Phil Parkin (6/19/2012)
Everyone who fought the Nazis, including internal rebels within Germany, took risks. The article doesn't say "Americans beat the Nazis", it says people who took risks did that. And I don't think it's talking about the table-top wargame. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_(game))
You're right: it doesn't say that Americans beat the Nazis. But nor does it say that people who took risks defeated them - and that's where you are wrong. It says "Or defeated the Nazis" as a sentence on its own (and it's not strictly a sentence, it's a phrase - at least in British English). The underlying meaning of the phrase must be derived from its context.
It's probably unintentional, but Duncan and I, and others, I would expect, contracted the statement to: "In America, without risk, we would never have defeated the Nazis."
It can certainly be read that way. The paragraph does start out with the assumption that Americans like risks, and lists at least one accomplishment that is uniquely American (moon trip) so far as I know. So, fair call either way.
But I didn't take it as nationalistic jingoism. I don't think it's intended that way.
I'm not sure, however, that this makes me "wrong". Just difference of opinion on how we read it.
Even if the statement is intended to be read the way you read it, it's not a false statement. If certain people of the United States (to be even more specific, and make clear I don't mean "people who live in North, South, or Central America or surrouding islands and related bodies"), hadn't taken risks, the Nazis probably would not have been defeated. On the other hand, if certain companies and people in the US hadn't been selling them weapons, technology, factories, raw materials, et al, they might not have needed to be defeated, since they might never have gotten off the ground in the first place, as it were. Same for the USSR/CCCP/whatever. If Americans like the Rockefellers hadn't financed them in the early 1900s, they might never have created a risk that needed taking in the mid/late 1900s.
It's a complex picture. But I think all that goes beyond the scope of the article, which is simply trying to to illustrate that risk aversion is, itself, inherently risky, when viewed as opportunity-loss.
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