What is the reason for the decline of the United States?

Others have given much more detailed answers, but I think America peaked in the 1950s and 1960s with Eisenhower and JFK and started to decline once the 1973 oil crisis, Vietnam war and Nixon scandals hit. As many others have pointed out, Reagan has been among the biggest factors in America’s downfall. When you keep cutting taxes for the rich, its obvious the rich will keep getting richer, at the expense of the lower and middle classes. The thing is these days Republicans / conservatives will say ‘lets not help poor people’ or ‘lets not help immigrants’ because they deserve to be poor. Let the rich keep their money cause they earned it. But how much money does the rich really need? Gates and Bezos and Zuckerberg have over 50 billion dollars. That money could have gone to improving the education system, help fund universal healthcare, a better social saftey net, etc. The highest marginal tax rate of the 1950s was 90%. Now its a measly 35%.
Oh, and the military industrial complex is the other thing. The US defense budget is almost $700b now. It dwarfs all other discretionary spending. Since when did the US have to be the police force of the world? That military budget has also taken away money that should have gone to improving healthcare and education.
Somewhere along the way, Americans lost their way. they became too greedy, too selfish and unable to care about other people. today you have the most polarizing environment where they would sooner kill themselves than help the opposing party. Yes, America needs to be ‘great again’, but the answer is not electing Donald Trump.

Is censorship in America getting close to matching censorship in China?

No; for example you can protest the government in America whereas in China you would be arrested for it. You can believe in kooky Alex Jones conspiracy theories in America – but in China you would be tortured and have your organs ‘donated’ ala Falun Gong practitioners. You are allowed to play games and watch movies with violent and sexual content in America whereas you would have to do so illegally in China via torrenting. In America you are allowed to visit Chinese websites without a VPN – in China you cannot visit foreign websites without a VPN. In America you are allowed to make fun of Trump on twitter and spread memes about him – in China any spreading of negative posts on Xi Jinping will be scrubbed. So no… its not getting close.

What are your views on gun control?

I’ve always been in favor of it, and part of this reason is because I grew up in Canada, not America. It seems that most of gun supporters come from America, no surprise there. I also lived in Korea before, where there is absolute gun control, no civilians are allowed to have guns (although every male has trained in it due to mandatory military service), despite this Korea has one of the lowest crime rates in the world despite being a ‘gun free zone’ across the entire country.

I’m not a liberal, but I don’t think gun control is a liberal or conservative viewpoint; its a common sense viewpoint, as much common sense as universal healthcare is to me. But again this is because i lived in Canada, and Korea, and the USA. Guess which one has the highest crime rate out of these three countries?

I’m going to go over all the gun supporter talking points, because they are all strawman arguments that are easy to refute. Disclaimer: there’s absolutely no point in banning guns in the United States because there’s 300 million firearms in the USA and it’s impossible to ban them. I’m talking about gun control if I had to start a new country on my own, hypothetically speaking.

-Criminals will always find a way to kill they don’t care about laws

The thing is, very few of the mass shootings that we have seen were done by career criminals. They were done by ordinary law abiding citizens – until they snapped. So it’s a mental health issue problem. But wait – how the heck do you screen 325 million people for mental health issues? You can’t! That’s why a total gun ban is necessary – because no one would have access to guns. Plus – just because criminals don’t obey the laws doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have laws. This isn’t the Wild West and there’s a consequence for breaking the law – it’s called going to jail.

But criminals will always find a way to get guns

I’m not convinced that the 20 year old or 24 year old mass shooters have access to an illegal black market or want to kill that badly that they would go to such lengths. Maybe some will, but it will definitely require more effort than just purchasing something from your local Wal-mart or at a gun show or taking it from their parent’s bedroom (who presumably bought it legally).

They will find other ways to kill. They will use knives or home made bombs.

Sure. Knives will definitely kill at a slower rate than guns will. You have time to actually create distance between you and the killer. Home made bombs are possible but again they need to put a bit of effort into assembling them.

If we ban guns, why don’t we ban cars and alcohol too? Those kill a lot more people a year!

Guns primary purpose is to kill. Cars are for driving. Alcohol is for social interaction. This is false equivalence.

But gun laws don’t work! Just look at Chicago or California! They have high gun murder rates! Gun free zones don’t work!

Of course it doesn’t work in the US. Because all states have to have the same laws. If some states have more flexible laws than others, then banning them in one city or state does absolutely nothing. You have to ban them totally in every state in order to work. A person could otherwise just exploit a loophole where they can go to neighboring Indiana to buy a gun to shoot up a school in Illinois.

But guns actually prevent more deaths than kill! Self defense laws and discouragement

Maybe. But you could also use knives and tasers for self defense and it would work just as well, with much less chance of accidental discharge and accidental deaths.

But we need guns for hunting animals, too

Do you? I think we invented supermarkets like 60 years ago didn’t we?

-But 99% of citizens are law abiding. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Sure, but everyone is law abiding until the time they are not. Then they become criminals. Tanks don’t kill people. Nukes don’t kill people. Rocket launchers don’t kill people. And 99% of people use them responsibly. Why aren’t those legal? Oh right, because the 1% that does misuse them means very very bad news for the 99%.

But the 2nd amendment is an American right! Liberals just want to take our rights and freedoms away!

The 2nd amendment also called for a well-regulated militia. Well regulated being the key word here, and this being a 1700s era rule well at the time it meant the average person, but in the 21st century more than likely it means the military. I’m all for the military and police force having weapons. Ordinary citizens? Not so much. Also – you know amendments can be repealed right? The 2nd amendment was an amendment – it was part of the Bill of Rights and not the original Constitution.

Why not? Ordinary citizens can help prevent crime too!

Because I don’t trust Joe the Plumber not to kill me when we have a shooting like the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting or Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting. Or even the Las Vegas shooting. Very very bad conditions, many people around you, low light environment, even a trained professional would have a hard time distinguishing who the shooter is amongst the chaos, let alone average Joe who I don’t even trust to drive his car safely.

But guns protect us from possibly tyranny from the government? Didn’t you know what happened with Nazi Germany or Russia or China?

Yeah, the majority of people actually supported Hitler, Stalin and Mao. That’s the thing. It wouldn’t matter if they had guns or not because they were brainwashed by the propaganda. Also – highly unlikely if you had a pistol or semi-auto you would be able to beat the government’s tanks or copters or bazookas – and this is the US Military we are talking about. Stealth fighters, Nukes, Airplane carriers. And all of them are trained. Joe the Plumber + his buddies don’t really stand a chance.

Is there any talking point I missed? I have not heard any reasonable argument despite the 100+ answers to this topic about gun control, that owning guns will lead to lower crime. The facts are the UK/Canada/Europe/Japan/Korea even China with their 1+ billion population have less shootings than USA does. Hmm I wonder why that is? But then you might say, well their rates of other violent crime goes up. It’s the lethal aspect we need to think about here. Guns are incredibly lethal and kill at an incredibly fast rate compared to anything else. Not only that but its also pretty accurate – try driving a car into a specific person in a crowd. You can’t. But you can definitely shoot them and kill them.