Monday, June 11, 2018

Make (Fill In The Blank) Great (Again)

A thought that has occurred to me in this age of immigration and refugees fleeing from here to there is the nature of why they come.

Economic opportunity is a strong motivator.  Fleeing from war and violence and war an even stronger one.    For some perhaps it is just opportunity in general; for others a chance to live their lives as they see fit (instead of as their government or culture).

As I pondered the reason that migration happens even within nations that are neither at war or nor in significant disaster - such as our own migration from where we grew up to where we now live - I was struck by the fact that in some ways they are not different:  economic opportunity or way of life or just general opportunity can move people from one location to another. 

But in each and every one of these examples, the place to which you are going is the item of importance.  The place that you came from does not have a great deal of relevance at all.  In many cases, we tend to no longer think of it at all, or just nostalgically.

But that is part of the larger problem.

The current U.S. President's phrase of "Make America Great Again" has been either inspirational or a mockery, depending on which side of the political spectrum you fall.  Setting aside politics for a moment, what is the conceptual problem with the concept of making something great - or great again?

Take Mexico, our immediate neighbor to the south, which is certain parts is horribly littered with crime and economic impoverishment and almost outright civil war.  The things that motivate her citizens to come - Jobs, safety, security - are something that no-one can really argue against.  But my question is simply this:  what if we could make Mexico great?

Yes, I understand there are pretty significant obstacles (the drug trade that is largely supported by the U.S. comes to mind [which we have to address] as does an economy that could use significant assistance in developing).  But would it not be worthwhile to spend the sort of time and effort and resources on this as to the other sorts of things we spend our money on?

Why not make Great Britain great again?  Or Canada?  Or Rwanda?  Or Peru?  Or anywhere, really?

Some might accuse of me of participating in nationalistic jingoism.  That is not the point at all.  I would argue that a country can be great - confident in culture, supportive of its citizens, with a thriving economy - and not go to war to do it.  But it takes work - hard, long work, and a belief that such a thing is even possible.  It also requires a believe in and commitment to the place you are it, a faith that it can be better - and the ability to communicate that belief and motivate with it.

So I suppose here is my challenge to all those argue that only through submission to the whole of World Government can we achieve greatness:  if we have not been able to do it on a national level, whatever would convince us we could do it on an international level?

Instead, might we not consider just starting with making where we are great?  And then branching out from there?


  1. It's not up to the United States to make other countries "great again," TB. Our government's concern needs to be for the people it supposedly serves. It's up to the American people to lift our country back up to where it was.

    look at what happened to Mexico when NAFTA allowed U.S. companies to ship jobs over there... NOTHING. The money got sucked up by the government, and nothing ever hit the ground. As for the U.S. supporting Mexico's drug trade; if OUR government would start treating the drug pushers as the mass murderers they are, I believe business would start waning in "the drug trade."

    As far as immigration is concerned; the United States has become the welfare system for countries like Mexico. These countries encourage their poorest to move here, where they immediately jump on "the system." Indeed, they live like royalty on welfare, compared to how they were living in "the old country." Anyone who doesn't think they're getting onto welfare, food stamps, Section Eight, and utility subsidies because it's illegal for them to do so, just doesn't live close enough to the problem. I LIVE on the front lines of this issue, and see it every day! Also; in the illegal immigration process, these people turn the areas they live in into replicas of the 3rd World dungheaps they came from.

    It's time that our people focus on our people for a change... Indeed; as you said; we need to clean our own house before telling others how to clean theirs...

  2. In some ways, it is kind of like an alcoholic. The alcoholic has to want to change before anything you do will work. Many muslims do not want change; otherwise why would they come here and demand we change. They don't want America's laws, they want their own.

    I agree with your ideas that if we could make other places work, it would be good. It worked for Germany and Japan; but there are a lot of places it hasn't worked.

    But then we need to change the way we work in those places, if at all possible. (I.e., Africa, South America, etc.)

  3. Pete, the thing I find odd is that countries would rather become dependent on others or use them as a relief valve rather than work to improve the lot of all of their citizens. It would really appear - at least from the outside in - that the ruling classes are truly more concerned with their own living standards than improving the life of all of their citizens.

  4. Linda, I do not know that you could call out a single group - I can think of many out of state citizens (U.S. born) that trying to make the places they move exactly like the places they fled from due to high taxes or excessive regulation. To my mine, it is a state of mind rather than a religious or political creed.

    As to other places - I wish we could spread the idea that all states can be exceptional in different ways.

  5. I've wondered about that too. What's wrong with trying to help Mexico and its neighbors become economically strong thriving countries? I suspect that answer to that has something to do with politics, which I have to admit I'm not very interested in.

  6. That is one of the things Leigh - something I am not terribly interested in either (oddly enough I was a political science major in college but eschew politics. Political science - the nature of governments and how they are constructed - that I can be interested in from time to time).

    I also think it stems from an unwillingness - maybe a form of international "polite society" - not to comment on the workings of most other governments. There is a rather sad history of intervention to be sure, which I am sure makes lots of people reluctant to say or suggest anything. At the same time, one has to ask the question: are we really interested in solving the root problem? Or just the symptoms?


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