Another Take on Freedom

A friend pointed me to this video, and I have to say its magnetic.  A Polish immigrant witnesses an act of oppression by the NYPD, and discusses it within the context of his views of America, freedom, and communism.  How he ends the clip is powerful and revealing:

This kinds of incidents are signs of the death of your freedom.  And when American freedom dies, what do you think will happen with the rest of the world?

For all the criticism of America, we still a staggering amount of freedom compared to the rest of the world.  We are in many ways seen in the very way we market ourselves:  “The land of the free”.  So as we engage in torture, censorship, and rip more and more freedom and power from our citizens, what does the rest of the world make of this?

Its a similar feeling to seeing one of the smartest employees at your firm fired, or watching the “smart kid” in class fail a tough exam.  Suddenly your own position in life seems even more precarious.  With every patriot act and unlawful order to spy on Americans, we are causing a great deal of anxiety abroad.  If we slide towards totalitarianism, where does that leave the rest of the world?

America as an imperial force is generating a great deal of anger abroad for how we treat other countries.  But we are also creating a great deal of fear in how we treat our own citizens.  Coupled with our wars, we are making violence, both internal and external, appear a more acceptable course of action.

More than our own interest is at stake in standing up for freedom at home and peace abroad.  Our country is headed down a very dangerous path, and it is up to us to be the people who lovingly guide it back to the ideals and principles that can make us the light of the world.  George Bush was right when he said “Freedom is contagious“.  We have to catch it first.

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13 Responses

  1. HOw in the world you can write a cloumn like this and be the same person that detests Ron Paul is beyond me.

    Paul isn’t perfect, but he’s our last best chance of returning our country to the people.

  2. He doesn’t detest RP. He is just young. I was a lot like this guy when I was younger. Fresh out of college, I was about as communist / socialist as they come. It takes a certain about of experience to cause you to reevaluate your worldviews. Because he continually engages us supporters here, I believe he is closer to a shift than he might realize.

    I suppose I should say she/he, to be correct.

  3. Alexia, I don’t really detest Ron Paul, I detest some of his positions.
    I don’t think he is our “last best chance”. Getting rid of the federal government is not a panacea. If you have too many rules, you don’t have freedom. The police state is an example of that extreme. But with not enough rules, you also lack freedom. Then might becomes right.
    There is a middle path.

  4. Bret,
    Age doesn’t really enter into it. Ron Paul has a number of positions I oppose. When those positions change, I’d consider a shift (who wouldn’t?).

    But the simple act of engaging in dialog is not, in itself, and indication of one being on the verge of conversion.

    In my case it is an indication of a desire for (and appreciation of) dialog.

  5. I am going to take you to task here buddy … how exactly do you have less freedom with “not enough rules”??

  6. 5. bret,
    With “not enough rules”, there is nothing in place to stop abuse of power. If you remove all regulation of business, you can find freedom restricted by large corporations who create oppressive working conditions.

    Imagine no child labor laws, no laws against housing employees on company property, or on workplace safety.

    Just because there isn’t a law restricting you, doesn’t mean you are free.

  7. In a truly deregulated environment, there can be no oppressive working conditions because the labor supply will avoid them in favor of other, better conditions.

    I know you are going to say but look at industrial revolution yadda yadda… but what about comparing the admittedly dangerous factory conditions children were employed in with the backbreaking farm labor or working in mines, etc.

    Ultimately in a strictly voluntary market, corporations would have to compete to offer better conditions to attract and retain workers. Look at how prized Google employment is . . . or, for that matter, the government (chuckle).

  8. That has never worked. The fantasy of the Free Market is just that, a fantasy. Employers will always look for ways to cut cost, which means hiring people for less does spiraling wages down not up. If your looking for work and your told, I can hire you now for $3.35 and hour or you can hold out for something better sometime in the future, what would you take. If your fired or loose your job and the next offer is at $1.75, will you wait out for more?

  9. I also posted this video on my blog and I think you should see the latest post on Jesus’ General on Fear and Government.

  10. I commented on this at Rafael’s –
    Well caught by him, although agent provocateurs are not new, anywhere. And I don’t think America is either a beacon of freedom or the canary in the coalmine for repression. Such is the power of its exported cultural products. Perhaps the greatest fear (for Americans) is it will become an equal country among others, no country is ‘No.1’ nor should it be. Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel (should be printed on all flags! Like a national memento mori).–
    Plus Ron Paul’s mob sure are tenacious, like children writing notes for Santa.

  11. 7 & 8,
    Rafael is right on here Bret. It is a fantasy.
    9. Rafael,
    Do you mean Fear is the Libertykiller by Austin Cline?
    (And I saw the post, thanks!)
    10. RickB,
    Dig the Sam Johnson quote.
    But patriotism can be so much more.
    America may not be that canary in the coalmine, but many see us that way. We have a responsibilty to live up to the promise of our rhetoric. And that which we praise the most is our freedom.

  12. Hey you guys, competition does not make the Free Market a fantasy. Yes, it will always be a competition to produce products as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible. Why is that a problem?

    You seem to suggest a high paying job should fall in your lap and then always be there. That, my friends, is the pure fantasy.

    And yes – we are tenacious, baby. It’s been a long time coming, after all. This is our moment. I’m just hoping some of you will come around to see the light!

  13. 12. Bret,
    Relying on competition to handle every situation completely is the fantasy. Competition might get rid of subpar conditions in some situations, but in others (as Rafael points out), it will not help.

    There is nothing wrong with competitive drive. There is something wrong with competition at any cost.

    I don’t suggest that at all. Although I do think there ought to be at least a federal living wage that accurately reflects the cost of living.

    With regard to “the light”, I can see both the light and the shadow, and hence I am blinded by neither.

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