Is any American "a waste"?

Don’t all human persons possess unique gifts, talents, and energy?

May it not be said that the Creator referred to in the Declaration of Independence, put each of us here for a reason?

Although some people may seem to be misusing their gifts, and not contributing to the overall good; are there truly Americans whose gifts, talents, and energy that the country can afford to let go to waste, or worse, deny exist?

Can people from different positions, backgrounds, parties, perspectives hold productive conversations?

Is it possible for Americans of different political / cultural persuasions to read others’ comments, paying careful attention to the substance of others’ comments, considering thoughtfully what others are saying?

Can Americans think about what they’ve read before formulating an answer to those whose opinions differ from their own?

Can they refrain from imagining what the other person’s motives or character might be, but focus, instead, on the substance, all while being considerate and courteous?

Are these hopelessly impossible aspirations?

(I’m especially interested in the meta, the underlying subtext, the underlying assumptions and attitudes operating in these conversation.)

What about non-Americans? Are they a waste?

As a cautionary example to other, more competent, people?


I would like to hear the OP weigh in on the gifts, energy, and talents that Larry Nassar has brought to our wonderful country.

Maybe God put each of us here for a purpose, but that doesn’t mean that we’re all fulfilling that purpose.

Not in my opinion/experience.

Many people come into the world with very few strengths in any areas - and proceed to make the least of what little ability/opportunity they have. The question I have to deal with in my daily job, is how society wishes to deal with these people.

I regularly encounter people who are unintelligent, had horrible role models, lack motivation, are prejudiced and intolerant, made multiple lousy choices such as dropping out/abusing substances/associating with questionable folk, and may have many diagnosable physical and psychological pathologies.

Tell me - what is such a person’s unique gift/talent/energy? Well, if by unique you simply mean distinct to that individual - well yes. But if you mean anything that is worth any modicum of respect or causes them to be anything other than a drain on society, I don’t see it.

Why so focused on Americans? Your whole post is framed in such a bizarre, over-the-top way.

People aren’t wastes, but they can be wasted. Wasted by birth defects. Wasted by illness. Wasted by their familes and communities. Wasted by economies. And yes, wasted by themselves.

But no, not all of us have gifts and talents. Most of us have a modicum of competency in something, but that does not mean the world needs any of us or that it suffers from our absence.

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IMHO even entertaining the notion that people can be sorted into “having value” and being a “waste” is morally repugnant in the extreme.

How about Mr & Ms Turpin?

Dear PigArcher,

Thanks for your reply to my OP.

I have no doubt you paid careful attention to my OP, noting the tone, and considered the message and tone thoughtfully before posing your question. I also have no doubt that you assumed no ill will or unthinking malice on my part.

Would you help me to understand your question better, paying especial attention to your assumptions about me and my question? What I would ask you to ask yourself about my OP is this:

Based upon the wording of Euphrosyne’s question, is her possibly alleged assumption that international persons are “a waste” so evident, that my question would plausibly elicit a response in the positive?


The OP never met my brother-in-law. Even dead and cremated, he’s still a waste of space.

Many Christians may respond that “less competent” persons, especially the handicapped, are put here to teach us to come out of ourselves, to really give of ourselves.

To teach us to love unconditionally. That is, to love someone not because of what they can give us, but what we can give them.

And by teaching us that, couldn’t it be said that what we receive is priceless?

I thought about that, too. I wonder if Euphrosyne thinks that God put them on the earth for the purpose of torturing their own children.

I agree with you, most emphatically, Icarus.

That being said, I believe that that very notion can be burbling in the background of our semi-conscious assumptions, beliefs, and attitudes. We are not necessarily aware of the notion’s presence.

But I think it operates in some people, for example, regarding our political adversaries, or in some cases; regarding our cultural adversaries, in some cases; and / or regarding people who, by choice or by chance, exist on the margins of society.

I’ve detected this notion operating in myself once or twice, over a period of many, many years.

And it horrifies me.

So answer the question. It appears that you initiated a conversation topic about people in general but for some reason you narrowed it down to a select group. It somehow tarnishes the conversation.

Look at it this way, if you substitute another subset of humanity like “white people” or “black people” for “American” in your OP it exposes a definite “tone”.

If that is your thoughtful and considered reply to my questions, Ravenman, then thank you. And God bless you.

If it is not, then may I propose that, another time perhaps, preparing a reply that is, indeed, thoughtful and considered, you might find an opportunity to explore meaning . . . ?

I’m not sure that you thought this answer out. Maybe you should reconsider and try posting something something less…condescending.?

Gesundheit, Ravenman.

Many Christians also espouse that children being murdered in school shootings is “All part of God’s mysterious plan” so I find it’s better to not waste much time worrying about any Divinely crafted reason for each and every American. It’s probably better to judge them according to the physical rather than the metaphysical. My remark wasn’t about the handicapped in any event.

Jonathan Haidt wrote a well-regarded book about how people in the political spectrum perceive and can communicate with one another so, if that’s your interest, perhaps you’d want to check it out.