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America's Debate _ Domestic Policy _ The status of freedom in the United States

Posted by: Gray Seal Apr 9 2019, 02:25 PM

Is this a choice between rights and democratic capitulation?

What is the value of freedom in the United States to most voters?

I am not sure most people even know what freedom means. I do not think we teach it in our schools. Freedom is just a word we sing in some of our patriotic songs.

We seem to have voters who see government as a means of gaining advantage. Protecting freedom does not appear to be high on anyone's list of importance.

People are squabbling over who gets to be in charge; whose values get to be forced upon others.

Government continues to get bigger. Regulation continues to amass. Values are christened in our legislatures.

What does freedom mean to you?

Why are people most decidedly choosing authoritarian government over government protecting freedom?

Is this a good idea? Why or why not?

Posted by: Hobbes Apr 11 2019, 02:10 PM

What does freedom mean to you?

The ability to do mostly what I want so long as it doesn't infringe on other's rights to do the same.

Why are people most decidedly choosing authoritarian government over government protecting freedom?

Everybody wants their definition of freedom enforced on others.

Is this a good idea? Why or why not?

Nope. It's usually not even tyranny of the majority, which would still be a bad idea, but often tyranny of the minority. Every group, regardless of size, wants their little issue addressed and enforced by government...and government abides because they need to do that to get their votes.

it's all part of The Inevitable Fall of Democracy.

Posted by: AuthorMusician Apr 20 2019, 12:09 PM

What does freedom mean to you?

Being of the generation that had the Vietnam draft to deal with, the idea that freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose makes a lot of sense. It also falls in line with the idea that to get on the good side of God, you need to get rid of your wealth.

But then there's the freedom to choose: your occupations, your physical location; what you live in, where you go to get stuff and to repair stuff, what you wear -- and all that takes money to accomplish. In this sense, the wealthier you get, the more freedom you have.

For example. I'm very concentrated on music now that I'm retired. But in order to pursue this occupation, it takes money. I have N amount of money/credit, so I can move ahead but not as fast as sometimes I want. Other times, it's better to review what I've already got, which requires time.

So add to wealth the dimension of time. You might be the richest person in the world, but you also might not have any time to freely pursue your desired occupations.

Another way to look at freedom is not being concerned about anything. The ultimate type of this freedom is death.

Why are people most decidedly choosing authoritarian government over government protecting freedom?

Fear.

Is this a good idea? Why or why not?

It depends on what's feared. Fear of terrorism probably doesn't lead to any good outcome, but fear of tainted food supplies does. You know, if you're free enough to do anything about that fear.

BTW, a government with authority is necessary. It isn't the same as an authoritarian government, which goes way overboard usually due to an overload of crisis. It's like volume in music: Some volume is always needed, but too much volume is downright painful.

It will also cause deafness, kinda like too much authority causes death.

Posted by: net2007 May 24 2019, 04:37 AM

QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Apr 9 2019, 09:25 AM) *
Is this a choice between rights and democratic capitulation?

What is the value of freedom in the United States to most voters?

I am not sure most people even know what freedom means. I do not think we teach it in our schools. Freedom is just a word we sing in some of our patriotic songs.

We seem to have voters who see government as a means of gaining advantage. Protecting freedom does not appear to be high on anyone's list of importance.

People are squabbling over who gets to be in charge; whose values get to be forced upon others.

Government continues to get bigger. Regulation continues to amass. Values are christened in our legislatures.

What does freedom mean to you?

Why are people most decidedly choosing authoritarian government over government protecting freedom?

Is this a good idea? Why or why not?


What does freedom mean to you?

Not that the definition of the word freedom changes in my mind based on each situation but I think perspective changes from situation to situation. There's freedom from government, which is the context I believe you're focusing on but I may also feel a little more free in my personal life if I was able to write this without my neighbors invading my eardrums with the strange noises they make, it's pretty bad sometimes. On the other hand, they'd probably feel differently and that making strange noises is their freedom of speech right. I'm not sure if that's a good microcosm for a much larger situation where everyone has a different take on what the word freedom means to them but I thought it might be worth a chuckle, my ears don't deserve this! tongue.gif

To be serious, to me freedom is best explained as each of us having the ability to choose our own paths and become the architect of our own destinies. I think our government and laws are bloated and overly complicated but that the government has a role to play. Above anything, I think it's okay for government to help prevent predators in society from imposing their will on others. To be specific, primarily I'm talking about supporting the creation and enforcement of laws that prevent crimes like murder and theft. I believe those are necessary functions of government because they're in reference to acts where an individual imposes their will on others which leads to less freedom. Put another way, I don't think that we should have the freedom to remove freedoms from others.

However, even that gets complicated because everybody has a different idea of what specific laws we need to promote freedom, how much of it should be handled on a federal level, and how much should be handled on a state level. I'm sure some would even argue that we could essentially just police ourselves. This says nothing of the fact that there's also a movement who believes that the government has a much more substantial role to play than it is already, so this complicates the picture further. Many are okay to give the government ever increasing control over our daily lives because they feel we need that additional structure, I'll mention more on that below. I don't believe you and I agree on what the size and scope of government should be but I think we're absolutely in agreement that things have gone way too far and that this is an incredibly risky game we're playing.

We're slowly but surely surrendering more freedoms by the year while granting more power to the government. Historically speaking that's frequently been a recipe for disaster but I think those who embrace concepts like socialism, genuinely don't believe that the U.S. will go the route that many socialist countries and monarchies have in the past. Ironically enough, some of these individuals have a deep seeded distrust for America but essentially trust that politicians will be responsible with the increased powers that we're granting them.

Why are people most decidedly choosing authoritarian government over government protecting freedom?

In large part, I think it's because it's easier to be a passenger in a truck that's difficult to drive rather than being in the driver's seat, or at least that's how some look at it. In this metaphor, let's imagine that the truck is a Uhaul with a full load and we have to learn to master the truck with all of our baggage attached. Even if there are substantial gains to be made by driving the truck ourselves, it can be a daunting task and therefore some choose to be a passenger or even pass off the entire moving process to someone else. It's not a perfect metaphor, but I think it's in the ballpark.

Freedom is what offers the most potential to the individual and I believe that it's essential but I think that some don't understand what to do with it or simply don't want to take responsibility for their own actions in life. I'm not saying that's a positive thing but I think it's as good of an explanation as any to why we're in this situation. Those types would be right to say that making our own way can be overwhelming and it'd follow that if we fail to have a fulfilling life with the freedom we have, that generally speaking we'd be the ones at fault or at least be more at fault than if someone else was calling the shots. The concerns and fears that they have are understandable although I disagree that the solution to everything is government. Personally, I believe in a reasonably small but balanced government.

Those who support full-blown authoritarian governments could be viewed in a similar way to those who stay in abusive relationships. It may not be a healthy thing to stay put but if they've adjusted to that lifestyle, life outside of that becomes foreign or even intimidating so they stick with what they know in the hopes of being thrown a bone every now and then which ironically, is what got them into the situation they're in.

I don't believe the U.S. government is authoritarian, however, I do consider it to be bloated with some authoritarian undertones to it but the path we're on is alarming if some of the details are considered. In any case, I don't believe most people wake up and tell themselves, "wouldn't it be nice if I give support and surrender some of my decision-making rights to a movement that will destroy our society today?". One common theme I see with authoritarian governments is that there are promises made which are very appealing upon first glance. The National Socialist Party in Germany had a 25 point platform, here's point number 21...

QUOTE
"The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young."


I can see how that sounds nice upon first glance but it turned out to be a load of hooey, to put it mildly. For example, the part about "protecting the mother and child" makes little sense. Perhaps, on some level, they tried to protect those who looked or thought as they did, but they weren't doing them any favors. They brought Germany to one of the bloodiest wars in history and often disposed of anyone who got in their way. As far as women and children are concerned, among other things, forced sterilization, euthanasia, and abortions were performed on those with hereditary diseases and of course on non-Aryans. Hitler and other Nazi leaders, such as his personal secretary, Martin Borman, have been quoted on these topics saying some pretty despicable things and overall did a lot of damage, even by comparison to many other authoritarian governments.

Most people now understand that woman and children were just two of the groups who suffered greatly under that regime but I don't think authoritarian governments would get as far as many of them have if not for the promises they make to those who are willing to believe in them. That's the best explanation that I can come up with, I believe these things often evolve and that not everyone walks in with their eyes wide open. I believe I know more specifically how freedom is being attacked and where the threat generally comes from and have gathered a whole host of information and facts which offer substantiation but it's not a popular topic and it's not a question that you're asking specifically.

More generally speaking, I've been to several websites, have listened to both verbal and written debates, and have observed how our politicians behave. One thing that's become clear to me is that a fair chunk of the U.S. population is parroting the tone and tactics commonly used by the media and politicians. Many have a certain type of information and misinformation that they stick to and when something doesn't line up with what they've been taught, they immediately believe they're being fed propaganda and often react with hostility or sarcasm. So, there are many who have already decided how they're going to treat those who they consider "the opposition" before a word is spoken.

I'll no doubt still have a presence online with debating but it can get a bit discouraging. I believe that these are concerns held by many Americans, some of whom won't go anywhere near debating politics so there's a desperate need for fair-minded individuals and clarity in the world of politics. My theory is that the best types of debaters, leaders, and thought leaders in society are often the very types who have little interest in getting involved which leaves those who are desperately seeking attention or power making the effort to shape minds. That's a scary thought when you think about it.

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