Discussion in 'Team CivFanatics' started by 2metraninja, Mar 4, 2013.
Great, thanks for the info, will think it over
Well said, sir. TBH, I've never understood this "my country is the greatest ever" sentiment. Then again, I'm from a country where a man's worth is determined by his humility and where self depreciation is a national sport OK, we are not quite that bad, but honestly it can sometimes get ridiculous.
For example a couple of years back Newsweek published a survey where Finland was ranked as the best country to live in (based on best average score from several parameters such as education, health, quality of life and so forth). As usual all the naysayers in several Finnish forums were eager to refute the results. But this time it went even a bit further. As the data for the survey was freely available, someone (a Finn) noticed that the data doesn't seem to add up and Finland should only be the second in the survey. Consequently, journalists form a Finnish news paper actually contacted Newsweek office and pointed out the mistake and claimed that Finland should not be number one. In the end it turned out (according to Newsweek) that the statistics were indeed correct and Finland is the number one. The maths to count the number one were not as the people who thought there was a mistake believed. Anyway, all in all I find this episode a hilarious example of Finnish way of thinking.
It might be partly because of the Finnish mindset why I find it alarming when people declare their country to be the best. I mean, certain amount of national pride is given. It is inbuilt characteristics of modern societies. And joking about it is all fine and dandy, IMO. But I hope that everyone who has had privilege of education will remember what were the end results about a century ago when people took national pride too seriously. And then again about 75 years ago. And again multiple times in local scale, but still including very much human suffering.
Well Calis was the one who just said...
Gallows humor/sarcasm aside, I do think it is almost equally ridiculous to say that we can't, at least for the sake of friendly debate and fun discussion (argument), characterize things as "the greatest," whether it be the current greatest, or the greatest of all time.
I happen to think Mario Andretti is the greatest race car driver of all time, Muhammad Ali is the greatest boxer of all time, Gary Kasparov is the greatest chessmaster of all time and Michael Jordan is the gretest basketball player of all time.
We charaterize things, people etc as the "greatest" all the time.. its normal to do so... Have at it I say. Why can't someone argue that their favourite team, or favourite player, or nation for that matter... is greatest? Its not like we are going to fight a nuclear War over it on the CFC forums are we?
If I say "Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer" will you say "Ridiculous! All golfers have strengths and weakness, you can't say one is better than the other!" ???
Link to video.
When we played Uruguay for the final spot in the 2006 WC, that clip was played quite a bit here.
The United States has the ability to impose it's will on the rest of the world which makes any other measure of greatness moot.
Sorry for being missing from the party those last 2 days guys, very busy with small time for civ.
I wanted this discussion to be broader, but it went down to who is more insulted and beating chests with fists. Well, lets do it.
I could have said China, is greater nation than USA because of their vast numbers superior number of citizens. Or because they produce more goods than USA. Or because they have 5000 years of history and culture compared to less than 300 years USA history. Or Russia being greater nation for occupying way more territory than USA. Or the Greek nation for having created the Western culture, or Roman nation for being world empire 1000+ years compared to USA's 100 years of world empire. Or the English nation, for having spread their culture and language all over the world - in USA included. After all, in USA the official language spoken is English.
And if it was about being able to bully/beat someone, then I can point Vietnam is way greater nation than USA, because USA lost the war with them. Afghanistan and Iraq nations are another nations where USA could not impose their will and have to retreat. But this may also sound arrogant to many: We can beat any of you, so we are the greatest.
But why does the opinion of the weak even matter?
Who is this weak?
I start wondering if you are serious with what you are talking.
Errr...really, are you serious about what you are talking??
I would say that it is a bit different thing with sports where you have an inbuilt score keeping systems and you can at least to some extent tell, who has fared best in their chosen event. Of course even that gets tricky when you think about the sports where you can measure both number of victories and athletic ability. E.g. who would be the greatest 110 meter hurdles athlete, the current world record holder or the one with most victories in major games (Olympics and World Championships).
With countries, "the greatest" gets even more ambiguous. Aside from military oomph you can parametrize the countries in such a many different ways that you can get virtually any (developed) country in top of your preferred list. Even Finland, as shown in my previous post. So saying that any country is the greatest is just a way of boosting national pride of people just happening to been born into that country.
No, we won't. But the way I see it, the more there is national pride around the world, the closer the world is to a nuclear war. I was not commenting on why team CFC should not discuss about the greatness of our respective countries but why I feel in general that excessive national pride is dangerous.
Because even USA does not have enough power to impose its will on all of the rest of the world at once? Think about it. USA really was stretching it already by having just two simultaneous wars in countries with no mentionable military power nor equipment aside from small arms and improvised explosive devices. And even those wars have already cost USA at least about fifth of its current national debt. Now imagine that USA foreign policy was to only use military power to get what it wants. In the worst case it would have to deploy its troops in all rest 205 or so sovereign countries. And some of those have quite a large military to beat up first (including at least four other countries with a capability to lob nuclear weapons back at US). So in the end USA is still ways of from achieving conquest victory IMO, that is a good reason to listen to the opinion of "the weak". Who knows, that could even bring USA a step closer to diplomatic victory
Good point, although one could make the argument that the Americans have already won a cultural victory. Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Walt Disney are SUPER GAs worth at least 20 000 culture points each! - American influence on pop culture is ubiquitous. Music, film, literature and of course, computer games. Quality can be argued, but not popularity. It's not even close. Oh and blue jeans. don't forget blue jeans. and cowboy hats. and ... oh yeah, almost forgot... TELEVISON!
10 000 years from now, people will still be talking about the day Elvis landed on the moon, planted the American flag, swayed his hips and declared himself king of rock and roll. Then he returned to Earth and starred in Happy Days as the Fonz and bequeathed his crown to son in law, Michael Jackson... actually that last part is sort of true.
Not really. On the one hand, I see what you are saying, but on the other hand, you are just stating the obvious to avoid the question. How would you "score" or rate the "performance" of nations? If your answer is simply "I don't know, that's difficult to do," then I respond by saying "That's just a cop-out and since I do know how to score/rate them and you don't isn't my opinion more useful to the discussion than yours?"
Another way of looking at it... If we are deciding what to eat and you say "Hmmm, I'm not sure how to decide there are so many choices, I can't say which is best" and I say "Chinese food is best! Let's have Chinese food!" then what will we have?... Chinese of course, because your inability to decide does not make you right, it makes you indifferent in the decision making process.
It is the same with this issue. Say which nation(s) you think are the greatest and why (as 2metra did), rather than just trying to ride some politically correct fence. That doesen't add anything to the discussion of greatness. We are just talking here, nobody has any power to grant any awards (or launch any nukes) afterall.
See this is an example of what I am talking about. You are trying to make the decision more complicated than it is. With a world record in a foot race we dont need to parse greatest of all time because the clock tells us who is fastest of all time. In track, as everyone probably knows, the current record holder (in the 100m dash) for example, is Usain Bolt (awesome name BTW). So Usain Bolt is the greatest in that event. If you want to talk about greatest track and field Olympian of all time (decathalete?) then that will be someone else, greatest hurdler specifically?... someone else, and so on. In some sports we can distinguish current greatest from all time greatest, and that is fun to discuss as well, but there is always a way to measure it. That is my point.
But that is just another cop-out... The question is how do YOU "parametrize" it? I notice you want to put "military oomph aside" (which is obviously targeted to deny the US the status of greatest)... very telling . But if not military power, than what? And why?
If we were playing global Civ, who would have the highest score? China? Russia? Who is the lead nation in our ISDG right now? Why? Is it possibly because they *gasp* are the most powerful?... See my point?
Not so. See 2metra's post above. He names many nations as greatest and nowhere does he mention Bulgaria, which I believe is his home State (he does sneak Russia in there though). TBH, I think his point is to just name anyone but the rival USA , but that is for discussing in my next post. The point is one does not necessarily have to only pick their own nation as greatest at something... For example, I think China hosted the greatest Olympics ever (especially the opening ceremonies Wow!)
Oh come on... Lighten up I don't have any top secret nuclear clearance... Do you?
Nah. Cultural victory requires three cities with legendary culture. USA has at most two, New York and Los Angeles. And even that is debatable since the cities have not been around for very long. Though the cities' culture output are unarguably huge, it takes time to accumulate enough points for victory
I had a feeling you would say something like that... I did not know exactly what you would say, but I was confident that you would, after talking at length about "how you can't measure the greatness of nations" respond to dratboy by doing precisely what you were just arguing couldn't be done...
So after arguing that greatness of nations can't be measured, dratboy says "US won culture victory already" and you contradict yourself by saying "Well the US can't have won cultural victory because of this and that measurement."
So when someone someone says "USA is the greatest" you say "Greatness can't be measured". But when they say why... like "US won culture victory" you are quick to calculate all the measurements and conclude that according to your calculations and measurements, the US can't possibly be the greatest... See the contradiction?... sounds like you have an agenda, ie to say that US is not the greatest. What other explanation could there be?
I like the three cities rule... forces me to think about it more. I'm leaning toward New Orleans - spiritual home of blues, jazz, cajun food and mardi gras.
When Sommers nukes one of these, I've got Las Vegas as my backup city and I'm popping all my GAs in there going forward (this totally works, as all great performers wind up taking posh gigs in Vegas in their twilight years).
Oh and about this ...
Uhhh... What about Washington D.C. and Chicago? What about San Francisco? Las Vegas? New Orleans doesent have legendary culture? Even with the Jazz, and Blues, and Mardi Gras, and food and French Quarter and all that?
And what about Seattle??? The musician Great Artists alone should get them legendary status ... Jimi Hendrix, Dave Matthews and Nirvana, just to name a few
And Disney World alone probably makes Orlando one of the most legendary places on earth... certainly the happiest... just sayin'
Not necessarily. If your arbitrarily decided scoring system for nations is wrong, my opinion is more useful than yours. BTW, my answer is not that it's difficult to rate performance of nations. My answer is that it is impossible without first deciding what performance parameter you are interested in. Current scientific progress? Life expectancy? Equality? Expected manufacture production in next 30 years? These all measure something that can be used to measure different aspects of life and progress but all will result in different score leader. There just isn't simple answer to question "what is the greatest nation in world".
To me it seems that you are trying to make world much simpler that it really is. Fastest is irrefutable. The greatest is not automatically equivalent to the fastest even in track and field. I do not have an practical example as I do not watch much sports but suppose there was an athlete A who during their career won practically all major events but the current record holder is athlete B competing couple of decades later. I'd be more inclined to call athlete A the greatest. And remember human performance in athletic events has been increasing steadily over the time (not sure why, but I think it might have something to do with advancements in equipment and training methods).
My point is that there is no point in trying to find a single winner, or current score leader in real world. Sorting nations out in any order really makes sense only if you are trying to think how to impact the distribution. E.g. if politicians try to look into ways to improve their country's average life expectancy it makes sense to to sort out nations based on life expectancy and investigate what the say top ten nations are doing better than their nation. Just sorting the nations by life expectancy and claiming Japan is the greatest country in world is just plain silly.
Seems that I used a wrong idiom here. IMO, idioms are one of the most difficult things in foreign languages. What I was looking for was more like "in addition to". But even if we put military might aside, I can figure several parameters where USA is the world leader, simplest being GNP. For some reason it seems that you are perceiving my claim that there are so many ways to sort the nations that I am attacking USA. I am not. I just find the whole concept of "the greatest nation" utterly silly. World is much more complex than a game of Civ. You just can't point out the single greatest nation. And even if you could, I don't see the point in doing that. That's what I'm trying to say.
With the Civ scoring system it would most likely be China mostly due to population. They do have some nice wonders to add in too and land area helps some too. In the real world you cannot really pull ahead with tech, as it propagates so fast through the whole world.
Oh, please! These are two totally different discussions. Cultural victory in real life does not happen. Even if you did have three or more cities with legendary culture it does not prompt a victory screen. This part of the discussion was my attempt to lighten up but then you try to make this also about me trying to bash USA, which is not at all what I've been aiming at.
BTW, if I'm willing to grant any Civ victory in the real world for anyone, that'll go for the nation that sends the first space ship towards Alpha Centauri
Separate names with a comma.