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I subscribe to a small journal dedicated to country living. In a recent issue, a letter to the editor caught my eye. It was responding to an article in which the editor made the following assertion: “What, on paper, would appear to be the freest society in the world appears, in practice, to be among the most oppressive. Does this bother anyone besides me?”
Here is a letter in response:
I would like to agree with you. It bothers me for two reasons. And not the reasons you might think. You see I’m not American though I have been visiting the USA for 20 years or so for vacation and business so have the perspective of an outsider.
The two reasons are that 1) the people in the US seem to be oblivious to the inexorable legalistic technocracy that the nation is becoming and 2) since the US culture is globally influential through media and multi-national businesses there is a creeping legalism in countries where common sense normally prevails.
Over the years when I have left the US to head home to the UK, I have felt that I was leaving a police state for the land of the free….A slight exaggeration to make the point, but not far off. I have felt that common sense is disappearing from the US social life and being replaced by laws. An example: In the UK there are no laws against jaywalking (except on Freeways)…you will not be booked for crossing a road when the man is on red. The lights are to advise adults when it is safe to cross rather than treating people as children to be caught for being naughty…the impression I have when visiting the US is that 1) really it is the least free country I regularly visit (I now work in Australia and spend a lot of time in Asia and Europe too). 2) people are told/brainwashed that the US is the land of the free. 3) things are getting worse. The most insidious part is point 2. It is an example of American Exceptionalism. Which is to say that since the US is the biggest economy in the world, there is a natural extension to ‘the US is the best in the world…at everything.’ Though the US certainly is the best at some things, I would argue that most of these are in the economic sphere rather than in the social and that the US is walking zombie-like down a de-humanizing path of over-regulated social and cultural life. I hope the US wakes up to this because of the influence it has outside of its shores.
Originally posted by thoughtsfull
I wouldn't consider myself freeer than Americans.. but do have different focal point for my freedoms.