Thursday, December 02, 2004

A word on Freedom

I have a confession. I hate the word freedom, as used in American political circles. I see it as nothing more than a propaganda tool used to sway eager citizens to some lofty idyllic notion. Can one even really define freedom? The only true freedom is in Jesus Christ. However politically it does not exist. All nations grant their citizens certain liberties and all require their citizens to follow a certain syntax or law. That is government.

If you look at the word 'freedom' in any speech given by an American politician, it would be quite appropo for you to instead substitute 'democracy'. Or more specifically that of a republic, but I digress. By using the word freedom it sends a signal to the American public, telling them that we posses something superior and quite unique, building in them what I would designate as unhealthy patriotism. But are Americans truly more free than say our European counterparts? In Germany for instance I have the 'freedom' to drive as fast as I would like on the autobahn. However unlike the Germans, I have the 'freedom' to choose my political beliefs without fear of punishment from my affiliated party.

The real danger in using 'freedom' as a term in American politics, is that studies have shown that the American public is quite ignorant and impressionable in terms of international awareness. Thus if we designate ourselves as free and another nation as not, we have bypassed a quitessential element of a republic--descention.


At 10:56 AM, Blogger bombasticbeats said...

I agree, the term is thrown around a lot, but what the heck does it even mean? It's so nebulous, and I cant't help but get the feeling I'm being being fed something that is not good for me. When I worked nights at the warehouse this guy would listen to the live Toby Keith album 5 or 6 times a night. In his lyrics freedom and patriotism are synonymous. Makes me shutter, he is so racist it's scary to think how many people love that guy.

At 4:42 PM, Blogger That one guy said...

The problem, largely, goes back to the power of language and the mind. People don't want to "be" free, rather, they want to "feel" free. As you noted, true freedom only comes from Christ, but that doesn't give the "feeling" that people want. Americans, especially, don't want anything, they want the feeling of it. We don't want to be safe, we want to feel safe, so we tell passengers that there are air marshalls on the flights--we don't know who they are, but, trust us, they are there. We don't want to be free, we want to feel it. When we are told, suddenly that we aren't free (by another country or an group from within our society) we are at arms with the government and our society--the soceity that we worked at creating and, largely, are responsible for. We don't want to be moral people, we want to feel like we are moral people. Therefore, we weight moral issues. The "important" issues we are moral about, but screw the rest of them. Both the left and the right are guilty of this. (The left, largely, places international "moral" issues above domestic and the right, largely, places domestic "moral" issues above international). Twenty-two percent of the nation claimed to have voted based on morality in the last election--higher than any other reason. The left thought John Kerry was moral and the right thought George W. Bush was moral. Voters wanted to feel moral.

I would argue that this is not a problem solely in America, but it is, indeed, prevalent if not exaggerated in our "free," "secure," and "moral" "democracy."

Peace be with each of you.



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