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for The Greatest Nation

6/4/2004 c1 1Katsuhiro
It's like your own version of Plato's Republic, just without any of the proto-fascist leanings, heh.
The Nation, ominous as its title sounds, seems like a good place to live. Though, if you don't mind me asking, what's wrong with Australia as it is? I'm sure it beats Dublin or Belfast at any rate.
1/22/2004 c1 James Jago again
Admiral, there are a couple of point I'd like to pick up.
As birthrates decline, immigrants become absolutely essential to occupy the gap in the labour market. Much has been made of the fact that a hundred thousand people applied for asylum in Britain (which is smaller than a few US states), and there's a lot of panic about how we're running out of room. However, by a bizarre coincidence the birthrate in this country is falling by, wait for it... one hundred thousand people per year. I just rubbished seven newspaper editorials in a couple of sentences.
Secondly, the police in this country have NEVER been routinely armed; this was a built-in policy decision when our first police force was established in 1829. Guess what? Our criminals aren't routinely armed either, or at least not with guns, and there are some fairly effective proccedures for dealing with melee weapons. It works for us, so why not elsewhere?
1/22/2004 c3 James Jago
You've missed a fundamental point here, with which even Admiral would probably be hard pressed to argue: OUR TV IS BETTER THAN YOURS, PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, SO YAH BOO! Unless your idea of entertainment includes Power Rangers, Jerry Springer and a whole load of other crap for which the USA shall never be forgiven.
1/22/2004 c2 James Jago
The NHS is very far from as bad as they make it out to be, despite the damage done by two decades of Thatcherism and a few more years of Blairism.
Our student loan system is about to get even pricier, thanks to the introduction of tuition fees ON TOP OF rather than instead of the tax funds given to universities by the government.
10/10/2003 c3 90The Zaniak
Okay, I'm sure it's very annoying to get reviews from people who don't know much about what they're discussing, but I shall mention this anyway.

I thinl that you said that Triple J plays local bands, but isn't Triple J a national station, with everything recorded in Melbourne and then broadcasted nation-wide?

That's the semi-factual part down, now here come the completely unjustified opinions-

Personally, I would make the drugs illegaller, with harsher penalties and also make smoking illegal. Drinking I have no problem with up to a certain point.

And (please, feel free to write an essage about this comment with actual facts, instead of vague references) I don't think that having children raised by homosexuals is very healthy. I have complete respect for what people want to do in their spare time, but...no, y'see? It's a completely unjustified bias of mine. Go on, tell me I'm an idiot. I won't cry.
9/16/2003 c2 2RCS
"It puzzles me how any wealthy first world country could possibly justify turning away a sick or injured person from a hospital because he or she cannot afford health insurance."

As far as I know, there is no First World country that does this. It certainly doesn't happen here in the US. Emergency rooms are, by law, required to treat people regardless of health insurance. And we do have Medicaid and Medicare programs. We don't need to pay for eveyone's health care. I have good health coverage, better than anything the government can provide. Should the taxpayers be required to pay for my health insurance, and an inferior brand at that?

I have a problem with serasivad's willingness to sacrifice our national defense for health care. One, national defense is Constitutionally mandated (see Article 1 Section 8, and Article 2 Section 2, all of which mention components of national defense). A national health system, last I checked, is not a mandate of the Federal government according to the Constitution. Protecting our shores from all threats, foreign and domestic, is a more important government function than worrying about whether ot not John Q. Public has the sniffles.
8/12/2003 c3 37Guin
Is this in answer to some of the questions? Seems a bit random but hey! Random is interesting. Hooked on the Bill? How can you watch that? Must admit, it is nice

Althouhg we do have to pay for a TV license for the BBC, it's not completly free.

Good essay!
7/29/2003 c2 Mbwun
A lot of what you described will probably never work, because it depends on the ability of the human race to be morally correct in their operation of the system. Since humanity has historically had a whee bit of a problem with that...

I guess it all comes down to personal opinion, as far as the greatest nation goes. I think it's the U.S. of A. You don't. Hell, for all we know, Saddam Hussein probably thought Iraq was the greatest nation in the world (or maybe the late Soviet Union...). You are absolutely correct in saying that we can never really prove that one nation is the greatest. We can pretty much prove that some nations are better than others, but up toward the top, things get kind of murky...

~He Who Walks On All Fours
7/28/2003 c2 17chocoholic
Thank you! I completely agree that a bad health service is better than no health service, and the NHS isn't all that bad and the people who work there work like hell to make it what it is.

I really don't understand conservative veiw on health care, yes, it is paid for by the tax payer, but how many people never see a doctor in their lives? And, yes, you could say that it's a persons responsability to save up themselves, but from what I gather a lot of states don't provide healthcare for children. Oh, how civilised.

In England we have a student loan system, but it's a bit of a touchy subject at the moment. Our socialist government is allowing universities to charge whatever fees they want. Seriously, I wouldn't bring that up with any future students, unless you want your ear talked off.

Anyway, I disagreed with some of the things from your first essay, just because I don't think the majority in any country would support them. And I still don't think a 'greatest nation' could ever exist, like you said. But this would be a very good nation if it existed!

Sorry for ranting at your second chapter, you picked my two favourite subjects. Sorry!
7/27/2003 c2 37Guin
Yes! Someone else who also thinks that the NHS isn't that bad. Its like with my friend, she reckons we should all go private, but how could we justify it? Not everyone is able to pay for such neccesities such as those.
7/26/2003 c2 4my two centavos
I agree with what many of the ideas you posted but I think though that it is going to be extremely difficult to achieve this especially when I look at what is happening around the world today. To be honest, the world would be a better place if the Bush would stop flexing his military muscle and start taking other issues more seriously like poverty, AIDS and the environment. Take it from someone who lives in a developing nation.
7/26/2003 c2 2Clones-for-Breakfast
I agree with many of the things you've said, most in fact, and I applaud you for being brave enough to try to come up with solutions instead of just lamenting about the problems. I do dissagree with you on a few points, though, mainly the legalized drugs and unarmed police.

While there could be a benefit to loosening restrictions on some drugs, like taking away the 'i'm so rebellious' appeal that lures many teens into addiction, legalizing and even condoning drugs isn't the way to go. The hypothetical nation's money is better spent providing rehab to those that want to quit, or to the public schools and medicare.

The other reviewers have already pointed out that unarmed police won't be much of a match for an armed criminal, so I won't go into a lecture on that.

Another thing I disagree with is letting everyone into the Nation. Yes, immigration is a good thing, and it keeps the economy fresh, but if the Nation is as good as advertized, most of the world will want to live there, and before long, you'll have a severe overpopulation problem. There jsut wouldn't be room for them all! Also, your immigrents may be poor and unable to support themselves, or they might not be able to speak the language, in which case they'd have to be taken care of, becaue you coulnd't just let them starve. This would cost a lot of money, and taxes can only cover so much. You can't raise the taxes too much, either, or the citizens won't have enough income left to live off of.

So. I again applaud you for your efforts.
7/26/2003 c2 11Imaginary Player
Nice responses to Admiral and hnmn (Lord knows I got tired of doing it); it's sickening how some people take the slightest amount of criticism against America as being anti-Bush or anti-America. Anyway, I liked the second chpater, though it was a little brief; I think that the US should adopt some of the principles that Britain uses for health care, education, and the like. It would solve some of our problems. ^_^

PS: Pick up a Talib Kweli CD sometime. Yeah...
7/18/2003 c1 33Tiefling
Admiral, I know what 'aforementioned' means. That was a typo, I had moved some paragraphs around and not proofread properly, being to eager to post to wait until I was happy with it. This was very lazy, so fair enough that you called me on it.

Yep, I'm well aware that the U.S. has freedom of speech. That's one of the parts of your constitution I really like. I *never* said that all the points I was describing about my hypothetical Nation didn't exist anywhere already.

Admiral, by free education I meant free to the students. I am well aware that it would be paid for by taxation. That is how we do it here, and it works. Ditto for healthcare.

Admiral seems to have missed what was supposed to be my main point in writing this- the question of which nation is the greatest is entirely subjective Admiral has still not proven anything, because it is not something you can prove.

About consular rights- I wasn't suggesting that anyone other than diplomats should have immunity, but under international law anyone who is imprisoned in country other than their own is entitled to representation from their own country. Australia and Britain provide this. The U.S. often does not.

"As long as the Nation could afford it..." Yes, I understand about taxation. I *pay* taxes, for crying out loud. A nation is made up of individuals, so what it comes down to is whether the nation can afford it. I personally would not be paying for all of it, as you make it sound. A small percentage of my wages goes to income tax and repaying my HECS (higer education loan scheme) debt.

With regard to the refugees, I was referring to the situation here. In Australia we have a policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers (in direct violation of international law)in prison camps. Children are kept in their too, often for years at a time. Studies have shown (I may pull out my books on it and do a chapter on it, showing my sources, but I can't really be bothered here) that it would be cheaper to board them out into the community (either in specially built housing, or with families, and many families have already volunteered to billet a refugee) than to imprison them like that. So, yes, creating free (by which I mean free to the refugees, who would, if granted citizenship, eventually get jobs and contribute taxes) housing would be cheaper than what we do now.

I neglected to put in that background checks should be done on people seeking refugee status. That is done here. What I object to is the way *all* asylum seekers are treated as though they are criminals, when they are not. It is perfectly legal for anyone to seek asylum in another country. They may not be granted refugee status, but they are, and should be, allowed to try.

Hnmn- why assume that anyone who wants to come to your country is an enemy? If it's really as wonderful as you and Admiral insist it is, why should you be suprised if people want to go and live there, especially if they are fleeing persecution elsewhere?

The comment about elected officials was not a dig at Bush or any other particular politician. Sorry to dissapoint you. It's just one of the things I feel the Nation should have.

I understand the way our political system works, thankyou Admiral. Stop putting words in my mouth.

Calvin Fitzgerald- My own country already *does* run most of these programs and can afford it. They are paid for with taxes. It's just a matter of prioritising and balancing expenditure.

I would like to get into the drug issue some more, maybe in another chapter, or a whole separate essay.
7/18/2003 c1 14Admiral
Tell you what, Tiefling. To lessen the impact of the spanking you're about to receive, I'll start with a non-political nitpick.

It has to do with the paragraph that begins "I assume the aformentioned writers..." According to the American Heritage Dictionary (:-)) the definition of "aforementioned" is "Mentioned previously or before." Now, I'm assuming the writers you mean are me and Calvin, but you don't mention us be name (or, for that matter, any other writer besides yourself) until after that sentence. "I assume the following writers..." would be a more appropriate way to open the paragraph.

As for whether or not I've proved my point: I'm sorry, but like you I have a boring, demoralizing, time-constraining full-time job, and a personal life, AND fiction work I'd like to do, and thus I don't have time to write and post in one shot the 1 0 0 , 0 0 0 word analytical thesis you apparently require to allow my viewpoint any credibility. You'll just have to wait for me to post new chapters to my essays like everybody else.

Now to get to the point of your essay, the ideal "greatest" or "best" country:

"Education (At least 12 years of schooling) would be free to all." "The Nation would provide free healthcare to all its citizens."

There is no such thing as "free". The fact that you don't pay for it doesn't mean nobody else did. How many dates did you and Qualia go on before you got engaged? The ones you didn't pay for or go Dutch on were free for you. They weren't free for him.

This is not opinion. This is fact. No matter what kind of economy you use (barter, monetary, communal) somebody has to make some expenditure for you to get the things you want. If that somebody isn't you, then that expenditure is going to made, no matter how indirectly, by somone else. So who's going to pay for your "free" education and healthcare?

"In the Nation's schools, sports days would not be compulsory to all students unless cultural events were also."

NEITHER should be compulsory. The only things that should be compulsory in school are learning and proving that you've learned.

"The toughest punishment which could be meted out by the judicial system, for any crime, would be life imprisonment without any possibility of parole."

It's valid if that's the will of the people. I think it unduly limits your options but if you can get the majority to vote for it, more power to you.

"Prisoners would be given access to education and training programs which would help those of them returning to the community not to reoffend."

If that concept worked the US wouldn't need "3 strikes" laws. Prison isn't supposed to be a fun learning experience. It's supposed to be hell, to make people afraid to go there in the first place, or too afraid to go back if they didn't get the message the first time.

"The Nation would not imprison people from other nations without giving them their consular rights."

Only diplomats have immunity. If you're going to travel abroad, you have to be conscious of the fact that even the most liberal countries might not want you to wriggle out of their grip if you're stupid enough to commit a crime on their soil that requires imprisonment. If you're afraid a country won't protect your consular rights if you get caught, don't go there.

"Most drugs which are now illegal would be decriminalized."

Why stop at most? If you're going to be libertine about drugs, go all the way. Decriminalize everything that might be addictive or intoxicating. Wait...darn it, that would mean you'd have to repeal all DUI laws and all smoking bans, and we can't have that. After all, nicotine and alcohol are much more dangerous than cocaine, heroine, PCP, LSD, Date-Rape Drugs, etc...

"The government policy on drugs would be focused on harm minimalization, rather than punishment, so safe injecting rooms would be provided for heroine users. This would help reduce the number of overdose deaths."

Why don't all of you reading this review head on over to jewishworldreview.com, look for the commentator Debra J. Saunders and check her archive for the column "Shooting Blanks", which gives an assessment of a drug injection center in Sydney. It has lots of highlights, like this comment from Piers Akerman from the Daily Telegraph: "At $63 a throw (it was projected to cost only $37), the shooting gallery isn't delivering value. The same funding could have supported 100 residential rehabilitation beds in nongovernment institutions, offering residential drug dependence treatment."

Now, he's not talking about punishment either, but you're advocating something that spends good money on helping people feed their addiction when it could be spent weaning them off of it. Priorities, anyone?

"As long as the Nation could afford it, refugees would be welcomed, regardless where they came from, how they got here or whether or whether they had the proper paperwork."

It's not "the Nation's" money, Tiefling. All it has to do to afford it is take money from people like YOU in the form of taxes, fees, fines, "incentives", "withholdings" and other money-siphoning policies. So this section should really start "As long as I could afford it...". Well, how long could you afford it on the salary you make from washing and packing pond weed?

"They would never be detained in prison camps..."

Perfect! Okay, everybody, if you want to commit the perfect crime, all you have to do is do it (kill the mark, rob the bank, whatever) and get your keyster to Tiefling's "Nation"! If they can't imprison you, demand paperwork or question your motives for entering there's no way to track you when the country you come from sets out the international dogs on you, and if they can't find you before you become a citizen of the "Nation", they can't ever send you back! Go Tiefling!

"...but rather boarded out in the community..."

Dude, even better! Free hideouts!

"...which would be far cheaper and much less traumatic for the refugees, especially children."

Yeah, but it might be a lot more traumatic for the natives they board with, especially children. Or is "the Nation" going to find a way to create free housing just for newly arrived refugees?

"Any citizen of the Nation who was of sound mind and not in prison would be allowed to run for public office."

Okay, as far as I know, the only limitation on anyone running for office anywhere in the free world, besides imprisonment, is age. So, what, a twelve-year-old would be eligible to run as long s/he could prove s/he was of sound mind? What's your criterion? How fast the candidate can do a Word Find puzzle?

And something else I can't (or rather won't) let slide. You would deny a native prisoner the right to represent his own country, yet you would guarantee the chance of escape through diplomatic means to a foreign prisoner? Who says the former right is less valid than the latter?

"Elected officials would be expected to listen to the people who vote them into office and to consider what they think and want when making their decisions."

This could only be a lopsided dig at either President Bush or the Prime Minister of Australia. If it's Bush, it's misleading. Yes, officials should do what the people who vote them into office want. That's why people who voted for Bush last election and will vote for him in the next one (like Me) are happy. Bush IS doing what we want, listening to what we think and considering us when he makes decisions like going after Al-Qaeda, going after Saddam Hussein, lowering our taxes and telling the UN where to step off. Tiefling's mad because he's not doing the same for people who DIDN'T vote for him, would NEVER vote for him and in some cases CAN'T vote for him (like Her). Guess what? He doesn't have to. (Yet he's tried with some recent policy initiatives, and those who won't vote for him still give him flack.) His job as a politician is to serve his constituency. He's doing that as we speak. If it's the Australian PM, it's still misleading. Unless he was elected to Parliament from her district, she didn't vote for him either.

Every elected official has an obligation to do what s/he thinks is best for his/her country, but s/he's not obligated to make policy based on the wishes of people who didn't want him/her in the position of running it in the first place. You don't like the way your leaders are doing their jobs? It's your responsibility to get new ones elected. It's delusional to think that the ones who you worked against would make themselves beholden to you.

"The Nation's police force would not be routinely armed."

The Nation's criminal element will be. This is true in every nation. And before you make more noise about the "ready availability of guns", garottes, switchblades, Molotov Cocktails, torches, brass knuckles, blackjacks, brickbats, throwing stars, etc., are weapons that criminals all over use all the time. None of them are firearms.

"All journalists would be required to take an oath (like the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors). It would be called the Pulitzer oath, based on Pulitzer's guidelines on ethical journalism. This would ensure that they worked to make the truth known to people, rather than simply to stir up scandal."

At first glance this is just funny, (I can just picture Geraldo Rivera taking an oath to always tell the truth. Yeah, right!) but look deeper and it's actually a real problem. Someone has to be a guarantor of that oath, Tiefling, to make sure all the oath-takers are following it. Whether you create a journalists' version of the American Medical Association or have your precious "Nation" regulate it, you're going to give somebody tremendous power over the media. Think about it. In order to make sure the reporters are following the oath and telling the truth, you have to invest in the guarantor the right to DETERMINE WHAT THE TRUTH IS! Can you say "PRAVDA"?

"The Nation would not prosecute individuals for speaking their minds. The Nation would allow its citizens to protest peacefully whenever they felt the need to. The Nation's citizens would be free to belong to whatever religious, political and social groups they chose, provided these did not interfere with the rights of others."

Have you ever ONCE read the US Declaration of Independence or Constitution? ONCE? It's all right there!

If this is the best you can come up with for a "greatest nation on Earth", I think America's title is safe for now.
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