Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Riffing off Evan

A few days ago, fellow blogger Evan posted the following post and invited people to chime in... so I did. Italics are Evan's words, non-italic are mine:

If we are a free society, then why do we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world?

If we are a free society, then why is the Supreme Court deciding whether or not cops have the right to put a GPS tracking device on someone's car without a warrant?

If we are a free society, then how is law enforcement allowed to seize a person's assets without due process?

If we are a free society, then why can I lose my job or freedom if I choose to consume marijuana?

If we are a free society, then why are parents thrown in jail for failure to pay child support?

If we are a free society, then why is the government saying that two consenting adults cannot marry?

America is a free country because you have the right to speak out about all the above things that you disagree with, without fear of being imprisoned or tortured for your views.

It's a free country because everything you mentioned above is being argued openly and these laws and practices can be challenged, changed or repealed.

It's a free country because the people who made the above laws and policies are elected by the people in free and open elections.

When you have a country of 310 million people, it's impossible to please or satisfy everyone and certain 'freedoms' will always impinge on others. Pleasing one group of people will always piss another off. Lines have to be drawn and it's impossible to have everyone agree on where those lines should be.

Obviously, it's not a perfect system. As Winston Churchill said: "Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

A 'free society', by it's very definition, isn't one where the individual always gets his own way. What would be a utopia for me would likely be a hell for a lot of other people.

It reminds me of a quote I read on sexuality once: Everyone sees themselves as 'normal'. Anyone more reserved is a prude, and anyone more extreme is a pervert.

For everyone who thinks marijuana should be legal, there's another who thinks all recreational drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, should be banned...and there's another who thinks that they should be able to buy crack at the pharmacy. There are people who feel religion should be completely abolished and others who think the church should be in direct control of the country.

In short, in America, you have the right to express your opinion. You have to right to protest things you don't believe in and the right to vote for the leaders who most reflect your views and to withhold your support for those that don't. 


Evan 08 said...

Love your answer. Sometimes it's easy to overlook the forest while focusing on the trees.

Paulius said...

Yeah... but sometimes you need to prune some of the more diseased trees before they take the whole forest with them.

Carpo said...

I can honestly say, this is one of the most well worded replies to a hard question I have ever read.
The exception is when a few individuals throw the lies out to tip the scales the wrong way, convincing those with no other source of information that something is dangerous or otherwise bad for the society as a whole.
Marijuana is a good example. I should be able to smoke as I please, it is my body right? Well, there are many other factors involved and corporate gains to be had by keeping things under wraps. It isn't that people vote against legalization because they hate pot. It is because they are misinformed.
Education is the key to proper behavior and common sense. Unfortunately our voting population is vastly under-educated and self absorbed. Most people are too busy to do all the research on a subject so they vote like their friends and family. It is sad really.

But for the most part, we are doing the best we can. This is all new to us. No time in history has seen such a large population under self government, and in my belief, it may never again. Somethin' has got to give as they say...
Until then, I think America as a whole is pretty free when compared to any other culture, past or present. We can speak our minds as we please, and please, speak your minds!
But do the math before you draw conclusions, as nothing is perfect, and every law has a dozen facets thet are never considered.
Just my 2 cents