General Question

Poser's avatar

Are Americans afraid of freedom?

Asked by Poser (7808points) April 16th, 2009

I grew up in a very patriotic family, being told this was the land of the free. I was led to believe that we are the freest nation on earth.

As I grew up and came to understand the world better, I realized this simply isn’t true. I thought that it was the government’s fault, but now I realize that Americans have elected the government they wanted. Bush wasn’t the first president to severely inhibit the freedoms of Americans. I doubt that Obama will be the last.

I see people who are bitterly critical of people who even suggest that less government intervention in our every day lives is a good thing. And it makes me wonder: what are we so afraid of?

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43 Answers

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asmonet's avatar

I think when you deal with generalizations you run into trouble, it’s true for all generalizations.

Freedom is relative, subjective.

Some are perfectly free, while they may be directed by laws in their everyday life.
People give up others’ definition of freedom for security, stability, whatever. It’s all in how you see it.

I think we’re one of the more ‘free’ countries on Earth.
But it all depends on who you ask. :)

Response moderated
Poser's avatar

I’m sorry, can someone tell me what the fuck is going on here?

asmonet's avatar

Spam script, I’m flagging ignore it, he’ll be banned as soon as mod wakes up. :)

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’m not afraid of freedom at all. On the contrary, I feel fortunate to have certain rights available to me as afforded by the Constitution. In fact, as a military member, I’m willing to thoroughly protect and defend the freedoms that all Americans enjoy. I understand that we may have lost some ground on our privacy and rights due to the Bush presidency and other questionable government intervention but we are still far better off than many other countries in the world who have little or no rights in some cases.

While it is true that the populace elects it’s leaders here in America, we are not responsible for the decisions they make after they take office. We can attempt to have a voice in government and try to push for legislation regarding what we think is best for us but in reality, it is an imperfect system.

I have mixed feelings about less government intervention in our lives. There are pro’s and con’s to everything but if the intervention is done in moderation with the public’s best interests at heart, then I’m fully supportive of it. Unfortunately, you cannot always count on that.

Response moderated
tonedef's avatar

@Poser, it sounds like your question is actually, “Why are people afraid of anarchy?” There are a lot of freedoms that people should not have, such as the freedom to deny someone a job simply for their racial/ethnic background. Sure, you could look at it as, “Those damn libruls taking my civil rights away,” but please point to where in the constitution it’s stipulated that it’s alright to be a hateful douche.

And I think that the idea of Barack Obama stripping us of our precious freedoms is just a Foxmeme. Can you please give an example or two of freedoms that have been stripped from you?

cookieman's avatar

I really like what @carcar had to say. So insightful.

Anyway…Freedom does not equal anarchy. While we can certainly argue about how much the government should be involved in our lives, to suggest they not be involved at all is naive.

Were that to happen, you’d be looking at a real-life Lord if the Flies on a grander scale.

Also, can you cite an example of Obama limiting one if you freedoms?

ubersiren's avatar

Yes. They need to be coddled by a government. They need to feel safe. Even if it means giving certain liberties up, they want to feel like everything is taken care of. It’s like living at home with the parents. Sure you can only use the car when they give permission, but you know dinner will be on the table every night at 6. We say we care about freedom, maybe that’s true a little, but in the end we say to ourselves, “Well, I’m not starving to death and I have a roof over my head, so the government must be taking care of me… I better put my faith in them.” Or, the worst argument I hear (repeatedly), “At least we’re better than North Korea!” Well, gee, isn’t that great! Let’s celebrate our nation being a couple steps up from an oppressive communist dictatorship!

@tonedef: I didn’t see his question as referring to anarchy. Maybe libertarianism, or even a Jeffersonian ideal, but not necessarily anarchy. He said “less” government intervention, not “absence of all government.”

It is alright to be a hateful douche, btw. That’s covered in the 1st amendment. And it’s not just liberals who are taking freedoms. Bush’s administration was the one to grant governmental wiretapping.

Examples of freedoms taken away? Are you kidding?

1. Taking more than like 4 oz of liquid on an airplane. (Bush)
2. Talking privately to my grandma on the phone. (Bush, cont’d by Obama)
3. Running my business in private. (Obama)
4. Having a say on how my money is spent. (every president since W. Wilson)
5. Staking claim on land and building a home. (all presidents since implementation of property tax.
6. Do I need to mention censorship laws?
7. Leaving the country at will (if you move out of the country, your assets are taxed in obscene amounts)
8. I’m afraid our days of internet freedoms are numbered. (Obama)
9. We only have one more political party than N. Korea in which to vote in primary presidential elections
10. I bet the “Don’t tase me, bro!” guy has something to say about limited freedoms.

I can supply more if you’d like. Just let me know.

wundayatta's avatar

I have to wonder what @ubersiren and @Poser think freedom is. It sounds like a mythical world where there are no constraints on anyone, not even gravity. It sounds like an armed dystopia that makes the Wild West look like the height of organized civilization.

This is not like asking your parents for permission to use the car, unless we are our own parents. Anarchists seem to conveniently forget that we, ourselves, are selecting the society we live in and the rules we live by. We do this freely. But we don’t allow free riders—people who benefit from society, but refuse to pay for those benefits.

Actually, it seems to me that anarchists are whiners, although, and they are mainly whining because they don’t have enough money, so they blame taxes. Come on, anarchists. Get off your duffs and work, if money is so damned important to you. The rules of play are not very onerous at all. You can make plenty of money, if you’re smart enough, and work hard enough. Plenty of freedom to do that, in this country.

ubersiren's avatar

@daloon : I know you don’t support anarchism, but you are dead wrong on this. I am not whining because I don’t have enough money and am blaming taxes. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I live comfortably in terms of money. Do not make that mistake. You are sorely misinformed. You don’t allow free riders? How about the ghetto mom who has kids just so she can get assistance from the state? How about giving illegal immigrants (those who are paid under the table, paying no taxes) welfare and their children an education? How dare you say I am lazy! How dare you assume that I hold money above my freedoms! I take total offense to this… You have no idea how hard I work… how hard my whole family works. I am absolutely baffled by this argument that you make.

Total freedom is a myth. It doesn’t exist. Every action is caused by the result of something else. But why aren’t we at least being given the maximum number of choices in our own lives? It’s becoming like the movie Minority Report.

DREW_R's avatar

Yes they are. That or just frigging lazy and want the government to take care of them. They don’t want to go out and earn their freedom. They prefer welfare, socialized health care and government handouts.

wundayatta's avatar

You can’t pay taxes if you don’t make any money. It is to our advantage to help folks who aren’t working to find a way to become employable. Now the welfare system doesn’t work well at doing that, but it’s a work in progress. We’ll learn. Your information about undocumented aliens selectively looks at a small portion of this population, and conveniently ignores the vast majority who work hard and pay taxes, without earning any rights to entitlements that citizens get. They are completely the opposite of free riders. We’re the free riders in their eyes.

But why aren’t we at least being given the maximum number of choices in our own lives? This is whining. This is a passive point of view. I’m glad you are supporting yourself, paying taxes, and that your motivation for this is not to get out of paying taxes, and I apologize for offending you about that.

You aren’t given choices, you have to earn them. This is the attitude that I feel sounds like the free rider syndrome. Although the other aspect of that is that if you stop paying taxes, you still benefit from social goods. There’s no way around that. Although, I guess you’re talking about your utopia. You’d have to get everyone to agree in order to have the world you want.

But that’s what I’m saying. To get that agreement, you have to work at it. You have to study it, and find ways to prove it will be better. If you don’t, no one will follow you. I’ve spent my life trying to show people how what you would call social coddling programs are actually the best way to go. Single payer universal health coverage is much cheaper than the current system, while covering a whole lot more services for folks. The current system is just the public guaranteeing profits for insurance companies. We allow them to insure healthy people, while the public insures the least healthy: the elderly and the poor. The most sensible way of paying for health care is to put everyone in the same risk pool.

But I’m not here to argue about that. I’m here to say that I have not been whining about this. I’ve been working to make it happen. I haven’t had any success, so that means I haven’t been good enough. That’s discouraging, but I don’t blame society for that. I blame myself. I hate it when people blame others for their own failings.

tonedef's avatar

@ubersiren, maybe I was being unclear. I, too, am incredibly concerned with the disregard that federal government has for protections included in the constitution. I was specifically asking what freedoms Barack Obama has stripped from you.

Let’s leave it up to the Supreme Court to interpret the constitution, with regards to what is and is not free speech. Employment discrimination is not free speech. Lots of things are expressions—pulling a gun on somebody is an expression.

Also, you seem to believe that owning a private business is now illegal, which, actually, isn’t. Yeah, you can catastrophize the government buying shares of banks, so that they don’t implode and put millions of people on the street as one step in the march towards a Stalinist Dystopia, but that’s really more hysteria than warranted concern.

ubersiren's avatar

@tonedef : Well, I included some of those.

@daloon: Not everyone fits the description that I mentioned- I’m not saying everyone in the welfare system is a free-loader. I believe in helping fellow man, but the system is abused, and I can’t get behind it. Especially when I know that’s where my tax dollar is going.

You might see my yearning for freedoms as whining, and that’s your right to think that way. I disagree. I shouldn’t have to settle for a few freedoms and be thankful for them.

I also disagree that we have to earn choices and freedoms. We are born as free individuals. Only our societies take them away. We aren’t born with the notion that censorship is good, or bad. We are born with the choice to decide for ourselves. Why do we have to earn that choice back? My freedoms are being ransomed now? I don’t see what’s fair about that. Do you think that everyone who voices disapproval of a hand they’ve been dealt is whining?

I am working on increasing my options. Awareness of alternate life organizations is my business. I’m fighting for my right every day to be tolerated as a non-supporter of government. That doesn’t mean I think it should be abolished because I know there are those of you who need a government. It’s just not for me. There’s no vote I can cast to make this happen. I do not believe the government has its people’s best interests in mind. I just don’t believe that. Therefore, I cannot trust them with decisions that affect my life. I can vote ‘til the cows come home for who I believe will do the best job at running my life, but as we’ve seen too often, politicians rarely turn out to be what we hoped for.

wundayatta's avatar

@ubersiren Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

I see the difference now. We have a very different notion about where freedom comes from. You believe that it is a right a person is born with, and I believe that we have no rights at birth. The only way we get rights is if we agree to protect them, collectively.

I think the notion that we are born with rights is a misunderstanding of reality. Sure, the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution says that we believe we are born with inalienable rights, but that does not make it so. It is government itself that makes it so. Without governments, no rights.

You, on the other hand, do believe that birth confers rights on you, and that government constrains those rights. So, with government, no rights.

I want to know what you think rights are, and how we can be born with them. I would like to know what you think protects rights, if, indeed, they even need protecting? And if they do, then how can we be born with them? Don’t they depend on our willingness to protect them; to fight for them?

Dr_C's avatar

Government intervention whether large or small will always be a topic of debate among the free nations that have THE ABILITY TO CRITICIZE THEIR GOVERNMENT WITHOUT GETTING KILLED. Please don’t equate people wanting less government oversite to people being deprived of their freedom. I’ve had the privilege of spliting my time between a few countries and i can tell you. Just basic freedoms like freedom of speech and religion.. being able to walk down the street without getting shot.. being able to go to a club without getting stabbed (not like random violent crime in the US but a legitimate chance of having this happen to you) is something most Americans take for granted.

You sir live in one of the “Most free” nations on earth… and until you get perspective and experience true lack of freedom… your POV will always be skewed.

ubersiren's avatar

@daloon : You’ve discovered an excellent point. We differ on rights.

I’ve never been asked to define my idea of rights, but here’s a shot. I guess I don’t think there is any one answer. But my feeling is that a right is any action in which you have a choice. The exception is taking another person’s life or liberty. That’s not to say there aren’t consequences. I think you have the right to toilet paper your neighbor’s house, but on the same token, I’d laugh my ass off if he came out and whooped your ass. In other words, you have a right to act as humans do. People should defend their own rights. I know realistically that without a government enforcement of rights, some people would get taken advantage of. I admit that. But I think that happens anyway, even with government. At least if there was no government, people could only blame themselves for not defending their own rights. Crime still happens, folks. Government cannot eliminate that. Can gay people rely on their government for the freedom to let them marry one another? That is quite obvious- no. Obama himself said that he would not allow gay marriage because it’s against his religious beliefs. That is infringement on the freedoms of so many Americans, which I just see as wrong.

@Dr_C: I’m not sure if you’re referring to me or not, but first, I’m female. Second, I don’t take for granted that we are semi-free here. I just don’t want to settle for semi-freedoms. I’m thankful that my government hasn’t (yet) shot me for protesting it. I’m thankful that I could practice whatever religion I please, etc. But it doesn’t excuse all the other freedoms I’m having taken away. Why should anyone be able to select what freedoms I have? Just because our government selects a few more freedoms for us doesn’t mean it’s right.

Dr_C's avatar

@ubersiren i’m sorry… i know you’re a woman… i honestly didn’t look at who posted and just started to rant… i garee some freedoms being infringed on sucks.. but still, a different perspective might help you appreciate all you have just a bit more.

wundayatta's avatar

@ubersiren: If I understand you correctly, you are saying that each individual is responsible for defending his or her own rights.

The implication here, is that people have rights to the extent that they can defend them. If someone doesn’t have the power to do so, then too bad. Might makes right.

Would you agree that these are the logical extension of your beliefs? If not, where did I go wrong?

ubersiren's avatar

@daloon : If you can’t defend yourself, you’re entitled to find help. I just don’t think elected officials are much help.

DREW_R's avatar


I shall second that motion. ;)

tinyfaery's avatar

Ghetto mom? Since I am often harassed for calling out people’s racist comments, I will ask was that a racist comment? Because it sure sounds like one to me.

To answer the question, I am not scared to be free, I am scared of others’ freedom. I’m not scared to voice my opinion, but I am scared of what others might do because of it.

I think most people are more worried about what others have “the right” to do then what “rights” they themselves possess.

DREW_R's avatar


My ex can be considered a ghetto mom and she is in rural Oregon and white. She is set until she hits 62+ with 4 kids, each from different dads. I was target #2. I don’t think race is an issue here. ;)

ubersiren's avatar

@tinyfaery : What the hell? What’s racist about ghetto? There are white trash ghettos, black ghettos, Latino ghettos, etc. I wasn’t referring to any one specific one. Hell, there are even people of more than one race living in the same neighborhood! Gasp! No wonder you get beef for calling out racist comments… you seem to have little knowledge of what they are.

tinyfaery's avatar

“From link”:

ghet⋅to   /ˈgɛtoʊ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [get-oh] Show IPA
–noun, plural -tos, -toes. 1. a section of a city, esp. a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships.
2. (formerly, in most European countries) a section of a city in which all Jews were required to live.
3. a section predominantly inhabited by Jews.
4. any mode of living, working, etc., that results from stereotyping or biased treatment: job ghettos for women; ghettos for the elderly.

Nope. Your definition does not fit. No white ghettos where I live. Latino ghetto? No. It’s called a barrio, and I grew up in one.

Ghetto IS a prejudiced, if not racist term.

wundayatta's avatar

@ubersiren said, ”If you can’t defend yourself, you’re entitled to find help. I just don’t think elected officials are much help.

If you can’t defend yourself, then how can you find help? And who will help you? If elected officials don’t help, but you think there should be some people who do help, under what auspices will they help? And again. What’s with the entitlements? First you say rights come from defending ourselves, and now you say we’re entitled to help. Why do you suppose, is food stamps or Medicaid called an entitlement program?

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I once heard the quote, “None are more hopelessly enslaved, than those who believe they are free.”
I do not think that Americans are afraid of freedom. I just think that thanks to an educational system controlled by the federal government, it’s going to teach exactly what the federal government wants you to think. We seem to have a misconception when it comes to the word free, when used in the word freedom.
Bazooka Joe bubblegum costs $.05 a piece. Does anyone say that Bazooka Joe is free? It’s almost free, but it’s not free.

To me, freedom is a very simple thing. All rights derive from property rights. The first property I own is myself, when Im born. The only thing that limits my rights, are someone else’s equal rights. With all rights, come responsibility.
Government was created, not to grant rights, but to protect rights.
I always had the opinion that we are born with rights, but you have made me realize that without government, we would have no rights, because they are there to protect our rights.
However, government does protect our rights…. from each other. But who protects us to make sure that government is not violating our rights?

While I agree with most of what @ubersiren says, I do not agree with her about toilet papering someone’s house and then dealing with the consequences of getting beat up. There are two violations of rights there. One on each part. You each violated each other’s property.
While I agree, with all opposing views, that we need some type of government, maybe even a federal government. But with over 300 million people in the US, we need local and state government much more than we need a federal government. I pay over $12,000 a year to the Federal government and a little over $4,000 in state taxes. I would love to be able to flip those numbers around and see how much more I benefit from the money I put into the state, rather than a wasteful federal government.

The federal government and some corrupt state governments are the problem. Not government itself, but the size and scope of our big governments, that we think are there to protect us, but maybe they protect us too much. We are a civilized and established nation. We no longer need guidance from the ground up, we need guidance on how to stay up.

We dont need to government to tell us what to do or how to do it. We dont need government to give banks money, so they can loan it back to us, with interest. We dont need government to tell us what we can and cant do with our bodies, while every
day items are filled with all sorts of chemicals are accepted as the norm.
We are people. We make the products and we do the services. We buy products and services, which makes someone else money, so they can hire our services.
We need to elect the type of people that actually do these things, not the type of people who go to these expensive schools, get expensive jobs, and then get into government and regulate all kinds of things that they have no idea about.

ubersiren's avatar

@tinyfaery : Visit Cumberland Maryland. Travel between Decatur and Goethe Streets. Then, travel on Maryland and Virginia avenues. This is white ghetto. Just because there are no white ghettos where you live, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Since Cumberland is my hometown, this is what I had in mind. Please don’t prejudge me.I guess I have to apologize for not knowing proper terminology for a “barrio.” But, you’re admitting that they exist.

@daloon: I’m not understanding why someone who is unable to defend themselves is unable to find help. I don’t get that correlation. One can ask a multitude of people, organizations, churches, charities, groups, etc. for help. Unless you have a disability that enables you to communicate, and don’t know anyone who can speak for you, I don’t know why asking for help would be difficult. I never said we were entitled to help, I said we are entitled to find help. Entitled by whom? By our freedom of choice- our humanity. Not a government or document. We’re born with rights and we shouldn’t have to defend ourselves to keep them, but when someone is threatening to take them away, defense is necessary.

I think it’s in our nature to want to help our fellow man. Not everyone is as compassionate as others, but I think we are hurt by human suffering. If it’s not out of love, it’s for survival. It’s in mankind’s interest to keep each other alive and happy.

@chris6137: I want to be clear that I don’t condone violation of property, but I think people should have that choice. That’s what makes us human.

tinyfaery's avatar

Cumberland, Maryland has a thickly populated slum area of a city? You mentioned 2 streets. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 21591. There are more people in my neighborhood than the whole city of Cumberland. I wouldn’t say this is a ghetto.

ubersiren's avatar

@tinyfaery : Holy shit… I fucking said BETWEEN 2 streets you twit. It covers that whole end of the downtown area. It is EXTREMELY more densely populated in that area than in the surround areas. Just because it’s not AS populated as possibly where you’re from doesn’t mean it’s not DENSELY populated. Yes. It’s very much a fucking slum. Will you drop this already? Fucking Christ, I am not a fucking racist and I don’t know why you’re fucking hanging on this. I can’t believe you’re trying to argue that your town is slummier than mine. Get over yourself. Fuck…

wundayatta's avatar

@ubersiren I’m not at all sure what you think government is, or why you feel so separate from it. Government is no different than all those other organizations you spoke of: churches, charities, etc. It might be larger, but it also isn’t monolithic. Local governments tussle with each other; state governments are fractured; and the federal government? It’s so huge it has no idea what it is doing.

In any case, the difference is that we have quite different ideas about where rights come from. We were animals first. Animals have no rights. No wrongs, either. They just are. And we just were.

Rights are a fairly new concept in the history of mankind. It is an extraordinary thing to find we live in a time where people think we are born with rights. It is only people cooperating who ensure rights, and even then, we do a pretty poor job of making then equal.

We only have rights if we organize ourselves to grant and protect the rights we want to have. We use government as a vehicle (but not the only one) to do that. Religions used to be the government, back when everyone was in the same religion. In those days, religion protected rights, such as they were.

Nowadays our rights are under attack from everywhere. Sometimes, yes, from the government. George Bush had a lot to do with that. But corporations do their part, and greedy people do a part, and stupid people do a part, as do people who don’t want to cooperate with anyone else.

From the way you talk, I think that if you got rid of a government, you’d just rebuild it. I think you are being idealistic, but that you underestimate the problems humanity faces, and the pressure that exist to form governments to do all the things you think should be done. It really is the most efficient way to do a lot of things. It is also far from perfect. But it is our government, and if we work hard enough, we can make it do the right things.

I think you see yourself as outside the system, and as having no interest in, nor benefit from the current system of governance. I think that if you watch carefully, you’ll find that is not as true as you think.

Darbio16's avatar

What the fucks wrong with breaking down this Fascist, corrupt and imperialistic government in order to rebuild it? That’s how we have these “rights” that we “animals” enjoy today. We can’t even begin to address issues facing humanity until we get back to the constitution if any of the brain dead sheep, known as the America general public, would bother to read it.

However, in the 1870’s, the constitution was amended to include the most ridiculous of laws regarding corporations and the treatment they would receive. Even our constitution was corrupted including much of the 13th amendment and on.

What should always be embraced by Americans is the Bill of Rights, those first ten vital amendments to our constitution, that had been paid for in many ways by all involved in shaping the once fine republic.

The very size of our government will cause it to topple inward upon itself, though not before numerous deaths and tragedies should occur. The severity of matters will reflect greatly upon the reaction from society as a whole. Judging by current standards people have long forgotten 9/11 and the treats of terrorism. After all our government did launch an all out assault on a two front war. Shock and awe, remember? We certainly mounted a death toll as well, over 1,000,000 people dead, using bombs supplied by independent contractors just fucking loving it.

It isn’t even so much as freedoms we lost as care we once had in ourselves. Independence was the name of the game, not state sponsored dependence.
We are brain washed into thinking we absolutely just need a one role job in order to work endlessly for money in order to then buy just about everything we use in our lives; whereas generations preceding ours enjoyed true independence buy producing for themselves much of what they required. Do you think that one hundred years ago our nations was so dependent on Chinese merchandise?

Don’t be so easily fooled as the think that this is an all American problem. The elite play globally. Fascism prevails globally, and Communism. Two sides of the same coin. All leading to a global oligarchy. Here’s a quote that adds insult to injury because it is true as it relates to most western civilizations.

“None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It’s not that we are afraid of freedom, it’s that we think we already have it. We may of had a chance after the revolution, but it had been perverted into a fascist, socialistic, debt-based police state. Much care had been taken by the elite to flood society with fabricated media, both digital and print, in order to shape society. Not only the media, but a myriad of institutions that control such areas as law, politics, finance, science, trade organizations and education.

Both sides of the religion argument agree that it is important to get a person while they are young. The same is true for just about everything. Forming opinions is no different. It has been said that the media doesn’t tell you what to think, but it does give you an awful lot to think about. A handful of corporate, national mind you, media outlets on t.v. portray the same few news stories among them as if those few stories were all that mattered in the world.

People tend not to want to hear that they are living a lie, so when you hit someone with this shit bluntly they tend to freak out usually in denial. Artists and authors understand this. Using symbolism predates the bible and is very effective, when understood. Many works of fiction foretell events that have or may happen. Works such as James bond, the novel “Animal Farm”, The Matrix series, V For Vendetta, and many other politically driven symbolic films tell of dire times and evil plots.

See the symbolism and you shield yourself from that which harms the global community. Fail to see the symbolism and you will be herded like the sheep you have become. If the bastards want a new world order, lets fuck theirs up and make our own, one that truly reflects the needs of man and not of corporations.

wundayatta's avatar

So I agree with you about facism and totalitarianism and that there is too much of it in the world. I would not lump socialism in the boat, however.

However, what I’m wondering is if you are opposed to cooperation or not. If not, what organization do you find acceptable to facilitate human cooperation. Is your problem with government just it’s massive size, or is it government per se? If it is the massive size, then how should a country with 330 million people organize itself? Should the country disband itself?

Personally, I consider myself a cooperativist. I don’t think organizations should grow larger than 2000 people. This includes towns and cities and whatnot. There could be a mechanism for each group of 2000 to cooperate with other groups, and for larger organizations of groups to cooperate more widely.

Of course, such an organization would make much more difficult the possibility of economies of scale, such as massive corporations enjoy today. But then, it would make it much more difficult for there to be a worldwide corporativist oligarchy. Perhaps there is a way to organize economies of scale while limiting functional organization size to 2000 folks.

What it would mean is that there could be no centralized power capable of ordering any group larger than 2000 people to do anything. They would have to organize to gain cooperation instead of maintaining hierarchical control. I don’t know if this would create the freedom you want, @Darbio16. But it’s my way of addressing the problem you bring up.

As to why Americans are not very interested in trying to exert more decision-making power in their own lives (which is how I would phrase it, instead of calling it being afraid of freedom), I think there are numerous reasons. It takes time and energy and thought. I don’t think most people believe themselves capable of enough of these things to have a meaningful or competent say in decision-making concerning the affairs of organizations larger than 2000 or so people. So they leave it to the people they believe are more competent or more organized or more educated than they are, reserving for themselves the right to complain (but not the obligation of coming up with a better idea).

There is an oligarchy of expertise in this world. I believe most people don’t believe they can gain the expertise to make useful decisions. Like leaving medical decisions up to doctors, they leave the decisions in so many areas of their lives up to the experts—auto mechanics, plumbers, educators, financial advisers, etc, etc. Few people feel qualified to be knowledgeable in enough subject areas to be able to take charge. Thus, they give up freedom.

It’s as simple as that. They don’t know enough, so they let the experts tell them what they should do. Or, the people they believe are experts. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of people do not do the majority of decision-making in their own lives. They follow advice, instead.

Now, if people were to go “off the grid” perhaps they could regain the decision-making power. I’m not sure that’s realistic, and even if it were, I think the oligarchy of expertise would simply be reinvented. I don’t really see a reasonable alternative. I look at myself, and I think I’m a fairly well educated guy, but I leave so many decisions affecting my life to others, because I don’t want to be bothered. It works well enough. And when it doesn’t, I take more of an interest.

Darbio16's avatar

You are right, people need some education. Knowledge is free, but education cost quite a bit. Learning how to be a doctor is free, being educated is quite expensive.

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” Thomas Jefferson

He didn’t say
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people by charging them to go to institutions of learning… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty if the corporate media says so.”

People don’t want to learn because they can’t afford to. Or they feel that thinks are much more complex than they really are. That’s how every expert in every field gets away with charging a premium. Everyone would agree that knowledge is power. But to control the knowledge would be even greater power.

Woodrow Wilson said this about his passing of the Federal Reserve Act.

“I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

Woodrow Wilson was president of Princeton from 1902–1910, he was just as much a puppet for the elite then in shaping young minds as he was during his presidency. We all, one way or another, most likely consider ourselves well educated to some degree. As it is true with every statement that ever would be, you must consider the source.

We are cattle and commodities to our world. No one will ever get any flak from the government as long as you go to work, pay your taxes and just shut the fuck up. But is that all there really is to life? People would argue that, “hey, i don’t have to shut up, we got the freedom of speech here”. Thats great. I don’t want that to ever leave us. But honestly. When was the last time you petitioned cancer to go away? Have you ever lawfully assembled a tornado away? Can you receive a redress of grievances from an armed band of pirates. What a joke, the founding fathers obviously knew the limitations of talking the government into doing what is right. Why do you think that the very next amendment of the Constitiution holds the right to bear arms and form a militia?

Here’s another quote from an “expert” in dealing with oppressive governments.

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” Thomas Jefferson

The founders had a way of getting the power spread equally. By simply letting the states handle their own affairs. Mind you its way bigger than 2,000 people, but it did provide the type of protection necessary. Lawyers and judges perverted the constitution to include far reaching laws to basically abolish the rule of individual states whenever they see fit.

Sounds to me like the people that should be shacking up in the woods are the many of you not prepared for the new revolution that could be just years away, if not sooner.

wundayatta's avatar

You remind me of myself thirty years ago, except I was advocating socialism.

The revolution is forever coming, but never actually arriving. People just don’t have the stomach for it. Your people are the same as mine in that way. As long as people’s lives meet most of their expectations, there can be no revolution. Nor reform. Of anything. Not real reform.

Darbio16's avatar

I often wonder whether the arms of fascism shape even the conspirators mind into advocating their next position while using the mass media to control those already in their clutches. You say you advocated socialism, I denounce it. I call for revolution, you say not possible. Every time we get up and protest they tighten their grip more. After the sixties we sure developed a shit load of riot police.

If there were revolution, i fear it would be short lived, patriots would be swept up with the might police/military power we posses. This would of course be used to tighten their grip in making a socialist police state. We are but patsy. Those who take into consideration the validity, based on reason, of a conspiracy just may be doomed into setting the stage for the next series of political events. In other words, divide and conquer on all ends.

“The idea was that those who direct the overall conspiracy could use the differences in those two so-called ideologies [marxism/fascism/socialism v. democracy/capitalism] to enable them [the Illuminati] to divide larger and larger portions of the human race into opposing camps so that they could be armed and then brainwashed into fighting and destroying each other.” Myron Fagan

Either way, that should not stop you from realizing the dreams of your youth in stopping the elite. I too, most likely, will one day be telling a man 30 years my junior that I have given up and accepted my time here on earth. I will most likely settle down and begin to get comfortable in what i am seeing. But as long as I keep my youth of mind , i suppose, i will never let go of the idea of global freedom, however fleeting it may seem. It isn’t even my fight alone, but I feel that i am alone among my peers, and among my countrymen.

wundayatta's avatar

Becoming more pragmatic is not the same as letting go of ideas. I’m not suggesting you do that at all. What I am suggesting is that if you changed the way you talk about your ideas, you might get more people to listen to you or to (heaven forbid) cooperate with you. The problem with rugged individualists is they can never get together to work on the same team.

Darbio16's avatar

If you want “sugar-coated” you won’t get it from me. Now is not the time for men to be speaking gently of the injustices that face us. I don’t team up with sheep, I really don’t have time to be a Shepard. I am here to inform, not recruit. To awaken the mind, not join in some ideological circle jerk where moderation is king and political correctness is judge.

Even if all I say is a lie, the value of questioning authority is priceless. Many a freedom has been retained in that way. Many more lost by not.

wundayatta's avatar

If you want “sugar-coated” you won’t get it from me.

Which is a sign that you disrespect your own message. If you really believed it, you’d try to say it in a way that people can hear it. In any case, pragmatism does not require sugar-coating. Is your goal to bloviate or to make a difference?

ItsAHabit's avatar

Asian societies tend to value social order over individual freedom. I think that people around the world tend to be moving in that direction. We tend to prefer security over freedom.

Read Escape From Freedom.

jerv's avatar

Freedom is chaos.
Chaos may help you or hurt you.
People don’t want to be hurt, even if it’s by a direct consequence of their own actions.
Therefore, freedom is bad.

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