#1 Posted by melcene (3056 posts) -

It's been my experience that there are some pretty intelligent gamers here.   I'm not looking for political discourse really in this thread, but more of a historical discourse.
 
Spike Lee calls America the "most violent country in the history of civilization."  Would you agree?  If not, what countries/nations/civilizations would you say have us beat?  
 

On Today: Spike Lee Attacks NRA, Calls USA 'Most Violent Country In History of Civilization'
By: Geoffrey Dickens
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 12:27 PM EST
 
Director Spike Lee, along with his wife Tonya, came on Wednesday's Today show to promote their new children's book, but he couldn't leave without blaming the NRA for the Gabrielle Giffords shooting and slamming the United States of America for being "the most violent country in the history of civilization."

Initially both Lees just talked about their new book, Giant Steps to Change the World, but Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira couldn't let the controversial director of such films like Do The Right Thing and Malcom X go, without pressing him to comment on the Tucson massacre as seen in the following January 12 exchange:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: I want to talk a little bit about what happened in Arizona last week-

 
SPIKE LEE: Right.

VIEIRA: -because there's been so much discussion about discord in this country-

LEE: Right.

VIEIRA: -and the level of rhetoric. And not saying that it was responsible for what happened, but that it just adds to negativity, in general.

LEE: Here's my, my take in it. I think that, as film makers, as politicians, as artists, we have to understand that all, whatever we do goes out in the universe. And you should be aware of what you're doing. And you cannot just say "Well I just did this and, and my - had nothing to do with what happened." That's, that's not, that's not the case. Also the United States of America is the most violent country in the history of civilization. And this NRA thing. We gotta turn this around. You know these, these guns are out of hand. And I know they have a very powerful lobby but something has to be done about the gun control in this country. That's my opinion.

TONYA LEWIS LEE, WIFE: And I think words are powerful but I will tell you I was really inspired by listening to the parents of the nine-year-old girl, who unfortunately passed away.

MEREDITH VIEIRA: Christina Green.

SPIKE LEE: Christina Green.

TONYA LEE: Yeah her, I mean I was so moved by them. Because I was, I was inspired by what they said about her, just in how much she thought about other people. And we, and we need to focus more on thinking about the good in other people as opposed to just ginning people up for our own political gain.

#2 Edited by ArchScabby (5809 posts) -

Middle-Earth is way more violent.

#3 Posted by fwylo (3556 posts) -
@ArchScabby said:
" Middle Earth is way more violent. "
Depending on the era.  Pre or Post Sauron?
#4 Posted by audiosnag (1604 posts) -

I dunno, the Romans having gladiators tear each other apart and feeding christians to lions for the amusement of the general populace seems a little more extreme then anything going on in the US right now. I don't even live there and I think thats sorta a silly statement.

#5 Posted by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -

Cause you know we love sacrificing random people several times a day atop our massive ziggurats by cutting them open with obsidian rocks and ripping their still-beating hearts out, flaying them and then wearing their skin to dinner.

#6 Posted by MikkaQ (10317 posts) -

Spike Lee has clearly not opened a history book recently then. 

#7 Posted by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -
@EpicSteve said:
" U.S. has never committed genocide like other countries and empires. "
Excuse me what? Ever hear of Wounded Knee and everything going on around it, like, say...Manifest Destiny? 
#8 Posted by ShaneDev (1696 posts) -

I would not agree however they are very militaristic. Soldiers are held up as heroes and seem to get more credit than they really deserve from what I have seen of American TV,news  and media.

#9 Posted by NekuCTR (1663 posts) -

Nope, either Babylons or the Mayans. We're not even close.

#10 Posted by Bones8677 (3263 posts) -

Wait, so we're more violent than Nazi Germany?!!

#11 Posted by TooWalrus (13235 posts) -

Spike Lee can suck my nut-sack. How's that for intelligent political discourse?

#12 Posted by VWGTI (1919 posts) -

How about Africa or Pakistan?

#13 Edited by Popogeejo (615 posts) -

I think most countries have the US beat if only by being far older. I'm pretty sure the Romans, Azteks, Mongols and Viking nations/empires would also hold better claim to the title as well.
Still, it's Spike Lee. Does any take him seriously when he says shit like this? 
 
@ArchScabby: Middle Earth isn't a country, silly, it's a continent. GEEZE, LERN 2 GEOGRAPHY NOOB! Gondor is pretty fucked up though, what with their continued practice of Orc genocide. 
 
@VWGTI: Africa really isn't a country, brosef.

#14 Posted by DetectiveSpecial (466 posts) -

China. Warring States period and the Mongol Hordes are pretty hard to top.

#15 Posted by VWGTI (1919 posts) -
@Popogeejo said:
" I think most countries have the US beat if only by being far older. I'm pretty sure the Romans, Azteks, Mongols and Viking nations/empires would also hold better claim to the title as well.
Still, it's Spike Lee. Does any take him seriously when he says shit like this? 
 
@ArchScabby: Middle Earth isn't a country, silly, it's a continent. GEEZE, LERN 2 GEOGRAPHY NOOB! Gondor is pretty fucked up though, what with their continued practice of Orc genocide. 
 
@VWGTI: Africa really isn't a country, brosef. "
Word. Eating pizza while typing. I meant South Africa, as in the countries down there. Lot's of brutal stuff going on there.
#16 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8699 posts) -

Certainly a lot of hotheads ready to wage war to say its not =P

#17 Edited by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -
@Popogeejo said:

" I think most countries have the US beat if only by being far older. I'm pretty sure the Romans, Azteks, Mongols and Viking nations/empires would also hold better claim to the title as well.
Still, it's Spike Lee. Does any take him seriously when he says shit like this? 
 
@ArchScabby: Middle Earth isn't a country, silly, it's a continent. GEEZE, LERN 2 GEOGRAPHY NOOB! Gondor is pretty fucked up though, what with their continued practice of Orc genocide. "

Actually, Middle Earth is the whole world. Lower Earth is the underworld and Upper Earth is heaven. Of course, this is all perversions of the Nordic 'World Tree'  Yggdrasil as pictured here:
 


Middle-Earth would be that slab in the middle all the mortals live on.
 
#18 Posted by rybrad (143 posts) -
@Fajita_Jim said:
" Cause you know we love sacrificing random people several times a day atop our massive ziggurats by cutting them open with obsidian rocks and ripping their still-beating hearts out, flaying them and then wearing their skin to dinner. "
Your neighborhood sounds nice.
#19 Posted by EpicSteve (6490 posts) -
@Fajita_Jim said:
" @EpicSteve said:
" U.S. has never committed genocide like other countries and empires. "
Excuse me what? Ever hear of Wounded Knee and everything going on around it, like, say...Manifest Destiny?  "
You could make arguments for and against that. Regardless, saying the U.S. has been more violent than Axis powers, the Roman Empire, and Darfur is wrong.
#20 Posted by BaconGames (3482 posts) -

"Violence" and "Country" are very important words to understand in the context of statistics.  Also keep in mind Spike Lee is full of shit here.  But say he isn't, his is what he would be referring to.
 
The only way he can say that and have it mean anything is that a single country would have to have either the highest violent crime rate or the highest total crime.  America as one can tell is a country of over 300 million people under a system of democracy, free trade, diversity, immigration, and stratification.  Ultimately so many forces acting all at once produces a lot of variety.  That variety invariable produces crime and generally speaking the US is a free nation when it comes to guns (as the 2nd amendment attests to) therefore a lot of gun crime.  However "violence" also means domestic abuse, battery, use of blunt or bladed weapons.  Beyond that we have to consider organized crime for the violence it contributes.
 
The important thing to consider is that yes as one country it could make sense that America is the most violent but that does not mean it's because Americans are inherently more violent or that it's all the NRA's fault.  We can't even start to claim sovereign "countries" until trade began in the middle ages and the age of discovery emphasizing sovereignty.  Technically diplomacy is the sign of sovereignty and therefore we can start calling bordered states "countries".  Empires, city-state systems, and the like are kind of hard to quantify especially as move across the world.
 
If we're not talking countries then Spike Lee even under this context is full of shit because the Huns were way more violent.  Not to mention the continent of Europe and Britain has been involved in more wars than one knows how to count.
 
He could have said "Dangerous" and completely switched around the implications.

#21 Posted by KarlPilkington (2758 posts) -
@VWGTI said:
" How about Africa or Pakistan? "
I'm assuming this is a joke.
#22 Posted by SuperBuster (175 posts) -
@Fajita_Jim: That's not genocide. Genocide is the systematic extermination of a people. While the United States killed a great many Native Americans it was never their intention to wipe them out, they were just in the way of expansion. in fact, many people of the United States wanted to civilize Native Americans with the intent of introducing modern medicine and education and teaching them Christianity so that their souls wouldn't suffer in Hell. Certainly the United States is responsible for many atrocities but not genocide.
#23 Posted by Popogeejo (615 posts) -
@Fajita_Jim: I could have sworn there were two other continents, one of which floated off into space, as continents so often do. But then again the whole place apparently transformed into Earth at some point. 
Tolkein Geography is some what peculiar...
#24 Posted by StarvingGamer (8371 posts) -

Sensationalistic speaker makes sensationalistic comments, film at 11.
 
We could always be better, but we could also be a whole lot worse.

#25 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5276 posts) -

We sure do love our guns though.

#26 Edited by President_Barackbar (3467 posts) -

The Romans had a government sanctioned killing arena. I'm pretty sure America does not. Wait, no, we definitely do not.

#27 Posted by MikeinSC (910 posts) -

Spike Lee is clown shoes, to begin with. The US isn't the most violent country in our continent (Mexico has a longer history of violence and a far bigger problem with violence now).

#28 Posted by TucanSam (34 posts) -

Napoleon Bonaparte was pretty brutal as the ruler of France with all his wars, but then again thats a single person and not the entire country.
#29 Edited by jasondaplock (263 posts) -

Lee's comment is a spur-of-the-moment response to a question he wasn't equipped to answer. I'll let it's profound idiocy slide for that reason only.
 
America is many horrible, detestable things--hegemonic, anti-cultural, coercive, subversive--but it is not the most violent country that has ever existed. Any empire of the last 6000 years has us beat for casualties per capita and for all the talk about guns being an ultimate evil in the hands of citizens, at least murder is not religiously sanctioned here.

In my homeland's defense, it has used its vices to create the largest domestic avenue for progress and prosperity in the history of civilization.

#30 Posted by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -
@Popogeejo said:
" @Fajita_Jim: I could have sworn there were two other continents, one of which floated off into space, as continents so often do. But then again the whole place apparently transformed into Earth at some point. Tolkein Geography is some what peculiar... "
Well, the Simalarion details the birth and growth the world tree. I haven't read it since High School (early 90's) so I don't really recall those continents you speak of, not to say they aren't in there I just don't remember them.
#31 Posted by melcene (3056 posts) -
@Tuffgong said:
" "Violence" and "Country" are very important words to understand in the context of statistics.  Also keep in mind Spike Lee is full of shit here.  But say he isn't, his is what he would be referring to.
 
The only way he can say that and have it mean anything is that a single country would have to have either the highest violent crime rate or the highest total crime.  America as one can tell is a country of over 300 million people under a system of democracy, free trade, diversity, immigration, and stratification.  Ultimately so many forces acting all at once produces a lot of variety.  That variety invariable produces crime and generally speaking the US is a free nation when it comes to guns (as the 2nd amendment attests to) therefore a lot of gun crime.  However "violence" also means domestic abuse, battery, use of blunt or bladed weapons.  Beyond that we have to consider organized crime for the violence it contributes.  The important thing to consider is that yes as one country it could make sense that America is the most violent but that does not mean it's because Americans are inherently more violent or that it's all the NRA's fault.  We can't even start to claim sovereign "countries" until trade began in the middle ages and the age of discovery emphasizing sovereignty.  Technically diplomacy is the sign of sovereignty and therefore we can start calling bordered states "countries".  Empires, city-state systems, and the like are kind of hard to quantify especially as move across the world.  If we're not talking countries then Spike Lee even under this context is full of shit because the Huns were way more violent.  Not to mention the continent of Europe and Britain has been involved in more wars than one knows how to count. He could have said "Dangerous" and completely switched around the implications. "
I think that even if you go at his comment with that mindset, we would still find that per capita, the US has a lower violent crime rate and/or total crime rate than other countries have or had. 
 
Just a quick google search on per capita crime rates in countries brought up this page.  US is actually in 8th, with the UK showing a higher per capita crime rate.  
 
Unfortunately violent crime can't be as easily compared because different countries have different thoughts on what constitutes violent crimes.
#32 Posted by MikeinSC (910 posts) -
@jasondaplock said:
" Lee's comment is spur-of-the-moment response to a subject he wasn't equipped to answer. I'll let it's profound idiocy slide for that reason only.  America is many horrible, detestable things--hegemonic, anti-cultural, coercive, subversive--but it is not the most violent country that has ever existed. Any empire of the last 6000 years has us beat for casualties per capita.  In my homeland's defense, it has used its vices to create the largest domestic avenue for progress and prosperity in the history of civilization. "
Outside of "How do you make movies that really aren't that good or tend to be quite racist (see "He Got Game") yet still have a career?", what subject is Spike equipped to answer about?
#33 Posted by ethan (776 posts) -

There's basically no more native americans so.....

#34 Posted by Bogitt (201 posts) -

Huh, i always thought us Brits were pretty high up on the scale of 'violence' but hey who the hell am i to argue with THE Spike Lee.

#35 Posted by phlegms (1607 posts) -

I think you could definitely make a case for that yes, especially in light of reading things like "The Frontier in American History".  Violence and aggression does seem to have become a part of American Society/National psyche in a fairly unique way.  

#36 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

 We're number one!!!
#37 Posted by wefwefasdf (6729 posts) -
@XII_Sniper said:
" Spike Lee has clearly not opened a history book recently then.  "
Yeah, seriously. A simple google search would even suffice.
#38 Posted by kingzetta (4307 posts) -

And don't you forget it

#39 Posted by melcene (3056 posts) -
@phlegms said:
" I think you could definitely make a case for that yes, especially in light of reading things like "The Frontier in American History".  Violence and aggression does seem to have become a part of American Society/National psyche in a fairly unique way.   "
How do violence and aggression become part of the psyche in a way that is unique to Americans and nowhere else in the world?
#40 Posted by Dalai (7040 posts) -

I guess this Spike Lee fellow has never heard of a tiny country called Canada.

#41 Posted by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -
@SuperBuster said:

" @Fajita_Jim: That's not genocide. Genocide is the systematic extermination of a people. While the United States killed a great many Native Americans it was never their intention to wipe them out, they were just in the way of expansion. in fact, many people of the United States wanted to civilize Native Americans with the intent of introducing modern medicine and education and teaching them Christianity so that their souls wouldn't suffer in Hell. Certainly the United States is responsible for many atrocities but not genocide. "

So the whole 'Trail of Tears', the killings of women and children via gatlin gun at Wounded Knee (after all the male warriors were dead), the absolute refusal of the US government to abide by its own treatise, the expulsion of a peoples from their land...sounds like genocide to me.
 
Read some of  Francis Parkmans works and then get back to me.
#42 Edited by EdIsCool (1122 posts) -

most violent developed society? no question its the US. In the history of Civilization? no. Unless I want to be a dick and count violence towards the environment. 
a pinko such as me would blame it on poor education, poor welfare system, racial anger and ready access to weapons.

#43 Posted by benjaebe (2783 posts) -

Impossible. Australia is a country comprised entirely of convicts and funnel-web spiders.

#44 Posted by phlegms (1607 posts) -
@melcene: Comes down to the whole "Frontier Thesis" idea. But that depends entirely on whether you buy into it wholeheartedly or not.  
 
From Wikipedia: 
  The Frontier Thesis is the argument advanced by historian Frederick Jackson Turner in 1893 that the origin of the distinctive equalitarian, democratic, aggressive, and innovative features of the American character has been the American frontier experience. He stressed the process—the moving frontier line—and the impact it had on pioneers going through the process. In the thesis, the frontier created freedom, by "breaking the bonds of custom, offering new experiences, [and] calling out new institutions and activities." 
 
It is actually a fascinating topic to read up on, I would definitely suggest sourcing a copy online (theres plenty available), especially studying it as a European like myself it seems to give me some nice perspective on the topic. 
#45 Posted by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -
@EpicSteve said:
" @Fajita_Jim said:
" @EpicSteve said:
" U.S. has never committed genocide like other countries and empires. "
Excuse me what? Ever hear of Wounded Knee and everything going on around it, like, say...Manifest Destiny?  "
You could make arguments for and against that. Regardless, saying the U.S. has been more violent than Axis powers, the Roman Empire, and Darfur is wrong. "
I never said that. However, I could say the US is responsible for the single most violent act in history, but that's taking it out of the context of a World War that had been raging for years and an aggressive island nation that was prepared to fight to the last person with broom handles and chopsticks.
#46 Posted by Bones8677 (3263 posts) -
@Fajita_Jim: So Middle Earth is located on top of a giant tree? Is this canon?
#47 Edited by melcene (3056 posts) -
@EdIsCool said:

" most violent developed society? no question its the US. In the history of Civilization? no. Unless I want to be a dick and count violence towards the environment. "

I think you would find that even if you narrow it to "most violent developed society" that the US still isn't in first.  Just because the US gets one psycho who goes nuts and it's all over tv.... the US doesn't have the highest per capita violent crime rate.  And even if you count violence towards the environment, I'm sure China's got the US beat.
#48 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

 What?
#49 Posted by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -
@Bones8677 said:

" @Fajita_Jim: So Middle Earth is located on top of a giant tree? Is this canon? "

No, it's the middle part of the tree.  But it's a complex image that only relates somewhat to a tree and doesn't necessarily mean a green-leafed plant with bark. In Tolkiens explanations he talks of worlds inside other worlds, like Arda and Eä. Arda is the part the stories take place in and is probably best called the 'world of the living mortal'. 
 
At times in the Stories Tolkien himself uses the words Endor and Middle-Earth interchangeably, but this is much the same way a US Citizen may call the place he lives both Earth and The USA. 
 
It's all very complicated and the book that details the matters the most, The Similarion, is a very difficult read because it's mostly composed of notes and backstories Tolkien never intended to be published, so he never made it readable to anyone other than himself.
#50 Posted by EdIsCool (1122 posts) -
@melcene said:
" @EdIsCool said:

" most violent developed society? no question its the US. In the history of Civilization? no. Unless I want to be a dick and count violence towards the environment. "

I think you would find that even if you narrow it to "most violent developed society" that the US still isn't in first.  Just because the US gets one psycho who goes nuts and it's all over tv.... the US doesn't have the highest per capita violent crime rate.  And even if you count violence towards the environment, I'm sure China's got the US beat. "
I might give you China. 
Its subjective(who you judge developed, and its wiki) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate  
I wouldn't judge any of the areas above the US developed? Eastern Europe suprised me though.