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Does Anyone Truly Believe America To Be A Free Country ?

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posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 04:43 AM
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Hi,

We have all grown up being told that we (us in the U.S. at least) live in a free country, and we should feel so very lucky to have been born into freedom.

But, think about it. Of course, our freedoms have been steadily being restricted in years of late, but even before that.

I can't remember when anything but water (from a drinking fountain), or a book of matches were free. Now, the drinking fountains rarely work, and the matches are rarely free.

That is "free" in one sense of the word. But, there are so, so very many laws. Of course there are more now than several years ago. However, there have always been a multitude of laws that we (or our parents when we were too young) never even had an opportunity to vote on. They were just imposed. So many, that I'm not about to waste a bunch of space trying to list them all. But, how about just ten or less - laws that have been imposed on the American people without any input from us:

1) 21 is the "magic age" where one is responsible enough to drink alcohol, but 18 is the "magic age" where one is capable enough to take on the heavy responsibility of fighting wars, operating dangerous weapons, treading very hazardous grounds, etc.... Also, if you break the law at age 17 (in most cases), you are just a kid, don't know what you were doing, so let it go off your record in a few years. But, a year later (like all people mature at the same rate), commit the same crime, and run the risk of life in prison or the death penalty. ~ The things mentioned here, just don't add up or made sense to me ~

2) Fireworks. Are they any safer in some states than others?

3) Gambling. Are people more responsible in some states than others?

4) G.W. Bush. I won't go into the "elected or selected" deal, but, if we really did put him in charge of our country, trust him to be a good leader, then when he has proven just the opposite, why can't we choose another leader? Now?

5) The Constituition. Many people say that it can be interpreted many different ways. O.K. I will accept that. However, there are some sentences in it that read like a first grade reader. Such as the well known phrase: "All persons have the inherent right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness...." How hard can it be to interpret that! However, when good men and women get sent to fight a war (especially the current one, which is NOT noble), even though they were not technically drafted, they went willingly to die for something they believed in, something that was not true. And of course, the soldiers that were drafted into Viet Nam, had no choice, but to take their chances, and many died because they were ordered to go into treacherous areas. What about people on Death Row who have been exhonorated years later through new DNA technology, who would have otherwise been put to death by their own government for absolutely no reason? They are the lucky ones. Many have been unjustly put to death, just to close a file. None of this is allowing a citizen the inherent right to "life". Hundreds of people are arrested and jailed daily, on alleged charges. What kind of liberty is this? And as for the "pursuit of happiness", it is pretty difficult when even the most law abiding citizen probably inadvertantly breaks several laws on a daily basis, threfore, basically the entire population of America runs the risk daily of losing their liberty, if not their life. I don't think that many would percieve this constant threat as a good way to persue hapiness.

6) I.D.'s. If we live in a free country, then there should be no need to have to present identification for nearly every daily thing that we do, harmessly.

7) Privacy. Why are there government cameras all over the country, who knows exactly where they all are (the citizens, I mean)? If we are so free, why must we have our picture taken whenever we walk down the street, etc... as if we were criminals just for wanting to go for a walk, or shop, etc..?

That's only "7", but they are subjects, I realized more & more as I was writing that have already been rehashed, so I will stop now. However, my main point: We do not now, nor AFAIK have ever lived in complete freedom in the United States of America.

Just sharing stuff that bugs me. Bugs me a lot!


[edit on 3-11-2005 by John bull 1]




posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 05:38 AM
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Originally posted by CyberKat
I can't remember when anything but water (from a drinking fountain), or a book of matches were free. Now, the drinking fountains rarely work, and the matches are rarely free.


That's not the free that is included in freedom. If you want everything provided for you, go to a Communist country. You will probably find your other freedoms lacking considerably though.


Originally posted by CyberKatHowever, there have always been a multitude of laws that we (or our parents when we were too young) never even had an opportunity to vote on. They were just imposed.


Laws in this country are not just 'imposed', whether on a local, state, or federal level, these laws are voted upon by representatives that you (or your parents) voted into office.


Originally posted by CyberKat1) 21 is the "magic age" where one is responsible enough to drink alcohol, but 18 is the "magic age" where one is capable enough to take on the heavy responsibility of fighting wars, operating dangerous weapons, treading very hazardous grounds, etc.... Also, if you break the law at age 17 (in most cases), you are just a kid, don't know what you were doing, so let it go off your record in a few years. But, a year later (like all people mature at the same rate), commit the same crime, and run the risk of life in prison or the death penalty. ~ The things mentioned here, just don't add up or made sense to me ~


Some age has to be set for legal maturity. I think alcohol should be kept at 21, most 18 yr. olds have little sense of cause and effect concerning their actions. Add alcohol to the mix and it's an accident waiting to happen. Military enlistment age should probably be increased too, I doubt most 18 yr. olds really understand what they're getting into. Perhaps 21 should be the legal age in the US, would that make you happy?


Originally posted by CyberKat2) Fireworks. Are they any safer in some states than others?


No, but this is the nature of the US. We are the United STATES of America, our country was designed originally so that power was held in the states and the federal level was really no more than a unification of said states with minimal power. This has been slowly eroding for the last few hundred years.


Originally posted by CyberKat3) Gambling. Are people more responsible in some states than others?


See #2


Originally posted by CyberKat4) G.W. Bush. I won't go into the "elected or selected" deal, but, if we really did put him in charge of our country, trust him to be a good leader, then when he has proven just the opposite, why can't we choose another leader? Now?


First of all, because there are rules in this country concerning elected officials and how to go about removing them. These laws have been in effect for hundreds of years, we can't change them on a whim because you don't like Bush.


Originally posted by CyberKat5) The Constituition. Many people say that it can be interpreted many different ways. O.K. I will accept that. However, there are some sentences in it that read like a first grade reader. Such as the well known phrase: "All persons have the inherent right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness...." How hard can it be to interpret that! However, when good men and women get sent to fight a war (especially the current one, which is NOT noble), even though they were not technically drafted, they went willingly to die for something they believed in, something that was not true. And of course, the soldiers that were drafted into Viet Nam, had no choice, but to take their chances, and many died because they were ordered to go into treacherous areas. What about people on Death Row who have been exhonorated years later through new DNA technology, who would have otherwise been put to death by their own government for absolutely no reason? They are the lucky ones. Many have been unjustly put to death, just to close a file. None of this is allowing a citizen the inherent right to "life". Hundreds of people are arrested and jailed daily, on alleged charges. What kind of liberty is this? And as for the "pursuit of happiness", it is pretty difficult when even the most law abiding citizen probably inadvertantly breaks several laws on a daily basis, threfore, basically the entire population of America runs the risk daily of losing their liberty, if not their life. I don't think that many would percieve this constant threat as a good way to persue hapiness.


We have to have rules, that's just the way it is.
First, regarding the war, you're obviously anti-war and anti-bush, you are one side of the coin...there is another. Many people still think this is a just war despite what you see and hear on TV. The people currently in Iraq volunteered for it and most of them are pleased to be serving their country.
Regarding the draft, as a country, there are times when military action is necessary. You cited one example, Vietnam, which turned out not so great. You failed to mention the Civil War, as well as both world wars. If not for the draft, we may very well still have slavery in this country and/or be flying a German flag right now.
Regarding jailng and the death penalty. The death penalty is still a state choice, as I described above in this message. We have to have a system in this country to punish criminals, sometimes innocent people are convicted/executed, it's unfortunate, but it's gonna happen. Our system of justice rests on the hands of human judges, who are going to make mistakes. Your mention of law abiding citizens fearing imprisonment is laughable. I break the law, I'll admit it. Heck, I've had a few speeding tickets and even a minor mischief charge in college, but I've never murdered anyone or robbed anybody. I certainly don't walk around every day in fear of losing my liberty.


Originally posted by CyberKat6) I.D.'s. If we live in a free country, then there should be no need to have to present identification for nearly every daily thing that we do, harmessly.


Agreed. The ID system should only be used when required, such as driving a vehicle. If I'm a passenger in a car or just walking around, I should not have to present ID.


Originally posted by CyberKat7) Privacy. Why are there government cameras all over the country, who knows exactly where they all are (the citizens, I mean)? If we are so free, why must we have our picture taken whenever we walk down the street, etc... as if we were criminals just for wanting to go for a walk, or shop, etc..?


This is news to me, I've never seen an extensive network of government cameras. I see tons of private cameras every day, inside of businesses...heck, I'm even on one right now (I'm at work). It would seem to me though, that if you're out in a public place, the owner of wherever you are has every right to have you on camera if they wish. Storeowners and such are just protecting their own interests.


Originally posted by CyberKatWe do not now, nor AFAIK have ever lived in complete freedom in the United States of America.


You would not want to live in a completely free society. In a completely free society, somebody could kill you simply because they don't like the shirt your wearing. My definition of freedom is that I can do anything I wish so long as it does not interfere with anybody else. For this very reason, I'm against several of our current laws, I think I should be able to do anything I want to do on my property so long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of anybody else. For the most part though, we are still free.

I will admit that the US has taken a swing away from my definition of freedom in past several years, but I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world. I love my country.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 10:56 AM
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I think for now our freedom is just an illusion.

A lot of this stuff the government is pulling is basically a way of getting their foot in the door. A lot of people don't seem to care that the Bill of Rights is being trounced on (as long as it doesn't affect them, right?)...but it'll bite you in the rear sooner or later.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 12:01 PM
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Originally posted by Amethyst
I think for now our freedom is just an illusion.

A lot of this stuff the government is pulling is basically a way of getting their foot in the door. A lot of people don't seem to care that the Bill of Rights is being trounced on (as long as it doesn't affect them, right?)...but it'll bite you in the rear sooner or later.


I can agree with that, now Im not going to go into politics here but I do believe that it has something to do with the root of all evil.. And thats money. Now Im not going to name the president by his name so I will just stick to the word, president. Since the president has been president, I have not seen any "real" good changes since 9/11 when he sent the troops over. Well, its been four years and we still have not accomplished anything but find Saddam and esablish a new form of government over there. One opinoin of mine is that, we have no business establishing "our" government over there. Wouldnt that make the United States look selfish in a way?

Now I can understand that we are the "big brother" of the other countries, but are we really that "big" ? I havent seen any "great" changes in this country but the great gas prices were getting. Now I can remember that when the current president was campaigning, he said that he would promise our country all of the good right? Hmm, its been about 7 years and I still have been sittin here making the same amount, if not less, and paying more than what everybody else and I should have to.

Hmm, lets take a look at Amendment 1 of the "Bill of Rights" shall we?

Congress Shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grevances.

Freedom of speech- I am stopped dead at this picture because if you were to happen as to "hint" that you were recording a police officer from a distance, he would wrestle you around, THEN throw you in jail. And then when you were in jail they wouldnt want or have to listen what you have to say because you are just a "peon U.S. citizen"... Let me stop here before I go any further into politics. But yes, I can see where our freedom is being taken away.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 06:12 PM
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Words like 'free' and 'freedom' get banded around too much for my liking.

One of the principle theories of democratic government is that the electorate sacrifice certain personal freedoms so that society as a whole is more stable and secure.

A good example of this is murder. If one had unlimited freedom to do what one wanted, then anyone could kill anyone else without fear of repercusions. However, by taking away the 'freedom' to kill (through legislation, the police and judical system) society as a whole is more free. This is Thomas Hobbes' view at least - true freedom actually results in anarchy and no freedom - man without the state means life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."

While this is certainly true to an extent, the devil is in the detail. Just how much power should one grant the state? How many of our freedoms should we sacrifice?

The Hobbesian view is certainly the justification for terrorist legislation in the UK/US at present. Increased powers by the state 'protect' the population from the shadowy threat of terrorists. However, it was also the justification by the Nazis to imprison the Communists after Hilter seized power. Any time a government begins to take an authoritarian stance, I grow concerned.

However, impringements on 'freedoms' do not have to come about as the result of totalitarian regimes. Most of the time, they change largely because society changes and many 'rights' are in fact not absolute but fairly subjective. Abortion has long been argued as a conflict between the right of a woman to have an abortion against the right of their baby to live.

Moreover, one group's 'rights' and freedoms may impinge upon the rights and freedoms of another group - eg. the 'right' to own slaves against the rights of the slaves themselves.

One may have to acquiesce one's personal freedoms for the good of society as a whole. However, this is a very grey and blurry area. For instance, is it acceptance to sacrifice the 'rights' of those held at Guantanamo against the 'rights' of the American public to a safe and stable society?

Moreover, freedoms vary not just between different countries but also gender, class, race, age etc. A wealthy person is enfranchaised by his/her money and is therefore 'freer' than a poorer person.

Even so, one must bear in mind that generally people in Western societies live in fairly free societies - certainly in comparison to other historical periods and totalitarian regimes. Democracy has many flaws but it is probably the best compromise that political philosophers have come up with so far, with freedom of free speech being an absolutely vital tenet.

However, one must not be complacent: one is never truly 'free'. You do not have a 'right' to free speech, drink, smoke, vote, go to school or whatever. They are privileges granted by the government (usually after a long struggle) and can be taken away.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 06:26 PM
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Originally posted by CyberKat

2) Fireworks. Are they any safer in some states than others?


I always hated this
I live in New England and just about all fireworks are banned up here with the exception of lame ones like Sparklers,Snakes and such.

So what are people In South Carolina more responsible then us up here? IMHO thats the message they are sending us, adults cant be trusted with things like bottle rockets up here.

Originally posted by CyberKat

3) Gambling. Are people more responsible in some states than others?



Well just about every state has gambling Instant tickets, Lotto, Powerball, Bingo etc.. all forms of gambling, what they dont all have is Casinos.

Besides NV I dont know many other states that have gambling outside Native American land. In my state we have the largest Casino in the world which is Native American run. I think they should be allowed to have them even if most American states dont allow gambling. Its their land they should be able to decide what is legal there.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 06:59 PM
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Does Anyone Truly Believe America To Be A Free Country ?


no. period.

i never have and probably never will believe this to be a truly free country, BUT, imagine if it was?
think about it, if there are laws, then the people arent truly free. so in order for us to be a free country, there would have to be no laws. if there were no laws, it would be total chaos. crime would be the biggest thing. left and right, murder, theft. not to mention much much worse things.

so, no, IMHO this isnt truly a free country, and that is probably for the better.

--Kit.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 07:03 PM
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Want to know something that's really stupid? You can buy fireworks here in Ohio, but you can't set them off in Ohio. You have to take them out of state.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 11:05 PM
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A truly 'free' country would be anarchy - and I am no fan of this form of government; or is that non-government? hmmm - an organized anarchy?

We have priviliges. The constitution guarentees citizens certain protections and remedies when these priviliges are violated. That the Constitution is up for interpretation is something we have lived with since the institution of judicial review.

We have a form of government that guarantees - in the 10th amendment - the concept of reserved powers. Any power not explicitedly granted to the federal government are reserved for the individual states. Speed limits, blood alcohol levels, fireworks, gun possesion laws... all of these and more are state matters as long as they don't conflict with the constitutional 'rights' of citizens.

Once again, I don't call these rights - they are priviliges that have been bought and paid for with the blood, efforts, and incredible sacrifices of thousands of people. I have been in countries that weren't free - I know all too well the rapicity of nations without constraints of a corpus of laws like the ones we enjoy. Are things as free as they used to be? No. Is this a legitimate concern? Sometimes. What can you do about it? Stop being a sheep. Get involved in the political process. Vote the bums out. There has been corruption and rigged elections in our history, no doubt about it. But the same constitution that shelters us in our daily life can be used as a sword of justice, if there are enough committed people willing to see the fight to the finish.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 11:24 PM
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Im a foreigner living in the US. Ive lived in UK, France, Hong Kong, Singapore the Middle East and Australasia. Ive been in the US three years now ...... and this is the most un-democratic country Ive lived in...... Ever!!. Compared to many other Western Countries, there are no real Freedoms here. I can't say what I want .... cant go where I want ...... I have to pay for services that I expect as a RIGHT in other countries.

Land of the Free? Ha ..... yeah compared to China or Iran maybe ..... But you Yanks have a long way to go to truely be free. With or without the Constitution ..... you dont have it as good as you really think.

For your answer ..... look beyond your Borders ...... Stop looking within



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 11:31 PM
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I think you're confusing "freedom" with "free ride."

Of course we pay for goods and services. It's called capitalism. Though granted it would be nice if our health insurance didn't keep getting crappier every year.

When I think freedom, I think freedom to worship as I like, to speak and write what I like, to own guns, to boot out any government hacks such as Bush (think impeachment)--THAT kind of freedom.

Not five-finger discounts.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 11:53 PM
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Ha ..... Ive had no free ride here. And yeah ..... having medical coverage here is just another way of saying give me all your money. I pay three times more for car insurance here, twice as much for house and contents insurance. I am now on an hourly rate wage wise ...... regardless of exchange rates ...... Ive never had to struggle this hard since my booze hound College days 20 years ago.

Free handouts???? Ive never taken them!!! But then Ive never had to because there is so much more to offer beyond these borders.

So please dont try and pump up something thats full of holes.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 12:21 AM
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If you want freedom you'd better set it aside for yourself, because no government is going to willingly hand you any real freedoms when it could reserve them just as easily for its own sake. That includes our own worthless system. No matter how well any of us can regurgitate what Jefferson or Madison have said, hardly anyone really knows what in the hell our forefathers were talking about anymore, and all the patriotism does anymore is cloud peoples' judgment. No, we're not a "free country." I don't think they exist.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 01:09 AM
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On one end there is anarchy, which would be unworkable, and chaotic. And on the other end is a police state type deal. We need to be somewhere in the middle, where laws are not burdens, but are there to protect the honest American.

I've seen some ridiculousness regarding existing or proposed laws and rules and this isn't just in the USA. I hope things don't continue in the "ridiculous" direction.

Troy



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 05:36 AM
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Originally posted by Amethyst
Want to know something that's really stupid? You can buy fireworks here in Ohio, but you can't set them off in Ohio. You have to take them out of state.


That's not so bad. Over here in Pennsylvania, we have to drive to Ohio to buy our fireworks and then drive back across the border risking getting pulled over. From what I hear, most cops simply confiscate the fireworks and send you on your way, but fines are possible. Then, when we set them off, we have to worry about neighbors calling the cops.

Anything other than sparklers, spinners, & cap guns require a permit here



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 07:44 AM
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Originally posted by rhelt100

That's not so bad. Over here in Pennsylvania, we have to drive to Ohio to buy our fireworks and then drive back across the border risking getting pulled over. From what I hear, most cops simply confiscate the fireworks and send you on your way, but fines are possible. Then, when we set them off, we have to worry about neighbors calling the cops.

Anything other than sparklers, spinners, & cap guns require a permit here


Isn't it ironic that gun ownership is legal and yet fireworks have so much restrictions in so many states? The reverse is true in Britain - pretty lax with fireworks and strict with guns.

Here in the UK its firework season. November 5th was Guy Fawkes Night (a celebration where a 17th century plot to blow up Parliament by a dissenter called Guy Fawkes was foiled) and for the past month there have been non-stop explosions everywhere. It's like a warzone.

Fireworks cause tons of accidents every year and there are growing calls for increased firework regulation in Britain. Here are some stats for 2002-2004 )

Personally I'm not fond of fireworks. They can be quite pretty but to my mind get dull very quickly. Too many people (often kids) get injured, too many teens get hold of them and wreak havoc, and many animals suffer - both from getting petrified of the noise and directly from being hit by fireworks.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 03:59 PM
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Originally posted by The_Camel
Im a foreigner living in the US. Ive lived in UK, France, Hong Kong, Singapore the Middle East and Australasia. Ive been in the US three years now ...... and this is the most un-democratic country Ive lived in...... Ever!!. Compared to many other Western Countries, there are no real Freedoms here. I can't say what I want .... cant go where I want ...... I have to pay for services that I expect as a RIGHT in other countries.

Land of the Free? Ha ..... yeah compared to China or Iran maybe ..... But you Yanks have a long way to go to truely be free. With or without the Constitution ..... you dont have it as good as you really think.

For your answer ..... look beyond your Borders ...... Stop looking within


Well, we haven't turned into a total welfare state yet. And why should we? Americans - and people of other nationalities - are free to leave if they don't like things here.

Free? Well, Singapore, the UK, France, and the varoius and sundry nations you've lived in can do things that are unthinkable (and hopefully will remain so) here. Like - the Bill of Rights? No other nation in the world has such protections. Due process, freedom of speech, protection against illegal search and seizure - all or most of things are foreign and strange concepts in those nations you've just listed.

I would just LOVE to know who - in postitions of authority, at least - denied you the right to speak out or to move about freely. I don't count - nor should you - private citizens who disagree with you as restricting your speech. As long as you can afford a bus or train ticket, off you go. No worries, no hassles. Even better, buy a car. There are millions of miles of roads that have no tolls.

The US has long had a reputation for being a 'can-do' nation. Millions of people - my parents included - came to the US with nothing except a change of clothing and dreams of a better life. No one gave them anything, but - like so many - they have succeeded in realizing the American Dream. They have a house, money in the bank, and have led full and rewarding lives. They EARNED everything they have - as I am doing now.

I'm not going to apologize to you or anyone that I have a good job, a house, freedom to travel when I choose, good health insurance, and an education. I PAID for all of these things, I have EARNED all of these benefits. I still curse Johnson and his "Great Society". This was the un-American program to turn the US into a welfare state - like the ones in the UK and France. No thank you. As a teacher, I see every day the price of institutionalized 'learned helplessness." It has bred a second generation of people who look to the governent - and taxpayers like me - to feed them, clothe them, provide shelter, pay their bills...etc, etc, etc.

I don't mean to sound rude, but if the United States is so crappy, why don't you stop insulting your hosts and going back to one of those more 'democratic' nations you were talking about. While you're at it, why not stop off in Northern Ireland and ask the Catholics there how democratic the think the government is?



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 06:35 PM
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Originally posted by shantyman
I don't mean to sound rude, but if the United States is so crappy, why don't you stop insulting your hosts and going back to one of those more 'democratic' nations you were talking about. While you're at it, why not stop off in Northern Ireland and ask the Catholics there how democratic the think the government is?


I've talked at length elsewhere about the nature of freedom - more particularly American freedom. Suffice to say that all Western nations have their freedoms and their restrictions. There is no totally 'free' country. America does have a sense of freedom enshrined in its constitution but in practice - as you yourself said, it is a 'as long as you can afford...' culture - one requires wealth to enjoy true freedom in the US. However, what about the 30 odd million people living in poverty in America - or the 45 million people without access to medical insurance for instance? How free are they?

Moreover, recent years have seen a gradually ebbing away of various 'freedoms' not only in the US (ie. Patriot Act/Guantanamo) but also in the UK (ie. the proposed Terror Bill).

In any case, the Northern Ireland jibe is incorrect. The UK was responsible for some appalling abuses of human rights in the 1970s in particular, but the political landscape of Northern Ireland has changed dramatically in the last few years - not least as open warfare between the IRA and Ulster loyalists has ceased.

Northern Ireland is part of the UK and is therefore part of a democracy. It elects MPs to Parliament while the Northern Ireland Assembly would have decentralised rule if it hadn't been suspended since 2002.

Incidently, I object to those who say that no-one can criticise the country they are living in. Surely this counters the freedom of speech argument that you were advocating before? If someone who lives in the US cannot criticise certain aspects of US society and culture without encountering the response of 'if you don't like it here then get out' then the right to free speech becomes an illusion. Legally you can say what you want but socially you have to shut up or else suffer recriminations.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 08:32 PM
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Originally posted by kedfr
If someone who lives in the US cannot criticise certain aspects of US society and culture without encountering the response of 'if you don't like it here then get out' then the right to free speech becomes an illusion.


I've always thought the "if you don't like it, leave" line is really stupid, not to mention butthead (I'm avoiding censors here, so just imagine much harsher words in place of those two). It's the equivalent of tories telling patriots to go back to Britain if they don't like the colonies.

Freedom doesn't come about that way, and if you claim your country is free, and then tell someone to leave your country if they don't like it, something is obviously up with your definition of "freedom."


There is no totally 'free' country.


I feel like repeating here that if you want freedom then you have to secure it for yourself, legally or illegally or what-have-you. You might as well not rely on any government to straighten up for any amount of time as to allow you to enjoy life your own way.

There's no one among us who has ever signed the so-called "social contract"; the permission they have to govern wasn't given them by us, and even if it was, who's to say that such a contract should be binding forever? The government? The permission they were given to rule us has nothing to do with us, but with our great great great etc. grandfathers who elected people that were actually decent men. And of course those times have long passed by now. So by whose permission is our government ruling now?

We follow laws they have passed, without our permission, only enough to avoid being punished, or when they are convenient or easy to follow (or when we have been hopelessly indoctrinated into thinking all laws that are passed are correct and proper to follow). We only vote when we want to vote anyway. It isn't much farther of a step to assume yourself separate from "your" government, and only living independently within its territory. Don't get me wrong, though: morality is important regardless, since that's sort of (usually, anyway) the whole point of civil disobedience anyway. I'm just saying no one should rely on government for permission to live any certain way, ie, any way other than the daily grind, $$-based "American" lifestyle.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 09:25 PM
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I'd say America is a free country inasmuch as there is a more or less democratically elected government, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and so on. These are very important freedoms and America has much to be proud of. It's also in the minority of countries that can call themselves "free." That said, I've lived in other free countries, and I felt more "free" there than I do here. Free from advertising, free from police stops, free from propaganda.



The UN has put forth 25 international instruments (covenants and conventions) dealing with human rights issues since promulgating the Universal Declaration in 1948. The US has ratified 10 of them. In contrast, Canada and the UK, for instance, have ratified 17; Italy, France, Sweden, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand have ratified 18; 20 for Denmark, and Germany has ratified 23 of the 25.

The record becomes more deplorable when we look at the contents of those 25 instruments. Alone among all of the countries listed above, the US has not ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, drawn from the Universal Declaration (which was described by former UN Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick as "A Letter to Santa Claus").

Among others, the US has also not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others; Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees; and the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families. And while the US has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we have not ratified it-the only one of the 192 member states of the UN not to do so.

This sorry record on human rights legal thinking does not improve when we turn to the UN covenants and conventions the US has ratified; on the contrary, it gets worse. Consider the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, first promulgated in 1966 (but not ratified by the US until 1992). In order to make the Covenant effective, an Optional Protocol was promulgated at the same time, signatories to which agreed to the jurisdiction of the UN Human Rights Committee to hear charges of Covenant violations brought by a member state or individual. Article I of the Optional Protocol closes with the following:

No communication shall be received by The Committee if it concerns a Party to the Covenant which is not a party to the present Protocol.

Of the 140 signatories to the Covenant, 93 have also ratified the Optional Protocol; guess which major nation is not among them. Thus, even though the US has ratified the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, no charges of violations thereof can be brought before the UN unless the US agrees to it; it is equally easy to guess how often that agreement will be forthcoming. (A moral and rational person might now ask why we even bothered to ratify the Covenant if we had no intention of ratifying the Optional Protocol. Two reasons: for propaganda effect, and the fact that all and only Covenant signatories are eligible for seats on the Human Rights Committee.)

In effect, then, the US has signed on to 9, not 10, of the 25 UN international instruments, but in legal fact has actually signed on to virtually none. Every instrument ratified by the US has been accompanied by caveats: in legal parlance, "reservations, understandings, and declarations"--RUDs. All signatories to UN Human Rights instruments enter RUDs on occasion, but they are not like those entered by the US.


Source

I would suggest that people who think of America as the shining beacon of freedom in the world take a close look at what RUD's specifically have been made to various declarations and conventions by the UN. We are not free from chemical weapons usage by the police, we are not free from wartime and political propaganda, children were not until recently free from execution by the state... we are not free from a great many things which are globally understood as freedoms.

In fairness to the US, there are many signatories- without RUD's- to these conventions whose implementations of such are farcical. But there are a fair number of nations in the "West" who do honor more freedoms than the US is prepared to formally recognize.

In short, the US is free, and is an example to the non-free nations of the world, but it should not think of itself as the free-est nation on Earth, for lack of a better term. Being proud to be an American doesn't mean I have to believe America is the be-all and end-all of free nations.

-koji K.

[edit on 8-11-2005 by koji_K]

[edit on 8-11-2005 by koji_K]





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