What are your country's 'sacred cows'?

JimRSmith u
What are your countrys sacred cows?

Most countries have a feature, or features, that act as a national glue, to bind that country together.

Ideally, that feature should belong to all that country's people, and unify them, rather than divide them.

Examples of this could include the NHS, in the UK, the American constitution, in the USA, Islam in various Middle Eastern countries, or a national language in certain European countries.

What are your countrys sacred cows?

I personally think these are very necessary, and once you start unravelling them, you don't really know where that might lead to. Nasty things can arise from those ashes.

BUT I also think that if criticism of them becomes a taboo, then they don't evolve, and will eventually cease to be national 'glue'.

I'll use the example of the National Health Service, in the UK, because that's one that is particularly familiar to me. This is free at point of access, to everybody, but is ultimately supported by the taxpayer. The work that the front-line staff do is indisputably outstanding, and it is a disgrace that many of these are working in sub-optimal conditions, without the appropriate protective clothing, for example.

However, our admiration for these front-line workers ought not to divert us from casting a very critical eye over other aspects of the NHS. Some chief executives of the NHS earn salaries of £250,000 or more, despite essentially being only the general manager of a single hospital. For comparison, the British Prime Minister earns approximately £150,000.

One example, of many
One example, of many

The NHS will frequently not pay small companies the break-even point for their products, because it can source similar products for less money abroad. In the current Coronavirus crisis, this has led to the supply chain disasters, which have been only too apparent in the news. You don't want to become dependent upon China for key medical supplies.

I believe it would be wrong, if the heroism of individual frontline doctors, nurses, porters etc were used to shield the mismanagement of the NHS from further investigation, when this crisis is over.

But that's a discussion for another day - which features does your country have, that are seen as above criticism, and do you think this is right?

What are your country's 'sacred cows'?
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Most Helpful Guys

  • holidaze
    For me, it is the National Park System. “For the benefit and enjoyment of the People”. Not just the ruling class, not just the rich, but for ALL the people. We are ALL part owners of some of the most spectacular real estate on the planet, we just need to be good stewards of it. At this time and place in history doing that is challenging, but the NPS has a huge and dedicated following, and it will prevail.

    This gift is almost always generational as well. My Grandparents took my parents, my parents took me and my sister, and I am taking my kids. And I strongly suspect they will continue this very worthwhile and rewarding endeavor and passage, and so on.

    As they have been nicknamed, they are “America’s Best Idea.”

    https://www.pbs.org/video/the-national-parks-the-national-parks-ranger-baker/
    Is this still revelant?
    • holidaze

      And to finish the thought, there is criticism of the Parks, usually by those who have a financial interest in extracting something of value (mineral rights come immediately to mind) that is unreachable for them due to the parks protected status.

    • holidaze

      Thank you very much for the MHO. 🙂

  • That'd have to be the Welfare. The Swedish welfare system is unique to the world and arguably the best economical system in existence. All political parties across the board have always been favorable to it and not once in our history have a single force been opposed to it. Neither am I for that matter so this particular, "holy cow", I think is positive.
    Is this still revelant?
    • JimRSmith

      I think probably most of them are positive, and also probably a lot more necessary than lots of people realise.

      In your opinion, would the universal regard for the welfare system eventually cause it to break, or is it able to continue to develop, despite this?

    • I think the welfare system works not solely because it is a secret formula to perfection but because it works for Swedes in particular, who are as a people, traditionally extremely reliant on the state and authorities compared to the world, and law abiding.
      The welfare system isn't flawless of course, and the debates that revolve it concerns to what extent the welfare is to permeate the sectors of society, with the leftist side wanting it to encompass everything and the right side wanting to contain it to core tasks.

    • JimRSmith

      Excellent answer, thanks, and a particularly good illustration as to why what might work in one place, may not be universally applicable.

    • Show All

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What Girls & Guys Said

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  • ThisDudeHere
    I've never thought about this before. Our society has a few things that everyone here has in common but I would not say that they act as glue.
    I mean, both Latvians and Latvian-Russians are pessimistic, for sure. But that's admittedly counter-productive.
  • tartaarsaus
    In the Netherlands, the always over-arching dominant thing that impacts all facets of life is the ‘calvinist mentality’, though some argue that it was erroneously labelled calvinism.

    It basically describes that being better than average is fine, but you can never show off that you’re better than average excessively, because then you’re a dick.

    That’s why two of the most used proverbs are:
    “Als je normaal doet, doe je al gek genoeg”, which is “if you act normal you act weird enough” and “je kop niet boven het maaiveld uitsteken”, which basically means that you shouldn’t behave differently from the rest.

    Hence there is the sentiment that one must not be proud of something they were no part of (hence the idea that Dutch people have to be proud of historical events is controversial), and if you did something not to show it off, you just need to fit in with the rest of society. People usually call this ‘being level-headed’.



    I’m not a fan of this if I’m honest. I think it’s unnecessarily normative
    • JimRSmith

      Have you heard of a book called 'The Embarrassment of Riches' by Simon Schama? The title makes even more sense to me, now you've just said that.

    • I’ve never heard of it tbh, I don’t think it’s popular here. But it does align with the calvinism, as you say

    • I really like the Protestant culture though because I think it is responsible for the modern world as we know it.

    • Show All
  • whipitout
    This is a very interesting question!! I can’t speak for all of Australia bc I’m really only exposed to things that come from my part of society (well, mostly exposed to that anyway), but on the whole, I think we’re actually pretty good at being critical of things 😂 It sounds bad, but I was just having a conversation the other day with my dad - he said that people are complaining about our coronavirus stats when they’re actually some of the best in the world and I said that that’s pretty typical. If you’re sitting around chatting with your mates, you’re gonna have a whinge about it bc in a perfect world, there are things that could’ve been done better, but if someone in another country decided to criticise how Australia has handled it, I bet you many of those same people would be up in arms defending how well we’ve handled the situation. For the most part, we have a strong sense of national pride, but I think people do still complain a lot lol. Thing is that if people don’t complain, it’s also pretty easy to getting complacent - complaints show that we’re holding things to a high standard, and even when it’s good, it could be better. Maybe that doesn’t justify whining about stuff, but it does mean we end up with better services.

    Things like our healthcare system, indigenous benefits schemes, the welfare system and education system are all criticised fairly regularly tbh. I think it also helps that we are a pretty diverse society, so each group criticises the other groups lol.
    I do think we could stand to be a bit less critical sometimes tho 😂
  • AlienParasite
    Oh man, Spain is very divided in many things. I would say our NHS is protected by a big majority of the population, but still there are people who want to destroy it. Maybe our gastronomy is the thing that join us together the most. Potato omelette or jamón serrano. But I'm sure the few spaniard vegans out there might disagree.
  • wittymilf
    Government funding for Maori education. I’m not against the allocation of ring fenced funding for low socioeconomic pockets of society, but I think as soon as the government labels this to a “set race”instead of a “set of circumstances “ , they create undue racial tension.
  • CubsterShura
    Probably just the identity of being Bengali since that is mainly the reason we're a country now. Co-existence with different religions is integral to our culture.

    But a less deep answer would be the king of street foods, fuchka.
  • Waffles731
    Honestly the fact that the U. S constitution by many Americans is considered unchangeable and unbending shows a lack of understanding.

    The constitution includes rules on how to change it for a reason
    • Waffles731

      But yeah, The Constitution would be one.

      Abraham Lincoln

      George Washington

      Among others

    • @Waffles731
      "The constitution includes rules on how to change it for a reason"

      And it's also very hard to change for good reason.

    • Waffles731

      @I-am-a-nobody ben franklin thought that we would change the consitution every ten years or so

    • Show All
  • Ram0n83
    As a symbol in the U. S., I would have to say that the Statue of Liberty is one of our most prized symbols.
  • theChineseWASP
    In America there is a lot of sacred cows like human rights, freedom, obsession with the law, that I personally don’t care about. Not saying that those things aren’t important because they are important but I don’t think I care about them as much as the average gun-ho American.
  • linds34
    Probably the automobile. It's assumed that everyone has & can afford a car, and that a high car payment should be a part of everyone's budget. I work with a lot of people who spend 1/4 of their income on a car payment. Some people have a $30,000 car and they live with their parents.

    There are a lot of jobs that will only hire people who own a reliable car, even though they are on the bus route and the job doesn't require making deliveries or anything. The bosses at those jobs have a reliable car so they think it's reasonable to expect that of anyone. This makes it harder for poor people to get a job.
    • zagor

      But, think of all the people who don't have cars, who are now dependent on public transportation, with all its exposure to the ills of the public. Or on Uber, where you don't know who is going to show up to drive you. All of a sudden, having your own car doesn't seem so bad.

  • TacosRAwesome
    The village patron saints for those who believe in them, certain party leaders.
  • Ratmuffin
    Aryshire, Guernsey, Milking Shorthorn, Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss and "Red and White".
    • Ratmuffin

      Ooooooh.. now i get. Football, Baseball, fairs, bars, alcohol. 4th of July and probably guns

    • whipitout

      I laughed 😂

    • Ratmuffin

      Those are the 7 breeds of dairy cow. Basically burned into my mind as an agri-child

    • Show All
  • JustRollTheDice
    Biltong or rugby I'd say
  • kokotito06
    Catholic church, Soccer and Tacos: Mexico
  • Very well said my friend!
  • BronzedAdonis
    Alcohol fueled domestic violence
  • -Asca-
    The simple fact that we are better than germany.
  • ZeussLightningBolt
    The Happy California Cows
  • JackPotx777
    Big Mac and the Whopper
  • chriswar
    Hamburgers
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