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Maciamo
12-09-06, 00:40
This article has been updated and can now be read here (http://www.eupedia.com/europe/cultural_differences_europe_usa.shtml).

ricecake
12-09-06, 01:41
US has so-called " bible belt ",a concentration of southern states where good percentage of local population attend Sunday church religiously.Politically,these red-blooded American folks are Republican leaning.

I never understood why soccer doesn't thrive in America,as it has popularity following in other 5 continents.

Ma Cherie
12-09-06, 02:09
What about the fact that Europeans seem more politically aware than Americans? I know that voter turn out rates are much higher in countries like Germany and France than America? :?

From your observations Maciamo, I would say that Europeans and Americans are different.

ricecake
12-09-06, 04:39
Although,Americans undeniably share Western ancestral and cultural roots with European counterparts but America drifted to a new direction in finding her own destiny.

Very few white-Americans have emotional feelings for Europe,except for some still living first generation immigrants.

New Zealanders and Aussies are more European-like ( British ) than their N American kins.

Maciamo
12-09-06, 10:57
New Zealanders and Aussies are more European-like ( British ) than their N American kins.
Well, I have lived half a year in Australia and I found that they do share quite a lot in common with certain type of Americans (more like Texas, on a bigger scale). Even Australian English is becoming increasingly Americanised. Many Australians have a very poor knowledge of world geography and history and speak only English, making them also more like Americans. Politically I think they are also closer to Americans. Relations to time and distance are even more opposite to European ones than in the US (in Australia, 50 years is old, and 500km is near :p). However I don't think that religion is much stronger in Australia than in Europe.

Mycernius
12-09-06, 19:00
I find that English speaking countries have a tendancy to be more Americaised than non-English speaking countries. Look at the UK, we are more likely to take up American trends and foods more than France or Germany. I think that because there is no language barrier between countries such as the UK, Australia and Canada that there is less resistance to American market forces or trends. Whilst in non-English countries the trends and certain styles must overcome a langauge as well as culture differences. Again there is the fact that American was influenced heavily by the UK during its founding, independance and freedom, so certain cultural ideas are shared by English speaking countries. You'll probably find a similar type of crossing of culture between Spain and most South and Central American countries.

Maciamo
12-09-06, 19:56
I find that English speaking countries have a tendancy to be more Americaised than non-English speaking countries. Look at the UK, we are more likely to take up American trends and foods more than France or Germany. I think that because there is no language barrier between countries such as the UK, Australia and Canada that there is less resistance to American market forces or trends.
Let me disagree. I have lived both in England and in Australia, and watching the TV there I found that there were much les American series and movies than on Flemish TV (not Walloon though) and French TV. Some Flemish channels (e.g. VT4) have almost only American series and movies (and the latest), all in O.V.

Food-wise, Japan has also more McDonald's, KFC's, Starbucks and other American chain per capita than almost any European country, including the UK (e.g. McDonald's restaurant per capita (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/foo_mcd_res_percap-food-mcdonalds-restaurants-per-capita)). I don't have the stats for Starbucks, but you can't go anywhere in Tokyo without stumbling on one, which isn't true of London (well, not to the same extent). Yet it cannot be because Japanese people are closer culturally or linguistically to the USA than, say, the Dutch and Germans.

For clothes chains, it is more Europe (esp. France, Italy and the UK) that influence the US than the other way round. Be it for clothes, food or many other consumer products, the UK trades more and is more influenced by the rest of Europe than the USA.

I won't deny that Canada is more Americanised than other countries. It may also be true of Australia. But so are Japan, South Korea, Thailand and many other non-Western countries with a strong US presence. Maybe European cultures are just too strong when it comes to food and fashion to be influenced by the US. For TV and cinema, some non-English-speaking countries in Europe are certainly even more Americanised than the UK.

ricecake
12-09-06, 22:29
Australian English is becoming increasingly Americanised.

Many Australians have a very poor knowledge of world geography and history and speak only English,making them also more like Americans.

Politically I think they are also closer to Americans. Relations to time and distance are even more opposite to European ones than in the US



I see,another case of contagious " Americanitis " in Pacific Oceania region.How about those Kiwis,they're more British leaning culturally ?

Poor Aussies,they share too much commonalities with Americans.Yeah,average educated Americans generally are clueless in those areas.

America flexes her big mussles around the globe politically,militarily,culturally,and whatnot.

Correct me if I am wrong,Winston Churchill once reportedly said America is an extension of English-speaking ( British ) empire.

Ma Cherie
12-09-06, 22:55
I see,another case of contagious " Americanitis " in Pacific Oceania region.How about those Kiwis,they're more British leaning culturally ?
Poor Aussies,they share too much commonalities with Americans.Yeah,average educated Americans generally are clueless in those areas.
America flexes her big mussles around the globe politically,military,culturally,and whatnot.
Correct me if I am wrong,Winston Churchill once reportedly said America is an extension of English-speaking ( British ) empire.

That's bad? Perhaps in some ways having American culture influence can be negative, but is it always? Another thing to keep in mind is that it is easy for some cultures to be very susceptible to other cultures. That has always surprised me, it's shocking to see how American culture has influenced other cultures, and there could have been times when it wasn't forced upon other cultures. But does that mean it's always bad?

ricecake
13-09-06, 02:41
That's bad ?

Perhaps in some ways having American culture influence can be negative, but is it always?

it's shocking to see how American culture has influenced other cultures, and there could have been times when it wasn't forced upon other cultures. But does that mean it's always bad?



:gomen: ........ I am in hotwater for kicking American influences abroad in the groin.:D

It can be deem as negative for Aussies becoming more unworldly like average Americans in that regard aforementioned,as they drift farther from their culturally sophisticated European-kins. :worried:

Undoubtfully,America is frontrunner in modern pop-culture.Americans' ability to commercialized resource materials and brands is a great contribution to the world.

Maciamo
13-09-06, 10:00
Let us not drift away from the main subject by discussing America's contributions or influence around the world.

Ma Cherie
13-09-06, 22:37
:gomen: ........ I am in hotwater for kicking American influences abroad in the groin.:D

It can be deem as negative for Aussies becoming more unworldly like average Americans in that regard aforementioned,as they drift farther from their culturally sophisticated European-kins. :worried:

Undoubtfully,America is frontrunner in modern pop-culture.Americans' ability to commercialized resource materials and brands is a great contribution to the world.

Well, I should have pointed out that it doesn't have to be American culture that influence other cultures. What I was trying to get at is that when cultures influence each other, it's not always bad. :sorry: I should have been more clear about that.

At any rate, European culture has influence on American culture. I think a good example of that is art and architecture which is very obvious. And I have noticed that European fashion has alot of influence on American fashion, and that's not a bad thing. :cool:

Kinsao
22-09-06, 12:35
I've only been to America once :bluush: but it felt very culturally different from Europe (I went to Washington DC). I honestly felt "at home" much more quickly in other European cities than in DC, even including places where I don't speak the language at all! :souka:

Maciamo
22-09-06, 12:59
I've only been to America once :bluush: but it felt very culturally different from Europe (I went to Washington DC). I honestly felt "at home" much more quickly in other European cities than in DC, even including places where I don't speak the language at all!

I have the same feeling. I would also felt much more at home in, say Norway or Hungary or Greece, where I do not speak the language at all, than in the US.

Maciamo
23-09-06, 11:16
If we have a look at my list of differences above, we realise that Japan stands somewhere between Europe and the US, although a closer to the US. They are only like Europeans about food, religion and the measure system (and to some extent cars and patriotism, but not completely).

cursore
25-09-06, 16:56
Measure System

Not really even if UK and EIRE have the double system in UK few British can relate in meters...

Government system

As for the police, I wont put my hand on the fire for the Italian police force alvays ready to smash your head

Patriotism

What about the French?


And finally Religion

Well, Americans are seconds to Spanish..

Maciamo
25-09-06, 20:55
Measure System
Not really even if UK and EIRE have the double system in UK few British can relate in meters...

Yes, but the metric system has been the one officially taught and used in the UK since 1995. It's just a matter of time now.


Patriotism
What about the French?

The French are not patriotic, but chauvinistic. The difference is that a patriotic person is ready to die for his/her country and tends to trust too much his/her won government, and attacks anybody (esp. foreigners) who criticise their country of government. In patriotic country, people cannot be, for instance communist or capitalist or Muslim or Christian, but must follow the officially supported ideology.

French people are all the opposite. The cannot stop criticising their own politicians and system (never happy about it), easily stage demonstrations against government policies, and readily accept criticism from abroad. They are proud of their culture, history, food, or way of thinking (great philosophers, mathematicians, writers, etc.).

In short, patriotic people love their government, system and laws, and are ready to fight to defend their country. Chauvinistic people love their culture and boast about it. It is two very different things. The Italians, Japanese and Chinese are also chauvinistic, but none (except maybe the Chinese) are patriotic.


And finally Religion
Well, Americans are seconds to Spanish..

In Europe, the Irish and the Poles are the most religious, then the Spaniards (there have been many surveys about church attendance, belief in god, etc.). But none have the same kind of Christian fundamentalism and extremism as exist in the USA (esp. in the Bible Belt). Spain has even legalised gay marriages without any complaint from the population. Not ready to happen in the States !

ricecake
01-10-06, 12:03
I've only been to America once :bluush: but it felt very culturally different from Europe (I went to Washington DC).





I as an Oriental can see and feel there is near-ZERO European-ness among general white-American population regardless of regions,they've only retained " Western values " and don't have traditional values.I've had a brief discussion with a female American,she agreed with my assessment.

Me and one Japanese foreign exchange student I've befriended some years ago had a small chat,we could clearly tell some continental European faces have look of " purity " distinctive from typical " Heinz 57 " Americans.We both have met a few Western Europeans ( Norwegian,German,and Dane ) in person.

Maciamo
11-10-06, 16:34
I have added 2 more paragraphs : social customs and military politics.

Maciamo
09-12-06, 19:20
This new article from The Economist (http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8380543) illustrates well the differences about religion, values and politics on ether side of the Atlantic.

Kinsao
11-12-06, 16:48
Interesting read! :p

I guess... European culture and its laws and stuff used to be very dominated by church/organised religion... but recently, much less so... but people still feel the need to debate round issues to do with morality and ethics... because they are not the same thing as religion... neither is "values"... so it doesn't seem to me at all strange that this is entering into political debates in Europe.... :?

I suppose you could say America with its "religious right" is kind of at a stage that Europe used to be at in the past when religious feelings ran high? Which might kind of make sense because they are a "younger" culture? :? ... or perhaps I'm just talking rubbish here, since I don't know anything about history. :bluush:

A minor point of accuracy in the first para of the article... "the destruction of human embryos" and "stem cell research" aren't the same thing in fact... there is also research using adult stem cells, which doesn't involve any embryos at all... (sorry to split hairs but I dislike inaccuracies especially around something where feelings tend to run high :relief: )

gaijinalways
12-12-06, 10:01
Kinsao posted
I guess... European culture and its laws and stuff used to be very dominated by church/organised religion... but recently, much less so... but people still feel the need to debate round issues to do with morality and ethics... because they are not the same thing as religion... neither is "values"... so it doesn't seem to me at all strange that this is entering into political debates in Europe....

I suppose you could say America with its "religious right" is kind of at a stage that Europe used to be at in the past when religious feelings ran high?

Seems like it. Remember, the America we think of now was settled by Europeans seeking to leave Europe and practice their own versions of religion (which over time became more narrowly focused than the ones they escaped from in Europe).

Maciamo
01-03-08, 22:25
Windows

There are major differences between European countries when it comes to the way windows open.

In France, Belgium and Germany, most windows are the "tilt and turn" type (some only turn, without tilting). They almost always open towards the inside.

In the Netherlands and Britain, turn windows typically open both towards the inside and outside, or sometimes just outwards.

In the UK and in most English-speaking countries, sash windows are the most common.This can be single-hung or double-hung sash windows, or even horizontal sliding sash windows.

Privacy

I noticed a few stuff in American movies and series that are clearly different from what I know in Europe. However, this may not be typically American. It may also be used on TV for reasons of convenience regarding the plot rather than because it is extremely common.

Example 1 : answering machines

In American movies, most people seem to have an answering machine at home, and you can always hear the person's message loud in the room. I have never seen that here. Answering machines are usually silent, like on mobile phones. A light, ring or text message indicates that there is a message left, but you can't actually hear the person speaking if you are next to the phone when he/she leaves the message. I think it would be annoying if you are busy or resting while you get a message. It's also not good for privacy if you have guests at home and don't bother to answer the phone, then everyone can listen to the message being left.

Example 2 : neighours and front doors

In American movies/series, neighours tend to know each other well, chat with each others, and even spy on each others. It seems common to enter in a neighbour's house to ask to borrow something, ask a favour, or just pop in for a chat. What is more, doors seem to be left unlocked most of the time, and front doors often have windows.

All this is completely different from what I have seen in all the European countries where I have lived or travelled. People greet their neighbours, and may occasionally chat with them, but most people tend to mind their own business and value a lot their privacy. That is why most Europeans never leave their outside door open when they are not inside the house (or at any time in cities). That is also why people do not try entering without knocking or ringing the bell, even if they have seen somebody inside. Only close family members could do that. In general, in countries like Belgium or France, it is rude to drop by unannounced or unexpectedly at someone's house.

Front doors very rarely have windows (except in Britain and the Netherlands), because this allows anybody to peep inside, which is a total intrusion of privacy. In many countries (notably Belgium, France, Italy...), the ground floor of townhouses tend to be elevated from the street in order to prevent passerby's from looking through the windows.

Overall, the cultural difference between Europe an the USA here is that Europeans are not big on neighbours' watch, almpst never have a gun at home, but almost always lock their doors and tend to have good security systems, stone/brick rather than wooden walls, thick (anti-theft) glazing on windows, and heavy and secure outside doors. Reasonably well-off people often have good alarm systems and surveillance cameras. In Spain, bars on windows are common. In France and Italy, it is shutters. In other words, burglary prevention is based on house equipment and "fortification" rather than relying on the human factor, such as neighbours' vigilance or self-protection with guns.

gaijinalways
06-03-08, 15:48
In American movies, most people seem to have an answering machine at home, and you can always hear the person's message loud in the room

There is a volume setting on the answering machine, so if you don't wish to hear it it can be turned down while you're sleeping, though usually the answering machine is not in the bedroom.

One reason people want to hear iy sometimes is that they screen calls, because they may not wish to talk to everyone, i.e. chatty relatives (at that time), salespeople, etc.


In American movies/series, neighours tend to know each other well, chat with each others, and even spy on each others. It seems common to enter in a neighbour's house to ask to borrow something, ask a favour, or just pop in for a chat. What is more, doors seem to be left unlocked most of the time, and front doors often have windows.

Depends on the area. My parents don't usually lock their front door, nor do they own a gun (it's just not that type of neighborhood). people don't pop in so much, but my parents are older, so that may be them. Some people are very European and just keep to themselves, but they sometimes are labeled unfriendly (unfair, I know).

Maciamo
06-03-08, 19:49
There is a volume setting on the answering machine, so if you don't wish to hear it it can be turned down while you're sleeping, though usually the answering machine is not in the bedroom.
One reason people want to hear iy sometimes is that they screen calls, because they may not wish to talk to everyone, i.e. chatty relatives (at that time), salespeople, etc.

It seems that telemarketing is also much more common in the States than in most EU countries. In Belgium, I am hardly ever disturbed by salespeople.

To screen calls here most new telephones show the incoming call's number (and name if it is registered in your phonebook), just like on mobile phones.

Another thing I noticed a lot in American series is the second call option. I think that very few phones have this here, not even mobile phones. I personally wouldn't use it if I had it. I find it rude to cut short a conversation or ask people to wait because someone else is calling. If it's important, they will leave a message or call back a few minutes later. Maybe it's also a cultural difference.

gaijinalways
15-03-08, 18:25
To screen calls here most new telephones show the incoming call's number (and name if it is registered in your phonebook), just like on mobile phones.

What we Americans call 'caller ID'. Quite a few Americans use that too, but of course that doesn't help id your friend who calls from a payphone (maybe his cell is dead, or he doesn't have a cellphone).


Another thing I noticed a lot in American series is the second call option. I think that very few phones have this here, not even mobile phones. I personally wouldn't use it if I had it. I find it rude to cut short a conversation or ask people to wait because someone else is calling. If it's important, they will leave a message or call back a few minutes later. Maybe it's also a cultural difference.

What we Americans call the 'call waiting' feature (it's available in Japan too). I agree with you, the way people use it, it can be annoying, but if people use it to just tell someone they will call them back, that's okay. Of course if it was a real emergency, then I wouldn't mind my friend ringing me back that he will call me later. But I agree, in most cases, call waiting probably doesn't accomplish much.

Finally, remember, if someone is talking to you from their office, it might be a good idea if they take that other call.

Miles77
17-03-08, 17:37
Someone mentioned that Europeans are more interested in politics than Americans. The reason for that might be that in the USA you can choose between two parties but in Austria or Germany for example you can choose between 4-6 parties.

Therefore you have to gather much more information if you want to know what each party considers important.

Maciamo
23-03-08, 01:19
Someone mentioned that Europeans are more interested in politics than Americans. The reason for that might be that in the USA you can choose between two parties but in Austria or Germany for example you can choose between 4-6 parties.
Therefore you have to gather much more information if you want to know what each party considers important.

In Belgium the current government is a colation of 5 parties, which is usual. Because each linguistic group has its own parties, there are at present 12 major parties + a dozen smaller ones. It is not so complicated because each party has a fairly clear programme matching the idea people have of their name. Liberals/Reformists are liberal in the social and economic sense of the term. Conservatives are conservative. Socialist defend the lower class (esp. immigrants nowadays). The Greens put the environment first. And the extreme-right want immigrants out. The difficulty is for these parties to form a coaltion because they are all so different, and none ever get enough votes to govern alone.

In this regard, UK parties are also quite easy to understand, although there are no major Green or far-right parties.

In the US, you don't know from the names "Democrat" or "Republican" what ideas are being defended by each party. In fact, these two parties are so big that so leftist Republican like Giuliani or McCain are almost like Democrats. Consequently, opinions vary more from one politician to another than between parties, so that parties become almost irrelevant.

In France, it used to be even worse, as there were many rightist parties, with politicians shifting from one to another, and it was really hard to know what each party stood for. But since Sarkozy all rightist parties rallied together. Now, however, the left is more divided than ever before between two kinds of Communists, two kinds of Socialists, the Greens, the Fishing & Hunting party, and the other anti-globalisation parties. Add to that the centrists (under Bayrou) and the extreme right (under Le Pen).

Spain and Italy have a more traditional left vs right division, with 2 main parties like in the US, although with some smaller ones that do get mentioned from time to time (unlike the US ;-) ).

TheCaptain
16-04-09, 16:47
I have lived in California for more than a year, and I entirely agree with the most of the differences you mention, Maciamo, although there are some exceptions (bachelor(ette)'s night is well-known in Denmark etc.).
And I'm surprised that some European countries prohibit military people from becoming politicians. It doesn't sound very democratic!
I have a few more differences:

Eating habits:

While eating, Americans hold the fork in the right hand (like a spoon) and don't use the left hand, while Europeans hold the fork in the left hand (tines facing down) and the knife in the right hand. Many Europeans consider the American way of using utensils rather uncivilized.

Sex and nudity:

Americans are extremely prudish about sex and nudity, while Europeans are the very opposite. Nude beaches are very uncommon in the US, and it's against the law to be topless on beaches. TV network can get hefty fines for showing a bare ass in primetime. (but, they allow extremely violent tv shows...)

Europeans, on the other hand, are way more relaxed. In some European countries, even hardcore porno magazines are available at gas stations and convenience stores, and nudity on the frontpage of national newspapers is common. Sex is not a taboo and something "sinful" as it is in America.

In my opinion, Europeans have a much more natural and healthy attitude, and I think it's one of the reasons that Europe has much lower sex crime rates, teenage pregnancy rates etc.

This blog explains it very well:
http://www.ricksteves.com/blog/index.cfm?fuseaction=entry&entryID=301

Maciamo
16-04-09, 23:13
And I'm surprised that some European countries prohibit military people from becoming politicians. It doesn't sound very democratic!

It is to avoid military coup d'état or military regimes. I think they can become politician if they completely renounce to their military title, but I am not sure.



Sex and nudity:

Americans are extremely prudish about sex and nudity, while Europeans are the very opposite. Nude beaches are very uncommon in the US, and it's against the law to be topless on beaches. TV network can get hefty fines for showing a bare ass in primetime. (but, they allow extremely violent tv shows...)

Europeans, on the other hand, are way more relaxed. In some European countries, even hardcore porno magazines are available at gas stations and convenience stores, and nudity on the frontpage of national newspapers is common. Sex is not a taboo and something "sinful" as it is in America.


I have to say that Belgium is closer to the more liberal US states than to the liberal European countries in this regard. Porn magazines or videos are prohibited in supermarkets (contrarily to the UK, where they are rampant) to "protect children".

Prostitution is legal in Belgium, but it is not well tolerated by most of the population (unlike in the Netherlands). Flemings tend to be more tolerant in that regards than French speakers. They announce on TV today that the city of Liège was shutting down its brothels, and none of its suburbs or neighbouring town wants let them move in their municipality. That's because it is still mostly taboo among French speakers.

Most of the Belgians I know wouldn't be very comfortable with being nude on a beach or even in a sauna or public bath. I think that German-speakers, Scandinavians and Finns are among the most open regarding nudity. Belgians are maybe among the prudest Europeans. But there is little involvement of religion in this. Sex isn't regarded as sinful. Sex and nudity are just considered things about which one should be discreet.

Ua'Ronain
03-06-09, 23:35
It seems odd as an American looking in that we are all lumped into one group like the entire United States has a stereotype. It would be better to try to break it down by region or state. I come from central Illinois, a rural area where the closest near by "city" Springfield only has 116,482 people. The village I am from and surrounding area's culture is nothing like the North East (New York), Southern States, or the West Coast. Many of the people here have Irish and German roots, and it shows in our local festivals such as Irish Days, Black Diamond days, Octoberfest etc. Village have a similar set up with a central town square with a park or public meeting place in the center. Even one state such as Illinois has clear cultural differences within it. Northern Illinois and the Chicago metro area are very different from central Illinois and southern Illinois. I guess the point I am trying to make is that America is much more diverse than many Europeans understand. From clothing, to our accents, religion and laws each state is different from another.
As I was reading in the earlier page about Nobility it came to me that we may not have castles or any nobility we do have a lot of archeology sites. One not far away from me is Cahokia Mounds 650–1400 CE) and on that note it is quite common for Americans to have some Native American blood in them.
Maybe we can compare media and news service as well, one thing I hate about American news is that it does not cover stories outside of our borders at all unless it is terrorists, pirates, North Korea, Mexico or the Middle East. I have NEVER seen a story about Canada on any news service, local or national. When they do cover Mexico it is always about immigration and the drug cartels.
Maybe we can compare banking systems or even how the government controls currency, is it common in Europe for one entity to control the money like the Federal Reserve is for the United States?

Miss Marple's nephew
12-06-09, 23:08
What makes Europeans similar compared to the Americans

"Similar"? Yes, well, the Americans speak a language that is similar to English although we manage to adhere to grammar slightly better than they. Of course we, on the continent, speak English as a second langauge and Im still trying to work out what the first language of the Americans might be.

Maciamo
13-06-09, 14:30
"Similar"? Yes, well, the Americans speak a language that is similar to English although we manage to adhere to grammar slightly better than they. Of course we, on the continent, speak English as a second langauge and Im still trying to work out what the first language of the Americans might be.

What I meant was "what makes Europeans similar between each others, as opposed to Americans". Or "what differentiates Europeans from Americans" at a continent-wide level (within looking too deep into regional differences within Europe or between US states).

Miss Marple's nephew
13-06-09, 17:42
What I meant was "what makes Europeans similar between each others, as opposed to Americans". Or "what differentiates Europeans from Americans" at a continent-wide level .....
Well, if I were to make generalizations - and thats what your asking me to do - then I must say a "similarity" would be that were both in the northern hemisphere, and a "dissimilarity" would be our value of life.

Maciamo
14-06-09, 12:00
Well, if I were to make generalizations - and thats what your asking me to do - then I must say a "similarity" would be that were both in the northern hemisphere, and a "dissimilarity" would be our value of life.

I am not asking about similarities between Europeans and Americans, but only similarities between Europeans that are not shared by Americans. For example, all European countries have heavily state-subsidised healthcare and universities, while the USA do not.

Miss Marple's nephew
14-06-09, 15:35
Do you want me to compare all the international EU countries with one single country of the U.S. - or are you including "America" as all the countries from Canada to Argentina? In either case it seems much too daunting a task.

Gary C.
25-07-09, 10:56
"It seems odd as an American looking in that we are all lumped into one group like the entire United States has a stereotype."
Ua' Ronain-I was thinking along similar lines as I was reading this thread.
Various parts of the USA are very different from each other.
My state,Texas,used to be its' own country-and many of us wouldn't mind being our own Republic again.
Actually,there is and always was,a North-South cultural divide in America.Whichever one you grew up in will make the other seem as foreign as the dark side of the moon.
The culture all across the South,from Virginia into Texas,has mostly the same roots.There are local exceptions,such as the Accadians in Louisiana.But still,I can say from my own life experience that I feel completely at ease,anywhere in the American South,and you will NEVER find me living up North.I'd go on vacation up there,just to see historical things,but I'd never live there.The people also aren't to my liking.
The South is like one big extended family,and it is HOME.
Another thing I'd say,is that it is dead wrong to think that all Americans are in lock-step with whatever is decreed in Washington,D.C.
It would be true to say that a lot of people in the South and out West are vehemently opposed to the back-East establishment.We know from a long history of dealings with them,that they are not our friends,and don't have our best interests in mind.
The cultural foundations of the Old South begin to peter out as you get into west Texas,and go beyond.They say that Fort Worth is where the West begins.
Places like New Mexico and especially Arizona are a world unto themselves,and they couldn't care less about Washington politics.
Alaskans have an even wilder and woolier attitude,from what I hear.Never been there.
I like the culture I was born into,and am happy and feel fortunate to live in Texas.
And please don't ever call me 'Yank',okay? :laughing:

Maciamo
25-07-09, 12:55
"It seems odd as an American looking in that we are all lumped into one group like the entire United States has a stereotype."
Ua' Ronain-I was thinking along similar lines as I was reading this thread.
Various parts of the USA are very different from each other.
My state,Texas,used to be its' own country-and many of us wouldn't mind being our own Republic again.
Actually,there is and always was,a North-South cultural divide in America.Whichever one you grew up in will make the other seem as foreign as the dark side of the moon.
The culture all across the South,from Virginia into Texas,has mostly the same roots.

I am well aware that the USA can be divided in a few broad region with a culture of their own (New England, the Midwest, the West Coast). The South has a particularly strong and unified identity. Nevertheless a lot of cultural aspects are shared by all Americans. The point of this thread is to show that there are also cultural facets shared by all Europeans, but Europeans only. Would you say that anything describing the USA in my original post does not apply to the southern states ?

Cambrius (The Red)
25-07-09, 20:21
Regarding the Southern U.S.:

I live part of the year in Northern Virginia and I can tell you that the region is far different than the rest of the southern states. Virginia is changing rapidly, demographically and culturally and will soon be much more northeastern in flavor.

Texas, unfortunately, is as pretty rough place culturally and socially. Like much of the south, various parts of it are backward on any number of levels. It has some of the worst educational and health care statistics in the U.S. Despite its relative wealth, Texas is considered by more enlightened Americans as one big socio-cultural backwater.

philips
13-09-09, 21:16
Eating habits:

While eating, Americans hold the fork in the right hand (like a spoon) and don't use the left hand, while Europeans hold the fork in the left hand (tines facing down) and the knife in the right hand. Many Europeans consider the American way of using utensils rather uncivilized.


I’ve noticed it as well and was very happy someplace peoples eat just like me. Always hated the fork in my left and found it cumbersome. To make it easier I used to switch and eat with my right hand but got audience. Now I simply cut meat into chunks before eating, put the knife aside and fork to my right, looks less conspicuous and makes life easier.

^ lynx ^
08-01-10, 19:43
What makes Europeans similar between each others, as opposed to Americans

Social and Economic equity. In Europe there's by far more equity than in America.

And when I say America I am not referring to the USA, I'm talking about the whole continent, of course.

America is more complex, multicultural and racially mixed also.

Greetings.

Aristander
16-07-10, 00:01
:laughing:

Let's also note the common use of gangsters and criminals in the US military for their "killing talents", and the way they can pass from notorious criminals to national heroes - something mostly unheard of in Europe. The US government has even used this tactics in post-war Japan to fight communism by forgiving and rehabilitating convicted war criminals and yakuza leaders (some even became Prime Ministers with the support of the US, like Kishi Nobusuke).


I have to agree with most of your differences, however I strongly disagree with the above statement. Perhaps in the past (WWII, Korean Conflict or Viet Nam) the American military would accept people who had criminal records, but I can tell you that it is not so today. Someone with any sort of conviction for a violent crime is prevented from serving in any branch of the military. Many other minor criminal charges that don't include violence will also prevent a person from joining.
Back when I was a young man if an adolescent or young military age adult committed a crime (not necessarily violent) such as public drunkeness, driving while under the influence, possession of marijuana or petty theft, a judge might give them the option of "joining the military or going to prison." That does not happen now, I know for a fact (since it was my cousin's son) that a youngster that commits any of the above crimes has to undergo strict counciling and screening before any branch of the US military will accept them as a recruit. Drug and alcohol screening for 6 months, daily reporting to recruiters office for training and a nightly curfew. After they are accepted into the military if they repeat their bad behaviour they are discharged without a second thought.
Don't confuse movies like the "Inglorious Basterds", "the Dirty Dozen", "Rambo" or the "A-Team" with fact they are fictional and would have happened even during WWII.
Don't believe too much of what you see of American culture from the media, for the most part many Americans are as deeply shocked and sickened by the boorish behaviour usually associated with being an American.



I live part of the year in Northern Virginia and I can tell you that the region is far different than the rest of the southern states. Virginia is changing rapidly, demographically and culturally and will soon be much more northeastern in flavor.
Texas, unfortunately, is as pretty rough place culturally and socially. Like much of the south, various parts of it are backward on any number of levels. It has some of the worst educational and health care statistics in the U.S. Despite its relative wealth, Texas is considered by more enlightened Americans as one big socio-cultural backwater.

I'll agree with you about Northern Virginia, it has completely lost any typical "Southern Flavor" it has throughly been inundated by rude and insensitive NE types. You have to go south of Richmond to find Virginia with a southern flavor.
I strongly disagree with you about Texas being seen as a socio-cultural backwater. Texas has historically been a place for immigrants to go to and live. Germans, Dutch, English, Czech, Wendish and Polish communities thrived in Central Texas in the late 19th and early 20th century. There is still a large amount of cultural diversity in Texas from various groups of European immigrants. The small town I grew up in was a cultural melting pot of Czech, German and Polish families. I could walk down the street and hear conversations in all three languages. Those older immigrants have died off and been replaced by thier English speaking children, but much of their European cultural heritage is still found in the food, music and accents of their descendants. Recent a large non-English speaking population of immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America have flooded Texas in the last 50 years. As their children are assimilated into the Texas cultural the flavor of their culture will expand and grow into part of the unique Texas cultural heritage (in fact much of it is already part of the heritage) the source of Texas was as as part of Spain's Mexican colony so many Texans, Texas towns and what people see as Texan food was brought by the Mexican people.

Eireannach
26-08-10, 16:15
Social customs

Europeans think of "traditions" like baby showers and bachelor(ette)'s night with strip-teasers as typically American (which they are). This is something most Europeans only see in US series and movies. The same is true of Thanksgiving and, until the late 1990's, of Halloween (but this last one exported itself well to Europe and East Asia).


Halloween (Samhain) has been celebrated in Ireland and Scotland for thousands of years and was brought to America by immigrants from these countries.

Mako
26-08-10, 18:32
The long repressed aspirations for autonomy in Central and Eastern Europe must not flow into a persistent nationalism. I see there, rather, the, perhaps necessary, first step on the way to a new European order, the first step under a common European roof.

bud
07-09-10, 07:52
Many Australians have a very poor knowledge of world geography and history and speak only English, making them also more like Americans.

that is not true, We are very well aware of the global geographical climate due to the fact we get left out a lot, though that is changing of late. Also it is compulsory to learn another language in the first year of high school though you arent required to continue it after that year. I Learned German in high school. But due to our region it is not as needed as in Europe where if you drive 4 hours you will drive through 4 different linguistic areas compared to Australia where you can drive for 16 hours and its English all the way.
And i dont think its fair to judge nations on how many languages they speak especially nations where English is their native tongue, As English is the new Latin in international settings.

Maciamo
08-09-10, 08:15
that is not true, We are very well aware of the global geographical climate due to the fact we get left out a lot, though that is changing of late. Also it is compulsory to learn another language in the first year of high school though you arent required to continue it after that year. I Learned German in high school. But due to our region it is not as needed as in Europe where if you drive 4 hours you will drive through 4 different linguistic areas compared to Australia where you can drive for 16 hours and its English all the way.
And i dont think its fair to judge nations on how many languages they speak especially nations where English is their native tongue, As English is the new Latin in international settings.

Sorry Bud, but I have lived and studied in Australia, and I was shocked to see the ignorance of most ordinary Australians (there are always exceptions) about the rest of the world. At least half of the people I met had no idea where Belgium was or that it was even a country ! I have also travelled around India and South-East Asia and lived in Japan, and everybody had heard or Belgium. Except in Japan, most Asians usually knew that Belgians spoke French or Dutch (even Indian street children who had never been to school).

As for foreign-language learning, I may be harsh because I come from a country where everybody learns at least two or three foreign languages in secondary school, and business school graduates are supposed to be fluent in five (and fluent means being able to speak, not just read or listen), but I have hardly met any Australian who could hold up a conversation in another language than English, unless they or their parents were recent immigrants.

Apart from that I love Australia and have nothing against Australian people. Don't misunderstand me.

bud
08-09-10, 09:37
yeah but like i said being fluent in more than 1 let alone 5 isn't all that necessary here in Australia. We see more Australians learning Japanese or Chinese languages due to our business dealings with these nations.
But Australians knowing English means knowing another language isn't that important, as most other countries learn English in international settings anyways. Which is the same with the US even though they are bordered by a non English speaking nation to the South and even a territory to the North, Australia isn't bordered with anyone.

And i dunno i think if i went and asked random people on the street where Belgium is they would say Europe, they might not know the languages spoken in the country though. But even then class has a lot to play in it, if you went to the lower end of the working class no doubt they would have little knowledge on geography so its all relative i think.

Marianne
09-09-10, 00:56
yeah but like i said being fluent in more than 1 let alone 5 isn't all that necessary here in Australia. We see more Australians learning Japanese or Chinese languages due to our business dealings with these nations.
But Australians knowing English means knowing another language isn't that important, as most other countries learn English in international settings anyways. Which is the same with the US even though they are bordered by a non English speaking nation to the South and even a territory to the North, Australia isn't bordered with anyone.

And i dunno i think if i went and asked random people on the street where Belgium is they would say Europe, they might not know the languages spoken in the country though. But even then class has a lot to play in it, if you went to the lower end of the working class no doubt they would have little knowledge on geography so its all relative i think.

I keep hearing this by Americans or English speaking people in general and it's not true: we don't learn foreign languages mainly because we have close to us people that speak other languages than our own. Don't get me wrong but I always get this excuse by Americans mainly, when we start with this topic.

Almost everyone speaks English in Europe (although German and French people aren't very fluent) so if we drive to another country we won't have big problems communicating. If I drive 6 hours I will find myself in Bulgaria or FYROM but i don't speak any Slavic language at all.

I started learning English when I was 6-7 and when I was 9 I asked my parents to get me a tutor to learn French because I liked how the language sounds, even though we learn a second and third foreign language (French and German) at the age of 12 at school as a compulsory class. I was just 9 and I had no intention to communicate with French people at that time. I was just fascinated by the language. Later I asked my parents to send me to the German High school of Athens where mostly kids of Germans living in Greece go to, so I also learned to speak German. I can have an everyday conversation in Spanish Italian and Dutch and I slowly learn Japanese.

Learning languages isn't about communicating with your neighbors, but learning about their culture and their mentality. It fascinates me. To me language is not a tool, it's power.

bud
09-09-10, 07:54
But if you never are going to communicate with someone of another language then why learn it? You can learn about culture without having to go in depth into learning their language. I dont need to know Latin to learn about the Roman culture do I?

LeBrok
09-09-10, 08:59
It's cultural and almost traditional in European education systems and among parents to emphasize learning of foreign languages. The mixing of people, the small sizes of countries, business, jobs, open market etc, strengthen the need for it.
In Canada, USA and Australia the need for learning foreign languages never really existed. Almost wherever you go in N. America and Australia one just needs to know one language. On top of it half of the world generally knows English. It might have started from English empire. If you own half the world, why would you learn other languages?
Does speaking just English make one handicap, inferior, uncultured? I never think about this that way.
It's true though that it's always better to know two languages instead of one.

I'm sure we could find quite few geniuses that had moved our world forward knowing only one language, and we still are thankful for their existence, not really realizing how culturally handicapped they were.

Marianne
09-09-10, 14:58
But if you never are going to communicate with someone of another language then why learn it? You can learn about culture without having to go in depth into learning their language. I dont need to know Latin to learn about the Roman culture do I?
I just stated my personal opinion in my previous post. I think that if I want to fully understand someone's culture I must learn their language. They way language helps you express your feelings affects your mentality.
A simple example that just came in my mind: in English when you want to say that you memorize something you say: by heart, while in Greek we say: by mind. I think such differences in people's language also affect their view of the world around them.

As for Latin, in Greek highschools Latin is compulsory for those students who follow the theoretical branch, with classes like modern and ancient philosophy, history and literature. It is considered that they must know the language if they want to fully understand the meaning of ancient Roman texts and what they are trying to express. For sure they are not going to use Latin to communicate with anyone.

I don't think that someone is uncultured if they don't know more than one languages, don't get me wrong. I think though that people in Europe tend to admire more than Americans history, languages and culture and that is why we learn many languages, while they are more practical minds and only care about their country.

Don't get me wrong but I think Americans live in a bubble that only includes their country, even with the spread of internet they have no idea about the rest of the world. It also surpises me that they say we Europeans learn languages because we have so many different countries around us so it's practically needed to speak many of them, but none of them speaks at least Spanish, with Mexico and all those Latin American countries close to USA.

LeBrok
09-09-10, 18:53
Some people love learning languages, just for the heck of it, and they are in abundance here in Eupedia, for some reason.

For general population in Europe it is very useful to know other languages. Travel few hundred kilometers for vacation, work, school and most likely you end up in different country.
In America or Australia, you are still in same country. One can go on vacation to Mexico, but still one can communicate around in English.

Gusar
11-09-10, 08:11
Sorry Bud, but I have lived and studied in Australia, and I was shocked to see the ignorance of most ordinary Australians (there are always exceptions) about the rest of the world. At least half of the people I met had no idea where Belgium was or that it was even a country ! I have also travelled around India and South-East Asia and lived in Japan, and everybody had heard or Belgium. Except in Japan, most Asians usually knew that Belgians spoke French or Dutch (even Indian street children who had never been to school).

As for foreign-language learning, I may be harsh because I come from a country where everybody learns at least two or three foreign languages in secondary school, and business school graduates are supposed to be fluent in five (and fluent means being able to speak, not just read or listen), but I have hardly met any Australian who could hold up a conversation in another language than English, unless they or their parents were recent immigrants.

Apart from that I love Australia and have nothing against Australian people. Don't misunderstand me.


Maciamo I completely agree with you regarding the ignorance of Australians. Bud & others are only really offering reasons for this ignorance - which is fine since I think there are many logical reasons for it (eg remoteness/proximity, English language etc). However I believe there is also a cultural element of apathy amongst Australians, though I see apathy as a western cultural trait also. What I find embarassing in Australia is the way the media and general populace plays out and mocks Americans as being ignorant when there is I think very little difference in this regard when it comes to Australians knowledge of for instance Europe and international politics.

bud
13-09-10, 07:54
why is it that if a country doesnt know much about Europe they are ignorant? When in fact i can guarantee countries in Europe would know very little about Australia, Who the head of state is, who the prime minister is, list goes on.

And being an Australian and speaking to diverse people in my life i can guarantee majority of Australians do actually know about world events, history and yes even countries of Europe.

bud
14-09-10, 16:40
thought this might amuse some people, its from a Formula 1 forum i am a member of, its posted from an Englishman living in Kansas



Not quite in the context of this thread but; when I was working as a tech for a tax software company recently; during my training on the software; one of my fellow trainees asked me "where are you originally from?" of course I replied the UK, then he said "how long have you been speaking English? it's really easy to understand you!" - Of course I am thinking; is he being serious? After about 30 seconds of silence I said "all my life" then went onto explain that England was party of the UK! Then he felt like a prize fool! :hehe:




Trust me it gets worse; the agency person that hired me thought that "UK" stood for Ukraine. Of course I corrected her saying its "United Kingdom", then she asked the question; "so what language do you speak in the United Kingdom?", being sarcastic I said "French!", and the reply came back "really?"... welcome to life in Kansas!

Sirius2b
14-09-10, 21:58
What makes Europeans similar between each others, as opposed to Americans


I think there are many types of Europeans and many types of US Americans as well.

People trend to believe that the average European is more educated in History and had a better understandig and perspective of global things and more aware of other cultures. Also, that the Europeans trend to be more liberal and less bigoted.

"Americans are from Mars and Europeans from Venus"
http://www.irpp.org/po/archive/dec03/turner.pdf

I personally cannot confirm any of that.

Gusar
15-09-10, 10:31
why is it that if a country doesnt know much about Europe they are ignorant?

It doesn't have to be Europe... But... knowledge of Europes history, people and politics is just one way of attaining anthropological knowledge, which subsequently increases your ability to empathize/relate/understand/appreciate other ethnicities/peoples. And it's cyclical. You gain some knowledge through necessity or whatever and you want to know more and then it increses your appreciation simply of anthropological knowledge. So for instance, Europeans may need to know a bit of their neighbours language for comerse, through interaction they'll pick up some history, politics, will in turn appreciate it's value & then they'll want to be able to achieve that for other peoples around the world... Americans, Asians, Africans or whomever. Like I said it doesn't have to be Europe... but... Australians/US Americans seem to have little compensating factors... I mean Australians I might suggest would know a bit more about Asia then Europeans, but really it's not at much of a high level. I mean there are plenty of Australians who think that Indonesia could invade any minute. It's pathetic. The paranoia about boat people is another example of Australian ignorance. If they knew about Europe they would realise how such a comparatively insignificant scale of a problem it is.


When in fact i can guarantee countries in Europe would know very little about Australia, Who the head of state is, who the prime minister is, list goes on.

First of all, you most definitely can not guarantee that. This entire conversation is entirely based on anecdotal evidence... And as such... in my experience I have had family in Europe contact me to find out what is happening in Australia from things they have seen on the news. Western journalism on the other hand is absolutely pathetic. Prime time news in Australia is too often Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie... atm Oprah. There are more important things happening around the world & my cousins in Europe hear about it when we don't. Journalism in Australia is infuriating. We used to have better journalism in the past... Foreign Correspondent was one of the best programs... At least 60 Minutes used to do international political stories in the past. Now it's just a celebrity suck fest thrown in with mostly stories of individual tragedy. News is just becoming Entertainment Tonight.


And being an Australian and speaking to diverse people in my life i can guarantee majority of Australians do actually know about world events, history and yes even countries of Europe.

Again this is all anecdotal which is fine but you are not convincing. I completely disagree and I am from Australia.

bud
15-09-10, 16:06
i take your basis on everything being around what the media puts out there? And i dont know about you but i was born here lived here all my life and im basing my own personal opinion on what i know so for you to disagree with it is futile.

simon.lagroht
20-10-10, 01:22
"About 1% of family names still have a "noble particle" (uncapitalised "de", "di", "von", "van", etc.) and it does have a meaning for some people."

This is just plain nonsense. The 'de' particle means 'the' and 'van' means 'of'. The name vanderbilt for instance should be written like 'van der bilt' which means 'of the bilt' and 'bilt' is nothing more than a village in the Netherlands (near Utrecht) occupied by some 43 thousand people.

"It seems that telemarketing is also much more common in the States than in most EU countries."

In the Netherlands there are laws against this because people find it very, very, very anoying.

Glückspilz
25-10-10, 20:45
One funny difference:
Whereas Europeans tend to fold their toilettpaper, Americans use to screw theirs up before using.
Don´t ask, how that information hit me :)

ricjoseph96
27-10-10, 14:17
Well i think what makes the Europeans united is there spirit and lack of egoistic approaches.It is with evidence the Europeans share the same currency,same parliament same union and many things which keeps them bind together in spite of a adverse history.Unlike Americans and Asian; Europeans don't often try to show off there authority and power to each other.:smile:

DianaM249
08-11-10, 17:22
Hello, I just went through this America/Europe article and when reading throughout this post I felt like sharing my opinion as a native French residing in France. FYI I've lived and traveled in the USA, Sweden and Norway.

I agree with everything said in this thread when defining chauvinism vs patriotism when it comes to people in France, and I might even add that the French are very insecure when it comes to their national identity.

Let me explain: among this present "active" generation (14-50 year olds) there is a good share of North African people from the immigrations of the 1960's. So the culture is becoming more mixed and less "white French". Racism is and always was an issue from either side of the verbal conflicts but it's taboo. Since the education system and ethics date from the 1800's, we're not used to the idea of multiculturalism so the differences between ethnics are difficult to handle in polite conversation. This leads to a lot of tension and more than often are the White people denying their sense of belonging to the French nation. Let's not forget that in school we're bashed with negative images from WWII, we grow thinking that nationalism and patriotism lead to evil. All of these elements add up to the self-hatred that most of us French people have. Patriotism exists but in very tiny, deniable doses (among the elderly). Moving on.

The sense of insecurity makes it a weird environment for youths from immigrating families to evolve: they don't feel that they belong in France at all (because their origins aren't recognized, because they don't feel acknowledged as valuable assets to the country, etc) and often fall to the "dark side". They feel the racial prejudice so there is constant backlash whenever a white person addresses the difficulties with those people. The situation is similar in many of the larger European countries so there is crime in Europe. There are weapons on the streets from the black market, financed by drug and prostitution cartels. It's a fairly new situation for us so our police forces aren't equipped to deal with those issues. I'm not optimistic for the future.

I want to talk about foreign languages in the French education now: most people I know here can't or won't speak English because they don't feel the need to, or they are too lazy. France is the only country in Europe that uses dubbing for all TV programs (movies, documentaries, TV shows, News, live interviews), this makes that viewers are not familiar with foreign languages and won't go the extra mile to learn or be curious about speaking anything other than their native tongue. Other countries in Europe use subtitles whiles France prides itself with very sophisticated dubbing teams. The intentions behind that dwell in pro-Francophone politics that started around the 60's to encourage people from immigration to learn French. I'm not 100% sure so if someone has a better explanation...

The other and last thing I wanted to address in this post was the politics:

Well i think what makes the Europeans united is there spirit and lack of egoistic approaches.It is with evidence the Europeans share the same currency,same parliament same union and many things which keeps them bind together in spite of a adverse history.Unlike Americans and Asian; Europeans don't often try to show off there authority and power to each other.
I don't know which country or system you had in mind when typing that but it's not nearly how things work in France. Maybe France is Europe's black sheep? But our political parties are very divided and more than often do politicians (especially left-wing talkers) are self-involved and generally motivated by adversity instead of encouraging progress. Labor unions don't help, they'll first go on strike, take the economy and social peace hostage before sitting down to discuss solutions to their problems. A large part of the French thrive in conflict. They feel united in their hatred against the government and their president but they are not the majority. Nicolas Sarkozy was elected with 55% of approval but you don't hear those voters complaining.

The way I see things, democracy isn't working for France since it's obviously not making everyone happy (French sarcasm) :innocent:

Glückspilz
11-02-11, 18:48
I dont know if this is the right place to post maciamo, but what about healthcare? A current topic in the US - the only country in the western world without universal healthcare. I hope they can fix it!

Grizzly
11-02-11, 22:34
Since the education system and ethics date from the 1800's, we're not used to the idea of multiculturalism so the differences between ethnics are difficult to handle in polite conversation. This leads to a lot of tension and more than often are the White people denying their sense of belonging to the French nation. Multiculturalism is not a French notion because of History. France has received a lot of migrants since the 19th century, so the only way to integrate them was the melting pot in the French identity. The multiculturalism is a modern sociological feature, probably come from USA in the 50's as an answer to the afro-american question, and later the Latinos. There has been a lot of Mexican immigrants between 1850 and 1950 in US, and their integration had not been made through multiculturalism, but in the American melting-pot which was about the same as France.
France is the only country in Europe that uses dubbing for all TV programs German television uses dubbing too for films or TV.

abbyllw
12-02-11, 01:46
I dont know if this is the right place to post maciamo, but what about healthcare? A current topic in the US - the only country in the western world without universal healthcare. I hope they can fix it!

The US has lower taxes than any European country. A bi-product of low taxation is the lack of a universal healthcare system. While many US politicians "strive" to unite every American in equal coverage, the fact of the matter is that this likely will not change as too many politicians are in cahoots with major pharmaceutical companies. Though this is likely the primary reason universal healthcare has not yet been voted in, the secondary reason is that the average US citizen does not want their government involved with his/her medical affairs. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a change.

Americans place a lot of emphasis on personal space. In general, they do not like to be touched, bumped, nudged, or otherwise crowded by our fellow man. This need for personal space also extends to our homes and our vehicles. Most Europeans do not feel quite the same. It is not uncommon to see strangers densely packed in shops and elevators or on street corners, and for those citizens to be perfectly comfortable with it.

Taxation is an interesting difference between the US and some European countries. In the US, you buy a loaf of bread for $1.98 + tax. Which, depending on the state's tax rate, could make your bread cost $2.06. In the UK, when you buy a loaf of bread for $1.98, it costs $1.98. No hidden taxes.

Regulus
12-02-11, 03:24
This article has been updated and can now be read here (http://www.eupedia.com/europe/cultural_differences_europe_usa.shtml).


I read the article and found many well thought-out points.

The only thing that think should be brought up in response would be in reference to the portion under Government that mentions police searches of homes.

I would be willing to concede that American police are more aggressive than their European counterparts, but we would be remiss if we left out an appreciable difference in the manner in which the warrants that allow these searches/arrests are issued.

American police are generally held to very stringent standards (more so than those in Europe) in the proofs that would be required prior to the issuance of a warrant by a judge that would allow the forced (physical or not) entry by police into a subject's home or the home of another in which the subject may be.
American police know ahead of time that they will need to outline what criminal activity in occurring there, what they expect to find, and the reasons that they expect to find the activity/evidence for which they are looking.
All of this must put on the affidavit and sworn to by the officer requesting the warrant. Judges apply the court rules concerning the 4th amendment (protection against illegal search and seizure) very strictly when determining whether or not a warrant will be issued. Even minor mistakes or omissions such as leaving out adjoining houses that are not to be entered can cause a judge to deny the warrant. When I was a police dog handler, I would need to provide the entire history of my dog's record and my own also when, for example, my dog tracked a suspect from a crime scene to the back door of a residence. A record of a false positive result of a dog's work (even one occasion) could easily cause the judge to deny the warrant.
Dog handlers traditionally would be more likely to deny being sure of the results if they had any shred of doubt themselves. They and other officers just don't want that black mark of a failure on their record.
Exhaustive hearings are held where the minutiae of the affidavit and warrant are contested by the defense. Numerous and profound successes by the defense have caused our posecutors to take a major role in criminal cases from the very beginning. Any evidence deemed to have been wrongly taken is dismissed (Fruit of the poisoned tree).

In Europe, judges traditionally require less in the way of sworn proofs from police when a warrant is requested.

The big difference there is that European companies/individuals encounter much more legal barriers when trying to obtain personal information about other people. Although the US has privacy laws, they are not nearly as strict or as thorough as those found in Europe.

One last note: There is considerable debate is the US on the factors that make one feel safe. Many polls indicate an extremely high overall feeling of safety for those who live in states that have liberal gun laws. Conversely, states or urban areas that much stricter gun laws do not result in a strong feeling of safety for those living there.

Reinaert
13-02-11, 10:50
"About 1% of family names still have a "noble particle" (uncapitalised "de", "di", "von", "van", etc.) and it does have a meaning for some people."

It depends on the name.

In Dutch there are far more names than 1% that tell where a persons ancestors originally come from.

For instance: Van Helmond. Helmond is a small town.

Jan van Helmond means Jan from Helmond.

But there can be a noble title if a piece of land is mentioned, or large house.
But these names are rare. A name like Van Rode. Lord of St. Oedenrode. (a village)
The name existed in the middle ages.

Eldin
23-02-11, 13:44
Privacy

I noticed a few stuff in American movies and series that are clearly different from what I know in Europe. However, this may not be typically American. It may also be used on TV for reasons of convenience regarding the plot rather than because it is extremely common.

Example 1 : answering machines

In American movies, most people seem to have an answering machine at home, and you can always hear the person's message loud in the room. I have never seen that here. Answering machines are usually silent, like on mobile phones. A light, ring or text message indicates that there is a message left, but you can't actually hear the person speaking if you are next to the phone when he/she leaves the message. I think it would be annoying if you are busy or resting while you get a message. It's also not good for privacy if you have guests at home and don't bother to answer the phone, then everyone can listen to the message being left.


Answering machines where you can hear the message as it's being left are quite rare these days. They've been around since the 60's and became quite popular in the 80's, but almost no answering machine produced in the last 20 years allows the message to be heard while it's being recorded. These days, voice mail service provided by the telephone carrier is far more common than answering machines at any rate.



Example 2 : neighours and front doors

In American movies/series, neighours tend to know each other well, chat with each others, and even spy on each others. It seems common to enter in a neighbour's house to ask to borrow something, ask a favour, or just pop in for a chat. What is more, doors seem to be left unlocked most of the time, and front doors often have windows.

All this is completely different from what I have seen in all the European countries where I have lived or travelled. People greet their neighbours, and may occasionally chat with them, but most people tend to mind their own business and value a lot their privacy. That is why most Europeans never leave their outside door open when they are not inside the house (or at any time in cities). That is also why people do not try entering without knocking or ringing the bell, even if they have seen somebody inside. Only close family members could do that. In general, in countries like Belgium or France, it is rude to drop by unannounced or unexpectedly at someone's house.

Front doors very rarely have windows (except in Britain and the Netherlands), because this allows anybody to peep inside, which is a total intrusion of privacy. In many countries (notably Belgium, France, Italy...), the ground floor of townhouses tend to be elevated from the street in order to prevent passerby's from looking through the windows.

Overall, the cultural difference between Europe an the USA here is that Europeans are not big on neighbours' watch, almpst never have a gun at home, but almost always lock their doors and tend to have good security systems, stone/brick rather than wooden walls, thick (anti-theft) glazing on windows, and heavy and secure outside doors. Reasonably well-off people often have good alarm systems and surveillance cameras. In Spain, bars on windows are common. In France and Italy, it is shutters. In other words, burglary prevention is based on house equipment and "fortification" rather than relying on the human factor, such as neighbours' vigilance or self-protection with guns.

Movies and TV often exaggerate the friendliness us Americans have towards our neighbors. Certainly there are some close-knit communities where neighbors know each other well and socialize frequently, but there are as many neighborhoods where most residents don't even know the names of the people living around them. Very few people in America would open the door to another person's home, possibly excepting family or very close friends. More Americans than not lock their doors when not at home, especially in cities of any size. Alarms and cameras are common in middle and upper class American homes. So while Americans *may* be more friendly on average with their neighbors than Europeans, don't believe everything you see on TV.

-Eldin

Reinaert
23-02-11, 19:10
Well.. A big difference between Europe and America is that in Europe religion is a minority thing. Attending a church is rare. In some countries religion may be a bit higher on the scale, like Ireland and Poland. But in common religion is out of business.

sparkey
23-02-11, 19:22
Well.. A big difference between Europe and America is that in Europe religion is a minority thing. Attending a church is rare. In some countries religion may be a bit higher on the scale, like Ireland and Poland. But in common religion is out of business.

Maciamo notes this:


Americans are much more religious than Europeans. Church going is very popular in the US, where it is seen as an indispensable way of socialising. In Europe the practise has almost entirely disappeared and is mostly limited to the elderly, or special events like weddings or Christmas.

God is often mentioned by American politicians, but almost never in Europe. Mixing religion and politics is taboo in many European countries (notably France), due to the stricter separation of state and religion. There are exceptions, such as Poland or Spain, but even these countries do not appear very religious compared to the USA.


More extremely, a majority of Americans would find offensive for someone to openly claim not to believe in god, whereas the opposite is often true in Europe.


I find this generally true, although there is variation of religiosity by region in both places. For example, a Eurobarometer poll in 2005 showed levels of atheism as high in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands (25-35%), but low in Poland, Romania, and Greece (0-5%). Similarly, while religious adherence is extremely high in states like Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, it is actually relatively low in states like Oregon and Washington.

Reinaert
23-02-11, 20:53
Hmm In The Netherlands most people don't care anymore about religion. They are not atheists, but agnostic. Simply said.. God may exist, but we don't know, and accept that.

Agnosticism in The Netherlands may be as high as 80%, but you get the low figures because a lot of people didn't write themselves out of their church for the reason they don't care about that. Another reason to still pay some money to a church is the practical reason to have a less expensive burial.

sparkey
23-02-11, 22:34
Hmm In The Netherlands most people don't care anymore about religion. They are not atheists, but agnostic. Simply said.. God may exist, but we don't know, and accept that.

Agnosticism in The Netherlands may be as high as 80%, but you get the low figures because a lot of people didn't write themselves out of their church for the reason they don't care about that. Another reason to still pay some money to a church is the practical reason to have a less expensive burial.

Are the Dutch terms for "atheist" and "agnostic" understood to be mutually exclusive? I know in English, there is disagreement over whether or not they are. Usually, self-described agnostics will say they are "agnostics, not atheists," because they don't know for sure whether or not god(s) exist. Whereas self-described atheists will say that they are "atheists AND agnostics," because they don't believe in god(s), but don't necessarily know for sure.

I find it interesting that even the preeminent anti-immigrant conservative in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, is agnostic. A US counterpart, say Tom Tancredo, being agnostic would be unthinkable.

Reinaert
23-02-11, 23:17
Are the Dutch terms for "atheist" and "agnostic" understood to be mutually exclusive? I know in English, there is disagreement over whether or not they are. Usually, self-described agnostics will say they are "agnostics, not atheists," because they don't know for sure whether or not god(s) exist. Whereas self-described atheists will say that they are "atheists AND agnostics," because they don't believe in god(s), but don't necessarily know for sure.

I find it interesting that even the preeminent anti-immigrant conservative in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, is agnostic. A US counterpart, say Tom Tancredo, being agnostic would be unthinkable.


No, Atheists deny the existence of some kind of God, in whatever form.
Agnostics don't discuss the question if God .. in whatever form, exists or not..

In a sense, atheists are believers, just like the religious people that do believe in a God.

Agnostics just say, they don't know about a God.
In fact a more pragmatic way of thinking.

And please leave Wilders out of the discussion.
That man is an idiot. A complete fool.
If he would be agnostic, why would he bother talking about the Quran?

He is an idiot, because he attacks the Quran, and doesn't talk about the atrocities mentioned in the Old part of the Bible. The old Testament.

In modern Catholic opinion, the Old Testament is obselete.
Protestants still stick to the Old and New Testament.

In my view, all that matters is what Jesus Christ has said.

And that is a total different message than what is happening in this world of today.

In fact the 10 commandments.
And a basic rule..

Don't do to another human being,
what you don't like another human to do to you.

The above sentence is the definition of real Christianity.
We don't need churches or the Pope for that.

And don't try to read or understand the Bible.
Leave that to people who take years to study that!
Let them explain things.

sparkey
23-02-11, 23:42
No, Atheists deny the existence of some kind of God, in whatever form.
Agnostics don't discuss the question if God .. in whatever form, exists or not..

In a sense, atheists are believers, just like the religious people that do believe in a God.

Agnostics just say, they don't know about a God.
In fact a more pragmatic way of thinking.

You mean this as an answer to my question about whether or not there is the same dispute in Dutch? Or are you saying that there is no dispute in English (or in any language)?


And please leave Wilders out of the discussion.
That man is an idiot. A complete fool.
If he would be agnostic, why would he bother talking about the Quran?

OK, I admit, I brought up Wilders in particular to see what you would say about him. But he has said "Zelf ben ik agnost. (http://vorige.nrc.nl/opinie/article2584468.ece)" It seems like a contradiction to me, too... why does he want the Netherlands to be totally non-Islamic so badly while at the same time glorifying its Christian past? Shouldn't an agnostic prefer neither, or have no preference? He plays favorites with religions, no doubt... I guess his thing is just that he hates Islam in particular.

crudshoveller
02-03-11, 21:40
What makes Europeans similar between each others, as opposed to Americans?

One factor that bears comparison is bloodthirstiness. By murder rate Americans are much more accomplished killers than Europeans - I don't mean Americans abroad, but in their own country. The European Russians are worse than Americans by the latest figures I have, take comfort in that, and the Lithuanians do quite well too - though Lithuania falls well behind America in killing rate. At the low end of the scale comes England, Wales and Ireland - next Denmark, Germany and Spain. Scotland and Italy don't do quite so well but are miles behind the horrendous American murder rate. One naturally seeks explanation. Could it be down to immigrants, backwoods people, criminal gang activity. But no, the causes and reasons are across the board and crime for profit, random stranger killing and domestic disputes all figure large in the numbers. Interestingly, world comparisons with regard to incidence of gun ownership within a population seem not to correlate with murder rate.

Reinaert
02-03-11, 22:20
You mean this as an answer to my question about whether or not there is the same dispute in Dutch? Or are you saying that there is no dispute in English (or in any language)?



OK, I admit, I brought up Wilders in particular to see what you would say about him. But he has said "Zelf ben ik agnost. (http://vorige.nrc.nl/opinie/article2584468.ece)" It seems like a contradiction to me, too... why does he want the Netherlands to be totally non-Islamic so badly while at the same time glorifying its Christian past? Shouldn't an agnostic prefer neither, or have no preference? He plays favorites with religions, no doubt... I guess his thing is just that he hates Islam in particular.

Yes, indeed, that's why I called him an idiot.
He is partly Dutch, and partly Indonesian. The blond hair he has is artificial.
He grew up as a child in a post-colonial family, that may have caused his minority complex feeling. He hates Islam, because the majority in Indonesia is Muslim. And his family went out of Indonesia because they were the middle class there, who worked for the Holland Dutch colonialists.

So, Wilders is in fact the same fascist product of neo-colonialism like Le Pen in France and Franco in Spain.

In my country we like most of the people from abroad, but there is much dislike for former colonial managers. They came to our county when the colonies got independence, but they still think and act like they are the masters of the universe.
Those twits don't understand that the old motherland is different than they ever expected. The Dutch people are brutal, straight forward, free, tolerant but also aggressive against bad behavior.
We don't care about Afghanistan, or Iraq. But our stupid government is planning a deployment of Dutch troops and fighting jets in Afghanistan again!!

So, I am convinced the Dutch Crown and the Dutch government is bought by American big business. Remember "Bilderberg" ?

A pain in the neck for much too long!

sparkey
03-03-11, 01:28
Yes, indeed, that's why I called him an idiot.
He is partly Dutch, and partly Indonesian. The blond hair he has is artificial.
He grew up as a child in a post-colonial family, that may have caused his minority complex feeling. He hates Islam, because the majority in Indonesia is Muslim. And his family went out of Indonesia because they were the middle class there, who worked for the Holland Dutch colonialists.

So, Wilders is in fact the same fascist product of neo-colonialism like Le Pen in France and Franco in Spain.

Very interesting, I didn't know that about Wilders. Sounds like the charge has some credibility, and could explain a few things about him.

It's interesting that a politician like Wilders can get so much support in the Netherlands, although I feel he would be marginalized in the US. Getting back on topic: civil rights for Muslims are much more widely supported in the US. For example, bans on full veils have been polled... two thirds of US respondents reject that idea, while support is huge in Germany (71%), Britain (62%), and Spain (59%). Source (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hpsJFlPm70IIaBc-vBvbgm9LBFjg). I feel the same way as the majority of Americans on that issue.


In my country we like most of the people from abroad, but there is much dislike for former colonial managers. They came to our county when the colonies got independence, but they still think and act like they are the masters of the universe.
Those twits don't understand that the old motherland is different than they ever expected. The Dutch people are brutal, straight forward, free, tolerant but also aggressive against bad behavior.
We don't care about Afghanistan, or Iraq. But our stupid government is planning a deployment of Dutch troops and fighting jets in Afghanistan again!!

So, I am convinced the Dutch Crown and the Dutch government is bought by American big business. Remember "Bilderberg" ?

A pain in the neck for much too long!

I thought the conspiracy about Bilderberg was that they were creating a One World Government, not that US companies were buying the Dutch government. I need to keep on top of this stuff. :shocked:

Either way, I agree that the Dutch government wanting to get in on Afghanistan is baffling. I can't imagine that the Dutch support their country joining that war, so doing so will have to cost political capital. Maybe Rutte thinks that he has some political capital to spend and that it's worth spending it to get closer to the US, but I don't see it, especially with support for his coalition stagnating (http://atlanticsentinel.com/2011/03/dutch-government-denied-upper-house-majority/) (the CDA in particular is having an epic implosion).

Dutch elections are interesting... I know political systems have been mentioned already, but it's worth reiterating that the two-party congressional system of the US and the multi-party parliamentary system of much of Europe produce very different political dynamics. Although American, I much prefer the proportional representation model of the Netherlands... which is probably why I follow their politics more than most.

Rastko Pocesta
09-03-11, 19:36
Yes, indeed, that's why I called him an idiot.
He is partly Dutch, and partly Indonesian. The blond hair he has is artificial.
He grew up as a child in a post-colonial family, that may have caused his minority complex feeling. He hates Islam, because the majority in Indonesia is Muslim. And his family went out of Indonesia because they were the middle class there, who worked for the Holland Dutch colonialists.
So, Wilders is in fact the same fascist product of neo-colonialism like Le Pen in France and Franco in Spain.
In my country we like most of the people from abroad, but there is much dislike for former colonial managers. They came to our county when the colonies got independence, but they still think and act like they are the masters of the universe.
Those twits don't understand that the old motherland is different than they ever expected. The Dutch people are brutal, straight forward, free, tolerant but also aggressive against bad behavior.
We don't care about Afghanistan, or Iraq. But our stupid government is planning a deployment of Dutch troops and fighting jets in Afghanistan again!!
So, I am convinced the Dutch Crown and the Dutch government is bought by American big business. Remember "Bilderberg" ?
A pain in the neck for much too long!

Who do you consider "colonial managers?" I heard that both Surinamese and Indonesians are very well integrated into Dutch society and that the only "problem" are Moroccans and Morocco was never a Dutch colony. If someone breaks the law he has to be tried for that and punished regardless of his ethnicity. It would be contrary to Dutch constitution which guarantees equality in it's first article to send a Dutchman in prison and deport a Moroccan. Both should have the same fate if they commit a crime.

Islamic veils should not be banned, but woman has to temporarily remove the veil if police officer orders her to.

Brett142
06-06-11, 05:26
Excellent read I must say, however I think you've kind of overlooked the UK a bit, as it is significantly different from the rest of Europe and from the US.

1. While the metric system is becoming more and more common, and it's pretty much the only measuring system taught in schools these days, in everyday situations (with the exception of temperature) metric is never used. You will never, for example hear anyone give their weight in KG or their height in CM, or distances in anything other than miles. Remembering, of course that all British road signs are still in Imperial measurements. When babies are born their weight is given in pounds and ounces, the list goes on.

2. As for baby showers and bachelor(ette) parties, we have equivalents in the UK. Christenings (Baptisms) are our version of baby showers, of course happening once the baby is born (obviously) and despite the fact that no one really goes to church or is religious these days, everyone seems to still have christenings. This is when the parents will receive gifts from family members and friends and just a general celebration of the birth of a baby. Our version of bachelor(ette) parties are stag do (for men) and hen night (for women), which are always celebrated, often very wildly, just like the US counterpart.

3. Prom nights are pretty much now standard in all schools in the UK (sometimes referred to as a 'Leavers' Do', as it was actually originally a British tradition which fell out of practice many years ago, making a comeback now, most likely because of american popularisation. As for universities (with the exception of Scotland, and to a certain extent Wales and Northern Ireland), they are becoming increasing more like our American counter parts, with maximum tuition being raised from £3,200 to £9,000 next year (2012).

4. As for languages, they bare next to no importance in the UK. I have never seen a non-English TV show on UK television and I think there has been maybe 5 or 6 non-English songs on British charts in the last 20 years. Languages are not compulsory after year 9 in schools (ages 13-14) and they are extremely unpopular subject choices in the UK and are entering into extreme decline. Someone mentioned that Americans and Australians have no need to learn foreign languages, the same is true for Brits, as we don't share land borders with Europe, so there is no influence from other languages. As for the 2 weeks a year Brits flock to Spain, Turkey, Greece etc, almost always you will find that they make no effort to learn the language of the country, because no matter where you go, especially in tourist areas, English is always spoken, so people often feel no need to bother.

5. Although there are technically 3 main parties in the UK, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats, the latter has never even come close to being in power (with the exception of the present Conservative-LibDem coalition, which the conservatives dominate). So a lot of the time, only the first two are considered the main parties with one being centre left (Labour) and one centre right (Conservative), so we do actually have a system similar to the US Republican-Democrats.

6. As for fast food and soft drinks, we are much much much more closely aligned with the US, with our obesity rates being the highest in Europe. Italian and Indian cuisine are extremely popular. However after celebrity chef Jamie Oliver campaigned a couple of years back, all food in every school in the country is now regulated and has to be healthy. For example in my school, after the change you couldn't buy any chocolate bars or fizzy drinks, everything was healthy.

7. Sports, you missed out Rugby, popular in the UK, France and Italy (Six nations Championship)

8. I have to disagree with your text on marriage being less formal or less important and most people in the UK spend a lot of money on their weddings and rent out big venues to showcase it and often going on honeymoons to exotic locations. However you are spot on with dating, it is far more spontaneous here in the UK and Europe.

As for global awareness, British people are no more aware than Americans or Australians. Most people will only know one world president (USA) and most people could not identify even the most widely known countries on a world map and for a lot of people, not even the UK. I think it's really unfair that Americans seem to get the brunt of the 'no outside awareness' criticism, because we're just as bad.

As for media, I would definitely agree that mainland Europe is far more Americanised than the UK . Something I noticed when I was staying with a French family, was the amount of US shows on their main TV channels (TF1), it seemed that CSI (Les Experts) and other US crime orientated shows were on almost every night, at least while I was there. I don't know if this is the case in the rest of Europe, but I'm assuming it is.

In the UK, the opposite is true, on our two main TV channels BBC1 and ITV1, which together account for just under half the audience share, there haven't been any US shows on prime time since the early 90s. US shows used to regularly be up there with domestic shows for ratings, now they come even close to getting the ratings of our home grown shows. CSI is the most watched import and only manages around the 2.5 million mark, compared to the X Factor 12-20 million, Eastenders and Coronation street 10 million etc. However US shows are much more popular with British teens and people in their 20s, most likely because there simply aren't enough shows made for this demographic in the UK, I really don't know why this is the case.

And the British police, I know they seem to have a reputation for being polite, kind and cautious compared to the US, but this really is not true. I don't know whether its a recent development and this is maybe where the confusion comes from but British cops are actually quite aggressive now.

The religion thing is true, in England for example, people get bullied in school for being religious because amongst youths, religiosity is now near zero (with the exception of recent Muslim, Sikh and Hindu immigrants) and in my personal experience I have both never met and do not know anyone who goes to church, with the exception of people of retirement age and even then it's still not massively important. Even amongst immigrants, the importance of religion definitely wanes from one generation to the next, as the children of immigrants gel much better with the secular British society. One thing I noticed talking to Americans is Christian Rock, something I had never even heard of before.

Sash windows are not the most common windows in the UK, nowadays there are virtually none, most of them are double glazed and open outwards (upwards or to the left or right).

You do see full frontal male or female nudity on UK TV after the 9pm watershed and porn magazines in shops but in recent years there have been widespread concerns, especially with parents who want to put a stop to this.

wersy
26-06-11, 23:11
The prom part is simply not true, just look at this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prom#Europe

Stance towards patriotism, religion and mariage differs between the European countries - you could say that Europe taken as a whole is less religious than America, but that realy isn't saying much. It isn't something that sets Europeans apart from the Americans, it's rather something that sets the Europans apart within their continent.

edao
27-06-11, 10:03
"Americans usually consider that the week starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday, while in Europe it always starts on Monday and finishes on Sunday."

Is this really true? I have always worked on the idea of Sunday being the first day of the week and Saturday the last.

Gavroche
27-06-11, 10:36
In France, the week starts on Monday and finishes on Friday afer the job, when the "apéro" starts...
The week-end is for us Saturday + Sunday...

Maciamo
27-06-11, 15:28
The prom part is simply not true, just look at this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prom#Europe


Almost every country holds some special year end party at school, but these practices tend to vary widely from region to region (even within small countries like Belgium) and even from school to school. Americans have institutionalised the prom by giving it well defined rules throughout a huge country. In the USA prom is a national event, one that appears regularly in Hollywood movies and series, that everybody talks about.

In Europe the year end party is often a low key affair, one party among many. People do no dress up in a special formal way for prom. For example, in Belgium there are parties to celebrate the end of the school year in every year of high school (and sometimes even junior high) as well as university. There are parties almost every day in the last two weeks of June. There is usually at least one party held at school every year, but it is not reserved to students in the final year, and it is not held necessarily at the end of the school year (often it is in the middle of the year).

Brett142
11-07-11, 02:47
I've asked many Americans and most of them say that Monday is the first day of the week, just like in the UK because you start work on Monday, this is when the new week begins.

sparkey
11-07-11, 06:32
I've asked many Americans and most of them say that Monday is the first day of the week, just like in the UK because you start work on Monday, this is when the new week begins.

Hm, I rarely here among people I know in the US, usually we consider Sunday to be the first day of the week. Maybe those you've talked to have been thinking "work week" rather than "week."

Brett142
25-10-11, 07:57
I really have to say that British people still use the old English imperial system when talking about distances (miles) , their own personal height (Feet and inches) and weight (stone, pounds and ounces). Also when a baby is born people always say they are X pounds and X ounces never KG.

Also language learning is not compulsory in the UK past the age of 14 by which time they probably know enough to know what's on a basic menu, and the vast majority of kids will have forgotten everything they learned by the time they're 18. My friend did German even until she was 16 (GCSE) and she hardly remembers anything. Learning foreign languages is of next to no importance in the UK because we don't have exposure to non English-Language media or culture. Also, you will never be able to get rid of the 'everyone speaks English anyway' attitude in the UK, and by extension, any English-speaking country.

bertrand
27-10-11, 21:08
In Europe, the Irish and the Poles are the most religious, then the Spaniards (there have been many surveys about church attendance, belief in god, etc.). But none have the same kind of Christian fundamentalism and extremism as exist in the USA (esp. in the Bible Belt). Spain has even legalised gay marriages without any complaint from the population. Not ready to happen in the States !

Maciamo,
I understand what you said but I dont like the negative spin you put on it and therefore I would like to rephrase.
In America, a large number of people simply feel God in their heart. To them going to church or to the Temple is a normal family activity like in Europe going to the beach.
God also holds a place in most individuals' thoughts during the day.
In the suburbia of New York where I live, I can go to any Sunday mass (from 7:30am to 12pm) and there will always be lots of families with small kids.

In Europe (I know mostly western Europe), it is completely the opposite. God is completely absent from people's thoughts and priorities. Those who go to church (mostly elderly) go by habit, because their parents used to go. Every time I go back to Europe, I really feel God is dead there, while in the US He is very much alive.

So there is more to it than simply counting people claiming to be religious on each continent.

ultralars
10-11-11, 17:42
awesome article! thx for posting maciamo.

Tom Red
14-12-11, 06:33
I am an American whose family came from Slovakia (father and all grandparents). I was taught by Italian priests in school and had friends as a young person of many different ethnic groups, such as Poles, Italians, Irish, German, etc. I also live in a small town that has a strong Polish influence. Because of this I have given the cultural differences between Americans and Europeans a great deal of thought. Here are my musings:

Conservatism: Americans are actually very conservative. I think this is a very important point in understanding our differences from Europeans. It is also often an overlooked point. Many of the original settlers came to America to escape religious persecution. Those that came for other reasons were very lower class people, usually of the peasant class and naturally religious. Being of peasant stock by the way is a not thought of as an insult in America but a compliment. We became self governing over 400 years ago, way back in 1608 at our first settlement. That was a long time ago. The English King was too far away to have any real control. Nearly two hundred years later, when the English king and parliment tried to increase its control especially over taxes, both the well to do and the poor Americans rose up to defend their traditional liberties. The American revolution of 1776 happened because Americans wanted to conserve their traditional governmental structure free from English interference. When the Americans gained their independence, they used their former governmental experience to form their new nation. There was a much smoother, almost natural flow into the new sense of nationhood. It is often forgotten that in spite of being the "New World," America has the oldest written Constitution and oldest political party in the world. This the mark of a conservative people, one whose government has been basically democratic for over 400 years.

When European revolutions occured, they were a bitter tearing apart of the old and the new. There was a sense that religion had betrayed the people and that the upper classes had to be destroyed. It was a real struggle that had effects that lasted for decades if not centuries. Just look at the French and Russian revolutions. France went through how many republics and empires? Russia still has not recovered from its revolution.

In short, Europeans and Americans have completely different experiences in nation building. Americans want to keep the good thing they have. In my opinion, European sense that a new structuring of society is required.


Religion: American are sincerely religious. It is not a forced thing and is the result of what I noted above, that Americans are basically a conservative people. Even less religious geographical areas still maintain a sense of religion. There are several reasons for this:
a) America was founded to a large degree by religious groups.
b) America's founding document, the Declaration of Independence, uses the argument that there is a supreme Creator who is responsible for our rights as individuals and our right to form a new nation.
c) After the revolution, when our Constitution was being written (1787), it was recognized that the nation was religiously diverse and everyone including Catholics and dissenting religious denominations had contributed to victory. It would be impossible to have a state religion and still have function as a unified nation. In order to have the Constitution adopted it was promised to the people that one of the new government's first acts would be a bill of rights as amendments to the Consitution. The very first right mentioned is religious freedom.
d) Because there was no state religion there was nothing to rebel against. People were free to practice whatever religion they wanted. It did not become a mark of intellectual superiority to reject religion. Religion also played the major role in abolishing slavery and in the Civil rights of the 20th century. In Europe, religion was viewed as a hindrance to progress. In America it is viewed as a tool for human progress.
e) It is surprising how religious people can be. This ranges from having a crucifix or bible on your office desk to saying grace before eating a Big Mac at McDonald's.
f) The clergy in America, even the Catholics, never lived in opulance and wealth as many once did in Europe. Often the clergy shared the people's struggle, even to the point of traveling with them to America from the ancestoral village back in Europe.
g) Politicans can mention God easily without any shame. After the attacks of 9/11, congressional representatives and senator all held hands and sang our second unofficial national anthem, "God Bless America." of course, it doesn't hurt that if the politican doesn't overdo it, he or she will get a bit of a boost riding on God's "coat tails."


Politics and the Military: Someone noted that Europeans look distrustful on generals getting into politics. Americans had a very good example in its first general, George Washington. After Washington had won the American revolution, all he wanted to do was to go back to his farm and his wife. He voluntarily gave up his command and went home. Europe was stunned. This was not the normal thing to do. Normally, the winning general would try to make himself king. Even King George III remarked on this. Later Napoleon lamanted regretfully from Elba where he ended his days, that the French had wanted him "to be a Washington." That was clearly impossible for him. Because of the highest respect Washington had in America, when the new constitution was written, everyone assumed he would be the first president. This help to insure that the constitution would be adopted by the states. The one thing that is required now is that there be absolute civilian control of the military. At no time does the president ever wear a military uniform or medals. This would be shocking. At all times he must wear civilian clothes. If he visits the troops and wears military fatiques, there are no signs of rank. We have had a number of very high ranking generals become president. The most notable are off course, Washington, Grant (victor in our civil war) and Eisenhower (supreme commander in WWII). We have been lucky that no general has ever seriously tried to take power, though some came close to the line such as McClellan (Civil War) and McArthur (WWII and Korean War). Both were fired.

Labor Day: We have our own Labor Day which is not May 1 but the first Monday of September. This also marks the end of summer. Next day the kid goes back to school. I think another day was picked because May 1 has sort of a socialist flavor to it, which is unacceptable in the U.S.

Government:The biggest different I can see in government is the fixed term of our congress and president as opposed to a parlimentary system in which a vote of no confidence can bring down the government. Each office has it own term, usually 2, 4 or 6 years. The country is stuck with the person for that time period, even if everyone hates the person. While this may seem not logical, it add a real sense of stability. When Lincoln was leading the country during our civil war, he was hugely unpopular. Many people, even his cabinet, were calling him the "Original Gorilla" because of ungainly bearing and supposed lack of intelligence. However, he held the nation together through the force of his will and saved the union. It is my understanding that when France was beaten by the Germans in WWII, the cabinet actually changed the goverment at the war's most crucial period, basically installing a traitor as the president. Instead of continuing the fight from North Africa, France surrendered. In the U.S, the cabinet implements the policies and decisions of the president. He can fire a cabinet member at will. It is my understanding of parlimentary procedures that the cabinet to a large degree makes the decisions and can essentially bring down the government if they do not agree with the Prime Minister.

I hope that some of my words were accurate and thought provoking. I would be pleased to hear other views. God bless America and Europe!

LeBrok
14-12-11, 07:57
Very well written Tom Red, welcome to eupedia. I share similar points of view on US heritage.
Looking to more contributions of yours.

sparkey
14-12-11, 18:43
Welcome, Tom Red! Good, long post. Let me nitpick it. :wary2:


Americans are actually very conservative. I think this is a very important point in understanding our differences from Europeans. It is also often an overlooked point.

Really? It's always one of the first things I hear.


Many of the original settlers came to America to escape religious persecution. Those that came for other reasons were very lower class people, usually of the peasant class and naturally religious.

IMHO that's an oversimplification. Are you familiar with Fischer's work (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albion's_Seed)? Basically, it says that different migrations out of Britain (and, if we extend his theory, elsewhere) influenced the regional variations in America. Yes, many were religiously influenced, but not all of them were conservative, at least in the sense of "American conservatism." The legacy of the Puritans and Quakers, although they may have been "conservative" in a sense in their time, is a distinctly non-conservative regional political identity.


It is often forgotten that in spite of being the "New World," America has the oldest written Constitution and oldest political party in the world. This the mark of a conservative people, one whose government has been basically democratic for over 400 years.

Again, I view America as having more diversity in opinion. We are more conservative than Europe, and your points are valid to that end. But it's important to remember that liberalism has a long tradition in America; that when it was founded, America was one of the world's most liberal nations; and that a distinct liberal strain exists in Constitutional scholarship, whereby the Constitution is viewed as a "living" document. In fact, "American conservatism" is more properly understood as "Western conservative liberalism."


American are sincerely religious. It is not a forced thing and is the result of what I noted above, that Americans are basically a conservative people. Even less religious geographical areas still maintain a sense of religion.

I agree for the most part on your discussion of religion. The American version of "freedom of religion" encourages more enthusiastic religious practice than the European version, in my observation.

Maciamo
14-12-11, 23:52
Tom Red, thanks for your feedback and welcome to the forum. I have a few remarks though.



Conservatism: Americans are actually very conservative. I think this is a very important point in understanding our differences from Europeans.

What exactly do you mean by conservative ? It can mean many different things to different people. The basic definition of conservatism is the rejection of change, but this can be seen in many respects. For example, a stance against change can mean being anti-immigration, anti-globalisation, anti-progress, anti-science, anti-free-market, anti-gay-rights, anti-technology, anti-cannabis... I don't think anybody can be all this at once (I hope). The Amish are very conservative in being anti-technology/progress, but they are a very small American minority. Fundamentalist Christian, known in politics as the neo-conservatives, are anti-science, but once again they are a minority (though more substantial). The French are seen as relatively conservative in Europe because a majority of them are anti-globalisation, anti-immigration and anti-cannabis. Americans may be conservative in many respects, but few are anti-globalisation and anti-free-market or downright anti-technology. Many Americans oppose the decriminalisation or legalisation of cannabis, and yet non-medical cannabis has been decriminalised in 13 states, and is on the way to full legalisation in California and Colorado, which will make these states more liberal in this regard than any European country (on a par with the Netherlands only, which is much smaller than either state). So I am not really satisfied when one says that a country of 310 million inhabitants (nearly a continent) is conservative. It just depends where and for what. In many respects Californians and New Yorkers are less conservative than most Europeans, and for the outside world America is first and foremost California and New York.



The American revolution of 1776 happened because Americans wanted to conserve their traditional governmental structure free from English interference.

That's not exactly correct. Before the independence, each of the 13 colonies had its own autonomous government, completely separate from the other 12 colonies, and often with quite different local cultures and religious affiliations too. The US independence brought these 13 disconnected entities together, and created for the first time a common government for all 13 colonies. Each colony, which had been until then de facto self-governing until then, apart from paying some taxes to London, had to surrender some of their precious autonomy to a new centralised government. This was actually quite a strong rupture with the past system.


It is often forgotten that in spite of being the "New World," America has the oldest written Constitution and oldest political party in the world.

This is a nice sign of patriotism, that shows that you have listened well to the US government propaganda diffused through the education system. Nevertheless it is completely wrong. The Romans first codified their constitution in 450 BCE. The Indians of the Maurya Empire in the 3rd century BCE. Most Germanic tribes that overran the Roman Empire codified their own written constitution too, like the Visigoths in 471, the Burgunds in 473, the Franks in 500, the Lombards in 643, etc. Japan wrote a seventeen-article constitution in 604. The Arabs wrote the Constitution of Medina around 622. there are dozens of other examples that precede the US Constitution by many centuries and often over a millennium. Among modern countries, the Netherlands got its first written constitution in 1579, San Marino in 1600, Ukraine (well, the Zaporozhians) in 1702 and Sweden in 1772 - all before the USA.

As for political parties, Roman obviously had them too, and so did most of Europe at least since the 17th century. In England, the Tory and Whig parties both emerged in 1679. Both still exist today (under the modern names of Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats), contrarily to the original parties of the USA (the Democratic Party was only founded in 1828 and the Republican Party in 1854).


This the mark of a conservative people, one whose government has been basically democratic for over 400 years.

You mean 230 years. Before the independence, colonies were not ruled particularly democratically. Big landlords had a lot more power than anybody else.


When European revolutions occured, they were a bitter tearing apart of the old and the new. There was a sense that religion had betrayed the people and that the upper classes had to be destroyed. It was a real struggle that had effects that lasted for decades if not centuries. Just look at the French and Russian revolutions. France went through how many republics and empires? Russia still has not recovered from its revolution.

Countries like Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden or even Britain have not suffered any revolution since the mid-17th century or earlier.

spongetaro
15-12-11, 00:47
The French are seen as relatively conservative in Europe because a majority of them are anti-globalisation, anti-immigration and anti-cannabis.

I don't find that the French are anti-cannabis in particular considering that French people are among the heaviest consumers of cannabis in Europe.
Anti-immigration indeed, especially that coming from north Africa but don't forget that most of French citizen have a lots of European immigrant ancestry (Mostly Italian, Polish, Belgian, Spanish) including current French President.
Anti globalisation too although France level of economic openness is one of the highest in Europe.

Cimmerianbloke
15-12-11, 01:03
Actually, the French left is strongly anti-globalisation but pro-Europe, pro-immigration and pro-cannabis. In fact, there is a wide spectrum within the French left, but as for their stance on globalisation, it is just to make sure they are on the opposite side of the far-right. The cleavage is more generational, as the youngsters tend to clash with their elders for the management of the country in the last decades. A recent poll shows that the elder see the youngers are not motivated, not focused even though they reckon the coming generation will see its life standards drop. France is also quite divided between city dwellers and the rural world, who have different priorities when it comes to politics. Unevitable for country that big...

spongetaro
15-12-11, 01:09
When European revolutions occured, they were a bitter tearing apart of the old and the new. There was a sense that religion had betrayed the people and that the upper classes had to be destroyed. It was a real struggle that had effects that lasted for decades if not centuries. Just look at the French and Russian revolutions. France went through how many republics and empires? Russia still has not recovered from its revolution.

That's true. American revolution was less violent probably because it took place far from Continental Europe. As Napoleon once said, if the American revolution had occured in Europe, it wouldn't have last two years because all the big Monarchies and empire of Europe would have crush it like they did with France. It happened the same thing with the Russian revolution except that the foreign powers were mostly democratic this time. When the country where the Revolution takes place, the government in power starts to become paranoid against everything and everyone which lead to civil war.

spongetaro
15-12-11, 01:10
Actually, the French left is strongly anti-globalisation but pro-Europe, pro-immigration and pro-cannabis.

Right. Even right wing politician like former prime minister de Villepin are pro cannabis

Maciamo
15-12-11, 11:17
I don't find that the French are anti-cannabis in particular considering that French people are among the heaviest consumers of cannabis in Europe.


Actually, the French left is strongly anti-globalisation but pro-Europe, pro-immigration and pro-cannabis.

It's one thing to say something but another to look at the facts. France has not yet decriminalised even tiny possessions of cannabis, and it still has some of the most repressive laws (worse than Texas !) against cannabis production, even for personal use, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of twenty years' imprisonment or a fine of up to 7.5 million € (see Article 222-35 of the French Penal Code (http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006070719&idArticle=LEGIARTI000006417718&dateTexte=20110422)).



Anti-immigration indeed, especially that coming from north Africa but don't forget that most of French citizen have a lots of European immigrant ancestry (Mostly Italian, Polish, Belgian, Spanish) including current French President..

You can only see immigration, from a legal point of view, as people coming from outside your borders. Since 1992 (not too recent I hope) the borders of France are effectively the EU's borders, as traffic within the EU (at least Schengen area) is completely open, visa-free and unrestricted. Therefore being anti-immigration can only mean against immigration from outside the EU (and other Schengen countries like Switzerland). However for most people "immigrant" means economic immigrants from the Third World. In any case the term immigrant never legally includes tourists, expats (temporary foreign workers) or diplomats, but people who come to settle permanently and, in many cases, seek naturalisation. Statistics about foreigners in a country rarely reflect the actual percentage of immigrants since many have been naturalised, and many nominal foreigners are in fact EU citizens or temporary expats.

Xander
15-12-11, 15:51
Moreover USA were democratic only for whites, until 70's.

Maciamo
15-12-11, 20:36
Moreover USA were democratic only for whites, until 70's.

That's right. If we consider universal suffrage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_suffrage) as a definition of a modern democracy, then the USA was one of the last developed country to become one, in 1965 - after Lebanon, China, Ghana, Indonesia and many other developing countries. In Europe only Switzerland was later (1971) because the Swiss were reluctant to grant suffrage to women.

The US wasn't the first to grant women suffrage either. Many countries like Australia, Canada, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Russia and so on came earlier.

LeBrok
15-12-11, 20:48
That's right. If we consider universal suffrage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_suffrage) as a definition of a modern democracy, then the USA was one of the last developed country to become one, in 1965 - after Lebanon, China, Ghana, Indonesia and many other developing countries. In Europe only Switzerland was later (1971) because the Swiss were reluctant to grant suffrage to women.



Not sure about others, but I wouldn't put China on the list. It was only a democratic republic (still is) on paper, in reality it is one party dictatorship. Let's judge by actions not words. I have a feeling that Ghana and Indonesia falls in same category.

spongetaro
15-12-11, 21:21
It's one thing to say something but another to look at the facts. France has not yet decriminalised even tiny possessions of cannabis, and it still has some of the most repressive laws (worse than Texas !) against cannabis production, even for personal use, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of twenty years' imprisonment or a fine of up to 7.5 million € (see Article 222-35 of the French Penal Code (http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006070719&idArticle=LEGIARTI000006417718&dateTexte=20110422)).
Which means that consumers take heavy risks but smoke nonetheless
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e9/Cannabis_use_among_adults_(aged_15-64).svg/645px-Cannabis_use_among_adults_(aged_15-64).svg.png
Lifetime prevalence of cannabis use among all adults (aged 15 to 64 years old

Sybilla
16-12-11, 00:06
Well I am European (Italian) and I am currently living in Australia, very similar to America from a cultural point of view. So I answer basing on my experience.
1. Europeans in my opinion seem to have more class and to give a different values to things. Australians/Americans tend to be more consumistic.
2. Europeans are divided in countries basing on their ethnicities while American society is multicultural. What I don't like of mutlicultural society is that you never know a country for what it really is, but for stereotypes, basing on things that people from that country have brought in their new land. Often it is just a shop window that doesn't catch the real essence of that country. For example, going in a French restaurant in France is totally different that going in a French restaurant in Melbourne.
3. European seem to me more religious and more attached to the history of their own country.
4. Europeans, in the way to do and behave, seem more serious and rigid.
5. Europeans seem to me more intollerant.
6. Although it may sound a bit stereotyping, European men are more romantic and gallant, Europeans in general are thiner due to totally different food habits and in general they have an higher culture.

I definitely prefer Europe and will come back very soon.

Tom Red
16-12-11, 04:04
Lebrok and Sparkey, thanks for your welcome.

Sparkey I actually agree with your nits and picks. Americans are conservative but "liberal and conservative" mean completely different things to Americans than to Europeans. I agree that liberalism has a important place in American history. The point that I was trying to make, apparently not too well, was that Americans have been self governing for 400 years. This is the way we have always done it and is actually very liberal. An American conservative, who wants to perserve our liberties, would hold very divergent opinions say that of a conservative British monarchist. American liberal philosophy was responsible for some our great steps forward such as ending slavery and civil right violations, ending child labor and pushing universal suffage. However, liberals are now often castigated for wanting to institute socialism to increase control over people's lives. Of course, other conservatives could push a world view that we all should be obedient to the president as the "commander in chief" and as I indicated many liberals push that we all should have the fullest control of our own lives and be treated with the utmost respect by the government. Basically, we are all over the place.

I think a good way to explain this is that during our Civil War the governments of many European nations such as England and France wanted to see the slave holding Confederacy win, because they realized that a self governing nation of equals, which the Union represented, would eventually spell the doom of the nobility and monarchy. Lincoln worked to "conserve" the Union against the states that were fighting for their freedom to hold slaves. He was both conservative in regards to the government and liberal in regards to human rights. Hopefully I didn't muddy the waters even more. Let me know what you think.


Maciamo - I wanted to clarify a points of disagreement.
1) I tried to explain the difference between European and American views of liberalism and conservatism above. Hopefully I made some salient points.

2) While most TV shows are made in New York and California, Americans as a whole do not think that the trends are set there. Of course Europeans can't help but think otherwise because that is what they see on TV. That is not to deny that many Californians and New Yorkers think they are cutting edge. However, most people in the other states will not agree with them. This conflicting view actually goes back to the founding of our nation. When our founding fathers were writing our constitution the large states wanted congressional representation by population. The small states wanted to have equal congressional representation for each state. The great compromise was that we would have both: a House of Representatives determined by each state's population and a Senate with 2 senators for each state. Any law must be passed by both houses. This has worked quite well in practice. This is also why we Americans have a rather convoluted way to elect a president. We actually don't have a national election for president. We have 50 seperate elections, one in each state. That way the population in a state elects by majority its choice for president. Then all that state's electoral votes goes towards the state's winning candidate (with one exception). In this way, New York and California and Texas are very important because they have a lot of electoral votes, but a small state may actually be the deciding state. A few elections ago, Michigan with its 18 or so electoral votes was up in the air. I have to tell you that I got so sick of seeing the presidental candidates. They were alway blocking traffic. But I did feel important.


3) As far as our constitution, I should have added "oldest existing and continuous written constitution." Of course many nations in the past had or now have written constitution. I may be wrong and please correct if I am, but I understood that the U.S. constitution is the oldest existing and working constitution.

4) You are correct that the 13 colonies had seperate governments and that the adoption of the U.S Constitution was a big change. However, it was a natural development. After the French and Indian War (your Seven Years War), the English parliment started to pull in the reigns to force the colonies to pay off the debt from the war and to pay for defense against the Native Americans. They instituted new taxes such as the Stamp Act. The 13 colonies started to meet together to counter the perceived English threat to their liberties. The "Continental Congress" which declared independence was actually the second such Continental Congress. During the Revolution, Congress drafted our first constitution, the Articles of Confederation. These were so weak, that many leaders realized that to survive, the new nation had to have a stronger national government and put togther a constitution convention to write a new constitution to submit to the states for approval. Luckily Washington consented to be the chair of the convention. His stamp of approval made a great difference in smoothing over people's fears. My point was that there was a natural evolution in our government that many European did not have. This is not to blame the Europeans. The Americans were very blessed to essentially always be self governing. The Europeans had a long way to go once they threw off their nobility and monarchs. The terrors that occurred in Russia and France were almost to be expected. We were also very lucky to have a Washington and the other founding fathers like Jefferson and Franklin. Unfortunately, Europe got stuck with the likes of Napoleon and Lenin. Individuals do make a huge difference in world history. As an aside, each state writes it own constitution. The main requirement in the U.S. Constitution is that a state must have a republican form (as in res publica, not the political party) of government.

5) Someone indicated that U.S. universal suffage did not come about until 1965. I think there is some confusion here with the Civil rights movement. Actually universal male suffage came about after our Civil War (1865). However, many of the former slave holding states which secceeded from the Union instituted what is called Jim Crow laws which on a practical level discouraged blacks from voting because of poll taxes and literacy tests. The civil right movement of the mid 1960s worked to ban these essentially illegal practices.


Thanks so much all of you. I am enjoying the conversation.

Maciamo
16-12-11, 10:00
Well I am European (Italian) and I am currently living in Australia, very similar to America from a cultural point of view. So I answer basing on my experience.
1. Europeans in my opinion seem to have more class and to give a different values to things. Australians/Americans tend to be more consumistic.
2. Europeans are divided in countries basing on their ethnicities while American society is multicultural. What I don't like of mutlicultural society is that you never know a country for what it really is, but for stereotypes, basing on things that people from that country have brought in their new land. Often it is just a shop window that doesn't catch the real essence of that country. For example, going in a French restaurant in France is totally different that going in a French restaurant in Melbourne.
3. European seem to me more religious and more attached to the history of their own country.
4. Europeans, in the way to do and behave, seem more serious and rigid.
5. Europeans seem to me more intollerant.
6. Although it may sound a bit stereotyping, European men are more romantic and gallant, Europeans in general are thiner due to totally different food habits and in general they have an higher culture.

I definitely prefer Europe and will come back very soon.

I have lived in Australia and been to the USA, and IMHO Australia is much more similar to the UK than to the US. The only things that Australians and Americans have in common is that they were uprooted from their historical culture and have become rather oblivious of the rest of the world. The Australian outback can also remind of places like Texas, but that only concerns a minority of Australians.

Maciamo
16-12-11, 10:34
Sparkey I actually agree with your nits and picks. Americans are conservative but "liberal and conservative" mean completely different things to Americans than to Europeans. I agree that liberalism has a important place in American history. The point that I was trying to make, apparently not too well, was that Americans have been self governing for 400 years. This is the way we have always done it and is actually very liberal. An American conservative, who wants to perserve our liberties, would hold very divergent opinions say that of a conservative British monarchist. American liberal philosophy was responsible for some our great steps forward such as ending slavery and civil right violations, ending child labor and pushing universal suffage. However, liberals are now often castigated for wanting to institute socialism to increase control over people's lives. Of course, other conservatives could push a world view that we all should be obedient to the president as the "commander in chief" and as I indicated many liberals push that we all should have the fullest control of our own lives and be treated with the utmost respect by the government. Basically, we are all over the place.

I think a good way to explain this is that during our Civil War the governments of many European nations such as England and France wanted to see the slave holding Confederacy win, because they realized that a self governing nation of equals, which the Union represented, would eventually spell the doom of the nobility and monarchy. Lincoln worked to "conserve" the Union against the states that were fighting for their freedom to hold slaves. He was both conservative in regards to the government and liberal in regards to human rights. Hopefully I didn't muddy the waters even more. Let me know what you think.

My goodness ! You have been so deeply indoctrinated ! It feels like you are reciting prayers !



2) While most TV shows are made in New York and California, Americans as a whole do not think that the trends are set there. Of course Europeans can't help but think otherwise because that is what they see on TV. That is not to deny that many Californians and New Yorkers think they are cutting edge.

So you basically disagree that most of the new economic and lifestyle trends start in California or New York, or more generally speaking in the West Coast and Northeast corner of the USA ?


However, most people in the other states will not agree with them. This conflicting view actually goes back to the founding of our nation. When our founding fathers were writing our constitution the large states wanted congressional representation by population. The small states wanted to have equal congressional representation for each state. The great compromise was that we would have both: a House of Representatives determined by each state's population and a Senate with 2 senators for each state. Any law must be passed by both houses. This has worked quite well in practice. This is also why we Americans have a rather convoluted way to elect a president. We actually don't have a national election for president. We have 50 seperate elections, one in each state. That way the population in a state elects by majority its choice for president. Then all that state's electoral votes goes towards the state's winning candidate (with one exception). In this way, New York and California and Texas are very important because they have a lot of electoral votes, but a small state may actually be the deciding state. A few elections ago, Michigan with its 18 or so electoral votes was up in the air. I have to tell you that I got so sick of seeing the presidental candidates. They were alway blocking traffic. But I did feel important.

Why are you telling me all this ? That's common knowledge, even in Europe. You really seem to think that Europeans know as little about the USA as you do about Europe.



3) As far as our constitution, I should have added "oldest existing and continuous written constitution." Of course many nations in the past had or now have written constitution. I may be wrong and please correct if I am, but I understood that the U.S. constitution is the oldest existing and working constitution.

The US Constitution has been amended 27 times. It is not the same constitution as in 1787 any more. The Netherlands and Sweden also changed parts of their constitution, but the countries are still the same (unlike say ancient Rome which doesn't exist any more).


4) You are correct that the 13 colonies had seperate governments and that the adoption of the U.S Constitution was a big change. However, it was a natural development. After the French and Indian War (your Seven Years War), the English parliment started to pull in the reigns to force the colonies to pay off the debt from the war and to pay for defense against the Native Americans. They instituted new taxes such as the Stamp Act. The 13 colonies started to meet together to counter the perceived English threat to their liberties. The "Continental Congress" which declared independence was actually the second such Continental Congress. During the Revolution, Congress drafted our first constitution, the Articles of Confederation. These were so weak, that many leaders realized that to survive, the new nation had to have a stronger national government and put togther a constitution convention to write a new constitution to submit to the states for approval. Luckily Washington consented to be the chair of the convention. His stamp of approval made a great difference in smoothing over people's fears. My point was that there was a natural evolution in our government that many European did not have. This is not to blame the Europeans.

You are reciting again, but I don't see the point of your argument. It's not even an argument, nor even a justification.


The Americans were very blessed to essentially always be self governing. The Europeans had a long way to go once they threw off their nobility and monarchs.

Switzerland and the Netherlands became republics long before the USA (although the Netherlands democratically chose to become a constitutional monarchy afterwards). Even England had a brief Republican period under Cromwell, but that didn't work out too well. There are still many monarchies in Europe, and they usually have higher living standards than the USA (notably Scandinavian countries).


We were also very lucky to have a Washington and the other founding fathers like Jefferson and Franklin.

Your ancestors were so lucky ? I thought you said your father and grandparents came from Slovakia. They had nothing to do with the American Revolution ! You sound like you have been brainwashed so much that you forget about your own origins.


Unfortunately, Europe got stuck with the likes of Napoleon and Lenin.

Why Napoleon ? It surely did more for humanity than George Washington. Check my article What the world owes to Napoleon (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?24223-What-the-world-owes-to-Napoleon). There are quite a lot of Americans who view Napoleon as a tyrant like Hitler. He was surely much closer to his contemporaries, the Founding Fathers of the USA. He was a man of the Enlightenment and was loved by the French people, and still is highly regarded in France and some other European countries. There are new biographies written all the time about Napoleon still nowadays. The latest to be published (http://www.amazon.fr/soleil-noir-puissance-1796-1807/dp/2262029733/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324024455&sr=8-2) was written by former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in 2009.



5) Someone indicated that U.S. universal suffage did not come about until 1965. I think there is some confusion here with the Civil rights movement. Actually universal male suffage came about after our Civil War (1865). However, many of the former slave holding states which secceeded from the Union instituted what is called Jim Crow laws which on a practical level discouraged blacks from voting because of poll taxes and literacy tests. The civil right movement of the mid 1960s worked to ban these essentially illegal practices.

Why do you say "someone indicated" when you are replying to me personally ? Universal suffrage is not the same as universal male suffrage, and even that was not achieved in the USA until 1965 because this is when African Americans obtained the right to vote. Anyway, even if we omit African Americans, the US only granted the vote to women in 1920, after many European countries. So much for America being the world's first modern democracy.

sparkey
16-12-11, 19:05
Sparkey I actually agree with your nits and picks. Americans are conservative but "liberal and conservative" mean completely different things to Americans than to Europeans.

Right, I like to be specific with terms, and find that the European usage tends to be more specific. I think that's a byproduct of Europe having more political parties, hence the need for more than just two identifiers in common usage. Of course, there is just as much diversity of opinion in America, which has led to our somewhat divergent use of terms like "libertarian" as well.


This is the way we have always done it and is actually very liberal. An American conservative, who wants to perserve our liberties, would hold very divergent opinions say that of a conservative British monarchist. American liberal philosophy was responsible for some our great steps forward such as ending slavery and civil right violations, ending child labor and pushing universal suffage. However, liberals are now often castigated for wanting to institute socialism to increase control over people's lives.

You're using different definitions of "liberal" here. Like I said, I like to be very specific. :wary2:

Try something like this for greater precision: America's Founding Fathers, although holding a large diversity of opinion themselves, founded a country that was largely based on the Western liberalism of the time. American conservatives hold to the right-leaning (by modern standards) implications of that, and hence can be thought of as Western conservative liberals. Modern American liberalism does not have as direct a connection to American classical liberalism, instead being rooted in the progressive movement, which has more left-wing tendencies.

You also sound a bit like you're framing here, with your portrayal of conservatives ("perserve our liberties") vs. liberals ("increase control over people's lives"). Would you mind telling us where you fit in the political spectrum for full disclosure? To me, it's a bit odd to frame American conservatives as those who "preserves our liberties," considering that historically, they've done things like taken away our right to grow hemp, increased the surveillance state, fought against pornography... And this is those who fall under the common definition of "American conservative," not fascists or others like you, rightly, say might also fall under that label.


I think a good way to explain this is that during our Civil War the governments of many European nations such as England and France wanted to see the slave holding Confederacy win, because they realized that a self governing nation of equals, which the Union represented, would eventually spell the doom of the nobility and monarchy.

LOLwut. That wasn't the reason that other countries would have wanted the Confederacy to win, that would have only been about the balance of power. I mean, this point doesn't even make sense, considering the common opinions about slavery in the UK at the time, and the opinions about equality in France at the time.


Lincoln worked to "conserve" the Union against the states that were fighting for their freedom to hold slaves. He was both conservative in regards to the government and liberal in regards to human rights. Hopefully I didn't muddy the waters even more. Let me know what you think.

Yes, I do agree that Lincoln was a conservative in some ways and a liberal in others, and I think you've got it the right direction. The common Unionist opinion, which I would argue (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?26413-The-American-Civil-War-as-a-continuation-of-a-lasting-British-division) has continuity with the New England Puritan folkway described by Fischer, held a more conservative view of government power, but a more liberal view of human rights. The common Confederate opinion, more continuous with Fischer's Virginia Cavalier folkway, held a liberal view of government power, but a conservative view of human rights. (Note that there was a shift in the view of government power within the Cavalier folkway... as they were the Royalists in the English Civil War!)

how yes no 2
31-12-11, 01:32
European culture has built in more history, more sympathy for fellow man, less money orientation and less cowboy style of obtaining money... it is more sophisticated.....Americans are perhaps a bit megalomaniacs... big roads, big cars, big state, big plans, big dreams....

it doesnot mean all Americans are alike or all Europeans are alike... just averages allow us to speak of American and European cultures

Europemaster
19-01-12, 19:29
The on thing i noticed is christmass celebrating. st Clauss is very important in usa, actually only one i see, while in many european countries, particulary Slovenia, Croatia and catholics in Bosnia it is st. Nikolai who brings gifts to kids, doing it in start of december. Also in many countries it is little Jesus who brings gifts at christmas, some countries have legacy from communist times, calling him grandpa winter, he brings gifts at new year.
Ofcourse santa claus is almost everywhere, but still there are additional 'old kind guys', many celebrating three, many gifts for children that way.

JKU
19-01-12, 21:26
European culture has built in more history, more sympathy for fellow man, less money orientation and less cowboy style of obtaining money... it is more sophisticated.....Americans are perhaps a bit megalomaniacs... big roads, big cars, big state, big plans, big dreams....

it doesnot mean all Americans are alike or all Europeans are alike... just averages allow us to speak of American and European cultures

Americans oening big cars probably is because Gasoline is cheaper in America than in Europe so extra space for passengers/cargo is preferable (except in crowded cities where parking a large auto can be a problem).
Big states, well it's most likely the result of geography and demographics. Some EU provinces/states like Germany or Italy are fairly large also (a lot more densely populatee). If you want even larger just look at Canada.
Not all US states`are large.

big plans, big dreams.... I'm not sure about it

JKU
19-01-12, 22:18
Your ancestors were so lucky ? I thought you said your father and grandparents came from Slovakia. They had nothing to do with the American Revolution ! You sound like you have been brainwashed so much that you forget about your own origins.

Seems to me a reference to present day Americans being lucky at having such men found the country


“Why are you telling me all this ? That's common knowledge, even in Europe. You really seem to think that Europeans know as little about the USA as you do about Europe.”

True, Europe being newer, is a less well known about country in the US.




Why Napoleon ? It surely did more for humanity than George Washington. Check my article xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. There are quite a lot of Americans who view Napoleon as a tyrant like Hitler. He was surely much closer to his contemporaries, the Founding Fathers of the USA. He was a man of the Enlightenment and was loved by the French people, and still is highly regarded in France and some other European countries. There are new biographies written all the time about Napoleon still nowadays. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx was written by former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in 2009.

Well G Washington satisfied himself w being president of the US and refuse to run for more than 2 terms lest he be like a king, whereas Napoleon continually was expanding an empire w himself as supreme ruler.
“was loved by the French people” Yea, especially in Brittany or la vendee, try looking up contemporary Spanis opinion of Buonaparte.






Why do you say "someone indicated" when you are replying to me personally ? Universal suffrage is not the same as universal male suffrage, and even that was not achieved in the USA until 1965 because this is when African Americans obtained the right to vote. Anyway, even if we omit African Americans, the US only granted the vote to women in 1920, after many European countries. So much for America being the world's first modern democracy.

1920, so about tje same time as many European countries. Before Belgium, France, te Swiss, I might add

As far as some S US states blocking blacks from voting well look at France’s treatment of Algerians when it was part of France or UK finally getting fair voting in N Ireland circa 1968. Europeans have a lot to teach us

JKU
21-01-12, 03:50
Well I am European (Italian) and I am currently living in Australia, very similar to America from a cultural point of view. So I answer basing on my experience.
1. Europeans in my opinion seem to have more class and to give a different values to things. Australians/Americans tend to be more consumistic.
2. Europeans are divided in countries basing on their ethnicities while American society is multicultural. What I don't like of mutlicultural society is that you never know a country for what it really is, but for stereotypes, basing on things that people from that country have brought in their new land. Often it is just a shop window that doesn't catch the real essence of that country. For example, going in a French restaurant in France is totally different that going in a French restaurant in Melbourne.
3. European seem to me more religious and more attached to the history of their own country.
4. Europeans, in the way to do and behave, seem more serious and rigid.
5. Europeans seem to me more intollerant.
6. Although it may sound a bit stereotyping, European men are more romantic and gallant, Europeans in general are thiner due to totally different food habits and in general they have an higher culture.

I definitely prefer Europe and will come back very soon.

“Europeans in my opinion seem to have more class “
I’m not even sure how to answer this, maybe I ought to point out the Italians I worked w some years back were prone to acts of violence far in excess of typical Americans. Maybe I ought also to point out the loudmouth people of Italian descent in places like Queens, Bensonurst, Jersey shore etc. act about the lowest on the totem pole in terms of class, as far as Americans go. Think scumbag Soprano types
2. Yes it’s true most white people are from various backgrounds, unlike Italy’s African colonies where multicultural meant Italians or black subuman servants
I’ve been to American restaurants in foreign countries maybe you couldn’t tell a difference, I could
3. first part is arguable part 2 It's often surprising at how little Euro’s know about their own history (but seem often to be “experts” on the US)
4. You’ll have to elaborate because most Euro’s aren’t from my quick interpretation of that
(but your version of Euro’s may not include Euro’s from places I’ve known)
5. Elaborate
6. I cannot speak for Oz folk so I won’t, Most Euros are thinner than Americans is probably true, but the region where I come from is thinner than UK people, at least, according to gov stats

“I definitely prefer Europe and will come back very soon”
I’m sure the Oz folk will hol the door open for you so it won’t hit you in your brain

himagain
23-01-12, 05:41
In regard to the statement that European countries have greater voter turnout than the USA... My wife and I vote in every election, however, we really feel that national and state elections are an exercise in futility. The big banks and corporations have spent such great amounts of money on lobbying congress and the executive branch that the people, who have no lobbyists working for them have no representation at a national level except in name. Our governing bodies are corrupted, if we didn't vote at all, everything would probably remain at the status quo. I am being pessimistic, but I feel the facts lend justification to my pessimism.

Maciamo
23-01-12, 13:18
In regard to the statement that European countries have greater voter turnout than the USA... My wife and I vote in every election, however, we really feel that national and state elections are an exercise in futility. The big banks and corporations have spent such great amounts of money on lobbying congress and the executive branch that the people, who have no lobbyists working for them have no representation at a national level except in name. Our governing bodies are corrupted, if we didn't vote at all, everything would probably remain at the status quo. I am being pessimistic, but I feel the facts lend justification to my pessimism.

I am increasingly feeling the same way, even in Europe. :sad-2:

Sybilla
23-01-12, 16:25
European culture has built in more history, more sympathy for fellow man, less money orientation and less cowboy style of obtaining money... it is more sophisticated.....Americans are perhaps a bit megalomaniacs... big roads, big cars, big state, big plans, big dreams....

it doesnot mean all Americans are alike or all Europeans are alike... just averages allow us to speak of American and European cultures

Yes, this was my impression too. Australians for me are like Americans in their megalomany and consumism.



“Europeans in my opinion seem to have more class “
I’m not even sure how to answer this, maybe I ought to point out the Italians I worked w some years back were prone to acts of violence far in excess of typical Americans. Maybe I ought also to point out the loudmouth people of Italian descent in places like Queens, Bensonurst, Jersey shore etc. act about the lowest on the totem pole in terms of class, as far as Americans go. Think scumbag Soprano types
2. Yes it’s true most white people are from various backgrounds, unlike Italy’s African colonies where multicultural meant Italians or black subuman servants
I’ve been to American restaurants in foreign countries maybe you couldn’t tell a difference, I could
3. first part is arguable part 2 It's often surprising at how little Euro’s know about their own history (but seem often to be “experts” on the US)
4. You’ll have to elaborate because most Euro’s aren’t from my quick interpretation of that
(but your version of Euro’s may not include Euro’s from places I’ve known)
5. Elaborate
6. I cannot speak for Oz folk so I won’t, Most Euros are thinner than Americans is probably true, but the region where I come from is thinner than UK people, at least, according to gov stats

“I definitely prefer Europe and will come back very soon”
I’m sure the Oz folk will hol the door open for you so it won’t hit you in your brain

I am sorry but are you speaking of Italians or of Italian-Americans? Italian-Americans are American, nothing to do with us. It's your folk not our.
American society is the violent one, not the Italian one. The proof is that the total amount of murders in Italy in one year is the same of all the murders in New York in a month. So....

When I say that Europeans in my opinion have more class, I mean that they seem to me less megalomanic than Americans, more balanced. A lot of young Europeans - i don't speak only of teachers or elders - like history, visiting museums and other, while Americans, in my opinion, think more to technical and practical things, therefore are also less romantic. Also in the way to wear, Americans seem to me more eccentric, especially if compared to Italians and the French.
It's just my opinion anyway. You are free to think differently.

About the 4th point, that Europeans are in general thinner, this of course depends. In my case, while staying in Australia, I have been shocked and impressed at the same time of the quantity of food that you find there. I mean, every 2 meters there was a restraurant, and it was full! Maybe it is just because most Anglo Saxons have this culture to eat out of their houses, while Italians cook at home and of course, usually eat less.

Sanzot
24-01-12, 13:16
try looking up contemporary Spanis opinion of Buonaparte.

Believe it or not, Bonaparte have a relatively good image here. He's a man of lights and shadows neither hated nor loved. Because the Peninsular War is a conflict extremely complex and the key to understanding contemporary Spain. It is not as simple as "Napoleon invaded us, that's just... like... uh... BAAAAAD"

Even so, you can still hear a lot of anti-french jokes referencing that period :P

Taharqa
04-02-12, 02:16
It is their history and culture.

Tom Red
10-02-12, 04:57
My goodness ! You have been so deeply indoctrinated ! It feels like you are reciting prayers !

This is supposing the present race of kings in the world to have had an honorable origin; whereas it is more than probable, that could we take off the dark covering of antiquity, and trace them to their first rise, we should find the first of them nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang, whose savage manners, or pre-eminence in subtilty obtained for him the title of chief among plunderers; (Common Sense by Thomas Paine)

Maciamo

Well I finally have gotten around to answering you. I am not indoctrinated. I have just been well taught by my maternal grandfather, my father and uncles to love the United States and the great things it did for the world. This is huge difference which perhaps as a European you have difficulty understanding. My maternal grandfather was able to get out of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and avoid the bloodbath (WW I) caused by that inbred European gangster family (Hapsburg, Hollenzollern, Hanover/Windsor, Romanov) which subjugated the poor people of Europe and used their sons as cannon fodder. My father got back to Europe as an occupying soldier just as the WWII ended and stood as a free man on the soil of Germany to make sure that the evil that came from the wonderful European philosphy called National Socialism would be foreover banished from the earth. Unfortunately, his mother (my paternal grandmother) never was able to make the trip to America from Czecholslovkia and lived the remainder of her life under that other great European philosophy called Communism. Besides these philosophies, Europe gave the world a hosts of gangsters kings and dictators, Napoleon I and III, Kaiser Wilhelm, Lenin, Stalin, Franco, Mussolini and the list goes on and one. I would maintain that you perhaps should look at your own indoctrination. From an American prospective it is simple knee jerk fault finding on everything American.

So you basically disagree that most of the new economic and lifestyle trends start in California or New York, or more generally speaking in the West Coast and Northeast corner of the USA ?

I tried to explain to you that there is a real tension between the coasts and what we would call the "Heartland" of America. Whereas many trends may originate on the coasts and may have media backing does not necessarily mean they will be adopted, in spite of the hype. I think a good point of this is the religious nature of Americans. While Hollywood may continually push a secular worldview, the majority of Americans ignore it or work against it.


Why are you telling me all this ? That's common knowledge, even in Europe. You really seem to think that Europeans know as little about the USA as you do about Europe.

You are stereotyping Americans that we know little of Europe. Remember many of us are only one or two generations from Europe. On the other hand, I have certainly not got the sense from the posts of Europeans on this thread that there is any real understanding of American history or culture. Because one may have seen a lot of American fantasy TV and films doesn't mean that one has any understanding of America. You need to visit and even live here for a while. Someone made a remark about how we leave our doors unlocked. They do on "Desperate Houswives" but nowhere else. I hear a constant refrain from Europeans about how "sophisicated" Europeans are. I have had many European teachers and contacts with Europeans from work and my hometown. It is certainly my opinion that Europeans are not really all that sophisicated. The history of Europe certainly seems to bear this out. Isn't this a natural and universal feeling though. People of different cultures believe that their culture is the only way of doing things. I admit I do, but that doesn't negate what is true and good.


The US Constitution has been amended 27 times. It is not the same constitution as in 1787 any more. The Netherlands and Sweden also changed parts of their constitution, but the countries are still the same (unlike say ancient Rome which doesn't exist any more).

Check your facts. The constitution is the same. In 1787, the need for amendments was recognized and built into the constitution. Again, our constitution is the oldest existing continuing written constitution on earth. Many constitutions such as the Swiss constitution are modeled on it. Is it perfect? Of course not. But it gave the lie to the gangster families who ran Europe who held that a large nation needed a gangster king to run it and people needed to give up their freedom for security. As the reverse of our national seal says, Novus Ordo Saeculorum" - a new order for the ages.


You are reciting again, but I don't see the point of your argument. It's not even an argument, nor even a justification.

That's your opinion. How about if I recite a prayer for you?


Switzerland and the Netherlands became republics long before the USA (although the Netherlands democratically chose to become a constitutional monarchy afterwards). Even England had a brief Republican period under Cromwell, but that didn't work out too well. There are still many monarchies in Europe, and they usually have higher living standards than the USA (notably Scandinavian countries).

Again, check your facts. The Swiss constitution is modeled on the US Constitution. England was never a republic. It was called a commonwealth and Cromwell more or less was appointed a dictator who tried to pass his power on to his son. If England had had an actual republic under Cromwell, it would not have called back another gangster to rule it. Again, this is why we American revere George Washington. He could have went the way of a Cromwell, but decided instead to go back home to Mt. Vernon (twice), once at the end of the revolution and once at the end of his second term as president. By the way, Scandanavia ain't all it cracked up to be. SAAB is going through bankrupacy and they have real immigrant problems, which make ours look namby pamby by comparison.


Your ancestors were so lucky ? I thought you said your father and grandparents came from Slovakia. They had nothing to do with the American Revolution ! You sound like you have been brainwashed so much that you forget about your own origins.

Again, I suggest you look who is actually speaking cogently. Your remark about forgetting my origins is actually very bizarre from an American prospective. Mosts Americans are a hypen. I am an Slovak - American. I live next door to an Arab - American and across the street from a Polish- American. Next to them are Bosnian- Americans. On the other side are Phillipino - Americans. We are all Americans and proud to be Americans, but we are also proud of where our roots lie. Many of us belong to associations to perserve our heritage. Far from being in conflict, it is something that is expected and encouarged. The only caveat is that we are all Americans first. But this choice makes us heirs to the founding of our nation.

As an aside, many ethnic groups actually had a great deal to do with the founding of the American nation and perserving it. Jamestown, the first succesful english colony in what is now the U.S. had Polish glass blowers and Slavic bricklayers (Slovaks claim that "Slavic" refers to us). Thaddeus Koscuizscko, the great Polish hero, was also a hero in our revolution. His work on fortifying the American position at the battle of Saratoga essentially won the battle. Winning this battle convinced the French to recognize the new United States and to supply military support, which utimately won the war for independence. The Irish were a huge segment of soldiers who fought for the union in our civil war. Jewish immigrants like Albert Einstein and other immigrants like Enrico Fermi (Italian) and Teller (Hungarian) were instrumental in developing the atom bomb. German immigrants put us on the moon. The list goes on and on. Heck, my wife is Polish. When the kids were little, a Polish heritage group my wife belongs to kept sending us coloring books of Polish American heros of the revolution. This is a natural thing in the US.


Why Napoleon ? It surely did more for humanity than George Washington. Check my article. There are quite a lot of Americans who view Napoleon as a tyrant like Hitler. He was surely much closer to his contemporaries, the Founding Fathers of the USA. He was a man of the Enlightenment and was loved by the French people, and still is highly regarded in France and some other European countries. There are new biographies written all the time about Napoleon still nowadays. The latest to be published was written by former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in 2009.


Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha Napoleon was the biggest gangster of them all. His biggest acheivement was the graves of the hundred of thousands (maybe millions) of people he killed off. I included Thomas Paine's quote from "Common Sense" especially for the likes of Napoleon. His butchery included both his French people and nearly every nation around him. Napoleon did nothing for anyone except himself. As he said, the French crown was in the gutter waiting to be picked up. Washington was so popular he probably could have been acclaimed a king if he had pushed for it. Instead, he was horrified by the thought. He gave up years of life to lead the fight for a new independent republic and nearly impoverished himself for it. Then it was his personal prestige, which was the only thing that convinced the states to form a new nation under our still existing constitution. They say that Napoleon was a great general and maybe he was. But who was the better man? Who achieved their goals. Napoleon wanted to be a great emperor over a conquered Europe. In the end he lost everything and at such a cost to so many. Washington just wanted to go back home and be a farmer, yet in the end he won the esteem of the entire world and founded one of the greatest nations in history. A nation founded on democratic principles and freedom. I hope I was sufficiently prayerful for you.



Why do you say "someone indicated" when you are replying to me personally ? Universal suffrage is not the same as universal male suffrage, and even that was not achieved in the USA until 1965 because this is when African Americans obtained the right to vote. Anyway, even if we omit African Americans, the US only granted the vote to women in 1920, after many European countries. So much for America being the world's first modern democracy.

Qualification for voting is actually the domain of each states. Some states of the union out west allowed women to vote in the ninteenth century. I agree, we should have given the vote to women earlier. Again, the U.S. is actually a very conservative country. This conservatism has helped preserve our freedoms.

It was only in a few states in the south in which African Americans were "discouraged" from voting. They legally could vote but the laws of these states made it difficult to vote.

I never said that America was the world's first democracy. It was the world's first large democracy. Prior to the the founding of the US, democracies were small (like Switzerland). The US was first nation to establish a large republic. It showed the rest of the world that freedom actually provides a more stable government for a large continental nation than a king, who is essentially a gangster.

I think you would really benefit from reading that great sociologiocal study of the US by Alexis de Tocqueville. This was written by a Frenchman in the 1830s who traveled all over the US. He pulled no punches, but really explained very well how the US and European cultures and systems differ. It is one incredible book. Even now, close to 200 years later, his views are very insightful. In one section he even predicts that America and Russia will vie for sway in the world, one for freedom and one for despotism. He really explains well the difference between American and European views of religion. If you haven't read it you should.

Maciamo
10-02-12, 13:04
Qualification for voting is actually the domain of each states. Some states of the union out west allowed women to vote in the ninteenth century. I agree, we should have given the vote to women earlier. Again, the U.S. is actually a very conservative country. This conservatism has helped preserve our freedoms.

So you are saying that limiting freedom (e.g. right to vote helps preserve freedoms ? It's hard to make less sense than that.

It was only in a few states in the south in which African Americans were "discouraged" from voting. They legally could vote but the laws of these states made it difficult to vote.


I never said that America was the world's first democracy. It was the world's first large democracy. Prior to the the founding of the US, democracies were small (like Switzerland). The US was first nation to establish a large republic. It showed the rest of the world that freedom actually provides a more stable government for a large continental nation than a king, who is essentially a gangster.

Again, the world's first large republic was Rome, not the USA. When the USA became independent it wasn't the huge country it is today. The 13 colonies only had a population of 2.8 million in 1780 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_history_of_the_United_States#Populatio n_in_1790), over 100 times less than today. In comparison France had 28 million inhabitants in 1790 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_France#Historical_population_of_me tropolitan_France), 10x more than the young USA. So you could say that the first major modern republic was France at the time of the French Revolution, not the USA. Switzerland had about 1.6 million people in the late 18th century, so not very different from the 13 colonies. Both were minor countries.

Obviously you have been brainwashed by American society to believe that your country is the best and first for everything, even when it is blatantly not true. Unfortunately this is the typical attitude of the majority of Americans today, who think what the government want them to think rather than independently. You are a textbook case.

Cimmerianbloke
12-02-12, 00:43
I personally think what makes the US so special is that it's a massive patchwork of ethnics (German, Irish, English, Swedish, you name it...) that actually managed to live together and build a common identity, finding the most common denominator (freedom?) instead of focusing on their differences. Hence the importance of patriotism now. In contrast, Europe seems to be a massive mix-up of nationalities taking up the first excuse to roar about other nationalities, languages, religions, politics, ideologies,... threatening their own identity. The current crisis is only underlining all that separates us Europeans instead of what should be a vector of cooperation. What makes me sad is that, on account of the blood shed in wars over the centuries, nationalism and patriotism are now considered a threat to democracy. Being part of any European's identity, patriotism should be a source of pride like it is in the US, and not dubbed the source of all evil...

Maciamo
12-02-12, 13:47
I personally think what makes the US so special is that it's a massive patchwork of ethnics (German, Irish, English, Swedish, you name it...) that actually managed to live together and build a common identity, finding the most common denominator (freedom?) instead of focusing on their differences. Hence the importance of patriotism now. In contrast, Europe seems to be a massive mix-up of nationalities taking up the first excuse to roar about other nationalities, languages, religions, politics, ideologies,... threatening their own identity. The current crisis is only underlining all that separates us Europeans instead of what should be a vector of cooperation. What makes me sad is that, on account of the blood shed in wars over the centuries, nationalism and patriotism are now considered a threat to democracy. Being part of any European's identity, patriotism should be a source of pride like it is in the US, and not dubbed the source of all evil...

Europeans feel stronger differences between each others because of cultural differences emanating from the different wiring of the brain associated with each language. Americans don't have this problem (anymore) because they all speak English (and often only English, unless they are recent immigrants). Furthermore, strong regional and local identities still exist in Europe due to the strong influence of local history and traditions. But this is only true of the country side. In big cities, especially national capitals, people from every regions have mixed up just like in the USA and set their (regional) differences aside and adopted the new (mostly 20th-century) national culture instead. From a purely ethnic and genetic point of view, many European countries are melting pots like the USA, although they generally have had more time to uniformise the gene pool. France in particular is extremely mixed ethnically. Not only has it very different regional ethnicities (Bretons, Alsatians, Auvergnats, Basques, Corsicans...), France has welcomed more immigrants from Europe and Africa than any other European country in the last 100 years (Poles, Armenians, Iberians, Italians, Maghrebans, West Africans).

Cimmerianbloke
14-02-12, 01:23
Actually, I had never look at Europe from that particular socio-linguistic point of view. Even though I have studied and experienced first-hand the mindset associated to the different European languages, applying it to politics and into an historical background never came to my mind. What puzzles me now is knowing that you are well aware of that national/reginal/traditional issue at state level, you still push for further EU integration. I, for once, would only push for more economic integration and consolidation before entering the common political integration. By the way, where is Lady Ashton since the beginning of the so-called "Arab Spring". I thought she was the one in charge of the foreign policies...

Maciamo
14-02-12, 12:49
Actually, I had never look at Europe from that particular socio-linguistic point of view. Even though I have studied and experienced first-hand the mindset associated to the different European languages, applying it to politics and into an historical background never came to my mind. What puzzles me now is knowing that you are well aware of that national/reginal/traditional issue at state level, you still push for further EU integration. I, for once, would only push for more economic integration and consolidation before entering the common political integration. By the way, where is Lady Ashton since the beginning of the so-called "Arab Spring". I thought she was the one in charge of the foreign policies...

Economic and political integration go hand in hand, as the euro crisis has demonstrated. The EU was founded on the common market, and has had a strong political basis since 1992, when the EU citizenship was created, and even more since 1995 when the Schengen visa zone came into force.

Cultural and linguistic differences at the local, regional or national level don't matter much with regards to the economic and political union of EU member states. As I explained, strong divergences already exist within large countries like France, Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK and these countries manage to work well with an integrated system for all the regions. You never hear Alsatians or Provençals complain that they want to leave France because their local culture is different from the one in Paris. There are exceptions, like the Basques and Catalans in Spain, but that's mostly because they don't want to share their taxes with poorer regions.

My ideal EU is one that gives as much autonomy as possible to regions in matters of culture, language and education, but integrate economic policies as much as necessary in an open, global, capitalist market. Cultural differences shouldn't prevent people from making business with one another.

Political integration in Europe is essential for foreign, defence, immigration, economic, financial and fiscal policies.

Tom Red
23-02-12, 04:52
So you are saying that limiting freedom (e.g. right to vote helps preserve freedoms ? It's hard to make less sense than that.

It was only in a few states in the south in which African Americans were "discouraged" from voting. They legally could vote but the laws of these states made it difficult to vote.



Again, the world's first large republic was Rome, not the USA. When the USA became independent it wasn't the huge country it is today. The 13 colonies only had a population of 2.8 million in 1790, over 100 times less than today. In comparison France had 28 million inhabitants in 1790, 10x more than the young USA. So you could say that the first major modern republic was France at the time of the French Revolution, not the USA. Switzerland had about 1.6 million people in the late 18th century, so not very different from the 13 colonies. Both were minor countries.

Obviously you have been brainwashed by American society to believe that your country is the best and first for everything, even when it is blatantly not true. Unfortunately this is the typical attitude of the majority of Americans today, who think what the government want them to think rather than independently. You are a textbook case.

Maciamo

Please read what I am saying. You are so brainwashed by your eurocentrism that you cannot perceive that the gangsters who lead Europe for centuries into one blood bath after another did great damage to the cause of humanity and that a bunch of low class people and peasants who fled the insanity that was Europe could have been responsible for being a beacon of light and freedom to the world. The millions (like my relatives) who left everything to come to our shores certainly understood that America was a new order in the world: "Novus Ordo Saeculorum." As I said it was not some textbook which taught me patriotism, it was my immigrant relatives. In fact, there is considerable criticism of American history textbooks in schools as not being accurate because they don't tell the real story of what the U.S. brought to the world.

As far as France being the first big republic. This obvious is false. First its revolution came after the American Revolution and attempted to copy it. Second its revolution was a total failure. To be honest, in America we study the French Revolution but we never really consider it was ever an actual republic. It slipped very quickly into chaos, the Directorate, the Reign of Terror, and evetually Napoleon. Americans at that time were very disgusted by the French Revolution. While some supported it, most Americans understood it for what it was: a giant step backward. While France at that time had a much larger population than the new United States it was a fraction of the size of the new United States in area (the present land east of the Mississippi River). Americans understood that the rule of law must always be perserved if freedom and the people were to flourish. The chaos of the French revolution would preclude it being an actual republic.

Maciamo, it is difficult to discuss things with you because of your knee jerk reaction and your somewhat limited understanding of world history and total lack of any knowledge of American history. Take for instance, your point that Rome was a large republic before the United States. Rome was a republic as a city state only. However its subjugated peoples outside Rome were not members of the republic and could not vote as was eventually granted to the only plebian class of Rome and this only after a great struggle. When the Republic collapsed in 44 AD, it installed an emperor and SPQR was now only retained as an empty symbol on walls. Certainly a few persons were granted Roman citizenship, like St. Paul, but this was limited and did not really reflect governance. By the time Marcus Aurelius extended Roman citizenship to everyone in the empire, even the empire was collapsing.


As far as voting rights for African Americans my point was that America is a conservative country and that sometimes its political change is slow. It is conservative because its people always governed themselves from its founding. Being conservative protected the people's freedoms and not some gangster king or emperor as it did in Europe. Unfortunately, Americans should have moved much quicker in extending full rights to African American and women. It did not because the nation is not use to quick and drastic political changes. I was not justifying merely explaining.

Brett142
17-03-12, 04:43
First of all the question doesn't make sense in English. It should be "What makes Europeans similar to each other", between each other doesn't make sense.

To put it in the smallest nutshell, continental Europeans seem to be very similar, especially to their neighbouring countries i.e. Scandinavia, Former Yugoslavia, Spain/Portugal.

The UK/Ireland is a different story of course. Historically the UK has had much more to do with and much more in common with other English speaking countries. Nowadays I think the UK is becoming ever so slightly more European, even though people don't really realise. However I don't think the people of the UK will ever feel 'European' the way the continentals do, simply because we have bigger ties and connections with the rest of the English speaking world. Language is always the bottom line, I would imagine that if the French or Germans had equivalent countries out there (USA, Canada, Oz, NZ) they would probably feel the same, but of course no other European countries do, with the exception of Spain, who strangely seems to want very little to do with Latin American countries, possibly to do with the fact that for the most part, most of them aren't white.

hope
20-03-12, 03:46
European culture has built in more history, more sympathy for fellow man, less money orientation and less cowboy style of obtaining money... it is more sophisticated.....Americans are perhaps a bit megalomaniacs... big roads, big cars, big state, big plans, big dreams....

it doesn't mean all Americans are alike or all Europeans are alike... just averages allow us to speak of American and European cultures
Seriously, how yes no 2, you think Europe is more sympathetic than America. What about all our revolutions, the murdering of our Royal families of Russia and France. What about how we dealt with the Jews, the Huguenots etc.
As for having big dreams in America, well at least they run with an idea, big or small, it usually gets the financial backing to come to fruition. Try taking an idea somewhere in Britain..forget it!
But I will agree with you on the history, we do have a lot of that. :)

how yes no 3
20-03-12, 04:11
Seriously, how yes no 2, you think Europe is more sympathetic than America. What about all our revolutions, the murdering of our Royal families of Russia and France. What about how we dealt with the Jews, the Huguenots etc.

well, what about mass killing of native Americans or giving them blankets infected with heavy diseases, or about ghettos for Japanese during WW2, or throwing atomic bombs on Japan even though the was close to an end without it, or about black people being slaves for centuries and low worth caste till 60s, or about murders of presidents in USA... or about strategical economic wars for resources disguised as a struggle for democracy, what about manipulation with public opinion in order to justify such wars....what about average american having close to zero knowledge about (and no interest for) the world outside America and whether their country is in some war currently and whether that war makes sense...

L.D.Brousse
20-03-12, 06:31
Slavery was bad My family owned slaves and fought for the confederacy and lost everything after the Souths defeat.Slavery was also a European thing including White slavery. The nuclear bombs dropped on Japan saved a lot of Lives Japanese included. Casualties estimates for a ground invasion of Japan was like 100,000 . Your views of America are wrong but you are entitled to your opinion. America gives more relief world wide than any country on Earth .By the way Dutch Americans got their hands dirty just like everyone else clearing Indians out. We could also discuss some more recent events from 70 years ago in your country. And South Africa but I won't. May he who has not sinned cast the first stone.

hope
20-03-12, 15:50
well, what about mass killing of native Americans or giving them blankets infected with heavy diseases, or about ghettos for Japanese during WW2, or throwing atomic bombs on Japan even though the was close to an end without it, or about black people being slaves for centuries and low worth caste till 60s, or about murders of presidents in USA... or about strategical economic wars for resources disguised as a struggle for democracy, what about manipulation with public opinion in order to justify such wars....what about average american having close to zero knowledge about (and no interest for) the world outside America and whether their country is in some war currently and whether that war makes sense...
With respect how no yes 3, a lot of what you say only adds weight to what I said. For example you speak of the murder of the idigenous people in America and diseased "blankets", but it was the Europeans that did that. Look at the great Inca and Aztec empires, destroyed by Europeans. The slave trade did`nt carry on in America only, a lot of Europeans got very wealthy from the slave trade, look at the Gold Coast alone , Dutch, English, Swedish and Portuguese were involved in that under permits granted via Lisbon,again Europeans.
As for the atomic bomb, well Einstein got wind that the Germans were trying something similar in the first place, took his findings to President Roosevelt and thats what kicked off The Manhatten Project, and it was Canadians ,Americans, along with British and ex Germans worked on that one.
As for governments lying, all governments lie, it`s naive to think they don`t. Britain went to war with Iraq because of the mass weapons Iraq had, and of course, as we all know, no such weapons existed.
To speak of ghettos, they are not exclusive to America, there are places in every European country where living conditions could be likened to ghettos, run done at least to say the best.
No, I stick to what I said, I agree with you on the long history of Europe but have to say that the more able European countries have at some time trampled over and destroyed many less able countries, at different times in history. :)

sparkey
20-03-12, 19:13
I agree with hope that's it's difficult to maintain that "European culture has... more sympathy for fellow man" than American culture, historically and in modern terms. I think they're at comparable levels, and the two have certainly influenced one another.

A note on smallpox blankets: Although the tactic was employed famously during the Siege of Fort Pitt, it's more properly understood as a (nasty and condemnable) biological warfare tactic than a policy of genocide, as evidenced by the fact that it was only employed against "enemy" tribes. It's also a myth that it was ever employed by the US Army in a post-Revolutionary context.

Cimmerianbloke
21-03-12, 02:15
My poinion is that looking at past events with today's eyes is a mistake. The mindset in the past (recent and afar) was very different, and things that were deemed as acceptable, like slavery, are no more today. As for slavery, for example, many families today in the port cities of Bordeaux and Nantes, in France, inherited their fortune from the slave trade. Nantes has done a lot of work analysing and documenting its role as a major slave trade marketplace, where in Bordeaux, things tend to be very much confidential. Other times, other creeds...

Riccardo
02-04-12, 17:00
Curious that Europeans try to imitate the bad of America, Americans try to imitate the good of Europe. =)

Cinoeye
05-04-12, 20:38
I lived , both in Europe and in the USA. I believe people are the same everywhere.
There are a lot of things that impact somebodies character and most of them are universal for developed world.
First of all, we need to see what is common for the Europeans?
In your own country, people differ from each other depending on where did they grew up, big or small city, education…
The same way people differ according to their country of origin, ethnicity, religion….

The same goes for the Americans, since they came from different sides and backgrounds.

My personal impression is, its hard to stereotype, and people simply cannot be judged by where are they from.
What you can judge is social environment people are raised in, since that shapes their social interaction, but not their personalities.

That’s why Americans swim in trunks, and Europeans in Speedos!

ciccogol
04-05-12, 02:39
These replies are rather cliche in places. I have to disagree somewhat with the gushing praise about Europeans and our supposed enlightened, urbane and culturally refined reputation. We shit like any other people and there are vast amounts of ill-educated, parochial Europeans. Not all of us speak five languages, vote socialist or keep up to date with international news (obviously a forum such as this is a skewed representation). We Europeans tend to have these self-delusions, but it was not two generations ago that we fought each other in the mud like animals, peasants still shat in outhouses and nationalism ravaged our continent. Don't forget it so easily and wave a lazy hand at America and accusing it of being blood-thirsty and stupid.

Personally, I find it very refreshing, the fact that Americans are confident enough in themselves, for example, to continue playing their own sports instead of football. For all their past and present problems with say, race in society, I can say with a degree of assurance that in fifty years, the USA will be a more adjusted and self-accepting nation than its counterparts over here. They may be brash and air their problems loudly and in the open, but I think that it's a healthier approach than the European preference of only whispering about the problems in our society until they evolve into something worse.

But referring to the thread question, I think that it is actually quite difficult to point out 'European' similarities beyond the pure trite. I don't quite know how to word it, but I think that European nations, the cities, countryside, everywhere really, has somewhat of a more natural or organic feel than the USA. Most probably because we are old nations; when I am in America, it is unescapable that the country is something of an 'experiment'; you can't identify the undercurrents and essence of a location as easily as you can in Europe. This is possibly why many Europeans may feel more at home in other European countries, even if they do not speak the language, than in America.
Also, it is a bizarre point, but the question of physical contact is something that Europeans share more as opposed to Americans. Over here, between friends of either gender, it is more acceptable to touch (obviously not sexually) one another. In America, there is a reaction of 'that's gay' if two men kiss in greeting, or shake with two hands very warmly.

Cire
15-07-12, 20:50
Windows

There are major differences between European countries when it comes to the way windows open.

In France, Belgium and Germany, most windows are the "tilt and turn" type (some only turn, without tilting). They almost always open towards the inside.

In the Netherlands and Britain, turn windows typically open both towards the inside and outside, or sometimes just outwards.

In the UK and in most English-speaking countries, sash windows are the most common.This can be single-hung or double-hung sash windows, or even horizontal sliding sash windows.

Privacy

I noticed a few stuff in American movies and series that are clearly different from what I know in Europe. However, this may not be typically American. It may also be used on TV for reasons of convenience regarding the plot rather than because it is extremely common.

Example 1 : answering machines

In American movies, most people seem to have an answering machine at home, and you can always hear the person's message loud in the room. I have never seen that here. Answering machines are usually silent, like on mobile phones. A light, ring or text message indicates that there is a message left, but you can't actually hear the person speaking if you are next to the phone when he/she leaves the message. I think it would be annoying if you are busy or resting while you get a message. It's also not good for privacy if you have guests at home and don't bother to answer the phone, then everyone can listen to the message being left.

Example 2 : neighours and front doors

In American movies/series, neighours tend to know each other well, chat with each others, and even spy on each others. It seems common to enter in a neighbour's house to ask to borrow something, ask a favour, or just pop in for a chat. What is more, doors seem to be left unlocked most of the time, and front doors often have windows.

All this is completely different from what I have seen in all the European countries where I have lived or travelled. People greet their neighbours, and may occasionally chat with them, but most people tend to mind their own business and value a lot their privacy. That is why most Europeans never leave their outside door open when they are not inside the house (or at any time in cities). That is also why people do not try entering without knocking or ringing the bell, even if they have seen somebody inside. Only close family members could do that. In general, in countries like Belgium or France, it is rude to drop by unannounced or unexpectedly at someone's house.

Front doors very rarely have windows (except in Britain and the Netherlands), because this allows anybody to peep inside, which is a total intrusion of privacy. In many countries (notably Belgium, France, Italy...), the ground floor of townhouses tend to be elevated from the street in order to prevent passerby's from looking through the windows.

Overall, the cultural difference between Europe an the USA here is that Europeans are not big on neighbours' watch, almpst never have a gun at home, but almost always lock their doors and tend to have good security systems, stone/brick rather than wooden walls, thick (anti-theft) glazing on windows, and heavy and secure outside doors. Reasonably well-off people often have good alarm systems and surveillance cameras. In Spain, bars on windows are common. In France and Italy, it is shutters. In other words, burglary prevention is based on house equipment and "fortification" rather than relying on the human factor, such as neighbours' vigilance or self-protection with guns.

A few comments from an American; as someone who has lived on the east and west coast you can also see the differences in construction practices, remember 50 states 50 rules on doing things, Califorina windows don't work the same as Maryland windows or have the same shape. I have a glass windowed front, side and back door and haven't had a peeper yet. Insurance protects my home when I'm away and a Glock 26 while I'm home. I also own multiple guns and shoot about once a month. While I know my neighors by first name I've never been in there homes and we usually just wave at each other. My answering machine is quite. I don't lock my front door or cars during the day. While I drive a mini cooper s I also own one of those big trucks, I round it out with a toyota highlander hybrid. Been to Europe many times UK, Germany and Spain feel most at home in Germany even though I don't speak German.

JFWR
17-07-12, 04:14
well, what about mass killing of native Americans or giving them blankets infected with heavy diseasesp

Europeans did this. Also, Europeans used to throw corpses into cities in order to poison the populace, including plague bodies.


, or about ghettos for Japanese during WW2

How about the ghettos of the Jews for 500+ years?


, or throwing atomic bombs on Japan even though the was close to an end without it

How about the carpet bombing of Dresden or the rape of millions of German women by the Soviet Union? Also: The rape of most Eastern European women by the same? Or how about all the German and Italian atrocities?


, or about black people being slaves for centuries and low worth caste till 60s

First: Slavery wasn't invented by Americans. Second: Europeans had black slaves for centuries and BEGAN the practice. Third: The US didn't have as many slaves as Brazil or the West Indies, which were under control of EUROPEAN countries. Four: The most prolific slave owning culture in history was Ancient Rome, which is the paragon of all European civilization.


, or about murders of presidents in USA...

Must we list the assassinated members of European government?


or about strategical economic wars for resources disguised as a struggle for democracy,

Didn't Europeans define "living space"? I seem to remember colonization for the purpose of civilizing the savage, too...Oh, and participation of European powers in these democracy wars the US runs and gains no material benefits from but trillions lost.


what about manipulation with public opinion in order to justify such wars....

Propaganda was perfected in Europe.


what about average american having close to zero knowledge about (and no interest for) the world outside America and whether their country is in some war currently and whether that war makes sense...

This is just a silly stereotype. Go ask your countrymen how "wonderfully educated" they are.

Cire
17-07-12, 05:51
well, what about mass killing of native Americans or giving them blankets infected with heavy diseases, or about ghettos for Japanese during WW2, or throwing atomic bombs on Japan even though the was close to an end without it, or about black people being slaves for centuries and low worth caste till 60s, or about murders of presidents in USA... or about strategical economic wars for resources disguised as a struggle for democracy, what about manipulation with public opinion in order to justify such wars....what about average american having close to zero knowledge about (and no interest for) the world outside America and whether their country is in some war currently and whether that war makes sense...

Don't be a hater, get out more and enjoy life.

The only Americans are the native Americans who were not dissussing, the rest of us are English, German, Italian, Spanish, etc etc etc. My father was born in Essen and my grandmother in Dublin I just happen to be born and raised here and I'm as glad of that as you are to be born in your country.

Those same people who provided early American Indians diseased blankets we're immigrants from Europe who wanted what the Indians had. It's happen that way for thousands of years, the more powerfully overcome the weaker. On WWII I've seen the interment camp in Califorina and know how the American Japanies lost everything but it wasn't like the Jews in Germany. If you knew how the Japanies wouldn't give up on all the islands leading to Japan you would know they would have fought us every inch for Japan. I wish the bomb had never been invented, I think the world would be better without it, but it was and we used it. I'm just happy my country has never used it again after seeing what it did. On the subject of Nukes, Russia is back to sending bombers up to our borders Probing our defencies.

If I gave you a quiz on American states, capitals, cities and history you would do as we'll as an American on Europe, why is it a big issue for you? I'm the only one in my family to work in Germany, Spain and England and have traveled from Oslo to Athens. I even own a mini cooper along with my big American truck ;-). Can't we just get along?

NickP
25-07-12, 03:47
People of course have similarities in any culture, and being that the U.S. is primarily derived from European (especially west Euro) countries, there's going to be further similarities. But each kind of have their own way of dealing with certain things. Americans have that exceptionalism they developed over time that separates them. Being a melting pot, their definitions of citizenship and ethnicity and so on may differ from places like Germany that are more homogenous overall. And yeah the privacy thing between neighbors may be true at times too. Americans are stereotyped as liking big things all the time, especially out west like in Texas, while Europeans are more content with smaller cars and amounts of food without going overboard.

Parts of the U.S. do remind me of Australia more, and they there kind of look up to America as a better model than Britain, which they don't like too much lol.

I guess slavery is one thing that deeply affected America's history, and it's consequences can still be felt today in society.

Other than that, Europe is just much older in terms of culture, and each country there kind of has their own unique ethnic culture they've developed over centuries, while America's is a bit more elusive, holding on to things like freedom, the outdoors, barbecue, apple pie, baseball, etc lol, but that doesn't even apply to every region, as local cultures developed in say the South, the west, the northeast, etc. I guess American football is another unique thing that they're proud of. Wish they were more into soccer.

Tjelen
25-05-13, 05:02
One theory behind the lower voter turn out in the US is that elections are held every other year as opposed to every 3 to 5 years. Also Americans tend to work more and have less time to worry about politics outside of election season.

Tjelen
25-05-13, 05:17
People in Europe tend to think patriotism and nationalism are the same thing. In American schools, at least in Nevada and California, we teach the idea that nationalism means the person is racist, there country is better than all the rest and wan't to invade and colonize others. Patriotism to Americans means pride in our country. Patriots are willing to defend it. That doesn't mean that we want to invade the planet like Hitler did. Also many people dislike interventionism and want to let the world be. Also we get offended when criticized by Europeans because that seems to be the only thing you do when talking about the US. Granted I know this isn't always true, but some don't realize that some Europeans have good things to say about the US.

Tjelen
25-05-13, 05:27
Doors having large windows usually is a sign that the neighborhood is "good" and not prone to have crime. Also neighbors aren't nosy like they are on TV. We know each other and talk from time to time, but we don't spy on each other. Those that do are seen as unneighborly. Don't think that unneighborly is a proper word, but it fits. Also, in the West our homes are designed to ride out 7.0 earthquakes. This means that you would have to drive a truck through the wall to break in. This also means that our windows are hard to break and they lock. Another thing is we don't all have guns for home defense. The gun in my home is for target shooting and couldn't effectively be used for home defense if I needed it because there is a trigger lock that is hard to open. The ammo is kept in a separate location as well.

Tjelen
25-05-13, 05:43
When people from England or Scotland say they are from the UK it confuses us Americans because we generally refer to England and Scotland separately. Also, when referring to both we say Britain. Also our history books reinforce this because the books refer to independence from England/Great Britain not the United Kingdom. Another thing is, most of us don't watch BBC America.

Tjelen
25-05-13, 05:56
The blanket tactic was started by the English and the government destroyed the image of the Native Americans to justify that is the eyes of the American people. The government did reimburse and apologize to the Japanese for the internment. Also we dropped the bombs on Japan to convince them to surrender. We project 1 million Allied casualties if there was an invasion of Japan. We have also given blood to end slavery and segregation. Another thing about segregation is people moved away to escape it. If we don't like where we live, we can move to a different state without having to contact immigration services. Also people obsess over slavery so much that we ignore the rest of the world or ANY other American contribution to the world. After learning about the founding of the country we learn how bad we were to black people and minorities and it doesn't matter if you were a member of one of the white minorities that got the shaft. We also use the two world wars to justify farther why Europeans/White Americans are bad. We don't even teach the fact that the Soviet Union collapsed because we spend so much time bashing ourselves in our history classes.

silkyslovanbojkovsky
02-09-13, 23:38
I grew up in a very European/American house hold, and have lived in both countries. Im very aware of the differences. A lot of people are saying America is more religious than Europe. I don't completely agree with this. culturally the south is very Christian at least in name. However I have to say that even though Europe is quite secular, the secularism that is in America is much stonger. Also every European country is quite different but, I would still say that Europe still associates its self with Christianity and there still are a lot of strong Christians in Europe. Also religious holidays are highly celebrated in Europe as compared to America where only Christmas and Easter are celebrated. One of the hugest differences between the two, are the fact that life in America is very competitive, right down to the way people act. Everybody is in completion with eachother. In Europe people are more social, and less competitive. In the u.s there is an attitude even though nobody mentions it, that someone is a loser or a winner. This isn't so strong in Europe. Life also revolves around work in the U.S whereas in Europe people work to live. I also noticed in Europe that when people have a disagreement or even get quite loud or violent, its not so serious and people will easly be friends afterwards. In the u.s when people have a disagreement they usually end up hating eachother for a very long time, sometimes for ever.

Twilight
03-09-13, 08:05
well, what about mass killing of native Americans or giving them blankets infected with heavy diseases, or about ghettos for Japanese during WW2, or throwing atomic bombs on Japan even though the was close to an end without it, or about black people being slaves for centuries and low worth caste till 60s, or about murders of presidents in USA... or about strategical economic wars for resources disguised as a struggle for democracy, what about manipulation with public opinion in order to justify such wars....what about average american having close to zero knowledge about (and no interest for) the world outside America and whether their country is in some war currently and whether that war makes sense...
Point taken but not every American is a bunch of crooks, as my 8th grade history teacher once said "texts books make students less knowlegable about history" yet the average schools have textbooks but not all.

LeBrok
03-09-13, 08:43
I grew up in a very European/American house hold, and have lived in both countries. Im very aware of the differences. A lot of people are saying America is more religious than Europe. I don't completely agree with this. culturally the south is very Christian at least in name. However I have to say that even though Europe is quite secular, the secularism that is in America is much stonger. Also every European country is quite different but, I would still say that Europe still associates its self with Christianity and there still are a lot of strong Christians in Europe. Also religious holidays are highly celebrated in Europe as compared to America where only Christmas and Easter are celebrated. One of the hugest differences between the two, are the fact that life in America is very competitive, right down to the way people act. Everybody is in completion with eachother. In Europe people are more social, and less competitive. In the u.s there is an attitude even though nobody mentions it, that someone is a loser or a winner. This isn't so strong in Europe. Life also revolves around work in the U.S whereas in Europe people work to live. I also noticed in Europe that when people have a disagreement or even get quite loud or violent, its not so serious and people will easly be friends afterwards. In the u.s when people have a disagreement they usually end up hating eachother for a very long time, sometimes for ever.
You probably comparing big US city, where you live, to mostly rural or small town Slovakia. Religion and even economy between US states varies as much as between European countries. Compare New York to Utah, or San Francisco to New Orlean, if not the language it would seem like living in different country. Then compare Sweden to Albania, or Holland to Ukraine.
It seems to me that you are trying to put all US and all Europe to one bag, but it is not going to work.
I would say that New York and San Francisco is closer, culturally and economically, to London or Berlin, than London and Berlin to Kiev or Athens. Although they are all in one Europe.

silkyslovanbojkovsky
03-09-13, 18:46
You probably comparing big US city, where you live, to mostly rural or small town Slovakia. Religion and even economy between US states varies as much as between European countries. Compare New York to Utah, or San Francisco to New Orlean, if not the language it would seem like living in different country. Then compare Sweden to Albania, or Holland to Ukraine.
It seems to me that you are trying to put all US and all Europe to one bag, but it is not going to work.
I would say that New York and San Francisco is closer, culturally and economically, to London or Berlin, than London and Berlin to Kiev or Athens. Although they are all in one Europe.

That's the whole point of this thread to try and compare Europe to the U.S of course its not going to be perfect but there are similarities and differences as a whole. Ive lived all over the U.S in small towns and big cities, in the south and the north. yes New York city is more European, but not exactly. All of Slovakia is religious, I have lived in very rural Slovakia, but Ive also lived in Bratislava and its still very religious. If you go to weekday mass in Bratislava is quite packed, and on sunday the churches are full. I lived in Vienna also for a year, and though church attendance is less, religion is still very much a part of the culture. There are so many religious holidays that I had off from work, where all the shops are closed, Growing up in rural south we never had that. Life in the U.S is vary competitive and very work orientated, im not the first one to say this. In Europe life is far less work orientated. Don't get me wrong I noticed I listed a lot of negative things about the U.S, which doesn't complete show the whole picture. The U.S has much better manners than continental Europeans, who can be extremely rude. I would say my judgments as a whole are very accurate, because Ive had a lot of experience with Europeans from all over Europe and Americans from all over America.

firetown
30-09-16, 19:46
Northern Europeans are unbelievable different IMO. South Europeans connect a lot more naturally when coming to the US from what I have seen. Eastern Europeans as well. Western Europeans seem too stuck in their ways.

srdceleva
01-10-16, 12:19
how many people from europe on here have actually lived in the U.S and how many from the U.S in europe. Im quite curious to see what people are basing their views off of?

Angela
01-10-16, 14:48
I have. I was born and partially raised in Italy, did some of my schooling there, and then moved to the U.S. I think I have a pretty good handle on the differences. However, although I've traveled to northern and eastern Europe I've never lived there. So it's terra incognita to some extent.

As to how Europeans adapt to American life, there aren't many of them who actually emigrate here. The quotas are all geared the other way. Of those who do I would disagree with the post upthread. I think the Irish/English immigrants still do the best, because of the language issue. Even in terms of culture, I still think Italians have a harder time adjusting. American is much more like England or even Germany than it is like Italy, although it's still very different from Britain.

Anyway, American society is very inclusive and accepting; all you have to do is make an effort.

Coriolan
01-10-16, 15:34
That's the whole point of this thread to try and compare Europe to the U.S of course its not going to be perfect but there are similarities and differences as a whole. Ive lived all over the U.S in small towns and big cities, in the south and the north. yes New York city is more European, but not exactly. All of Slovakia is religious, I have lived in very rural Slovakia, but Ive also lived in Bratislava and its still very religious. If you go to weekday mass in Bratislava is quite packed, and on sunday the churches are full. I lived in Vienna also for a year, and though church attendance is less, religion is still very much a part of the culture. There are so many religious holidays that I had off from work, where all the shops are closed, Growing up in rural south we never had that. Life in the U.S is vary competitive and very work orientated, im not the first one to say this. In Europe life is far less work orientated. Don't get me wrong I noticed I listed a lot of negative things about the U.S, which doesn't complete show the whole picture. The U.S has much better manners than continental Europeans, who can be extremely rude. I would say my judgments as a whole are very accurate, because Ive had a lot of experience with Europeans from all over Europe and Americans from all over America.
That's interesting. I see things almost completely the opposite way of what you explained. Americans are more religious than Europeans by a long shot. I also see Europeans as better mannered and more polite than Americans in average, because it must be said the American average is not very high. Americans are often aggressive, argumentative, always ready to sue people who get in their way, often bigoted because of strong religious opinions and of their little knowledge of the rest of the world... Europeans aren't perfect and both French and Spanish people have a reputation for being rude. But generally speaking Europeans are better travelled, more likely to be multilingual and more open to different cultures. America feels very monolithic culturally and that makes people more narrow minded, petty and intolerant, especially if they are less educated and more rural.

Angela
01-10-16, 16:25
I feel as if I'm reading about another country!

Americans are among the friendliest, kindest, and most generous people in the world, far more so than the people of most of Europe, I'm sorry to say. Only people who have little experience with them could, in my opinion, say otherwise.

They may not know a lot of languages, and may view "foreign" cultures as strange, but what matters is that if you move here as an immigrant you're accepted as an American in very short order, so long as you make an effort, and that applies to Muslims as well as white, Christian, Europeans. In Europe, you could move to another country for work, live there for decades, speak the language, your children can be born there, and not even they are accepted as equals. Switzerland is particularly notorious in that regard. There's absolutely no comparison.

Nik
01-10-16, 17:51
I feel as if I'm reading about another country!

Americans are among the friendliest, kindest, and most generous people in the world, far more so than the people of most of Europe, I'm sorry to say. Only people who have little experience with them could, in my opinion, say otherwise.

They may not know a lot of languages, and may view "foreign" cultures as strange, but what matters is that if you move here as an immigrant you're accepted as an American in very short order, so long as you make an effort, and that applies to Muslims as well as white, Christian, Europeans. In Europe, you could move to another country for work, live there for decades, speak the language, your children can be born there, and not even they are accepted as equals. Switzerland is particularly notorious in that regard. There's absolutely no comparison.

I dont know about the friendliest, kindest, and most generous people in the world, but from my experience they have adopted an extremely fake behaviour and quite distant towards non-Americans at first that it makes us see them as weird. I would attribute this behaviour to the fact that Americans are usually terrified of the idea of offending someone and their political correctness forces them to exhibit this fake attitude which is not really their own.

Personally I always do them a favour and break the ice first so that they can feel comfortable and open up, and only once that happens u get to see the real nature of Americans as friendly, kind, and generous.

With regards to Switzerland, that's absolutely true. I constantly experience passive xenophobia even from Swiss peasants cattle breeders towards me and my Albanian friends. Most of the cases end up making great jokes to tell around as we've had people tell us "How can you go to this school if you're Albanian?", "Where do your parents get the money to pay for it?", "Are you really Albanians because you're not behaving or looking like one", "You are of mixed origins, right?", and the famous 'out of nothing' statement "I dont hate Albanians by the way and very open minded". And as soon as u show some kindness or open mindedness, they find the perfect terrain to express their xenophobia and u have to get rude and straightforward to shut them up.

Again not everyone is like that but its indeed extreme and I don't feel hurt about it because they have the same attitude towards Italians, French and Germans, so you could imagine how low are my expectations to be accepted with open arms :laughing:

DuPidh
01-10-16, 18:01
I feel as if I'm reading about another country!

Americans are among the friendliest, kindest, and most generous people in the world, far more so than the people of most of Europe, I'm sorry to say. Only people who have little experience with them could, in my opinion, say otherwise.

They may not know a lot of languages, and may view "foreign" cultures as strange, but what matters is that if you move here as an immigrant you're accepted as an American in very short order, so long as you make an effort, and that applies to Muslims as well as white, Christian, Europeans. In Europe, you could move to another country for work, live there for decades, speak the language, your children can be born there, and not even they are accepted as equals. Switzerland is particularly notorious in that regard. There's absolutely no comparison.

So is the conversation about white Americans and their European cousins? If it is so then I would say culturally there is not much difference except the fact that European cultures pivot around ethnicity, american culture pivot around being cosmopolitan. If other races are included then I am not sure you can say Americans are generous or kind! Other words America as a whole is a reflection of its racial and ethnic concentrations. If you have in mind white culture as a dominant culture and ignore other cultures already present then ok I would support your observation. To clarify myself: have you heard a rich black person, or rich Indian person citizen, of America donating to a school or other charities?

Angela
01-10-16, 21:02
I dont know about the friendliest, kindest, and most generous people in the world, but from my experience they have adopted an extremely fake behaviour and quite distant towards non-Americans at first that it makes us see them as weird. I would attribute this behaviour to the fact that Americans are usually terrified of the idea of offending someone and their political correctness forces them to exhibit this fake attitude which is not really their own.

Personally I always do them a favour and break the ice first so that they can feel comfortable and open up, and only once that happens u get to see the real nature of Americans as friendly, kind, and generous.

With regards to Switzerland, that's absolutely true. I constantly experience passive xenophobia even from Swiss peasants cattle breeders towards me and my Albanian friends. Most of the cases end up making great jokes to tell around as we've had people tell us "How can you go to this school if you're Albanian?", "Where do your parents get the money to pay for it?", "Are you really Albanians because you're not behaving or looking like one", "You are of mixed origins, right?", and the famous 'out of nothing' statement "I dont hate Albanians by the way and very open minded". And as soon as u show some kindness or open mindedness, they find the perfect terrain to express their xenophobia and u have to get rude and straightforward to shut them up.

Again not everyone is like that but its indeed extreme and I don't feel hurt about it because they have the same attitude towards Italians, French and Germans, so you could imagine how low are my expectations to be accepted with open arms :laughing:

You're misreading them I think. There's nothing fake about it; they're genuinely open, friendly, and kind. It's just than in situations with people from other countries they're not as comfortable with it as Europeans would be, because they don't have the experience. Of course, there are nasty people everywhere, but I'm talking about the average person. However, I will admit the friendships here are not as intense as they might be in some European countries. Part of that is genetics, I think, and part of it is the mobility of American society.

If you're talking about superficial "politeness", it depends on the region, in my experience. People are exquisitely polite in the south, and very polite in the midwest and on the west coast. The Northeast and especially New York have a reputation for not being very polite, and it's true to a certain extent. Part of that is because of the pace of life and work here. People have no time to suffer fools gladly, so they'll honk their horn or yell at you to get your car out of the way. In some ways, though, I appreciate the directness here; there's none of that fake politeness where you know they think you're a jerk, but they're just not saying it! :) I also appreciate that they make no class distinctions. If Sting is walking down the street, workers are very liable to yell out "Heh Sting, how ya doin?" At the same time, if something goes wrong, they're right there, and they're very welcoming to newcomers. When I moved into this house, every woman on the block and even further away brought a dessert or dish of food. One neighbor invited us out to dinner; another to an even at the local pool club. A woman came around from the so-called "Newcomers Club". She had lists of stores, clubs, information on the schools, the libraries, and automatic membership in this club of people newly moved into the area who met for cocktails, brunch, etc. She also gave me information about a Working Women's Club, book clubs, the local churches etc. It was a lifesaver, because I didn't know a soul and my family was a three hour drive away. I don't know, you guys tell me, but is there anything remotely like that in Europe? I know for sure from people who were sent to London to work that it takes ages to make friends.


DuPidh:So is the conversation about white Americans and their European cousins? If it is so then I would say culturally there is not much difference except the fact that European cultures pivot around ethnicity, american culture pivot around being cosmopolitan. If other races are included then I am not sure you can say Americans are generous or kind! Other words America as a whole is a reflection of its racial and ethnic concentrations. If you have in mind white culture as a dominant culture and ignore other cultures already present then ok I would support your observation. To clarify myself: have you heard a rich black person, or rich Indian person citizen, of America donating to a school or other charities?

Where on earth do you get these ideas? Are you sure you live here? I live right outside a very mutlti-ethnic city and encounter African Americans and Hispanics every single day, and I can say I think they're even friendlier on average than white Americans, certainly than white Americans in places like the mid-west. With Hispanics perhaps it's from their Southern European ancestry. With blacks perhaps it's also just part of their make-up, but I've thought about it over the years and perhaps it's also because they also reacting to the fact that a white American is treating them "normally", like a normal human being. Often, in my experience, you get what you put out. I think I put out genuine interest and good will, and that's usually what I get back.

As to charitable giving, I looked it up.:) Your perception is incorrect. They give more compared to what they have:

http://thegrio.com/2012/01/11/african-americans-are-more-charitable-than-other-races-report-says/

http://www.theroot.com/photos/black_philanthropists_12_top_givers/#slide-1

I'd say the groups that lag behind in community involvement, charitable giving, etc. are Indians and East Asians, but especially East Asians. They're moving into my neighborhood lately, but they really aren't getting in the flow of things. The Indians are better. The mothers are starting to get involved in the schools, so maybe it will change with time.

Coriolan
01-10-16, 22:36
One neighbor invited us out to dinner; another to an even at the local pool club. A woman came around from the so-called "Newcomers Club". She had lists of stores, clubs, information on the schools, the libraries, and automatic membership in this club of people newly moved into the area who met for cocktails, brunch, etc. She also gave me information about a Working Women's Club, book clubs, the local churches etc. It was a lifesaver, because I didn't know a soul and my family was a three hour drive away. I don't know, you guys tell me, but is there anything remotely like that in Europe? I know for sure from people who were sent to London to work that it takes ages to make friends.


That's true that Americans are less inhibited and more readily strike up conversations with strangers than northern Europeans and Germanics in particular. But that doesn't mean that northern Europeans are less polite. On the contrary more inhibited people are generally more polite. The English are the perfect example, and I have worked in London to testify for it. Americans will readily tell you about their divorce or health problems or other very private details the first time you meet them, while both the Swiss and the English might never raise the subject with anybody but close relatives or best friends. But Americans will also criticise openly anyone and anything, especially by comparing everything to America and looking down on anything that's different. With American expats it always feels like they come in conquered territory to spread the American way to the less fortunate. It's always comments like "In the States this and that is bigger and better." And believe me I have worked with a lot of Americans. Those from Washington tend to be the most obnoxious. Those from northern states are often the friendliest and most respectful. Friendliness is measured very differently depending on the culture. Americans and Southern Europeans equate it with sociability and big demonstration of feelings. But for many Germanics, English included, that kind of behaviour is often perceived as invasive and often bordering on obnoxious. Privacy, personal boundaries and moderation are very important. In northern Europe it's more polite to ignore strangers than to strike a conversation with them, especially if it's to invade their privacy with too personal questions. Americans tend to make a lot of northern Europeans feel ill at ease by asking people they barely know how much they earn, asking about one's children and other indiscreet questions. That is one of the things I meant when I said they were rude and aggressive. They have no consideration at all for people's privacy and personal boundaries. It's only made worse by their sentiment of superiority towards other countries, which quickly make them feel obnoxious. You can't see that if you are in the States though.

As for clubs of all kinds, you can't beat the UK for that but other Germanic countries have plenty of them too. It's because northern Europeans are naturally inhibited that they need clubs, associations and groups of shared interests to socialise. Latins don't need them so much. They are naturally good at socialising.

Nik
01-10-16, 22:43
You're misreading them I think. There's nothing fake about it; they're genuinely open, friendly, and kind. It's just than in situations with people from other countries they're not as comfortable with it as Europeans would be, because they don't have the experience. Of course, there are nasty people everywhere, but I'm talking about the average person. However, I will admit the friendships here are not as intense as they might be in some European countries. Part of that is genetics, I think, and part of it is the mobility of American society.

If you're talking about superficial "politeness", it depends on the region, in my experience. People are exquisitely polite in the south, and very polite in the midwest and on the west coast. The Northeast and especially New York have a reputation for not being very polite, and it's true to a certain extent. Part of that is because of the pace of life and work here. People have no time to suffer fools gladly, so they'll honk their horn or yell at you to get your car out of the way. In some ways, though, I appreciate the directness here; there's none of that fake politeness where you know they think you're a jerk, but they're just not saying it! :) I also appreciate that they make no class distinctions. If Sting is walking down the street, workers are very liable to yell out "Heh Sting, how ya doin?" At the same time, if something goes wrong, they're right there, and they're very welcoming to newcomers. When I moved into this house, every woman on the block and even further away brought a dessert or dish of food. One neighbor invited us out to dinner; another to an even at the local pool club. A woman came around from the so-called "Newcomers Club". She had lists of stores, clubs, information on the schools, the libraries, and automatic membership in this club of people newly moved into the area who met for cocktails, brunch, etc. She also gave me information about a Working Women's Club, book clubs, the local churches etc. It was a lifesaver, because I didn't know a soul and my family was a three hour drive away. I don't know, you guys tell me, but is there anything remotely like that in Europe? I know for sure from people who were sent to London to work that it takes ages to make friends.

Im not misleading anyone, simply sharing my experience and I have plenty of them from all social classes as I get along pretty well with Americans compared to the average European. Europeans are too obsessed with judging and stereotyping on how Americans are stupid and ignorant.

By fake I meant that they're appear fake coz they're too careful and afraid to overstep or to be misunderstood, and for that reason I always try to break the ice and tell them not to give a F as things in Europe r not as bad as in US when it comes to different races. We openly make fun and say racist jokes to each other and laugh together while the Americans get an initial shock and look each other in the eye like "is it ok if we laugh too?".

And I've noticed what u say about people from New York and I find that over confidence a bit tiring and not original at all. And this is my major criticism to Americans as they are too influenced by the TV culture or whatever u call it so everyone acts, speaks, and tries to come off the same way. I worked with these guys from NY and Jesus it came to a point I asked them to replace the word deadass with smth else as it got so annoying. Smth goes viral and everyone overuses it. Europeans on the other hand are more different from one another and have more unique personalities in this sense.

Oh and one last funny thing, they are amazed at how Albanians, Italians, and Yugoslavs react, joke, or talk to women. So im wondering is it just a coincidence or American men are usually shy or more reserved around women?

Coriolan
01-10-16, 22:50
With regards to Switzerland, that's absolutely true. I constantly experience passive xenophobia even from Swiss peasants cattle breeders towards me and my Albanian friends. Most of the cases end up making great jokes to tell around as we've had people tell us "How can you go to this school if you're Albanian?", "Where do your parents get the money to pay for it?", "Are you really Albanians because you're not behaving or looking like one", "You are of mixed origins, right?", and the famous 'out of nothing' statement "I dont hate Albanians by the way and very open minded". And as soon as u show some kindness or open mindedness, they find the perfect terrain to express their xenophobia and u have to get rude and straightforward to shut them up.

Again not everyone is like that but its indeed extreme and I don't feel hurt about it because they have the same attitude towards Italians, French and Germans, so you could imagine how low are my expectations to be accepted with open arms :laughing:

I am not surprised that you encountered this kind of reactions in Switzerland, but that's because Albanians have a very bad reputation there for illegal activities. In fact until the recent rise of Islam extremism and terrorist attacks in Europe, Albanians were probably the least readily accepted foreigners in Switzerland. The Swiss can't be that intolerant of foreigners when you consider that no other European country has accepted so many foreigners as a percentage of its population. Foreign permanent residents represent one quarter of the population and if you include all foreigners, that's nearly 40% of the population. Can you imagine the same percentage in Albania, all coming from poorer countries? First you tell me that you are comfortable with that idea, then you can judge other countries.

Nik
01-10-16, 22:54
That's true that Americans are less inhibited and more readily strike up conversations with strangers than northern Europeans and Germanics in particular. But that doesn't mean that northern Europeans are less polite. On the contrary more inhibited people are generally more polite. The English are the perfect example, and I have worked in London to testify for it. Americans will readily tell you about their divorce or health problems or other very private details the first time you meet them, while both the Swiss and the English might never raise the subject with anybody but close relatives or best friends. But Americans will also criticise openly anyone and anything, especially by comparing everything to America and looking down on anything that's different. With American expats it always feels like they come in conquered territory to spread the American way to the less fortunate. It's always comments like "In the States this and that is bigger and better." And believe me I have worked with a lot of Americans. Those from Washington tend to be the most obnoxious. Those from northern states are often the friendliest and most respectful. Friendliness is measured very differently depending on the culture. Americans and Southern Europeans equate it with sociability and big demonstration of feelings. But for many Germanics, English included, that kind of behaviour is often perceived as invasive and often bordering on obnoxious. Privacy, personal boundaries and moderation are very important. In northern Europe it's more polite to ignore strangers than to strike a conversation with them, especially if it's to invade their privacy with too personal questions. Americans tend to make a lot of northern Europeans feel ill at ease by asking people they barely know how much they earn, asking about one's children and other indiscreet questions. That is one of the things I meant when I said they were rude and aggressive. They have no consideration at all for people's privacy and personal boundaries. It's only made worse by their sentiment of superiority towards other countries, which quickly make them feel obnoxious. You can't see that if you are in the States though.

As for clubs of all kinds, you can't beat the UK for that but other Germanic countries have plenty of them too. It's because northern Europeans are naturally inhibited that they need clubs, associations and groups of shared interests to socialise. Latins don't need them so much. They are naturally good at socialising.
Ur experience seems to be the exact opposite of mine. Could be perhaps that with Balkan people and Italians they are intimidated. I cant really say.

But I'd also like to add that Southern Europeans are not that sociable in reality. It is true that we get along pretty easily but thats about it, nothing beyond a quick conversation or when we bump into someone by coincidence. I can say that people from the Balkans and Italy tend to socialize more with each as we constantly complain how we find everyone boring and not fitting. Spanish on the other hand are more open as I've lived in Spain for 1 year and I was surprised about it.

Nik
01-10-16, 23:07
I am not surprised that you encountered this kind of reactions in Switzerland, but that's because Albanians have a very bad reputation there for illegal activities. In fact until the recent rise of Islam extremism and terrorist attacks in Europe, Albanians were probably the least readily accepted foreigners in Switzerland. The Swiss can't be that intolerant of foreigners when you consider that no other European country has accepted so many foreigners as a percentage of its population.

Sent from my LG-D855 using Eupedia Forum mobile app (http://r.tapatalk.com/byo?rid=89698)
To be honest, I support Switzerland's policy towards the recent events as they're really doing what's best for their country, and for that they'll always have my respect. I know its strange for an Albanian to say this but this is my opinion and I hope every country learns from Switzerland.

I completely understand their feelings towards Albanians as it has a very strong base, but I am talking about the extent of ignorance in some people to not understand that in Albania they have roads, they use Colgate toothpaste (true story btw, some Swiss were surprised by the amount of some brands we use), business and a very fun nightlife for young people. And what irritates me is that they know we are quite wealthy and educated while their only source of income is renting out/selling land or apartments or when their grandparents pass away so they inhering loads of money, and still they look down on us. Its ridiculous. They're born surrounded by wealth and opportunities, fail to achieve smth on their own, but always ready to look down even on Italians and French.

The funny part is also when they see my summer pictures from Albania and asked if its Greece. Its just too difficult to accept that having a nice seaside and simple things like nice restaurants and nightclubs is way beyond Albania's level.

Ah and FYI, none of us its actually Muslim, half have Christian heritage like myself and the other half are atheists like the majority of Albanians. The problem is Switzerland is that the vast majority (almost 99%) are from Kosovo and Macedonia, and most of them from remote villages. The other problem is that their grandparents and parents didnt have the chance to go through the same process of religious deconversion in their own countries like the majority of Albanians, therefore they brought there a 19th century mentality.

Coriolan
02-10-16, 00:03
I completely understand their feelings towards Albanians as it has a very strong base, but I am talking about the extent of ignorance in some people to not understand that in Albania they have roads, they use Colgate toothpaste (true story btw, some Swiss were surprised by the amount of some brands we use)

To be totally truthful I am surprised too. Oral-B is so much better! Joke aside there are plenty of good Swiss toothpastes like Curaprox or Swiss smile, or more common British ones like Sensodyne or Signal. So why go for American brands? Because of the better marketing?

Nik
02-10-16, 00:51
To be totally truthful I am surprised too. Oral-B is so much better! Joke aside there are plenty of good Swiss toothpastes like Curaprox or Swiss smile, or more common British ones like Sensodyne or Signal. So why go for American brands? Because of the better marketing?
Colgate just happened to be the item we painted our friends face during summer vacations so his father was surprised we could find western products in Albania.

What's with the toothpaste interest though? Are u writing a paper on toothpaste marketing or branding in general. In that case I'd suggest Simon Anholt, but I heard Alina Weller?? (can't remember her last name) has some good insights too. Although I feel like females choose her over male authors for obvious reasons.

srdceleva
02-10-16, 12:00
That's interesting. I see things almost completely the opposite way of what you explained. Americans are more religious than Europeans by a long shot. I also see Europeans as better mannered and more polite than Americans in average, because it must be said the American average is not very high. Americans are often aggressive, argumentative, always ready to sue people who get in their way, often bigoted because of strong religious opinions and of their little knowledge of the rest of the world... Europeans aren't perfect and both French and Spanish people have a reputation for being rude. But generally speaking Europeans are better travelled, more likely to be multilingual and more open to different cultures. America feels very monolithic culturally and that makes people more narrow minded, petty and intolerant, especially if they are less educated and more rural.

Hmm interesting opinion. You sound like youve had bad experiences with americans and also that youvve never lived there. I agree that many americans can come across as fake to europeans because they assume a smiling face and polite manners means someone actually likes you, and some americans are indeed fake, but to us americans we know that this is just the way of things and someone greeting you friendly doesnt mean he actually cares about you, hes just keeping up with formalities. On one hand i appreciate the european directness and honesty, on the other hand america at times seems a much more pleasant place to live just because people behave very cordially. Some days here in austria everyone is in a bad mood and here they love to bark at people, literally bark and you just get tired of it. For us as americans showing your anger and frustration is a sign of a lack of self control, not being professional, and doesnt know how to behave as an adult. This is something we inherited from our british forefathers as in the anglo world showing emotion shows one to behave primitive. Your views are a great example of typical europeans who really dont understand how americans or america is like at all. Americans are more bigotted? less traveled? and less open to different cultures? well in some ways europeans have an advantage because to travel and experience a new culture they only have to take an hour train ride and theyre in a different country with a different culture. Americans are well traveld in the U.S a country that is geographically the size of europe. I lived in England for two years and in the North of the country it is common for many of the natives there to never have been to London, when its not even that far away. Europeans sometimes dont even visit family members that live an hour away or in a different region because they consider it to be extremely far away. Its funny because you try to claim most americans are biggeted and petty because of their religious views yet here in austria Hofer has a massive following specifically because many austrians are Christian and dont want their culture to be over run, its not just america that has a far right and is conservative. Albania is a very religious place, ive had very good friends from albania and i know how religious they are so your not being fair in your standards. Ill be the first one to admit the wrongs about american culture but the way you are describing america in comparison to europe is such a double standard. Ive literally had spanish people say, why are you americans so racist? just when they first met me, not even knowing me. I found the question quite rude and said what do you mean, why would we be racist? they responded because we all know americans are racist....i looked at them and said and spain isnt? they used to throw bannana peels at samuel eto when he would come out to play, they were shocked and were quite after that. Also have had multpile europeans from all over europe literally blame us americans for killing all of the indians, and acting in a smug way as if their countries had nothing to do with it. I said what, it was europeans who did that, we americans are just the result of it. Many europeans tend to have an elitist attitude towards america now days, many call us arrogant but when i meet americans here they are literally some of the friendliest people, in comparison to most austrians its like a night and day difference. Of course there are good and bad people everywhere so we cant lump everyone together but I agree with angela i feel like your describing a completely different country.

Angela
02-10-16, 18:30
Im not misleading anyone, simply sharing my experience and I have plenty of them from all social classes as I get along pretty well with Americans compared to the average European. Europeans are too obsessed with judging and stereotyping on how Americans are stupid and ignorant.

By fake I meant that they're appear fake coz they're too careful and afraid to overstep or to be misunderstood, and for that reason I always try to break the ice and tell them not to give a F as things in Europe r not as bad as in US when it comes to different races. We openly make fun and say racist jokes to each other and laugh together while the Americans get an initial shock and look each other in the eye like "is it ok if we laugh too?".

And I've noticed what u say about people from New York and I find that over confidence a bit tiring and not original at all. And this is my major criticism to Americans as they are too influenced by the TV culture or whatever u call it so everyone acts, speaks, and tries to come off the same way. I worked with these guys from NY and Jesus it came to a point I asked them to replace the word deadass with smth else as it got so annoying. Smth goes viral and everyone overuses it. Europeans on the other hand are more different from one another and have more unique personalities in this sense.

Oh and one last funny thing, they are amazed at how Albanians, Italians, and Yugoslavs react, joke, or talk to women. So im wondering is it just a coincidence or American men are usually shy or more reserved around women?

If you go back and take a look at my post it's misReading them, not misLeading. The fact that Americans don't talk like you and your friends is totally to be expected. Americans aren't as racist as Europeans in general, not even with regard to blacks or Muslims. As for the kind of ethnic, tribal hatreds that are endemic in the Balkans it would be completely foreign to them. You seem to have difficulty accepting that people who are different from you are being genuine. Now, the particular Americans you met might have been out and out racists, but I assure you that if that has been the case they were the exception.

The "overconfidence" of New Yorkers isn't "original"? I don't know what that means. Again, it's genuine. Americans in general don't have this what I consider exaggerated deference toward people who are more educated or richer or in a different "class", or even famous. There's none of the formal "you" versus informal "you", no doctor this or that or counselor this or that. There's nothing "fake" about it. New Yorkers do add to that a relatively higher degree of confidence and openness, and so they express it. That's it.

The media dominance and effect it has on culture is true, but it will happen in Europe too.

American men on average are shyer and have less "game" with women than Italian men by far. (Of course, there are exceptions.) However, in my experience the worst are northern Europeans. It's literally painful listening to them and watching them trying to engage. It must be some combination of genes and culture.

@srdceleva,
I agree with much of what you say. Yes, it's true that a lot of Americans haven't traveled to many foreign countries and don't speak other languages. When they do, some of them might not be very tactful about what they see as antiquated systems. I don't excuse any of that. However, in my experience, and I've lived in both places, Americans are far less racist, less xenophobic, more welcoming and inclusive than Europeans.

As for this politeness thing, you can't look at it from the vantage point only of your own culture. You may think your rules are God given, but they're not. This article gives some good examples.

""For example, few Germans are aware that it is considered in extremely poor taste in many countries to blow your nose at the dinner table or to use toothpicks at the table - two activities which are considered acceptable by the respected Knigge Guide to Etiquette at dinner tables in Germany," it adds.

"In Japan, it is considered rude to count your change after paying your bill at a restaurant," the guide points out. "Germans at home in Germany always count their change and will quibble about the least discrepancy. That's the virtue of thoroughness in Germany. In Japan, it's highly offensive."

"Sun-hungry people from soggy Germany like to free themselves of excess clothing when they reach sunny climes - with German women going topless and men wearing the skimpiest of bathing suits on balmy beaches. Often times they wear little more while shopping.
"In Italy, Spain and France it is considered indecorous to reveal too much skin anywhere but in the water. And in Muslim countries bare limbs and shoulders are a sign of wantonness. Your best clue to clothing is to look at the natives: Men in Mediterranean countries generally do not wear shorts on the main street. Nor do women in those countries dress scantily while shopping."

""We Germans have it drilled into our heads that we must always be fastidiously punctual, even for dinner parties. But in France it is considered uncouth to show up at a home on time. Arrive at least half an hour late with a bouquet," say the manners mavens.
"And if you are invited by a business colleague to lunch, it is permissible to talk about any subject under the sun - except of course the business matter which brought you together in the first place. Discussing business at a business lunch is gauche to the French," the guide warns."

So, from my perspective, it isn't polite to, as you say, "bark" at other people constantly over largely inconsequential things. It isn't polite when someone enters your home to not offer a coffee, a glass of water, something. It isn't polite to go to someone else's home and not bring flowers, wine, something. It isn't polite to correct absolute strangers on their behavior or clothes. Who put you in charge of the world? You try that here and the mildest reaction will be that they'll call you an *** ****. Would it also crack someone's face to smile welcomingly at someone? My goodness, we know enough from psychology to know how important a smile is to signal lack of aggression, welcome, etc. It also just makes people feel better.

I have quite a bit of experience with German tourists. Is it polite to shout out your demands to the waiter from half way across the room? If they try that in New York somebody will bash them over the head. Is it polite to go to another country and address every local in sight as a lesser form of life? Is it polite to race down to the pool at 6AM to throw a towel on a lounge chair thinking that means it's yours for the day? Is it polite to parade around a shopping district in your speedos or thong bathing suit or even try to enter a restaurant that way? Is it polite to be so raucous and rowdy and loud, especially after you're drunk, that you ruin the evening for everyone else? Goodness there are whole studies about it.

I could, of course, do the same kind of thing about Italians, or Russians, or Americans and turn the tables. It wouldn't be hard to do. It depends on your perspective, your own cultural framework.

I just object to people thinking their way is the only way, and their standards are the only standards.

Ed. Oh, a word to the wise about proper behavior when you're invited to someone's home in America. DO NOT SHOW UP ON TIME. Don't be an hour late, of course, but give it fifteen minutes. :) Also, bring a token gift.

Nik
02-10-16, 23:14
If you go back and take a look at my post it's misReading them, not misLeading. The fact that Americans don't talk like you and your friends is totally to be expected. Americans aren't as racist as Europeans in general, not even with regard to blacks or Muslims. As for the kind of ethnic, tribal hatreds that are endemic in the Balkans it would be completely foreign to them. You seem to have difficulty accepting that people who are different from you are being genuine. Now, the particular Americans you met might have been out and out racists, but I assure you that if that has been the case they were the exception.

The "overconfidence" of New Yorkers isn't "original"? I don't know what that means. Again, it's genuine. Americans in general don't have this what I consider exaggerated deference toward people who are more educated or richer or in a different "class", or even famous. There's none of the formal "you" versus informal "you", no doctor this or that or counselor this or that. There's nothing "fake" about it. New Yorkers do add to that a relatively higher degree of confidence and openness, and so they express it. That's it.

The media dominance and effect it has on culture is true, but it will happen in Europe too.

American men on average are shyer and have less "game" with women than Italian men by far. (Of course, there are exceptions.) However, in my experience the worst are northern Europeans. It's literally painful listening to them and watching them trying to engage. It must be some combination of genes and culture.

I read ur previous post so many times and even I thought the word misleading was out of place. Damn, that's why they say we read with our brains and not the eyes. Sorry my bad.

Actually my point was that we joke freely among friends and find the jokes about our own people funny then move on to a different topic and continue being friends without any hard feelings. I didn't mean proper racist remarks or "tribal hatred" as u call it.

Ur knowledge on people from Balkans comes solely from web forums probably where u have all kinds of ignorant kids going on rampages. If u actually travel there or in Europe, u will find that Balkanites stick together and on occasions Italians and Greeks are included, so we're way ahead of most of the European countries. And I know this for a fact about French, English, Spanish, Germans, and no need to count Russians as they're always a mysterious separate bunch (not so much the women though).

And it it seems ur focusing a lot on how Americans behave and what they express, but not the actual reality of how they think inside. Europeans and especially Balkanites are way ahead of them as nobody cares so much like Americans do about race. Even the jokes are mostly about "white ppl be like...", black ppl be like...., white girls with black as$, bla bla bla white black Asian bla. Everything is about being associated with a race and the jokes r so stupid they make me puke. Gotta love watching an English movie and the fine humour they include in it.

About the Northern Europeans, I always thought the same but I'm surprised by many Sweds and Danes I know, so I'd personally exclude them from the usual stereotype on dealing with women.

Dutch Michael Gilson
16-10-16, 17:14
Unfortunately Americans have tended to throw away its European heritage to be "Americans" and the European influence that goes with it.

Dutch Michael Gilson
16-10-16, 17:21
Yes NIk" political correctness" is killing America. Political correctness is lying so as not to hurt someone's feelings, hence many Americans don't really say what they think for fear of offending others therefore making them plastic and fake. Those in America who tell us that we are not supposed to notice race or sex are the ones incessantly talking about race and sex revealing their appalling hypocrisy.

Dutch Michael Gilson
16-10-16, 17:26
Unfortunately Angela Americans are great deal of them are stupid and ignorant.This is not The public education system is horrific.Children are no longer educated they are indoctrinated. 1.2 million or more graduate being functionally illiterate, they do not know how to read, write or think effectively.