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Debates Forum

  1. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    03 Jun '11 20:36
    Time published an article entitled "Optimism Bias" recently, arguing that
    optimism may have been a naturally selected trait in humans to allow them to
    prepare for the future. What I found interesting was humans' disparate views of
    their own futures and the future of the country.

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2074067,00.html

    The author writes, "A survey conducted in 2007 found that while 70% thought
    families in general were less successful than in their parents' day, 76% of
    respondents were optimistic about the future of their own family."

    Is this just another example of American individualism? On what do we base our
    negative impressions of the future for the rest of the country? Is this the reason
    we so often stall to tackle collective problems (debt ceiling, health care,
    unemployment, etc.), because we are generally individually satisfied with our own
    stati quo?

    Food for thought.
  2. 04 Jun '11 00:03
    A general note somewhat similar comes from a few years ago when national test scores in public schools indicated that US students at almost every grade level were at the bottom of the barrel compared to all the other industrialized countries. Yet those same students thought they were "good at math".

    Perhaps the result of several generations of being taught to have self esteem, rather than having to earn it.

    I talk regularly to a lot of people of varying persuasions, and most tend to be individually optimistic, but worry about one group or another that they think is in trouble. Then there are those who constantly think that this country can't last another month under Clinton, Bush, or Obama.

    Sure there are real reasons for concern, but we've been through tougher times. Unemployment was higher in the late 70s and early 80s than it is now, and we had double digit inflation and sky high interest rates to boot.

    I get pessimistic when I think about how far left this nation has moved in my lifetime, after WWII. And that it doesn't seem to matter whether Congress and/or the President are of one party or the other. I get a sense of inevitability, thought I know rationally there isn't anything inevitable.
  3. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    04 Jun '11 01:06
    Originally posted by normbenign
    A general note somewhat similar comes from a few years ago when national
    test scores in public schools indicated that US students at almost every grade level
    were at the bottom of the barrel compared to all the other industrialized countries.
    Yet those same students thought they were "good at math".


    What does that say about "American exceptionalism"? That anecdote, not to
    mention the survey results above, surely reflects on Americans' reluctance to
    compare themselves to people from around the world? Yes, times have been
    tougher, and yes, other countries envy fundamentals and luxuries alike that the
    U.S. prizes as a part of its society. I think, though, that even conservatives realize
    that some degree of progress, or change, is (usually) regularly necessary. The
    main difference between conservatives and liberals is their definitions of the rate
    of "regularly."

    Perhaps the result of several generations of being taught to have self esteem,
    rather than having to earn it.


    Surely you're confusing self-esteem and respect?

    I get pessimistic when I think about how far left this nation has moved in my
    lifetime, after WWII.


    Are you a vet? Just curious. Also, what shifts to "the left" do you find so disturbing?
  4. 04 Jun '11 17:45
    Self esteem and self respect are interchangeable terms.
  5. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    04 Jun '11 18:16
    Originally posted by dryhump
    Self esteem and self respect are interchangeable terms.
    Sure, but "respect," in terms of the social perception of an individual, surely has at least a nuanced difference from "self-esteem," in terms of the individual's perception of self.
  6. 05 Jun '11 08:27
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    Sure, but "respect," in terms of the social perception of an individual, surely has at least a nuanced difference from "self-esteem," in terms of the individual's perception of self.
    Sorry, I misread this:
    Surely you're confusing self-esteem and respect?
    As this:
    Surely you're confusing self-esteem and self-respect?

    It's worth noting that self-esteem and respect should come from the same thing, that is recognition of a person's ability to do something well.
  7. 05 Jun '11 14:28 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    Time published an article entitled "Optimism Bias" recently, arguing that
    optimism may have been a naturally selected trait in humans to allow them to
    prepare for the future. What I found interesting was humans' disparate views of
    their own futures and the future of the country.

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2074067,00.html
    ause we are generally individually satisfied with our own
    stati quo?

    Food for thought.
    When I turn on the TV and watch the debt spiral out of control, I get pessimistic. But when I watch people work together to make ends meet I become optimistic. When I watch governments around the world engage in one war after the other, I become pessimistic, but when I watch children play on the playground in harmony I become optimistic.

    What can I say, it's a mixed bag. Maybe I should just stop turning on the TV.
  8. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    05 Jun '11 14:34 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    When I turn on the TV and watch the debt spiral out of control, I get pessimistic. But when I watch people work together to make ends meet I become optimistic. When I watch governments around the world engage in one war after the other, I become pessimistic, but when I watch children play on the playground in harmony I become optimistic.

    What can I say, it's a mixed bag. Maybe I should just stop turning on the TV.
    Not turning on the TV sounds fair enough. What makes you read the kinds of blogs/web sites that you often copy and paste from ?
  9. 06 Jun '11 01:21
    Originally posted by FMF
    Not turning on the TV sounds fair enough. What makes you read the kinds of blogs/web sites that you often copy and paste from ?
    I suppose sticking your head in the sand is an option, but it does not seem like a very good option no matter how "good" it may make you feel.
  10. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    06 Jun '11 05:32 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    I suppose sticking your head in the sand is an option, but it does not seem like a very good option no matter how "good" it may make you feel.
    No one on this forum gets asked something along the lines of "Aren't you angry with how that blog you quoted was lying to you?" by other posters as often as you do.