd settle for a McCrackenís Bitter Ale.

"Everyone likes France, even if they won't admit it." ( :idea: !)

We're just jealous.
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Aug 07, 2005 2:51 am

Was American Independence a good thing? It is too complicated for me to make an absolute answer. Under the assumption that "good" refers to the arbitrarily average American citizen, I tentatively say yes because it started an age of revolution and reform which overall improved humanity I believe, but the colonies had always been self-governing - having a house of representives was a traditional form of government in the colonies long before the revolution.

Eureka wrote:But anyway, that's just the thing. Since when are democratic revolutions ever initiated by the landed gentry?


Who do you think was most frequently voted into the colonial legislation houses? The House of Burgesses was mostly rich plantation owners. The British were threatening to take power away from the people who were already powerful in the colonies (for example, many of the slave owners thought they had a better chance of keeping their slaves if they ran their own government than keeping the British government which at any time could ban slavery). Democracy was already practiced in the colonies - many of the revolutionaries were trying the maintain status quo rather than really have a revolution. Of course, it did become a genuine revolution which changed American life, but that was not their expectation.

While, with a couple hundred years of retrospect, I tentatively approve of the revolution, I believe had I been a colonist I would have been a Tory. I prefer a few petty taxes over a bloody war, especially one in my backyard.
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Postby Bert » Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:49 am

GlottalGreekGeek wrote: I prefer a few petty taxes over a bloody war, especially one in my backyard.


Who was it that said something like; Better to give 1000 to charity than a penny as tribute.
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Postby Eureka » Mon Aug 08, 2005 5:43 am

Bert wrote:
GlottalGreekGeek wrote: I prefer a few petty taxes over a bloody war, especially one in my backyard.


Who was it that said something like; Better to give 1000 to charity than a penny as tribute.

Taxation isn't the same thing as tribute (unless you're Ayn Rand of course).
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