spikegifted - Random thoughts
|are we a free nation?|
November 1, 2003
Being somebody who's not an American, but at the same time have spent time living in the US and have lots of American friends (both living in the country and living aboard), I think I've a rough impression of the country... In many aspects, the USA is a great country: You can carve out your future through hard work. You can live anywhere you like and do anything you want, as long as you don't break the law.
However, I do feel that there're lots of hidden restrictions in the US that is not immediately apparent... I certainly feel that the US is the most policed country in the world. May be it is just me, but sometimes I feel the US is like Enemy of the State. Some of these restrictions are not put in place by the letter of the law, but by practices and often by the interpretation of the law. I can't give you any specific example and I hope that some of our more learned forum members can catch on and raise some examples.
At the end of the day, I have not right to say anything about the US - I don't live there and I'm not a citizen of the country. However, these are my observations and impressions...
November 1, 2003
November 2, 2003
Bingo! That's is what I'm hoping to someone will suggest... At the end of the day, what is 'freedom'? We who live in the EU can pretty much do anything here that US citizens can do over in the US (language barrier, notwithstanding). I'm sure if lawyers sit down and figure out a list of things we can or cannot do, most people in 'Western' industrialized nations can do pretty all the same things with no or limited restrictions.
Freedom is relative. Outside the 'Western' industrialized countries, there're lots of places where there is freedom without you actually recognizing it. It is all down to how the citizens of the country deal with the rules and regulations of the state. Things that you'd think you can do in one country is probably quite difficult to do in another - due to not being familiar with local practices.
For me, standing up and shouting out 'We are the best of this and that...' does not suggest you actually know what you're talking about. However, it does suggest one of two things:
1) you're blind to
reality - spend something outside your shell and understand the others
will allow you to appreciate what you haven't got.
The cultures of the world are rich and varied. You simply can't say 'I know I won't like them so I don't want to try.' That is close-minded and self important. I, personally, resent this kind of attitude.
November 3, 2003
Now, before you
start ranting, I do realize that a majority of people don't vote.
You're completely correct in stating that the checks and balances in a democracy (or states founded on a democratic principle). However, the quality of democracy is as good as the candidate for selection under democratic rules.
Let's not pin the problem solely on politics... Let's imagine a hypothetical range of products that services an important segment of the market and substitute the names and nouns wherever relevant... In a free market [a democracy], the consumers [the voters] will ultimately decide on which company will become dominant player [which candidates/party get elected]. That's simple enough - that's the basic fundamental principle of a market economy [a democracy]. However, if all the companies [parties] of a given section of the economy [a given democracy] fall to provide products [the policies/candidates] that will satisfy their needs or desires. At the same time, the products [the policies/candidates] are vital requirements to the economy [the democracy] and therefore, the customers [the voters] are left with no choice but to buy [to vote for] the sub-standard products [policies/candidates]...
and it goes on and on...
In the end, there is a free market [democracy], but the quality of the product [the candidate/policy] is sorely lacking...
November 3, 2003
There are equivalent of what I think you're trying to say in the world of business / free market... Have you heard of 'duopoly' and 'oligopoly'? The only difference between 'duopolies' / 'oligopolies' and the 'democracies' in many Western industrialized countries is that there are still choices in 'duopolies' / 'oligopolies', companies in these segments of economies still try to compete with each other for market shares. However, and unfortunately, in many Western industrialized countries, political parties (or political thinking) are more akin to 'cartels', where the only choice to the poor performance of the incumbent is the equally poor alternative.