Saturday, February 24, 2007

what is freedom?

janis joplin would say that it is "just another word for nothing left to lose" and i would say it might be a fairly accurate description. we, here in america, have believed for a couple of centuries that we have cornered the market on freedom- but what exactly does it mean? i think that there is this nebulous, lofty idea that we carry around but i don't know if we understand fully what freedom is. now, we can point to nations in africa and the middle east- and even south america- and say with certainty that their governments do not promote 'freedom' for their people. why? because those places are clearly run by dictatorial style governments. our fate is perhaps less apparent.

time got me thinking from the last post- he suggested that i overstated my opinion that we are living in a police state and that we have the government that we voted for since very few of us actually go out to vote in our democratic republic. i can't say that i disagree. no- we are not a full blown police state yet- not all of us anyway. how long do you think we will remain that way? for all of the reasons and legislation stated in the last post- we are there on the edge of a police state. and so i ask again- what is freedom to america?

getting up and going to work and sending your children to a compulsory public school; going to work to earn money to live in the type of home you can afford and buy the things that you need and want with no thought to it; being able to fly or drive anywhere to visit friends and relatives; having the ability to call or email anyone in the world at any time of the day. now, i submit to you that your freedom has become an illusion. we have sacrificed our freedom for convenience.

we are at the mercy of anyone and everyone- because we are no longer self sufficient. i am not advocating that we all sell our homes and become subsistence farmers again- but looking at the bigger picture is never a bad thing. think about your daily life- and think about it in the context of the aforementioned legislation and actions of this government. your home's power is controlled; your food sources are controlled; your water sources are controlled; your finances are controlled- by big mega corporations. big commercial farms and energy companies and municipalities and banks and whatnot. all very convenient- but out of your control. you get cable tv- and have 6 or 8 choices for your 'news' but what happens when you flip between a few? you find that they are all carrying the same stories. food in the stores- you have 8 different choices for snacks and they are mostly different companies' brands of potato chips. meat on sale in the store? one week it is all beef and the next- pork. think about it. think about how easy it would be to cut off power or water or food to regions of the country who might resist a police state. think about it in the context of this winter- cold temps and deep snows.

it isn't a call to give up your life- it is a call to think about it. think about what freedom really is- and think about the best way to save it. think about what it really is we are working for. look beneath the surface at the way things really are- instead of the facade. america is famous for the 'double lives' we lead. white picket fence on the inside with termites at the foundation of the house on the inside. puritans vs. porn. just think about it.


Peacechick Mary said...

Excellent post again, Betmo and a smack of reality. It's already happening in New Orleans. People are told they can't come home; can't occupy buildings even tho they are repairable. They are trying to force out the black and the poor population, shoving them down deeper and deeper. I always wondered what the rest of the country would do when one area gets locked down.

QUASAR9 said...

"but looking at the bigger picture is never a bad thing. think about your daily life"

Hi Betmo,
thinking about the big picture:
There was almost a civil war in Anerica over the Vietnam War, but the police were firmly on the side of government against long haired hippies & peaceniks.

Millions of people demonstrated against the invasion of Iraq, but the governments of the US (and uk) went ahead - kept them in the news
Bush & Blair (and CNN) making history - right before your eyes.

And of course thay are very popular with those who profit from war, and those who fear the 'demons' in Cheney's head. As if Iraq or any other country in the world is in a position to attack the US - how ignorant can 1B

But think - imagine if the next government wanted to cut medicare.
No matter how many demonstrations, they would go ahead and do it.

Of course pharmaceutical companies love medicare, they know the public can't pay so they need the vast government subsidies to keep them in profit.

But before the government cut food or power supplies - they'll stop caring for the old and the sick - the old and the sick that can't pay that is. And those who can pay will be bled 'dry'

Imagine though who the $8.00 a gallon will hit. Petrol prices and congestion charges (on roads) are being sold as green & necessary environmental measures - but who are they driving off the road - the less well off.

And housing in Britain is increasingly going the way of a country whose name doesn't even merit a 'mention' - the less able, the poor, those on lower incomes who will never be able to buy their own home - are being forced into 'high rent' accommodation, as the local Councils are encouraged to sell one million Council homes to private Housing Associations, to provide 'affordable' housing for key workers and those who can pay. Yep instead of becoming a more equal nation, we are robbing land and living space from the poor (and the protection of the State) to sell said land and homes to accommodate the needs of the private sector.

See we now need to pay key workers £30,000 a year, but that is still not enough to secure a mortgage on high priced 'shoe boxes' - so the state has to subsidise their homes by up to 20%
But the money for these subsidies is coming from the wholesale of Council homes, the very homes the State built for those on lower incomes. They are now being sold to people on middle incomes (at vast profit) - and those on lower incomes are being forced into private rented accommodation (with higher rents) ...

Now when the Conservative tried to do this, there was uproar from Labour - but now it is Tony Blair's New Labour has completed the process.

SadButTrue said...

I did a post a few days ago at Les Enrag├ęs based on Jane Smiley's question "What would you do if Bush declared martial law?" Smiley didn't really contemplate the brutal methods that would likely be used. I did, but thought it prudent to keep them to myself. Your post nibbles on the edges of the very nightmare I had in mind.

"your home's power is controlled; your food sources are controlled; your water sources are controlled" - OK, apply that as a tactic in establishing a police state. In the middle of a heat wave, cut off water and electricity to a city like Los Angeles, Houston, or Las Vegas. Then block the onramps to all the major routes out of town. Shut down all the gas stations for good measure.

The people would be forced to capitulate within hours.

ACTION ALERT: Visit and sign the petition to reverse some of the worst provisions of the Military Commissions Act.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

.....cornered the market on freedom- but what exactly does it mean?
Different things to different people, I believe. There are millions who see nothing wrong with the way we live.

we are not a full blown police state yet- not all of us anyway.
Again, I think that is a matter of perception. Back in the heyday of the Militia movement, they claimed we were living in a police state. Currently, I don't know how anyone can say we're not borderline at minimum; I say we're a full blown police state: it's just disguised in a way "that goes down better."

we are at the mercy of anyone and everyone
If you think about it though, weren't the very first Pilgrims at the mercy of various things? Had the Indians not taught them how to survive.... Mother Nature wasn't so kind as well. I see your point, but unless we live in a mud hut, grow our own food completely, and dress in animal skins....we are going to be at somebody's mercy, aren't we? I think the difference is, "back then" we were at the mercy of others, but they knew they were at the mercy of "us" too, so everybody pulled together for one common good. Today, we are indeed at the mercy of our Government and our Corporations, and those two have an incestuous relationship.

white picket fence on the inside with termites at the foundation of the house on the inside. puritans vs. porn.
Very well said! I believe we have given up far more control than we ever needed to, because "it wasn't my ox getting gored so the hell with it."

AlaskaBaby said...

I agree, Janis was on to something. Sadly enuf, in the time that's passed since she sang "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose", we've managed to lose even more.

Time said...

The dictionary describes freedom as: 1. The condition of being free. 2. Political independence - possession of civil rights 3. Ease of movement 4. Frankness or boldness 5. Unrestricted use or access.

Government steps in to define if my right to do as I please, is harmful or intruding on other people's rights. Obvious examples (crimes) are murder, rape, robbery, theft, ect., ect...

Not so obvious examples might be housing codes, seat belt laws, smoking laws, eminent domain laws, ect., ect...

Of course the more laws, rules, and regulations; the less freedom we all have. We generally agree that these laws protect us for important reasons of health, safety, security, fairness, ect., ect...

There always have been and always will be disagreements!

If I smoke; why can't I smoke indoors? why do I pay high taxes on my cigarettes? Because it's unhealthy and raises costs to the system? All sorts of everyday practices are unhealthy and raise costs to the system (obesity).

Why do I need government approval, or pay a fee, just because I want to remodel my bathroom, or my house?

Why must I pay a fee and have a license, just to fish, or hunt?

Why must I be personally searched, just because I want to fly to Florida?

Why must I have my communications monitored just because we are at war?

If I have no children, why must I pay expensive school taxes?

The civil thing to do, is to take our disagreements to the courts. The courts should enforce the laws passed by the legislative branch. If not specifically listed, it is the judges job (with good sense and reason) to decide if a particular event falls within the intent of the laws.

When a leader is hiding their actions, breaking the law, endangering the people, or lying to the people; the people must speak out to ensure the system can reign in the behavior of the unstable, or criminal behavior of that leader.

If the people think a law is unfair, illegal, or unconstitutional; they have to bring that to the courts to be decided.

If we are losing our freedom, it is because we have not been doing our job, as citizens.

For myself, I take a much more liberal view than has been reflected by my elected representatives.

I am frustrated, but can only live by the laws as the majority of my fellow citizens have voted their wishes.

I count on the process described above to curtail abuses and abusive leaders. In my opinion, that process has failed.

The only way to correct that failure, is to elect different representatives. But my ideology still seems to be in the minority.

At what point can we claim freely elected leaders are destroying our rights, our government, and endangering our lives?

The people of Germany ELECTED Hitler. I don't believe they knew how far he would go, but they kept following him, with each evil step.

Professor Zero said...

I think we're in a police state. I can feel it. It does not have to look
as ghoulish, on the surface, of some other police states, because it is maintained in a more subtle way.

Anonymous said...

Freedom is a word I rarely use - without thinking.

Donovan - 1965

No said...

Me and Bobby McGee..just had to say that.

Coffee Messiah said...

written by Kris Kristofferson.

You all have covered most everything else! ; )