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June 21, 2002
9:28 AM   Subscribe

College Students Speak Out, and just 14% can identify the president of Pakistan, 37% would likely try to evade the draft, and 71% "do not believe American values are superior to the values of other nations." Is your local college breeding ignorant anti-Americanists?
posted by dack (45 comments total)

 
all this tells me is that today's college students are smarter than we usually give them credit for.
posted by whatnot at 9:31 AM on June 21, 2002


Is your local college breeding ignorant anti-Americanists?

Maybe it's the "anti-Americanists" who knew who Musharraf was, and the "Americanists" who did not.

Troll.
posted by Marquis at 9:33 AM on June 21, 2002


71% "do not believe American values are superior to the values of other nations."

Which American values would those be? Those of the Founding Fathers? of George W. Bush? Christian fundamentalists? Television executives? Fortune 500 CEOs? Geek technologists?

I expect the question was worded so vaguely that the students didn't even know what they were answering; certainly WE can't know whether they are rejecting specific beliefs/belief systems or espousing cultural relativism from this.
posted by rushmc at 9:36 AM on June 21, 2002


71% "do not believe American values are superior to the values of other nations."

and this has people worried?
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:37 AM on June 21, 2002


Oh no, 71% of college students are not arrogant bastards. Whatever shall we do?
posted by Foosnark at 9:39 AM on June 21, 2002


We may not be able to name the president of Pakistan, but like Marquis said, we don't take for granted that the US is always right, or always does things ethically. I'm glad 71% don't think our values are superior to ones of other nations--hopefully we're becoming less ethnocentric. Other nations provide free health care, other nations provide better social services--so, no, I don't think the US necessarily does things better. I'm not anti-American, dack, but I'm not pro-American, "GO USA" or "Let's fight a war and kill people!" either.
posted by gramcracker at 9:39 AM on June 21, 2002


71% "do not believe American values are superior to the values of other nations."

isn't America thinking it was better than it actually was what partly got us into this mess in the first place?
posted by mcsweetie at 9:40 AM on June 21, 2002


and of course, i'm always completely honest when answering phone polls, and would never want to engage in any culture jamming. oh wait, i never answer phone polls. i wonder how they correct for that selection criteria?
posted by lescour at 9:42 AM on June 21, 2002


isn't America thinking it was better than it actually was what partly got us into this mess in the first place?
Which mess would that be? I have a feeling there are a million different messes. I do not think the US is better than other nations as a given, but I also cannot say I want to live anywhere else. Many of us are pleased that that we do not have socialized medicine, and want reduced governmental services. In that way I very much appreciate America.
posted by thirteen at 9:47 AM on June 21, 2002


Other than WWII when has the draft ever been historically popular? (And even then, the popularity of WWII is frequently overstated.) One of the reasons why governments resort to forced conscription is because large numbers are unwilling to spend the next 2 years of their lives getting shot at.

The questions are poorly worded. Superior to the values of other nations? Which nations? Are we talking about American values in an idealistic sense of valuing Democracy, freedom of choice, freedom of consience, and freedom of speech? Or are we talking about American values in a realistic sense of rampant materialism, unfettered oportunism (as demonstrated by the handful of Enron execs who share 300 million while giving the rest of the Enron workforce a grand total of 30 million), and thuggish foreign policy?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:53 AM on June 21, 2002



What a cute little troll!
posted by mecran01 at 9:55 AM on June 21, 2002


this isn't much of a great study, dack. (for those too lazy to look: it was a survey conducted by telephone with 634 students "nationwide" of unreported age and ethnicity.)

College students are known for their tolerance and occasional practice of alternative beliefs, value systems and cultures. But this tolerance has led to a state of belief where American college students are unwilling to make a moral judgment about their value systems and culture.

-- American students intensely and overwhelmingly disagree with the statement that Western culture is superior to Arab culture. Only 16% believe Western culture is superior to Arab culture but 79% do not.

-- Just 3% of college students "strongly agree" that Western culture is superior to Arab culture, while 43% "strongly disagree."


i quote this passage from the section entitled "Attitudes about Western Culture" for a few reasons. firstly, its empirical evidence doesn't support its conclusion: what does agreement over superiority of culture have to do with a "moral judgement about their value system"? certainly the authors are not so daft that they equate the word "superior" with the word "good"? secondly, i object to the blanket generalization made by the authors: "College students are known for their tolerance." not only is it a stereotype, the empirical evidence needed to try and support such a statement is well beyond the scope of this study. by analogy, one might imagine a study that says: "college students are known to love ice cream. 54% say they really like rocky mountain caramel ice cream."

my opinion was that this study was produced for politicians looking for numbers they would like. the tone of the study was crap, that's for sure. the name of the organization sure doesn't make me think it's a great source for objective study, either.
posted by moz at 9:55 AM on June 21, 2002


Many of us are pleased that that we do not have socialized medicine....

This absolutely isn't any kind of attempt to bait anyone, I promise, but coming from a country that has a system of social medicine (albeit one not as robust as it could be), I'm intrigued: Doesn't a system like that take care of the people who can't afford to pay? And why would you not want those people looked after? Like I say - I'm just intrigued - no attempt at comparing the validity of the two models is intended.
posted by jonpollard at 9:56 AM on June 21, 2002


I have it on good authority that my local college is breeding a race of super-intelligent, pro-american midgets referred to as the "Lil' America Squad." Every one of them knows who the president of Pakistan is.
posted by Doug at 10:01 AM on June 21, 2002


Hey mecran01 - here's a quote from Matt:

"I hate to be the angry parent, but seriously, for the benefit of all, if people continue to abuse the privilege of posting inline images, if they keep posting stupid images that aren't funny and take up tons of screenspace and user bandwidth, the image tag is going away completely for everyone."
posted by Irontom at 10:03 AM on June 21, 2002


Is your local college breeding ignorant anti-Americanists?

^Or do all the anti-Americanists just go to college? After all, if there is a draft, what's the easiest way out of it?^

I really fail to see what any of those questions have to do with anti-Americanism. I think it's anti-American to belittle the culture of other people, either in the US or abroad. I think it's anti-American to force people to serve in the military. I think it's anti-American to presume that every citizen must agree with the positions of the federal government.

Also note that in the draft-dodging survey, nearly half of the females asked said they would try to get out of it, while only a little less than 25% of the males did. Not that females are (currently) eligible for the draft anyway.
posted by daveadams at 10:03 AM on June 21, 2002


Let's remember, too, that some 20% of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth. [plasticbag link - the Gallup poll is now in their pay archives. Corroboration can be found on Google.]

Oh, what am I thinking; it must be those damn anti-Americanists.
posted by Marquis at 10:04 AM on June 21, 2002


So AVOT is trying to correlate this "lack of knowledge" of US History and Government (as if the President of Pakistan is a subject in US History) with their rejection of US supremacy? Canard.

And of course college kids recognize Arafat. He was head of the PLO a decade before any of these kids were born. He's been on the front page of the papers every week since they were in diapers. Doy. None of these other leaders have been news figures anywhere close to that long.

By the way: some of us will remember when this polling company, Luntz Research Companies, was slammed by the American Association for Public Opinion Research. (More on Luntz here, here, and best of all: manipulation of Election 2002 here.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:05 AM on June 21, 2002


I'm an anti-Swede.
posted by ceiriog at 10:05 AM on June 21, 2002


I liked the photo...
posted by password at 10:07 AM on June 21, 2002


Doesn't a system like that take care of the people who can't afford to pay? And why would you not want those people looked after?

My concern is that it is not a function of our government, and I believe it is an inappropriate mission for it to undertake. I would like the government create a stable environment, and then willing people could create their own social programs. There in nothing in socialized medicine that could not be privately organized. It is not that I wish anyone any harm, merely that this is the wrong tool. Man, hammer, everything looks like a nail. Lastly, I do not want anyone looking after me, and I am unwilling to give up my freedom because someone else wants an easier road.
posted by thirteen at 10:22 AM on June 21, 2002


37% of college students would try to evade the draft? I guess that would be true if all college students were male!

(Not starting a debate here about women and the draft, just trying to point out how silly it is to assume all college students = male, as they seem to be doing here)
posted by birgitte at 10:26 AM on June 21, 2002


Moz gets it, Marquis (and others) not so much. The crap "study" comes from Bill Bennett's Americans for Victory Over Terrorism, a group, it could be argued, that *does* believe colleges are a breeding ground for what AVOT calls "anti-Americanism."

I found the study funny. It first shows how college kids don't know facts (the president of Pakistan), so how could they have a clue about anything else, like whether or not American culture is superior to others?

My apologies. Next time I'll try to be a little less cryptic.

On preview: thank you RJ Reynolds.
posted by dack at 10:28 AM on June 21, 2002


Mm. Yeah, upon rereading my post (and yours), I see I didn't really make any sense. Sorry. Next time, though you're right that the thread would benefit from a less "cryptic" (ie less heavily-commented-to-begin-with?) post.
posted by Marquis at 10:33 AM on June 21, 2002


very interesting links, RJ Reynolds. Thanks.
posted by palegirl at 10:40 AM on June 21, 2002


It seems that college has historically been the time when people learn more about the world and, subsequently, determine their own philosophy, and that process usually entails embracing, and as often abandoning, a variety of divergent viewpoints until one finds the one they truly agree with. So I wouldn't put too much stake in what college students think overall, pro- or anti-American. They are still learning about the world, their place in it, and their philosophical approach to it.
posted by UncleFes at 10:42 AM on June 21, 2002


As are we all, I hope.
posted by rushmc at 10:45 AM on June 21, 2002


It's nice to think someone cared to do the study. I was, "Young and dumb..." (and you can finish it). As I grow older, I'm not the same "thinker" I was my 1st year of college, maybe the reason I was a, fresh man.
It would have been more interesting and honest, if they did a follow up some years after graduating . Think, degree first then go to college..........Now I know what my Profs are doing during their free time. On preview, who is drafted in college. They asked the wrong market. I agree troll, article. Now to check in with the little tikes in 101 bomb making.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:56 AM on June 21, 2002


Is your local college breeding ignorant anti-Americanists?

No, they're breeding young citizens who are disgusted with the way old farts are handling the world. Sound familiar?
posted by SpecialK at 11:02 AM on June 21, 2002


Pakistan has a Dictator, not a President. Maybe they are smarter than one thinks :)
posted by bittennails at 11:09 AM on June 21, 2002


rushmc made an excellent point when he said
71% "do not believe American values are superior to the values of other nations." Which American values would those be? Those of the Founding Fathers? of George W. Bush? Christian fundamentalists? Television executives? Fortune 500 CEOs? Geek technologists?
The impression I get (living in another country) is that most American citizens would think of "American Values" as being closer to those of the founding fathers. People in other countries often think more of Fortune W 500 values.

This could explain why so many American citizens are surprised to learn their country is not as well received internationally, and why so many people outside America pass unfair judgement on a country where the majority of people have good values. Just my 2 cents. :-)
posted by Stuart_R at 11:09 AM on June 21, 2002


At the last Rainbow Family gathering I attended it was like old home week, reuniting with a large group of radicals from the antiwar sixties/seventies, a real hard-core sector of anti-government draft resisters many of whom went to Federal Prison rather than serve, most of whom dropped out of society and joined communes. My VW van felt sort of out of place amongst all those BMWs, Mercades, SUVs and Motorhomes. After the nostalgia wore off talk drifted to vacation homes,investments, retirement plans and grandchildren. Life goes on.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:17 AM on June 21, 2002


Other nations provide free health care, other nations provide better social services--so, no, I don't think the US necessarily does things better. I'm not anti-American, dack, but I'm not pro-American

gram, since the article trolls, I'll bite. Have you lived outside of the US? Have friends in Canada? Been in a relationship with any one not a citizen of the USA who is Anti-USA? They change their views after they realize those are little imperfections, when they see they brass ring. Hey I have impurities, too. And college kids have pimples. I agree with you yet it is the USA not: Paradise or Heaven, thus the name. That is why I stretch my wings and see the world. And the above I ask you, I answered yes, and not just once for each. Yet those you defend will not put down their country, or they would have left. Have pride, not by being A-hole( which your not, I'm talking about end of each wing. Our citizens in the world do, example: World Cup. See the Soccerfilter is still going. I would love to travel the world with all of you, yet you have to stand and be yourself by picking a home and cherishing it. No we don't have to see eye to eye, yet smile. \iii/
posted by thomcatspike at 11:21 AM on June 21, 2002


I too, tragically misread Dack's original intent, and compounded that error by needlessly wasting bandwidth with a "troll" graphic. As we speak, I am pulling out my nose hair with tweezers as penance.
posted by mecran01 at 11:54 AM on June 21, 2002


I think that one of the biggest problems the left has is that they allowed themselves to be painted as anti-American while because they insist on fulfilling the promise of the American revolution.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:34 PM on June 21, 2002


America may not be perfect, but how about a little perspective please.
posted by schlyer at 1:20 PM on June 21, 2002


In 1999, Andy Hiller asked Bush for the names of four leaders in "hot spot" countries, including Pakistan. Bush replied:
Bush
"The new Pakistani general -- just been elected -- he's not been elected... the guy took over office...it appears he's going to bring stability to the country and I think that's good news for the sub continent. "

Andy
"And you can name him? "

Bush
"General, I can name the general... "

Andy
"And it's..."

Bush
"General."
Isn't it good to know that the US are in the hands of well-informed patriots?
posted by Eloquence at 1:34 PM on June 21, 2002


The assertion, "American values are superior to the values of other nations" is a semantic null. Without defining exactly what you mean by "values" and specifying how American values differ, all you are saying is "America...good."

I guess asking the question is a fun way to pick a fight, though. Call it trolling for chauvinists.
posted by norm29 at 1:51 PM on June 21, 2002


i don't get why the fuss about the students. it's a shitty study; you're blaming the participants? do you even have confidence the results of this study are accurate and reported in good faith? for aforementioned reasons, i don't.
posted by moz at 1:51 PM on June 21, 2002


I found the study funny. It first shows how college kids don't know facts (the president of Pakistan), so how could they have a clue about anything else, like whether or not American culture is superior to others?

Yeah its real funny until you look back during the primaries and remember that President Bush, who isn't a stoned college student, didn't know the answer to many world leader questions. I wonder how Bennett feels about how much his man and these 'anti-american' students have in common.

I too, tragically misread Dack's original intent

You didn't misread it he just wasn't clear from the get go. A sarcastic post for attention is almost as bad as a troll. There's an art to delivering sarcasm in written form and when most people don't 'get it' it usually means the writer failed not the audience.
posted by skallas at 1:52 PM on June 21, 2002


it's a shitty study; you're blaming the participants? do you even have confidence the results of this study are accurate and reported in good faith?

Hey, Lileks used the "study" for the basis of his latest screed, as pointed to by schyler.

skallas: You should let mecran01 stick with his own explanation of what he understood as my original intent, and let him clear his nostrils of those unattractive nose hairs. Granted, the language of my FPP was a bit of a reach, but if you:
a.) read the study, and
b.) looked, even for 30 seconds, at the source of the study, and
c.) were familiar with this classic poster, you would "get it."

Aw, fuck it. This is picking at nits. It's time for cocktails.
posted by dack at 2:51 PM on June 21, 2002


Hey, Lileks used the "study" for the basis of his latest screed, as pointed to by schyler.

sorry dack; i was speaking to lileks (though not addressing him directly).
posted by moz at 3:01 PM on June 21, 2002


(responding to, i should say.)
posted by moz at 3:19 PM on June 21, 2002


America may not be perfect, but how about a little perspective please.

Of course, isn't this resting on a major moral fallacy that it is simply enough to be morally one step ahead of the rest of the universe? It is ok if we do not live by our promises of democracy, as long as we are a bit better than the rest of the world?

One of the problems with the survey is by using intentional ambiguity in many words. For example, "culture" which to conservatives evidently means the culture of outspoken activists and to me means things like art, language and poetry.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:19 PM on June 23, 2002


It is ok if we do not live by our promises of democracy, as long as we are a bit better than the rest of the world?

Well, only if it's cheaper, easier, and no one pays too much attention....
posted by rushmc at 3:57 PM on June 26, 2002


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