But Slobodan, who else has factual understanding based on experience?
You must know better than I that figures alone can be made to prove any angle you may select, but that experience tells you its own story which may differ from the propaganda, should that be what it is.
Rob, although separated by different sentences and paragraphs, it appears that you are saying that experience tells you its own story
(true), which provides for a factual understanding
(not necessarily true). It might just as well be yet another example of not being able to see the wood from the trees.
Coincidentally, as I was writing this, Harri (feppe) responded to my post with a qualifier "useless" (for anecdotal evidence), which is exactly what I had in mind as "perils".
Eye-witness accounts are notoriously unreliable (proven in numerous studies... and Russ, if you insist, I will cite them). Personal experiences often are prone to what is known as "availability bias", i.e., a tendency in decision making to give greater (and undue) weight to facts available to us.
I've spent 27 years working and living with Americans, in their government bodies, blue-chip corporations, business schools, suburbs, downtowns, abroad and here (in the U.S.), and I have NEVER, EVER met a hyphenated American (i.e., someone who would introduce themselves as such). Ooops, scratch that.. I did meet one, though indirectly, on TV, the "truck stop-restroom fun" governor, who started his resignation speech introducing himself as a gay-American.
But I did meet people (e.g. my next-door neighbor) with strong opposite feelings, who would passionately deny they are anything but American, i.e., not Irish, not Irish-American, but simply American. He is a second-generation immigrant, but it was his parents who, immediately upon immigrating, instilled that in him.
America is an immigrant country. America is also a self-selected country, in the sense that people who came here were not selected for immigration by anybody else but themselves. And they did so precisely because they wanted to become Americans and already shared and admired common values this nation has. Freedom and opportunity, above all. As much as they might occasionally be, or appear so, trivialized, ridiculed, trite, cynical, reduced, trampled on, etc. these are the very basic values people still hold dear and come here for.
But I gladly admit that the above is yet another useless anecdotal evidence.