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Old 05-20-2010, 10:10 AM
Azarimanka United Kingdom Azarimanka is offline
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The 'off' topic thread

ZU is a community with people from many different countries, I was wondering therefore whether it might be possible to come to a consensus - namely what 'off' topics are there in your countries? For example, in Britain, some examples of what I would call 'off' topics are Immigration and race - namely that one cannot have a serious discussion about such issues without invariably being called a racist. What such topics are there in other countries, and why do you think you cannot discuss them? Do you agree that this is a serious issue in the modern day world where we are supposed to have free speech, that there be certain topics concerning which it is not permissible to have a discussion, or do you think that free speech should be limited?
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:33 AM
Ysionris The Byzantine Empire Ysionris is offline
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

As I move around quite a bit, I have had the chance to reside in several locations for appreciable amounts of time, including San Francisco (United States), Taipei (Republic of China Taiwan), Taichung (Republic of China Taiwan), Dalian (People's Republic of China), Montreux (Switzerland), and Bulle (Switzerland). None of them have very "off" topics - except for China, freedom of speech is valued everywhere I have lived - but there are a few topics that do get a lot of people worked up.

San Francisco, thankfully, is one of those places where it is generally safe for you to debate about anything without being called out for it; it's a very open-minded city and very tolerant.

Taipei and Taichung both have certain issues when it comes to politics due to the nature of the Cross-Strait Relations and domestic politics; support for the two political coalitions are known to get violent sometimes, and Taichung, classified as the "Taiwanese South", can be very ferocious and anti-China, while Taipei, although also defensive about the issue, isn't as staunchly opposed to China as Taichung. Both sides can also be riled up a bit whenever discussing about Taiwanese aboriginals or first- and second-generation Chinese-Taiwanese immigrants that came to Taiwan after the defeat of Chiang Kai-Shek in the Chinese Civil War/Communist Revolution

As part of the Cross-Strait issue, Dalian can also be a bit vocal about the issue with Taiwan - as well as Tibet and Xinjiang - but Dalian is actually one of those areas where its people are just not that concerned about politics, and - despite a good majority of them having short fuses - there are no specific debate topics that will be universally offensive. One is a lot more likely to get in trouble with the authorities than have a lynch mob after you there.

Montreux and Bulle are also fairly open-minded and tolerant; recently, however, issues regarding immigration and Islam have become slightly thorny.
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:52 AM
GanondorfLord GanondorfLord is a male England GanondorfLord is offline
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

I sympathise with you bud. I really can't talk about anything to do with foreign people where I live without being called a disgusting excuse for a person. What is exactly wrong with opposing immigration? Maybe I want a job. I don't need people who don't even belong in the country taking jobs that are scarce in this economic climate. People who have views like this are automatically branded as supporters of the BNP. I despise the BNP, I just don't like immigration.

Usually, an England flag in your home is a bad thing, unless the world cup is on. Maybe I'm patriotic, maybe I want to show I'm proud to be English. The government tries so hard to please people who AREN'T British, the actual citizens seem to be taking a back seat.
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:03 AM
Nox Nox is a male United States Nox is offline
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

It's taboo really to talk about politics, abortion, or religion in mixed company. As America is a land of great contrasts due to a largely undereducated public, it's impossible to have a rational debate about any of these 3 subjects and instead, results in needless name calling and ad homeim attacks against one another.

A very good example would be the debate on Obama, you so much as talk about him to a typical opponent of Obama and all they will rattle on about is how he's a socialist pig bent on bringing the destruction of America and that he wasn't even born here. I'm pretty sure in Europe, the man would pretty much be seen as a moderate, but only here in America do we put a black-and-white mentality on EVERYTHING because most of us are so damn stupid and wear the whole "Joe Six Pack" label as if it's a good thing to be an uneducated moron that only votes on petty religious and party values.
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:33 AM
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

Taboos? I suppose any talk of socialization, or anti-religion here in the Midwest/South US.

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Originally Posted by ganondorf1234 View Post
What is exactly wrong with opposing immigration?
It's racist, or at the very least, xenophobic. Why do you think that a qualified person from another country shouldn't have the same opportunities as you?
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:13 PM
GanondorfLord GanondorfLord is a male England GanondorfLord is offline
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8bit View Post
Taboos? I suppose any talk of socialization, or anti-religion here in the Midwest/South US.



It's racist, or at the very least, xenophobic. Why do you think that a qualified person from another country shouldn't have the same opportunities as you?
It begs the question why that person can't use their qualifications where they come from. Now, I don't talk about banning immigration altogether. Arguably it's needed. What I really hate is the countrie's illegal immigration laws, as in anybody can walk through the front door and ask for asylum without anyone batting an eyebrow.
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:34 PM
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganondorf1234 View Post
It begs the question why that person can't use their qualifications where they come from. Now, I don't talk about banning immigration altogether. Arguably it's needed. What I really hate is the countrie's illegal immigration laws, as in anybody can walk through the front door and ask for asylum without anyone batting an eyebrow.
That's how it should be.

Honestly, I can see why countries have immigration standards, the last thing a government needs is a sudden influx of tens of thousands of untrained workers who can't get jobs.

But that's short-term thinking. For about a generation after a major immigrant influx governments will be cash-strapped and things will look bad. Then jobs will appear because there's now a massive increase in demand for various products and a significantly larger workforce willing to be employed to make them.

Further, the fact that these immigrants got to your country from theirs illegally shows that they've got a decent amount of intelligence and a high amount of ambition. It'll take them a bit to get their feet under them, but once they do they'll almost certainly be assets.

Canada's immigration laws are pretty ridiculous. We don't let highly trained specialists practice their professions, we don't even let them re-certify with our equivalent standards! Which is why we have highly-trained doctors driving taxis so that they can save up to go through medical school. Again.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:19 AM
Lord Zero Lord Zero is a male Wales Lord Zero is offline
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

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Originally Posted by Azarimanka View Post
For example, in Britain, some examples of what I would call 'off' topics are Immigration and race - namely that one cannot have a serious discussion about such issues without invariably being called a racist.
As a British man I find it is perfectly possible to have a discussion about immigration without being called a racist, as long as you're not actually being racist. Thus, if you're discussing immigration and being called a racist, you're probably being racist, or at the very least failing to put your points across in a logical and coherent manner thus coming off as a racist.

There is no such thing as an "off topic" if you're willing to discuss that topic intelligently and rationally - the only time something becomes an off topic is when you're trying to discuss it with someone so ignorant that anything they say on the subject is just going to be utterly devoid of rational thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganondorf1234
What is exactly wrong with opposing immigration? Maybe I want a job.
I've never heard a person saying the words "Bloody immigrants, coming over here, taking our jobs" who was actually justified in their rage. Either they have a job, or they weren't qualified for the job taken by immigrants to begin with. The NHS practically RUNS on foreign doctors, for a start, and the economy is stimulated by money that is injected into it by immigrants. And if there wasn't a demand for their services, they wouldn't come here thinking they could get employed to begin with.

Quote:
I don't need people who don't even belong in the country taking jobs that are scarce in this economic climate.
Only the government, those tasked with protecting our borders and our well-being, is tasked with the job of deciding who does and doesn't "belong" here, and they do so according to a set of standards. It is important to remember that the country is only a patch of land on which we live and work, not your "property", and it's juvenile to try and treat it like some kind of club-house from which we can arbitrarily exclude people who weren't on it from the start.

Quote:
Usually, an England flag in your home is a bad thing, unless the world cup is on. Maybe I'm patriotic, maybe I want to show I'm proud to be English. The government tries so hard to please people who AREN'T British, the actual citizens seem to be taking a back seat.
I'm not sure what makes you think flying the English flag is bad even in England. In Wales if you fly the English flag you'll be lucky not to get lynched because of "patriots" like yourselves. This is why patriotism itself is bad - it's pride for something you didn't do and have no involvement in, and it boils down to violence because of arbitrary geographical barriers. You live there, thus you're trying to take credit for things that other people have done - people who just so happen to have come from the same patch of land. And if you'd done it yourself, you wouldn't be saying it was an English achievement, you'd be saying it's your own. You're not proud of being English. You can't be - it's not possible to be proud of something you had no involvement in. You're just lucky to have been born in England, and you would do well to recognise that.

And please, don't discount the achievements of the rest of the British Empire - it practically ran on Welsh coal for a start.

Quote:
Now, I don't talk about banning immigration altogether. Arguably it's needed. What I really hate is the countrie's illegal immigration laws, as in anybody can walk through the front door and ask for asylum without anyone batting an eyebrow.
That's a blatant lie and I've studied quite a few cases where more than a few eyebrows were batted, given that asylum applications were rejected therein. Asylum makes that person's immigration legal - an asylum seeker is someone who is seeking asylum here because if they go back to their home country they will suffer greatly, and not only would it be inhumane to reject such applications and deport them back to their home country if this is true, but it would make us look like a selfish and barbaric nation, which you wouldn't want to be proud of, I hope. If we think they're not in any real danger in their home country or that they're just coming here as "economic migrants", we say no, and have done so on many occasions.

It's statements like this that make people think immigration is an off-topic - it's impossible to respond to arguments like this in a manner that treats the person like they know what they're talking about, because it's quite evident that they don't.
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:06 PM
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

In New Jersey, illegal immigrants are a huge problem. The state is densely populated and very highly taxed. Even worse, we have to pay for the treatment many of the illegals are getting. I went to school with a few kids who were honest about having crossed the border illegally. They would brag about how funny it was that the stupid Americans paid all their medical bills and they didn't have to pay a dime. It made me livid. It makes pretty much everyone livid. If you go to New Jersey (at least northern), and start talking about immigration rights and how the illegals aren't that bad, you're pretty much asking to get cursed out.

Elsewhere, abortion is a touchy subject. If you're not liberal on the matter, you're going to get treated crappily. I'm pro-choice, don't get me wrong. However I'm very open about my beliefs, and I believe that abortion is not something you should think of as a back-up method. If you honestly can't afford a baby and can't handle being pregnant you should not be having sex. I'm talking about fifteen-year-olds who go around sexing in high school and then getting surprised that sex = babies. Of course, whenever I state my belief that responsibility comes first, I get in trouble. Generally, it's better to avoid it all together. Cause I've met pro-lifers that don't even think rape is an excuse.

Obama is another topic. Just because. Even if your views are relatively moderate, America is so extreme that there's no level playing field. If you don't find someone calling him a socialist pig, you find someone else accusing you of thinking he's a terrorist/socialist if you disagree with him. It's happened. I mentioned once to someone that I didn't really like the way he dealt with BP (not acknowledging it right away) but that hopefully he'll get his stuff together soon, and I was cursed out for watching Fox News conspiracies and being part of the tea party, which I'm not.

People are just really touchy out here.

Politics and religion are pretty much out of bounds. And don't even think about bringing it up in the North West, where I live now. If you bring up such stuff, people won't even talk to you, let alone argue.
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:13 PM
Nox Nox is a male United States Nox is offline
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

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Politics and religion are pretty much out of bounds. And don't even think about bringing it up in the North West, where I live now. If you bring up such stuff, people won't even talk to you, let alone argue.
Funny, isn't the North West very liberal?
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:17 PM
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

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Funny, isn't the North West very liberal?
Yeah I think so, that's what I don't understand. They don't even seem to want to talk about church around here. It's strange.
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:24 PM
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

In Hungary, if you are against homosexual people, you're cool, if you want to protect them, they'll think you're homosexual. Which irks me to no end. I don't really know about politics stuff, since I don't care, but this is a very saddening thing in Hungary. I am ashamed of this country, seriously.
Of course, not everyone is like this, but the majority is.
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:35 PM
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

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Originally Posted by 8bit View Post
Taboos? I suppose any talk of socialization, or anti-religion here in the Midwest/South US.

It's racist, or at the very least, xenophobic. Why do you think that a qualified person from another country shouldn't have the same opportunities as you?
I think there's two sides to this problem. On one hand, yes they're qualified, and like John said, in Canada we have doctors driving taxis. However some of these people can't speak english, which I think is a problem. If you want to move to another country you should be ready to accept it culture and learn it's language. Why would I want to go see a doctor I can't understand.

And really I guess there's a second side to that second side. There's a shortage of doctors, and there's a huge population who don't dpeak english trying to go see doctors who only speak english. So having more available who can better help these people would solve a huge problem.

Anyways, as I said in a thread about rwcism I made a few weeks ago, I think Canada has become too tollerant. It's one thing to accept everyone and give them equal rights and to protect them from bigotry. It's another thing to automatically assume that just because somone have different opinions they are racist, homophobic, or anything of that sort.
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Old 06-19-2010, 02:07 AM
Lord Zero Lord Zero is a male Wales Lord Zero is offline
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

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Anyways, as I said in a thread about rwcism I made a few weeks ago, I think Canada has become too tollerant. It's one thing to accept everyone and give them equal rights and to protect them from bigotry. It's another thing to automatically assume that just because somone have different opinions they are racist, homophobic, or anything of that sort.
Well as I said above, there's a distinct difference between being assumed to be racist for having different opinions, and just being or sounding racist, and from my experience at least the only people who complain about being called racist for having a different opinion, are the people whose opinion is racist and just want to try and legitimise it by playing the race card backwards, in a sense.
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Old 06-19-2010, 11:18 AM
8bit 8bit is a male United Nations 8bit is offline
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

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Originally Posted by GanondorfLord View Post
It begs the question why that person can't use their qualifications where they come from.
The nation they come from may just not have the same oppertunities as your nation.

For example, I come from southern IL. Once I finish my degree in computer science, I am going to leave IL, because there simply aren't a lot of opportunities for commuter scientists in this state. Sure, I'm talking moving from US state to US state, but in a world where all the US states actually are states, you're saying I should be discriminated against based on where I come from? For lack of a better word, that is xenophobic.

Quote:
What I really hate is the countrie's illegal immigration laws, as in anybody can walk through the front door and ask for asylum without anyone batting an eyebrow.
Why do you hate that?

Quote:
I think there's two sides to this problem. On one hand, yes they're qualified, and like John said, in Canada we have doctors driving taxis. However some of these people can't speak english, which I think is a problem. If you want to move to another country you should be ready to accept it culture and learn it's language. Why would I want to go see a doctor I can't understand.
Well, obviously. If you're going to be a doctor (that sees people, and not just a research doctor or the like) you're going to have to learn English in Canada. Hell, in the US there are areas where doctors need to learn English and Spanish to get hired, because those are the languages that are in demand. However, that is a qualification for the job, meaning that the person who doesn't know the popular language is not qualified. However, if what you want to do is work a job where you aren't going to be interfacing with people, then there's no reason that you should have to learn the language, other than to artificially disadvantage those who are not born into an environment where they are surrounded by said language.

Quote:
In New Jersey, illegal immigrants are a huge problem. The state is densely populated and very highly taxed. Even worse, we have to pay for the treatment many of the illegals are getting. I went to school with a few kids who were honest about having crossed the border illegally. They would brag about how funny it was that the stupid Americans paid all their medical bills and they didn't have to pay a dime. It made me livid. It makes pretty much everyone livid. If you go to New Jersey (at least northern), and start talking about immigration rights and how the illegals aren't that bad, you're pretty much asking to get cursed out.
If only they could be granted citizenship so that they could be taxed.
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Old 06-19-2010, 11:27 AM
Avalanchemike Avalanchemike is a male The Byzantine Empire Avalanchemike is online now
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

Concerning John's point about taxi drivers who are doctors: The reason these men are driving cabs rather than working in operating rooms is rarely an issue of language. In Canada (As I have come to understand) you're required to prove that your qualifications are up to scratch - this is an extremely difficult process in our country.

So while Canada has one of the larges influxes of immigrants in the entire world, and many of them are skilled workers, many of those who are able to perform in-demand jobs are hindered by the currently in-place system.

On another note: I don't feel that an immigrant should be required to speak perfect English before being allowed to get a job, provided they can understand the language and can converse enough to get their message across. If an immigrant is putting a clear effort into learning to converse in English and already has a decent understanding of it, I see no reason they cannot perform a job that another can do.

I'm not going to be talking to my surgeon while I'm under the knife, it's not going to matter to me if he can't speak the language as well as I can, all I'm going to care about is that he can do the job well. The ability to converse has no bearing in that.
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Old 06-19-2010, 04:16 PM
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

I'd say presenting socialism, communism, or any other alternative economic type in a positive light is an "off" topic here in the United States. The reason for this is obviously the backlash of the two Red Scares , where an irrational fear of communism started.

I also think multiculturalism (of which I am a firm believer) has a bit of a stigma here as well.
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Old 06-19-2010, 04:54 PM
molph molph is offline
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

My problems with immigrants don't have so much to do with racism as they have to do with taxes. I have an equal problem with all illegal Asian immigrants, illegal Hispanic immigrants, and illegal Canadian immigrants. They're sort of like party crashers in a way. They come in for health care, jobs, and shelter because it's "free" to them. However, nothing is really free, and the rest of the citizens of the country who are working hard to follow the laws and earn their keep have to pay for the people who are freeloading.

If they would just man up and pay taxes and come here legally, I would not have a problem with them.

As for the issue with language, I don't think they should be masters of the English language, but they should at least be able to say "Hi, how are you?". In New Jersey, you get illegal Hispanics as well as Koreans who will work at a place for 6+ months and still don't know how to say "may I take your order".

It makes it a touchy subject, because people who have actually seen the effects of illegal immigration with their own eyes are highly opposed to it. People who are trying to protect immigration rights start calling those who are opposed to illegal immigration "racist" when it has nothing to do with race. Those defending the immigrants are really just trying to defend the rights of foreigners on our land, and don't mean to promote freeloading of any sort. Both sides offend each other because one side thinks the other is racist, and the "racist" side thinks the opposing side is being judgmental and not listening. It's a fight that neither side can win so it generally shouldn't even be started.
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Old 06-19-2010, 05:55 PM
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

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Originally Posted by kreebby View Post
My problems with immigrants don't have so much to do with racism as they have to do with taxes. I have an equal problem with all illegal Asian immigrants, illegal Hispanic immigrants, and illegal Canadian immigrants. They're sort of like party crashers in a way. They come in for health care, jobs, and shelter because it's "free" to them. However, nothing is really free, and the rest of the citizens of the country who are working hard to follow the laws and earn their keep have to pay for the people who are freeloading.
I can gaurentee you the Canadians aren't there for free healthcare.

Mike, what you said about your surgeon not speaking english. Keep this in mind, you may not have to talk to him while you're under the knife, but you will be talking to him before hand, afterwards, and he will be talking to the other people involved in your surgery. And with something like this even a small missunderstanding can create a huge problem (like the guy who got the wrong leg amputated at our brand new hospital<_<). So in that case i think it isd important that the surgeon and patient are able to easily understand each other.
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:59 PM
8bit 8bit is a male United Nations 8bit is offline
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Re: The 'off' topic thread

Quote:
My problems with immigrants don't have so much to do with racism as they have to do with taxes. I have an equal problem with all illegal Asian immigrants, illegal Hispanic immigrants, and illegal Canadian immigrants. They're sort of like party crashers in a way. They come in for health care, jobs, and shelter because it's "free" to them. However, nothing is really free, and the rest of the citizens of the country who are working hard to follow the laws and earn their keep have to pay for the people who are freeloading.

If they would just man up and pay taxes and come here legally, I would not have a problem with them.
That's only really an issue when we make immigration as hard as it is right now, though. If we opened our borders this wouldn't be much of an issue.

Quote:
It makes it a touchy subject, because people who have actually seen the effects of illegal immigration with their own eyes are highly opposed to it.
I don't think many people support illegal immigration. That's not very coherent when you think about it.
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