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The Freedom to Disagree

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posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 09:59 AM
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In many societies throughout history worldwide, oligarchs have decided upon and enforced edicts guiding accepted beliefs, and punishing digressive thought. Intellectuals, scientists, visionaries, and religious leaders have often found themselves at odds with the State, and more gave their lives for expressing their beliefs than I could possibly find and document.

We are living in a time when free expression of thought and ideas are more abundant than ever before, when we are (mostly) free to think, say, and do what we think is best rather than what we are told to do or forced into by life circumstance, and yet we have come to a point where a lot of us won’t tolerate or listen to dissenting ideas. Not only is the access to information and education at an all time high, the freedom to pursue that which fulfills one and the free expression of ideas and opinions has never been greater. Are we utilizing this unprecedented opportunity?

The tone of so many conversations I see (I’m referring mostly to online written discourse but happens on a smaller scale in person) is bordering on contempt and dismissiveness, and based in competition and “winning the fight,” not compassion or in the spirit of mutual discourse and understanding. It seems to me that many of us are wasting our most valuable resources, and even in a twisted way, railing against and shutting down the free expression of ideas.

I love and care about such a crazy, diverse, varied group of people that I’m bound to disagree with each and every one of my family and friends about a number of important topics. Sometimes I disagree with them well (respectfully, with compassion and understanding), and other times I really wish I’d handled our discussions with more class, but I always come away with a deeper understanding of whichever issue was at hand. I hope our society works to improve on its discourse, how we view people with opposing viewpoints, and how we approach issues.

Without opinion pieces disguised as news and hot button issues being thrown at us 24-7, Americans might be able to come together as friends and neighbors to reach an agreement and make a few compromises in order to give meaning and purpose to the present, as well as guarantee a better future for all of our children. As it is, we’re failing and flailing our arms just barely keeping from going under. Our country is capable of such tremendous growth and has ideals that are really worth living up to; right now we’re going nowhere. Or backwards, but either way I don’t know too many who would argue we’re going in the right direction..

I read this opinion piece in Rolling Stone and disagreed with most of it, but had to really stop and think about the concluding lines:
www.rollingstone.com... Diu0vY6hyerPKULBVixf7GCiXg


The end of the American era and the passing of the torch to Asia is no occasion for celebration, no time to gloat. In a moment of international peril, when humanity might well have entered a dark age beyond all conceivable horrors, the industrial might of the United States, together with the blood of ordinary Russian soldiers, literally saved the world. American ideals, as celebrated by Madison and Monroe, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Kennedy, at one time inspired and gave hope to millions.

If and when the Chinese are ascendant, with their concentration camps for the Uighurs, the ruthless reach of their military, their 200 million surveillance cameras watching every move and gesture of their people, we will surely long for the best years of the American century.


What do you think, friends? Do you see an overall struggle to engage in thoughtful and dynamic dialogue with opponents, or is the current state of discourse messy because freedom itself is messy? Could each of us be better bearers of such a worthy responsibility?

I look forward to your thoughts.

Have a good one!



edit on 16-8-2020 by zosimov because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:08 AM
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My father is a hard core democrat, we had a few words last night cause I took the boy camping with some of my guys from work part of that was getting him aware of outdoors skills and firearms safety as well as basic camp skills. I took some pictures for the rest of the family because I am not on FB and what I got in return was "looks like a Trump rally" "Why the # aren't you wearing masks" and a whole slew of political garbage over taking my boy camping. I was asking my self the same thing last night that you are. The best answer I have is that people can't handle wholly the internet because they happen to always go to the source of information that best suits their opinions and attitudes and media is training people to attack ideas or concepts that are not in line with their own. People are being taught to unlearn their sense of understanding and is being replaced with something else.



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:12 AM
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a reply to: Brotherman

That's a real shame that such a nice time with your boy turned into an issue of contention. So many people are tense to the upmost degree right now and ready to blow.



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:17 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

Ten years ago we would have an arguement about how I welded something or why I spent so much money on a wrench etc these days it seems its all about the same BS you would see on tv, I don't watch tv anymore I don't have to I will hear about it from everywhere else and then watch the mouthpieces argue in the streets or here online.

I think people should go camping more or build your own car or something instead, conversation is progressive and mutual understandings have to be made to become successful in your endeavor.



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:21 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

The current state of discourse is being pushed on society by media. People are being divided and painted as 2d caricatures of eachother by them. It's been ongoing for a while now at least the last 5-10 years. Slowly at first, little things to divide us, small meaningless issues that affect a small minority of people blown up to huge issues that affect all of society used to divide people.

As the majority doesn't tend to actually care about most of the issues, they take the voices of the small minorities that care enough to be for or opposed to said issue, amplify those voices, spin it as a for or against matter and push everyone to one side or another.

Lately, it's been pushed to extreme levels to the point where half of society has nearly completely dehumanized the other half of society, you can see it here on ATS all the time, the left vs right # is just part of the bigger divide.

It's all a con.

We're stuck in a war between two groups of exceedingly rich people vying for control of the world and neither of.them have the best interests of the general population in mind.

On one side you've got the 'old boys club' the old money, the ones that have run things for a while, your oil companies, your chemical producers, traditional industries, the military complex.

Then on the other side, you've got the new money, the technocrats, the big tech companies, modern industries, the upstarts who've suddenly come into ridiculous money over the last 20 years and now want control.

Both sides control vast swathes of what we see hear, read, etc. Each side plays their spin to get as much of the population supporting them as they can.

That's why neither side makes a difference, why it always continues whoever wins elections.

The sad thing is, normal people are #ed whoever wins.



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:23 AM
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a reply to: zosimov




We are living in a time when free expression of thought and ideas are more abundant than ever before, when we are (mostly) free to think, say, and do what we think is best


Freedom of thought may still exist, but freedom of expression /speech is gone. It's in the rear-view mirror, and fading.



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:26 AM
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a reply to: dug88

Absolutely agree with everything you wrote, but hadn't quite thought of it in terms of a war between old money vs new (although those players you mentioned have been on my radar--I assumed they were on the same team).. very interesting!!

I've had a long standing distrust of the media (since I was maybe 19 or so) but have been paying close attention since 2012--it started ramping up around then I think.

Great comment, thank you!


edit on 16-8-2020 by zosimov because: (no reason given)

edit on 16-8-2020 by zosimov because: lots of typos



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:34 AM
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a reply to: ColeYounger

It's sure heading that way. And the more we police each other the faster it will go.

For one, it would be very hard to use a mode as tightly controlled and monitered to freely express one's self.

But I do have to believe there's still hope!




posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:42 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

a reply to: dug88


The current state of discourse is being pushed on society by media. People are being divided and painted as 2d caricatures of eachother by them.


Even though I don't really disagree with you, I see a lot of people say "them" and "the media" are to blame all over, when in reality it's us that has caused this with wanting/watching 24 hour news feeds and wanting instant access.

The fight between media "outlets" for your viewing and thus ad revenue has created a frenzy of bigger, better, more shocking stories to try to keep our attention to their channel, now with the internet and the ability to watch something that only supports your view point, it's becoming more and more divisive to our society and "old style" media is trying to keep up. You see something you disagree with and within seconds you can pick something else thats saying the opposite and that has lead to us treating our social interactions the same way i think.

edit on 16-8-2020 by Kurokage because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:46 AM
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Very interesting. But you forgot one essential factor - Russia is a separate civilization. Russia is neither the West nor the East. Russia is the kingdom of God.
Moscow is the Third Rome, it is the salvation of both Western and Eastern civilizations.



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:46 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

I'm almost done reading the article. One paragraph sums it up nicely so far:

The American cult of the individual denies not just community but the very idea of society. No one owes anything to anyone. All must be prepared to fight for everything: education, shelter, food, medical care. What every prosperous and successful democracy deems to be fundamental rights — universal health care, equal access to quality public education, a social safety net for the weak, elderly, and infirmed — America dismisses as socialist indulgences, as if so many signs of weakness.


The article is written by an Anthropologist. Anthropologists study societies and cultures and individual member participation. That's their job.

A well functioning society needs balanced individuals or it no longer functions well.

The balance comes from seeing what part the individual plays for the whole, and taking personal responsibility for that.



Could each of us be better bearers of such a worthy responsibility?

Yes we could!
Hey, that sounds a bit like "Yes We Can!"

I just happened to accidently quote this verse on another thread:
Galatians 6:

1Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5For every man shall bear his own burden.

The elements seem to all be there:

Meekness
Helping
Shared burden
Personal responsibility

We can do this !
And if we don't then we can only blame ourselves.




posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:48 AM
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a reply to: Kurokage

You make a good point. We are very willing participants, and are gobbling up what we're being fed.



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:50 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

There was a time in America where you could look at a statue or a flag and disagree with it being there, you could disagree with what it represented.

And that was fine.

Hell, we could go all day and agree on a list of symbols, statues, even books that I personally disagree with.

But those days are gone.

Now, being offended grants you the ability to silence, censor, ban, infringe.

Alas, Babylon.



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:50 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

Hey Zosimov


I like to think human history is a ship that constantly finds itself in uncharted waters, especially from a western perspective and often most of the passengers would prefer to be on solid ground.

How many era's of understanding have we been through? How many times have the people who led us through these eras asked with an open heart if we'll move with them? How often are they met with stiff resistance?

People don't like change.

So I have to agree that we don't fully utilize the ability to disseminate information, we prefer to ignore yet during the 1700's liberal movements throughout the west these people were literally silenced, information was spread via underground news and the likes. Yet today they cannot silence us.

However people often don't care, Panama papers anyone? How about PRISM? For me its a bitter irony that our freedoms seemingly made us complacent, we're "happy" and life is easy. Nobody cares about dictatorships in the likes of Belarus. Our history in the west IS literally one of fighting the system, throwing off shackles and forcing change from the ground up.

So China is a top heavy governmental system, but we don't care. We like our cheap stuff and having an easy life. It's clearly deeper than that though. We are dismissive, we are a jaded people too often. Sarah is getting kicked out of her house for not paying rent? Too bad, I don't care if she just buried her mother... That's on her right?

Yeah we can be terrible despite having so much resources and availability, so much information we have access to. We can be better. I didn't want to touch on propaganda and group think too much because I didn't want a huge post, it's an important part of the discussion though.

Because all of our ancestors died at some point for us to have individualism and freedom. There'll always be the manipulators but the difference between say the 1700's and today is the knowledge to illuminate oneself and light the way for others is openly available. That fight for us was already won.

As individuals all we can ask is better of ourselves though. It's idiotic to align with a group because you think it'll bring better prosperity to oneself. History shows we'd be listening to a Piper.

Life ain't all about wealth but sometimes you need to make a note too... Express yourself


Have a great Sunday!



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 10:55 AM
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a reply to: RussianTroll

Russia is as corrupt and separate as the rest of the industrialised world is, which isn't a lot.



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 11:00 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

I blame Bots in pushing the divisiveness.

In the real world I'm not seeing the polarization. Not at work, not at the grocery store, a bit with family cause a few are still stuck in "Camelot" without regard to the passage of time. What I am seeing is mostly a bunch of people making the best of it waiting for things to improve, yet going on as normal as possible.

The few conversations I got drawn into that could be considered as "triggering" have gone pretty well despite obvious differences in opinions. They were polite, didn't escalate or devolve into ugliness. Which leads me more than ever believe that all the drama is being played out is more online an in the MSM than we are lead to believe.

I can't see things improving until more people reject MSM's version of things.
To be honest one of the biggest laments from people has been that activities they were volunteers in have been put on hold an they miss those activities the most.



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 11:01 AM
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originally posted by: Kurokage
a reply to: RussianTroll

Russia is as corrupt and separate as the rest of the industrialised world is, which isn't a lot.


You're right. Russia, like Western and Eastern civilizations, is corrupt. But this is not a sign, but a source for development. As soon as Russia finally frees itself from the influence of both Western and Eastern elites, which I hope will happen soon, Russia will show the world the way to salvation. As an individual, and nations as a whole.
edit on 16-8-2020 by RussianTroll because: correct



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 11:05 AM
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a reply to: Kurokage

I agree, if people stopped consuming it all the time there wouldn't be so much of a problem, but as you point out, it's designed to suck people in and engage them.

Our news and media has been propaganda for a long time. Propaganda created using every scrap of knowledge learned over the last 60-70 years about how to manipulate populations on a large scale.

That's been going on in america since at least 1946. It's really interesting to go back and check out early public service announcements. There's a ton of them on youtube. There's a drastic change in tone and content of those videos between 1946 and 1947 and past that point they only get more and more subtly psychologically manipulative. Those videos went on to become the 'after school specials' of the late 70's and 80's then onto full blown TV shows through the 90's until it's turned into an ever present facet of all society being pushed from everywhere.

The study of marketing to to and manipulating groups of people through emotion has been refined and perfected over the last half century or so and this population of people mindlessly consuming and believing everything they're told is the result.
edit on 16/8/2020 by dug88 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 11:09 AM
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a reply to: dug88

I'm sure you've checked into Edward Bernays' influence and scope... have you seen The Century of Self? Well worth the watch!




posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 11:13 AM
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originally posted by: RAY1990
a reply to: zosimov



So I have to agree that we don't fully utilize the ability to disseminate information, we prefer to ignore yet during the 1700's liberal movements throughout the west these people were literally silenced, information was spread via underground news and the likes. Yet today they cannot silence us.

However people often don't care, Panama papers anyone? How about PRISM? For me its a bitter irony that our freedoms seemingly made us complacent, we're "happy" and life is easy. Nobody cares about dictatorships in the likes of Belarus. Our history in the west IS literally one of fighting the system, throwing off shackles and forcing change from the ground up.

So China is a top heavy governmental system, but we don't care. We like our cheap stuff and having an easy life. It's clearly deeper than that though. We are dismissive, we are a jaded people too often. Sarah is getting kicked out of her house for not paying rent? Too bad, I don't care if she just buried her mother... That's on her right?

Yeah we can be terrible despite having so much resources and availability, so much information we have access to. We can be better. I didn't want to touch on propaganda and group think too much because I didn't want a huge post, it's an important part of the discussion though.

Because all of our ancestors died at some point for us to have individualism and freedom. There'll always be the manipulators but the difference between say the 1700's and today is the knowledge to illuminate oneself and light the way for others is openly available. That fight for us was already won.

As individuals all we can ask is better of ourselves though. It's idiotic to align with a group because you think it'll bring better prosperity to oneself. History shows we'd be listening to a Piper.



Hi RAY!!


Happy Sunday to you as well! It's nice to hear from you.
So much of what you said is worth commenting on... but I did bold the part that particularly struck me.
Thanks so much for your thoughts. This is turning out to be a great discussion!



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