It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Are you free?

page: 1

log in


posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 01:31 AM

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.

**I do not like to excessively quote and I know this is rather excessive I just thought this part of the article was very crucial and important, cutting it in half or more would reduce its meaning specifically for those who do not want to read the full piece.**

Okay so by this point you read the article and now I want to get your opinion on it. This is hopefully not one of those "I agree" or "There are things in there I do not agree with" threads which bring short responses, I want to really know what your opinion is of this article and its key points after you have read it in its entirety.

Hope we can have a good discussion.

posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 02:34 AM
reply to post by Misoir

I don't remember when I first began to become aware of American Exceptualism other than it was during the Olympics. The fans of the US team rocking the stands with USA , USA,USA. There was such an attitude of we've got to win it all. Because we're America. USA, USA.
But first of all, we're not America. We are the USA.

We built up the biggest teams. The best coached teams . The best trained athletes. We had the most money.
Pretty simple really.
And the stands would rock,

posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 03:28 AM
reply to post by Misoir

The above quoted strikes familiar with anyone that has read "Democracy in America" by Alexis d'Tourquiville. While it may be dated, it strikes at many of the same social and political issues we deal with to this day.

Take for instance the similarities to the following and what the above quoted text is stating: "In America the principle of the sovereignty of the people is NEIther barren nor concealed, as it is with some other nations; it is recognized by the customs and proclaimed by the laws; it spreads freely, and arrives without impediment at its most remote consequences If there is a country in the world where the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people can be fairly appreciated, where it an be studied in its application to the affairs of society, and where its dangers and its advantages may be judged, that country is assuredly America."

Strikingly different and quite the opposite, for if a philosopher outside of America were to study the peoples' of this nation, I believe they will not make such an assumption this day in age.

One of my favorite observations of his is when he is commenting on democratic nations love for equality more than freedom.

"I think that democratic communities have a natural taste for freedom; left to themselves, they will seek it, cherish it, and view any privation of it with regret. But for equality their passion is ardent, insatiable, incessant, invincible; they call for equality in freedom; and if they cannot obtain that, they still call for equality in slavery. They will endure poverty, servitude, barbarism, but they will not endure aristocracy."

Isn't that the it is where we are today I believe. In our efforts to make everyone equally free, but if we cannot, there are pockets of a free society that will call for the equality upon their level; even if that means we bring people down from where they are standing at. If that makes sense.

posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 03:54 AM
I have to admit that msot of my family are in the US and I work with US coporates, but to be honest I do my utmost not to visit, and genreally try to cover off the global project I work on with conf calls.. simply becuase I'll get myself in trouble for the things I can not accept as being the norm.

Picking a couple of examples...
If stopped by the Police I get out of my car and meet the buggers eye to eye.. I **** hate Police looking down on me.. I also know I would slap anyone who tried a "grope down" on me or my partner.. and I am by no means brave, in fact I consider myself quite the chicken..

While I hope Americans regain some comon sense I will say my country (the UK) is heading down the same path.. sad times indeed. but all in all I still consider myself quite free
I wouldn't consider myself freeer than Americans.. but do have different focal point for my freedoms.
edit on 8/3/11 by thoughtsfull because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 09:36 AM

Originally posted by thoughtsfull
I wouldn't consider myself freeer than Americans.. but do have different focal point for my freedoms.

Until you have a completely irresponsible amount of access to fire arms, most Americans will argue that the UK is nowhere near as free as they are. Thought I'd throw that out there since you brought up "focal points". Freedom is a matter of perspective. I can't go build on an empty patch of grass in the boonies that my taxes paid for, therefore I am not free.

posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 10:36 AM
reply to post by Cuervo

Yep, thats the ongoing debate I have with my relatives in the USA
but it is all a matter of perspective. While I might not be able to have my own arsenal, not having one can give you other advantages.

I see it that we both do/say things the other cant.. now our lack of firearms might be the reason why the people around here can get away with blowing up 400+ parking meters with explosives (Lewes, Sussex, Southern England) CCTV is clearly useless, as demonstrated by the 26 times the parking meters in the High Street have been blown up, while I am sure those committing these acts are emboldened further due to the lack of a threat you'll get shot by the law enforcement as they might in the USA.

However our Law Enforcement are armed with a reward, and with stickers and beer mats to get their point across that it is naughty


edit on 8/3/11 by thoughtsfull because: had to add the word "up" since blowing parking meters seemed rather rude

top topics

log in