12 votes

What do you think are some good things about the US?

Admittedly independence day was a week ago so this is kind of late.

Most people in the left consider the US to be one of, if not the worst country in the (developed, unless you're a right wing strawman) world and, we have listed the bad things about the US many, many times, so I think a thread about the good things about the US would be neat.

The 3 main things I think are good are:

  • Honestly, I think party primaries where most people vote for president are good. While I do think they would be much more beneficial in a multiparty system as opposed to the US's 2 party system, I think it's better than having your presidential candidates be chosen by usually politicking with the party. I don't mean this to say the way party primaries are conducted in the US is the way because it isn't, but I think it's better than not having a primary.

  • I also think midterm elections are good, because it means that if people dislike the course of the current government, they can vote for that in a midterm. In the US, this means they only had 2 years of a Republican trifecta led by Trump as opposed to 4 like here in Brazil and I suspect a lot of other places. I don't mean this to say elections every 2 years is unequivocally good, and for such elections you would definitely need shorter primaries so elected politicians don't need to spend most of their time campaigning which I've heard is often what they do.

  • Lastly, I think the US is by far the country most concerned with things like electoral systems and methods, campaign finance, whether there should be an upper house or not (not that senate abolition is popular even among leftists, but it is much more popular than a place like, say, Brazil, where I live), and this is the third good thing about the US.

Of course, all of these originate from the worst parts of the US political system, but I think the fact that there's any public conscience of them existing is still a good thing.

One can argue the fact that the largest amount of influential companies being under US regulations means that if any positive changes to said regulation are implemented the entire world benefits (most obviously concerning the Internet), but the opposite is equally true and far more common.

There's also probably many good things about US culture, by virtue of that being true for most most cultures, but I don't know what US culture specifically is enough to list them.

47 comments

  1. [19]
    joplin
    Link
    I’m not sure where you get that impression. There are a lot of things we’d like to fix, but worst in the developed world? Not by a long shot. China is far worse on almost every measure, for...

    Most people in the left consider the US to be one of, if not the worst country in the (developed, unless you're a right wing strawman) world…

    I’m not sure where you get that impression. There are a lot of things we’d like to fix, but worst in the developed world? Not by a long shot. China is far worse on almost every measure, for example (or are we still pretending that a nuclear power that sends probes to the moon and that supplies most of our consumer products is a “developing” nation?).

    In any event, despite our problems, we have incredible amounts of creative and intellectual freedom. The vast majority of people here tend to be kind in person so long as you’re not antagonizing them about their beliefs. (Obviously there are exceptions.) There are many opportunities to advance yourself in whatever ways are important to you (not just financially, but intellectually, spiritually, artistically, etc.). We can often be more relaxed than our European neighbors about pedigree. We have both a healthy and unhealthy distrust of authority. While our individualism can sometimes be a detriment, it is more often a strength in my opinion.

    15 votes
    1. [18]
      cloud_loud
      Link Parent
      By “the left” I’m pretty sure that OP is talking about the small percentage of revolutionary leftists that you can easily encounter online. Not people who vote Democrat or voted for Bernie in the...

      By “the left” I’m pretty sure that OP is talking about the small percentage of revolutionary leftists that you can easily encounter online.

      Not people who vote Democrat or voted for Bernie in the primaries.

      In certain online spaces (places with self-professed tankies, anarchists, “libertarian socialists”) you get a lot of America hate that is often blind and performative. Saying stuff like “death to America” and “Amerikkka.”

      More often than not, though, these are really young people taking up politics as an identity, and only ever learning stuff from certain Twitter accounts and subreddits. And is not representative of any meaningful population within the U.S.

      10 votes
      1. [6]
        chrysanth
        Link Parent
        This isn't very welcoming to people who identify with those labels, especially when you place them in scare quotes as if they aren't legitimate political tendencies. Many of these people recognize...

        Not people who vote Democrat or voted for Bernie in the primaries.

        In certain online spaces (places with self-professed tankies, anarchists, “libertarian socialists”) you get a lot of America hate that is often blind and performative. Saying stuff like “death to America” and “Amerikkka.”

        This isn't very welcoming to people who identify with those labels, especially when you place them in scare quotes as if they aren't legitimate political tendencies. Many of these people recognize that elections still happen and still matter and vote in them while acknowledging their limited capacity to change the system, and many of these people recognize the value in a liberal democratic system which allows them to make social critique without fearing persecution. You're also waving away a ton of political diversity in opinion by equating tankies and libertarian socialists on the basis of their critiques of U.S. imperialism, which are distinct.

        6 votes
        1. [5]
          cloud_loud
          Link Parent
          I grouped these people together to say that extreme fringe leftism is incredibly small, and even if you lump every faction together it’s still small. And as someone that’s spend a lot of time with...

          I grouped these people together to say that extreme fringe leftism is incredibly small, and even if you lump every faction together it’s still small.

          And as someone that’s spend a lot of time with these types of people, I can comfortably say that a large number of self-identifying revolutionaries are just LARPers who don’t understand what they say they believe in. A supposed communist voting in bourgeoisie elections is also a sign of someone that doesn’t understand what they claim to believe in.

          5 votes
          1. [3]
            spctrvl
            Link Parent
            I think you're conflating largely unrelated tendencies. It's very mainstream for typical American liberals to decry the abysmal state of the country and its various failing systems and subsystems,...

            I think you're conflating largely unrelated tendencies. It's very mainstream for typical American liberals to decry the abysmal state of the country and its various failing systems and subsystems, whether it's healthcare, work benefits in general, the housing market, homelessness, lobbying, city walkability, whatever. John Oliver does an entire, wildly popular show about it.

            A supposed communist voting in bourgeoisie elections is also a sign of someone that doesn’t understand what they claim to believe in.

            Or a sign of someone with a shred of pragmatism in them.

            12 votes
            1. [2]
              Thrabalen
              Link Parent
              Another way to look at it is, even if the bus isn't going exactly where you want it to go, if you don't get on the bus you're left standing in the same spot.

              Another way to look at it is, even if the bus isn't going exactly where you want it to go, if you don't get on the bus you're left standing in the same spot.

              12 votes
              1. spctrvl
                Link Parent
                Oh 100%. Regardless of what your thoughts are on how changeable society is through the ballot box alone, voting sets the conditions for organizing. It's much easier to raise class consciousness...

                Oh 100%. Regardless of what your thoughts are on how changeable society is through the ballot box alone, voting sets the conditions for organizing. It's much easier to raise class consciousness and union power when you have a government that's interested in protecting unions and promoting unionization, and that's something that's demonstrably achievable through electoral politics.

                9 votes
          2. hungariantoast
            Link Parent
            Maybe they just think we should improve society somewhat

            A supposed communist voting in bourgeoisie elections is also a sign of someone that doesn’t understand what they claim to believe in.

            Maybe they just think we should improve society somewhat

            8 votes
      2. [11]
        Kuromantis
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        That's not really the case for me. I guess I just look at it from the pov of "every (developed) nation has this except the US", which all seems to be agreed among leftists that this is true for...

        That's not really the case for me. I guess I just look at it from the pov of "every (developed) nation has this except the US", which all seems to be agreed among leftists that this is true for (public) Healthcare, colleges, a relatively normal democratic system, lobbying regulations (well, I assume), etc.

        I also guess I personally have a stricter definition of developed than is warranted since the countries I see as developed countries have always generally been "The democratic, non Latino West + Japan, South Korea and a few other Asian nations and stable Middle Eastern states", and saying something like "the US isn't the worst in the developed world if you count the dictatorships that are actually getting somewhere like China and almost oligarchies like Russia" doesn't really feel like a serious argument, even if it's not at all untrue.

        5 votes
        1. [10]
          joplin
          Link Parent
          We do have public healthcare, it’s just not as widely available as in other countries. You find it under Medicare and Medicaid. It’s not perfect and not even as good as other countries’, but it’s...

          We do have public healthcare, it’s just not as widely available as in other countries. You find it under Medicare and Medicaid. It’s not perfect and not even as good as other countries’, but it’s incorrect to say we don’t have it. It’s similar with low cost/no cost education. We have many community colleges that are within reach of the majority of people. It’s not perfect, but it does exist and it seems like better options are gaining popularity.

          the countries I see as developed countries have always generally been "The democratic, non Latino West + Japan, South Korea and a few other Asian nations and stable Middle Eastern states"

          Perhaps in the future it would be better to define such terms up front?

          2 votes
          1. [9]
            Thrabalen
            Link Parent
            That's not public healthcare, that's targeted public assistance. That's like claiming that we don't have a homelessness problem because many people have homes.

            To be eligible for Pennsylvania Medicaid, you must be a resident of the state of Pennsylvania, a U.S. national, citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien, in need of health care/insurance assistance, whose financial situation would be characterized as low income or very low income. You must also be one of the following:

            Pregnant, or
            Be responsible for a child 17 years of age or younger, or
            Have a disability or a family member in your household with a disability.

            You may qualify for Medicare in Pennsylvania if you’re a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident who has lived in the U.S. for more than five years and one or more of the following applies to you3:

            You are 65 or older.
            You have been on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for two years.
            You have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

            That's not public healthcare, that's targeted public assistance. That's like claiming that we don't have a homelessness problem because many people have homes.

            17 votes
            1. [8]
              joplin
              Link Parent
              There are 71 million people in the US enrolled in Medicaid. That’s ~21% of the population. There are 60 million+ people on Medicare in the US. That’s another 18% of the population. So 39% of the...

              That's like claiming that we don't have a homelessness problem because many people have homes.

              There are 71 million people in the US enrolled in Medicaid. That’s ~21% of the population.

              There are 60 million+ people on Medicare in the US. That’s another 18% of the population.

              So 39% of the population utilizes these program. There are also additional state programs like Medi-Cal in California. So, as I originally said:

              It’s not perfect and not even as good as other countries’, but it’s incorrect to say we don’t have it.

              I stand by that.

              4 votes
              1. [4]
                Thrabalen
                Link Parent
                If less than half the population can utilize a service, it's not "public healthcare." The program may be cost-free at time of use (with the exception of taxes), but it's a members-only club. And I...

                If less than half the population can utilize a service, it's not "public healthcare." The program may be cost-free at time of use (with the exception of taxes), but it's a members-only club. And I say this as someone who is on SSI, and thus has Medicare. I have no co-pays, no prescription costs, nothing. And everyone should have this. This is not something that should be restricted to some of us, it's something that should be guaranteed to all of us.

                13 votes
                1. joplin
                  Link Parent
                  Totally agree on that point!

                  everyone should have this. This is not something that should be restricted to some of us, it's something that should be guaranteed to all of us.

                  Totally agree on that point!

                  4 votes
                2. [2]
                  petrichor
                  Link Parent
                  "Public healthcare" is healthcare funded by the public that goes to the public. Everyone in Pennsylvania will be a recipient of Medicare at at most the age of 65. Whatever else you can say about...

                  "Public healthcare" is healthcare funded by the public that goes to the public. Everyone in Pennsylvania will be a recipient of Medicare at at most the age of 65. Whatever else you can say about Medicare, it's public healthcare nonetheless.

                  3 votes
                  1. Thrabalen
                    Link Parent
                    Everyone in PA that survives to the age of 65. That number would be much greater if we had public healthcare. The majority of people have to use private healthcare.

                    Everyone in PA that survives to the age of 65. That number would be much greater if we had public healthcare. The majority of people have to use private healthcare.

                    3 votes
              2. vord
                Link Parent
                I know this is supposed to be a positivity thread, but I really think it should be known that half of that 20% is people below the poverty line. As in also having trouble paying for even the most...

                I know this is supposed to be a positivity thread, but I really think it should be known that half of that 20% is people below the poverty line. As in also having trouble paying for even the most basic essentials.

                7 votes
              3. [2]
                frostycakes
                Link Parent
                You can't directly add Medicare and Medicaid percentages together though, as poor elderly folks get both Medicare and Medicaid, especially if they're in a long term care setting, since Medicare...

                You can't directly add Medicare and Medicaid percentages together though, as poor elderly folks get both Medicare and Medicaid, especially if they're in a long term care setting, since Medicare only pays for a limited number of days in those types of facility.

                3 votes
                1. joplin
                  Link Parent
                  OK, fair enough. So somewhere between 20 and 40% That's still a significant number of people covered even if it isn't everyone at this time. All this pedantic dickweedery really misses the point,...

                  OK, fair enough. So somewhere between 20 and 40% That's still a significant number of people covered even if it isn't everyone at this time. All this pedantic dickweedery really misses the point, which is that we do have some limited amount of public healthcare, even though everyone isn't covered by default, and there is growing support for even more.

                  2 votes
  2. stu2b50
    Link
    I'm not quite sure I agree with the premise, but ignoring that, there are plenty of things I appreciate about the US. Diversity - Plenty of internal conflict over this one, but there's something...

    I'm not quite sure I agree with the premise, but ignoring that, there are plenty of things I appreciate about the US.

    1. Diversity - Plenty of internal conflict over this one, but there's something to be said for at least having the opportunity - the US is only 76% white, compared to, say, 92% in the UK. Within areas of the US that is more or less pronounced, but in the Bay, for instance, the region is only 46% white - there is no racial majority at all! As someone who's not white, it can be very isolating to live somewhere where no one looks like you, or had the cultural experiences as you, even if no one is obtusely racist to your face. Big boon for second gen immigrants.

    2. Large country - the US is a very large country, with very different geographic, demographic, and cultural features throughout it. But it's also one country, not a multinational alliance or economic zone, that speaks one language. But it's extremely easy in the US to relocate without much fuss.

    3. Certain career opportunities - perhaps this is born on top of the misfortune of others, but nonetheless certain high skill professions are by far treated the best in the US - software engineering, for instance, is treated much more as a cost center in the rest of the developed world, with compensation that follows.

    4. Certain benefits from being economically dominant - many companies, domestic and international, do cater quite a bit to American consumers because it's such a large, unified market. Spotify, for instance, is a Swedish company that heavily focused on the US market from the get go, to the extent that some people don't even know that they're HQd in Sweden.

    13 votes
  3. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [2]
      joplin
      Link Parent
      This is most certainly not the norm in the US. I regularly have to wait months to see a new doctor. I am a fairly standard patient for my age – nothing too odd is wrong with me. My wife on the...

      While the cost of healthcare in the U.S. sucked one area where it was improved was service. I never had to wait for a doctor or specialist appointment. As soon as I got there I was admitted.

      This is most certainly not the norm in the US. I regularly have to wait months to see a new doctor. I am a fairly standard patient for my age – nothing too odd is wrong with me. My wife on the other hand has some really difficult to treat conditions and her doctors often having waiting lists on the order of 9 months to 2 years for new patients.

      And I often spend twice the length of my time in the waiting room as I do in the actual room with the doctor when I have a visit. I’d say you were pretty lucky if you didn’t run into these sorts of wait times while in the US.

      12 votes
      1. OswaldTheCatfish
        Link Parent
        Yep. A couple years ago my jaw was so messed up that I couldnt eat solid food. I had to wait several months to see anyone about it and all he did was remove my wisdom teeth. I had to wait several...

        Yep. A couple years ago my jaw was so messed up that I couldnt eat solid food. I had to wait several months to see anyone about it and all he did was remove my wisdom teeth. I had to wait several more months to see anyone competent about it.

        Even worse, a friend of mine had to wait a couple months to get an MRI when they thought he had a brain tumor.

        Theres the saying of "Fast, cheap, or good. Pick 2". Healthcare in America has none of those for most people.

        4 votes
    2. frostycakes
      Link Parent
      Problem is is that's something like 20% of the population (and a slice that is almost certainly overrepresented here). It's a lot more shit for the other 80% of the population, and knowing how...

      Problem is is that's something like 20% of the population (and a slice that is almost certainly overrepresented here). It's a lot more shit for the other 80% of the population, and knowing how easily one can drop out of that 20% chunk due to healthcare costs alone is an anxiety that the rest of the developed world just doesn't have. If you're making the median income of around $35k/year, it's absolutely worse than in other comparable countries.

      8 votes
  4. frostycakes
    Link
    My favorite one is our public lands systems and how much we've been able to keep wild. Being born, raised, and living my entire life in multiple Western states where we have tons of freely...

    My favorite one is our public lands systems and how much we've been able to keep wild. Being born, raised, and living my entire life in multiple Western states where we have tons of freely accessible national forests and wildernesses, and cheaply accessible national parks, something that just doesn't feel the same in other places. Being in the woods in Europe, in the middle of nowhere, just felt so much more curated than the forests just a half hour drive from my city.

    13 votes
  5. [2]
    vord
    Link
    Food. You know why there's the stereotype of Americn's being fat? Because the blending of cultures from around the world has resulted in a fantastic and dynamic variety of food available in almost...

    Food. You know why there's the stereotype of Americn's being fat? Because the blending of cultures from around the world has resulted in a fantastic and dynamic variety of food available in almost any non-rural area.

    I can eat dishes from a dozen different countries, with multiple options to choose from. And I'm not even in some of the hotbeds of culinary development.

    13 votes
    1. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. Autoxidation
        Link Parent
        My favorite thing about visiting DC is the incredible amount of variety and blending of food available. I could probably eat at a different restaurant every meal for the rest of my life and still...

        My favorite thing about visiting DC is the incredible amount of variety and blending of food available. I could probably eat at a different restaurant every meal for the rest of my life and still not visit them all. Seriously.

        3 votes
  6. nothis
    Link
    America is amazing. Almost every technology that matters and every major cultural trend in pretty much a century either comes from the US or was shaped there to its current form. The world has it...

    America is amazing. Almost every technology that matters and every major cultural trend in pretty much a century either comes from the US or was shaped there to its current form. The world has it better than any time before in human history and that's largely because of US achievements. By most reasonable measures, the US is the best country on earth.

    Complaining about something you love in a constructive way is what makes this possible and this is what you're hearing when people bitch about inequality or climate change. It's a conversation about how things could be even better. Show me another place where you can have that so openly and actually see results in the end.

    Would I want to live there? I don't think so. Not sure if I could take the general extraversion/loudness, in-your-face patriotism, and weird work culture. I rather live here in Europe. But the US is clearly more successful than any other country by any measure other than maybe relaxed contentedness.

    11 votes
  7. [4]
    spctrvl
    Link
    Surprisingly, the United States does some aspects of transgender healthcare better than most European countries. While cost and access are obviously issues with a largely privatized medical...

    Surprisingly, the United States does some aspects of transgender healthcare better than most European countries. While cost and access are obviously issues with a largely privatized medical system, the US pioneered the informed consent model of trans healthcare, which basically means that in much of the country, the only prerequisite to starting medical transition is desire to transition; no letters from therapists, no conforming to gender stereotypes, no "lived experience", just, this is what hormones will do to you, do you still want them?

    In most of Europe, while transition related care is often free or cheap, there's more gatekeeping and limiting of access, not to mention waiting lists of months or years. This is improving of course, but in Sweden, legal recognition of a change in gender required sterilization, including the destruction of preserved sperm and egg samples, until 2013.

    Also our passenger rail is shit, but our cargo rail network is the envy of the world.

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      Hold up. Why did Sweden have literal legal medical genocide?

      This is improving of course, but in Sweden, legal recognition of a change in gender required sterilization, including the destruction of preserved sperm and egg samples, until 2013.

      Hold up. Why did Sweden have literal legal medical genocide?

      5 votes
      1. spctrvl
        Link Parent
        I have no idea, but at the time the relevant law was written (1972), Sweden was still doing forced sterilizations on eugenic grounds. It could also have been meant as a deterrent, especially to...

        I have no idea, but at the time the relevant law was written (1972), Sweden was still doing forced sterilizations on eugenic grounds. It could also have been meant as a deterrent, especially to non-heterosexual trans people.

        5 votes
      2. [2]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. spctrvl
          Link Parent
          That's rather rude and dismissive. It's perfectly appropriate to refer to the forced sterilization of a distinct subculture of people as genocide. It's not the worst such by any means, but it...

          That's rather rude and dismissive. It's perfectly appropriate to refer to the forced sterilization of a distinct subculture of people as genocide. It's not the worst such by any means, but it isn't a competition.

          5 votes
  8. nukeman
    Link
    American here. While my country has it’s faults, there’s many parts I love, among them: The incredible diversity - in people (who are mostly friendly and work to support each other), in food (even...

    American here. While my country has it’s faults, there’s many parts I love, among them:

    • The incredible diversity - in people (who are mostly friendly and work to support each other), in food (even if we didn’t invent it, we almost certainly commercialized the hell out of it), in landscapes (Even here in SC, we've got piney woods, deciduous forests, swamps, mountains, and huge rivers), in wildlife (down here the birds and gators are my favorite), and more. (Honestly this could be broken down into several bullets of its own)

    • Building off what @frostycakes said, our public lands system is incredible, at all levels - federal, state, and local. Within two hours of my house, I have dozens of great parks, from historic canals, to short trails to the river, to a massive bottomland forest swamp (one of the few national parks in the southeast).

    • If you are into shooting sports, the United States is probably the best place to be. We have all kinds of disciplines, from traditional Olympic-style competition, to three gun, to sleet, to Cowboy Action Shooting.

    7 votes
  9. [2]
    Staross
    (edited )
    Link
    For me I'd say the "alternative" culture (music, movies, ...), some of the "americana" things like motels, gas stations, small restaurants & shops, etc. (I'm European so they have a certain exotic...

    For me I'd say the "alternative" culture (music, movies, ...), some of the "americana" things like motels, gas stations, small restaurants & shops, etc. (I'm European so they have a certain exotic charm) and people are pretty approachable & casual. I could add landscapes but I'm not sure that really counts.

    I'm very anti-US generally, but there's still a lot of things I like, which in some ways are also anti-US, but in an American way (e.g. George Carlin).

    6 votes
    1. teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      Having seen a lot of the US by car, I love how you can get a nearly frontier vibe while stopping off an interstate. There are so many towns with nothing but a gas station/general store, a tiny...

      Having seen a lot of the US by car, I love how you can get a nearly frontier vibe while stopping off an interstate. There are so many towns with nothing but a gas station/general store, a tiny motel, one restaurant, and a few residential buildings. You’re a hundred miles from a proper town in every direction. I always wonder what it’s like to live there. Probably pretty shit, but I’ve never asked.

      There’s a Netflix show called Wild Wild Country. A cult sets up base in rural Oregon and starts harassing the nearby townspeople. I’d recommend it if it seems like your kind of thing. I’ve been to that town. It’s quite a few miles from every major highway. It’s half abandoned (honestly more like 3/4). The fact that anyone decided to make a town there at all is surprising. But they have their own post office, so the Feds recognize it. I don’t think I can quite describe the feeling driving through there, but it’s nothing like the feeling any other corner of civilization has given me.

      I love how big and varied my country is. The government is fucked up in a lot of ways. Some states and cities have good lawmakers and good track records, but for the most part I’m disappointed or worse. On the upside you can choose to live anywhere without any hassle (assuming you can afford it). So if politics matter a lot to you you can live where your politics are best satisfied.

      5 votes
  10. [2]
    teaearlgraycold
    Link
    One nice perk of being an American, and something that I hope no one else ever has to cash in on, is my government's investment in rescuing me should I get into trouble abroad. Given our military...

    One nice perk of being an American, and something that I hope no one else ever has to cash in on, is my government's investment in rescuing me should I get into trouble abroad. Given our military and financial power if I get held up by a foreign government I have a high degree of confidence that eventually I would be rescued. I'm sure most countries care about their citizens enough to want to rescue them, but the USA can and will spend tons of money and effort getting citizens home.

    6 votes
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      While everything you say is most certainly true and great, I feel compelled to observe that the same nation that does not measure efforts to guarantee the safety of their citizens also makes them...

      While everything you say is most certainly true and great, I feel compelled to observe that the same nation that does not measure efforts to guarantee the safety of their citizens also makes them targets through its sometimes misguided influence in other regions and countries.

      4 votes
  11. NoblePath
    Link
    Jazz, 1970 gto, first modern liberal democracy, new york city. We also perfected pizza and bbq. Also, there are few better places to be rich.

    Jazz, 1970 gto, first modern liberal democracy, new york city. We also perfected pizza and bbq.

    Also, there are few better places to be rich.

    5 votes
  12. [6]
    bkimmel
    Link
    Late "determination" of educational "destiny" so-to-speak. A lot of other developed nations have free/lower-cost post-secondary education and "score better" than U.S. kids, but there's a "cost" we...

    Late "determination" of educational "destiny" so-to-speak. A lot of other developed nations have free/lower-cost post-secondary education and "score better" than U.S. kids, but there's a "cost" we don't talk about a lot: your destiny as "college-bound" in those places is determined by standardized tests you take when you're like 8 years old. They just decide when you're barely out of kindergarten that you're not "college material" and put you on a course to trade school and it's difficult to reverse that from what I understand. That always seemed super gross to me.

    5 votes
    1. [5]
      archevel
      Link Parent
      This was news to me. Do you have an example of such country? Is it largely non-western countries that has this kind of system?

      This was news to me. Do you have an example of such country? Is it largely non-western countries that has this kind of system?

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        bkimmel
        Link Parent
        Germany comes to mind: the tests for Gymnasium (the high school for "college-bound" kids) happens very early IIRC. I think there are similar things in India, too (and my friends who grew up there...

        Germany comes to mind: the tests for Gymnasium (the high school for "college-bound" kids) happens very early IIRC. I think there are similar things in India, too (and my friends who grew up there have a lot of stories about the unbelievable levels of pressure). That's why I always take those pearl-clutching articles like "U.S. kids are 49th in Math, oh no!" With a big grain of salt... Because what they really mean is every US kid vs. the top x% of most other countries.

        5 votes
        1. joplin
          Link Parent
          Yeah, when I was in high school in the 80’s the big threat was the Japanese. There were breathless articles about how well-trained they were in math. Someone finally looked into it and discovered...

          Yeah, when I was in high school in the 80’s the big threat was the Japanese. There were breathless articles about how well-trained they were in math. Someone finally looked into it and discovered that it was because they were basically kicking out anyone who didn’t get straight A’s in math. (Or something like that.) It’s pretty easy to be at the top of the heap when you don’t count anyone who doesn’t measure up.

          6 votes
      2. [2]
        petrichor
        Link Parent
        Certainly not taken at the age of 8 (although some might start preparing then), but I've heard of the gaokao in China and the eleven-plus in the UK. America doesn't have anything comparable. The...

        Certainly not taken at the age of 8 (although some might start preparing then), but I've heard of the gaokao in China and the eleven-plus in the UK.

        America doesn't have anything comparable. The SAT/ACT by themselves have very little impact on social mobility.

        2 votes
        1. Greg
          Link Parent
          Although it does technically still exist, it hasn't been a mainstream part of UK education since the late 80s. Only about 5% of state secondary schools still have selective entry, and those are...

          the eleven-plus in the UK

          Although it does technically still exist, it hasn't been a mainstream part of UK education since the late 80s. Only about 5% of state secondary schools still have selective entry, and those are pretty much an administrative quirk - the standard for almost all state schools is to admit anyone from the local area.

          Private fee paying schools are a whole different kettle of fish, and most of those do have some kind of entrance exam, but that's secondary to the economic concerns for most families. For the vast majority of young people, you go to the local comprehensive school regardless of ability and that's that.

          I've got a lot of complex feelings on the UK education system in general and on this subject specifically, which I'll leave for another time, but I wanted to point out the current facts on this one either way.

          1 vote
  13. [4]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Honestly, there are too many good things to count. It is natural to focus on the negative because most of the time that's what rises our concerns, but the US is freaking awesome. For starters,...

    Honestly, there are too many good things to count. It is natural to focus on the negative because most of the time that's what rises our concerns, but the US is freaking awesome. For starters, science as a whole would be in much worse shape without the US.

    Personally, if not for the United States, ADHD (as a diagnostic) wouldn't even be a thing, and most of (if not all...) the medications that make me sane were developed in the US in some shape or form. I'd be pretty fucked without the US.

    Plus, who do you think created the very thing through which we are communicating right now? :)

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      Just to clarify: Deimos, who created Tildes, is Canadian The World Wide Web is credited as being created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who is English The Internet's origins are generally credited to...

      Just to clarify:

      • Deimos, who created Tildes, is Canadian
      • The World Wide Web is credited as being created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who is English
      • The Internet's origins are generally credited to ARPANET, an American project, though honestly CYCLADES, a French project, as well as NPL, a British project, deserve just as much credit
      5 votes
      1. [2]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        Oh yeah I know Tildes is Canadian, I was not talking about that. And the point remains that the US was central in the creation of the internet, sole authorship is not really required for the point...

        Oh yeah I know Tildes is Canadian, I was not talking about that. And the point remains that the US was central in the creation of the internet, sole authorship is not really required for the point I was trying to make....

        2 votes
        1. hungariantoast
          Link Parent
          Sure thing, I was just putting the information out there for anyone who didn't know Tildes is a "Canadian website" 😃

          Sure thing, I was just putting the information out there for anyone who didn't know Tildes is a "Canadian website" 😃

          4 votes