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  #21  
Old 24.08.2011, 00:45
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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The US system was inspired from the Swiss one.
The U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1788. The Swiss Constitution was promulgated in 1848---so don't you mean the other way around? The Swiss Constitution was inspired (in part) by the American one?
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Old 24.08.2011, 00:49
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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I beg to differ, but the statement is not exactly correct.
The US system was inspired from the Swiss one.
It's the amount of senators (or seats, if you wish) representing a state, that determine the vote, not the % of population.
Actually it was the other way round. When the Swiss needed a new constitution in the wake of the Sonderbundkrieg in 1847, they modelled the new constitution on the US system. The Nationalrad is analogous to the house of representatives, with members voted in proportion to the population they represent and the Ständerad being analogous to the Senate (with two members per full Canton and two members per state in the US). The most significant difference is that whereas the US has a single president representing one single party, the constitutionally analogous function here is the Bundesrad is composed of 7 members, drawn from each of the major parties according to the "Magic Formula".

The effect of this difference is that whereas the entire US executive changes between one party and the other when the presidency changes, the Swiss executive has a continuity from one electoral period to the next, giving a lot more long term stability, and helping avoid the kind of situation we have just witnessed in the US with the President and Congress effectively being in deadlock. Another important difference is that, because no one party controls the executive, the ability of political donations to influence government policy is much weaker here as the lobbyists have 7 rather than 1 politician to influence. Throw in the wild card of popular initiatives and referenda we have here, and you have a political system that is much more resistant to well funded lobbyists than that of the US.
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  #23  
Old 24.08.2011, 10:12
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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Now I obviously don't know your uncle so its a bit hard to judge but Switzerland has changed MASSIVELY in the last two generations. Before the two world wars, this was one of the poorest places in Europe. People were mostly working in agriculture or manufacturing and life was very hard indeed. Some places in the mountains were seriously cut of from the world - geographically, culturally and mentally.

Change came very quickly and Switzerland (or at least its cities) has become a serious player in the big international game and while it has brought a lot of money and new ideas to the place it has in many ways also hugely altered the traditional lifestyle and maybe destroyed some of the many ideas of people. So that would be my best guess that not everybody who's watched the scene for the last generation or so was so thrilled about everything that happened.

And don't forget - one of the most interesting aspects (politically) in this country is how hugely diverse the opinions in regions very close to each other can be. While Zurich is very driven by red-green ideas and a fairly open minded (wannabe?) global city - within an hour on the train you can get to some very conservative places where traditional rules and lifestyles are still very much present...
Now while I agree about the rest I have to disagree with these last two paragraphs. Switzerland was one of the earliest countries in continental Europe to industrialise and get rich, the "poorhouse of Europe"-thing was quite a bit earlier than that and mostly concerned the countryside. Before WW1 Switzerland was already the richest country in Europe and stayed so during both the world wars. (Proto-) industrialisation for the first time allowed the remote, rural regions not to send away their sons as migrants or mercenaries, it gave them a second income (textiles) apart from farming. The big cities (Basel, Zürich) however were always considerably richer and well connected to the European cities and states. Zürich at one point was so expansionist that they marched to Milan, with whom they entertained trade connections.

Ok, what's the relevance of this history lesson?
It's the fact that Switzerland (in todays territorial terms) was never really the inward looking, poor, insular state some people perceive it to have been. When it became richer however, it meant no more emmigrating to the US in drones, no more fighting in foreign wars, no more going to the big European cities to do the dirty work, but instead they could produce high quality textiles at home, farm and have trading agents come by to buy off the produce. Money, if anything, made rural Switzerland more insular, not the lack thereof, while at the same time it made the cities more connected and open. The social conservatism of Zürich and Geneva were largely due to being hotspots of the reformation (Zwingli in Zürich and Calvin in Geneva) which made the previously more liberal places much more socially restrictive.
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Old 24.08.2011, 10:35
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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Swiss Identity Card
Swiss Obama
Swiss Conservativism

...am just waiting for the OP to start his next thread.
Will it be "Swiss Thanksgiving"? "Swiss 4th of July"? "Swiss Kraft Mac'n'Cheese"?
Swiss baseball



Swiss apple pie

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Old 24.08.2011, 10:36
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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It's the fact that Switzerland (in todays territorial terms) was never really the inward looking, poor, insular state some people perceive it to have been.
Don't know about poor, but not "inward looking" and "insular". What are you on?

The Confoederatio Helvetica was established as a protectionist group to defend themselves against other states/kingdoms that wanted to annex parts of the independant states. To the North Germany, West France, South Italian, East the Austro-Hungarians - and from various directions, the Holy Roman Empire. It has a protectionist, CH-first outlook that it has maintained ever since it was established, evidenced through its fabelled "neutrality", delayed - to put it mildly - membership of the UN and its monopolistic market tendencies.

As for "insular" - no maybe not in terms jet-setting around the world and welcoming tourists...

This is by no means a criticism, but c'mon, in the words of McEnroe - you cannot be serious.
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Old 24.08.2011, 10:50
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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Don't know about poor, but not "inward looking" and "insular". What are you on?

The Confoederatio Helvetica was established as a protectionist group to defend themselves against other states/kingdoms that wanted to annex parts of the independant states. To the North Germany, West France, South Italian, East the Austro-Hungarians - and from various directions, the Holy Roman Empire. It has a protectionist, CH-first outlook that it has maintained ever since it was established, evidenced through its fabelled "neutrality", delayed - to put it mildly - membership of the UN and its monopolistic market tendencies.

As for "insular" - no maybe not in terms jet-setting around the world and welcoming tourists...

This is by no means a criticism, but c'mon, in the words of McEnroe - you cannot be serious.
I don't think you know much about Swiss history. Sorry to brush you off like that, but "insular", inward-looking, neutral Switzerland is a relatively new thing, and as much as the city-states and cantons used the loose alliance of CH to defend themselves, it was also a military alliance to invade and annex other territories.
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Old 24.08.2011, 21:53
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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The U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1788. The Swiss Constitution was promulgated in 1848---so don't you mean the other way around? The Swiss Constitution was inspired (in part) by the American one?
Eh non.. I'm speaking about the old Swiss direct democracy that inspired Benjamin Franklin during his travels in Europe.
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Old 24.08.2011, 22:17
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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Don't know about poor, but not "inward looking" and "insular". What are you on?

The Confoederatio Helvetica was established as a protectionist group to defend themselves against other states/kingdoms that wanted to annex parts of the independant states. To the North Germany, West France, South Italian, East the Austro-Hungarians - and from various directions, the Holy Roman Empire. It has a protectionist, CH-first outlook that it has maintained ever since it was established, evidenced through its fabelled "neutrality", delayed - to put it mildly - membership of the UN and its monopolistic market tendencies.

As for "insular" - no maybe not in terms jet-setting around the world and welcoming tourists...

This is by no means a criticism, but c'mon, in the words of McEnroe - you cannot be serious.
The Swiss Confederation was established as a break-away republic from the German Empire. Other European countries were ages away. France was NOT to the West of the CH in those times, and Italy was not yet existing, and Austria was not yet linked with Hungary but the Habsburgers (from the Habsburg in the now Canton of Aargau = true Aggloes --- don't ask me about their socks ! ) were the Emperors of Roman Empire of German Nation.

Neutrality only came centuries later, and when cities like Luzern, Zürich and Bern joined, the emerging nation became internationally closely connected. The three original founder-states at a good convenience conquered a part of the Lombardy now known as "Ticino". Hardly an action of neutrality or "inward looking"

Moving to the CH of the 20th Century, you may realize that long before joining the "political wing" of the UN, Switzerland was full and paying member of all UN organisations and most European organisations (except the E.U.), and a number of other international organisations. The words of Kofi Annan to the CHers were clear : "You pay more than most UN-members but as not being member of the political organisation have no say and do not get the commercial contracts. You can stay neutral quite easily also when joining the UN" ...... the man of course was right.

And while there for sure ARE isolationist tendencies, I recommend you to check up the factories on the Austrian and German side of the Rhine and look who owns them. Quite many of those factories are owned by the Blocher family !

Monopolistic market tendencies ? Sure, but not worth than in France or in Italy. It is better in German because General Julius Clay during his reign as military commander of the US forces in occupied Germany forced to Germans to start a Bundes-Kartell-Behörde and to take over some good anti-cartel laws which are still missing in France, Switzerland and Italy.

CH-first ? Ever realized that the Germans ignore the first two parts of their national anthem permanently ? You may of course say that times have changed. Have they really ? Sure ? When the Germans are generously helping out badly-off Euro nations out of deep sh.... it is not generousity but protecting German export markets. So, pleeeeaase ...

And finally to neutrality. In Europe, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Switzerland are neutral, so that CH is not alone. And do not forget that Finland and Austria are bound to neutrality by its treaties with Russia (the Russian Federation IS the legal successor of the Soviet Union !) ... If you now believe that Sweden, Ireland and Switzerland ought to give up neutrality and join NATO and help financing armaments deliveries to countries like Poland you sure now where you can l.... ?
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  #29  
Old 24.08.2011, 22:26
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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Eh non.. I'm speaking about the old Swiss direct democracy that inspired Benjamin Franklin during his travels in Europe.
You have to take it as it is, and it is a two-ways road. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, of course in the know about various forms of democracy in Switzerland, issued his theories. Those theories were taken over by Benjamin Franklin and the shrewd and influential law-man Thomas Jefferson when they worked out the US constitution. Thomas Jefferson as a widely travelled man was well aware of the differences of size, but just as later on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru did not see this aspect as a hindrance. And so, when General Dufour had won the war in 1848, he and the other pro-union forces saw the US constitution as THE tool to solve their problems. They only had to eliminate that US.-president in a legal way and replace him with a body of equally powerful government ministers (interesting to see that the UAE is governed by the 7 Emirs in their Federal Council ) . No Swiss Bundesrat and no UAE Emir has been assassinated ever since . But to go back to the USA and Switzerland, YES, the two countries of rather different sizes are "constitutional Sister Republic"
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:06
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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Swiss baseball



Swiss apple pie

just wish to point out that baseball developed from "rounders" (English), that apple pie is not originally American...the funniest thing I heard was about 15 years ago when we invited one of our colleagues over from the US to a really good and authentic Italian pizza restaurant. When asked whether he enjoyed it he replied that you need to go to America to get proper pizza... oh well...
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:08
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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apple pie is not originally American...
Nonsense! I bet you can't find a reference to apple pie from before Columbus' discovery of the New World!
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:12
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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Nonsense! I bet you can't find a reference to apple pie from before Columbus' discovery of the New World!
America invented apples! Just before the automobile and the TV....

But against popular beliefs the French invented road-rage.
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:14
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

Indeed. It's also worth pointing out that the English invented nothing apart from binge drinking and pedantry.
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:18
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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Nonsense! I bet you can't find a reference to apple pie from before Columbus' discovery of the New World!
maybe it was not called "apple pie", but the recipe came from Europe - Germanic countries over the centuries have always served variations of Apfelkuchen, Apfelstrudel, Apfeltorte, Apfeltasche etc.
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:22
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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Indeed. It's also worth pointing out that the English invented nothing apart from binge drinking and pedantry.
apparently the Tudors thought of the concept of ice-cream and then the Italians beat them to making it...
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:22
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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maybe it was not called "apple pie", but the recipe came from Europe - Germanic countries over the centuries have always served variations of Apfelkuchen, Apfelstrudel, Apfeltorte, Apfeltasche etc.
Before 1492?

I very much doubt it. They didn't have any apples, for a start.
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:29
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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Before 1492?

I very much doubt it. They didn't have any apples, for a start.
apples have been around in the region for a very long time, way before 1492, a useful link:

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/maia/history.html
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:33
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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Before 1492?

I very much doubt it. They didn't have any apples, for a start.
We all know the bible speaks of the apple with Adam and Eve---I KNOW no one can argue that :P
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:37
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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for a long time the biggest dream of many Swiss was to buy a Harley or an American car and drive across the US
And for me, it was to buy an Italian motorcycle and ride around Europe.

Alas, I bought my Italian motorcycle in the US, and brought it with me, and 25 years and 94k miles later, I still have it (along with another 4 Italian motorcycles with another 150k miles between them).

Tom
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:37
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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We all know the bible speaks of the apple with Adam and Eve---I KNOW no one can argue that :P
Are you so sure ? Some actually believe it was a fig and not an apple.
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