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Thread: Are We Really The Land Of The Free?

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    Are We Really The Land Of The Free?

    This has become a pretty big topic lately with everything going on in our country. As Americans, we call ourselves "The LAnd Of The Free And Home Of The Brave", but are we really? We like to consider ourselves the freest democratic country, yet we are far behind other democratic countries. We have only, in the past week, given gay's the right to marry while it has been allowed in many countries for a long time. We have no free housing for our hard working people, treat our military personnel like shit once they are done serving. Our health care, while our doctors are good, no one can afford it, yet other countries give their citizens free health care. Prostitution is legal in many countries, which generates a ton of money for the government and cuts back on human trafficking in that country, yet here, a boob is too taboo. Here in America, we love to claim we have free speech, but the moment someone says something we don't like, we want them fired and ostracize them from society. So are we truly the land of the free? Seems like we are far from it. We need to look at other countries, and follow a lot of what they are doing if we really want to consider ourselves the land of the free. This is one of the reasons why we are not liked across the globe, we take these words and believe them, yet everyone else knows how we aren't. Lets have a good discussion here about this, we have a couple of guys from other countries here that know what other countries have and how much freer they are than us that can give us this info and help us greatly.

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    First off, excellent post.

    The way I like to say it is something like this:

    We invented modern democracy in 1789. We have barely updated it, iterated on it, or tried to improve on the flaws of our founding fathers' idea of democracy. As society advances, technology advances, ideas change, and so on, we're resistant to change.

    Put another way, we're the gramaphone of democracy. Yes, it's the OG. Yes, it still works. Yes, it's got vintage charm, but in the end, it's been massively improved on and we do so little to acknowledge that.
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    If you're going to say "we need to look at other countries and do what they do," you better have some specific examples ready.

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    One thing I disagree with from the original post here is on speech. The limitation on free speech isn't that content is not tolerated by society. That is exactly how speech should be handled in a free society. Someone who says something unpopular should not be censored, but the overwhelming voice in opposition is also equally as free to shout them down. We shouldn't only champion speech when it comes from the minority.

    On the flip side, the government has in many cases outlawed legitimate free speech and it's close cousin the right to peacefully protest. The requirement of permits to protest, the dispersement of peaceful protests, attacks on "indecent speech" are all violations of the First Amendment.

    As to other issues you mentioned, I agree. Consensual crimes across the board should be taken off the books entirely. A great read on the subject by Peter McWilliams is Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do.
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    No other country has it figured out either. Some are fantastic like the Nordic countries but they're all very small population wise even compared to Canada.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    If you're going to say "we need to look at other countries and do what they do," you better have some specific examples ready.
    If you read my full post, I did mention what we need to do. We need free health care, better treatment of military personnel, better housing options for middle class people. What more do I need to say? I also said tat thise that live outside of the country can provide more examples.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYR2711 View Post
    If you read my full post, I did mention what we need to do. We need free health care, better treatment of military personnel, better housing options for middle class people. What more do I need to say? I also said tat thise that live outside of the country can provide more examples.
    And I'm saying that, if you're going to say that there are examples, you need to have them.

    Essentially, I'm asking what countries you think we should look to. Simply saying that we should look elsewhere and not say whether to look North, South, East or West isn't very helpful.

    And, not for nothing, the health care system in Canada, which everyone likes to point to, is awful.
    Last edited by Future; 06-29-2015 at 12:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    One thing I disagree with from the original post here is on speech. The limitation on free speech isn't that content is not tolerated by society. That is exactly how speech should be handled in a free society. Someone who says something unpopular should not be censored, but the overwhelming voice in opposition is also equally as free to shout them down. We shouldn't only champion speech when it comes from the minority.

    On the flip side, the government has in many cases outlawed legitimate free speech and it's close cousin the right to peacefully protest. The requirement of permits to protest, the dispersement of peaceful protests, attacks on "indecent speech" are all violations of the First Amendment.

    As to other issues you mentioned, I agree. Consensual crimes across the board should be taken off the books entirely. A great read on the subject by Peter McWilliams is Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do.
    Everyone should have the right to say what they want, but when a small group complains about something most people in ghat group didnt see or hear, that person shoukd not be fired. Don Imus is a perfect example. Whether you like the guy or not, he was making a joke to his listeners, and people who heard it second, third or fourth hand complained about it and demanded he gets fired. Public workers arent free to post what they want go say on social media, or they can be fired. You should be allowed to say what you want, as long as it doesnt promote violence, and not have to worry about losing your job because someone was offended. Im sure, for the most part, there are far more people that dont have a problem with things that are said than those that do.
    Last edited by NYR2711; 06-29-2015 at 12:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    And I'm saying that, if you're going to say that there are examples, you need to have them.

    Essentially, I'm asking what countries you think we should look to. Simply saying that we should look elsewhere and not say whether to look North, South, East or West isn't very helpful.

    And, not for nothing, the health care system in Canada, which everyone likes to point to, is awful.
    I mentioned Canada, and most of the European Countries as well have ideas we can learn from. Prostitution is legalized in mamy Northern European countries, and they make tons of money for the government. Canada has allowed gay marriage for a long time, and we have only just made it legal 3 days ago. We are far behind lots of these free democratic countries.

    And Canada's health care system is far better run than ours. Just like you want me to elaborate on what countries, if your going to say their health care sucks, you need to explain more than saying it just sucks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYR2711 View Post
    Everyone shoukd have the right to say what they want, but when a small group complains about something most people in ghat group didnt see or hear, that person shoukd not be fired. Don Imus is a perfect example. Whether you like the guy or not, he was making a joke to his listeners, and people who heard it second, third or fourth hand complained about it and demanded he gets fired. Public workers arent free to post what they want go say on social media, or they can be fired. You should be allowed to say what you want, as long as it doesnt promote violence, and not have to worry about losing your job because someone was offended. Im sure, for the most part, there are far more people that dont have a problem with things that are said than those that do.
    So, in other words, you shouldn't be able to say what you want.

    I agree with you about Imus, even though his comment was in horrible taste, but you can't say "everyone should have the right to say what they want" and then say "except for XYZ"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    So, in other words, you shouldn't be able to say what you want.

    I agree with you about Imus, even though his comment was in horrible taste, but you can't say "everyone should have the right to say what they want" and then say "except for XYZ"
    We all know you cant say go out and kill so and so, thats what promoting violence is. Same as shouting fire in a packed movie theater. Your getting technical here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYR2711 View Post
    I mentioned Canada, and most of the European Countries as well have ideas we can learn from. Prostitution is legalized in mamy Northern European countries, and they make tons of money for the government. Canada has allowed gay marriage for a long time, and we have only just made it legal 3 days ago. We are far behind lots of these free democratic countries.

    And Canada's health care system is far better run than ours. Just like you want me to elaborate on what countries, if your going to say their health care sucks, you need to explain more than saying it just sucks.
    Canada's system is terrible. Incredibly expensive and ridiculous wait times for care.

    The most visible manifestation of Canada’s failing health care system are wait times for health care services. In 2013, Canadians, on average, faced a four and a half month wait for medically necessary treatment after referral by a general practitioner. This wait time is almost twice as long as it was in 1993 when national wait times were first measured.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapoth...t-copy-canada/
    For the first time in history, as the outnumbered youth struggle to support their aging elders, their living standards will be significantly lower than that of their parents. Cutbacks in social services, coupled with an increased proportion of revenue being spent on healthcare will mean we won't live as comfortably as the generations that preceded us. Paradoxically, the senior population will vehemently demand high quality health care services (isn't that what they paid taxes for?) but inevitably find themselves utterly disappointed.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/natasha...b_4429892.html
    The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) released a poll in August in which Canadians expressed a sincere set of worries about their medical prospects in old age. Four out of five said they aren’t confident they’ll be able to access the health services they will need. Three-quarters are worried they won’t have the money to pay for services that aren’t covered by medicare after they retire. And 61 per cent doubt the country’s hospitals and long-term care facilities will be able to meet the demands of Canada’s relentlessly aging population.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe...ticle22487481/

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    I think you're mixing society/culture with the governmental concept. People getting fired for saying something is part of free speech. Don Imus worked for a company (which has the same rights as a person) and the company found it detrimental to their bottom-line to employ him after what he said, so he was fired.

    You don't have free speech when you're at work or when you're representing a company. You play by their rules. Outside of work, you're free to say whatever you want however you want it as long as you're willing to accept the societal implications of doing so. And people reacting negatively (or positively) to what you say is also well within their rights of free speech.

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    Free speech means that you can't go to prison for saying something. It doesn't mean you can't get fired for saying it.

    You have the right to say things. And your employer has the right to fire you for it.

    However, there are certain applications not protected by the freedom of speech amendment, such as speech meant to incite riots (yelling fire in a crowded theater).

    Also, Canada's healthcare system isn't perfect, but compared to ours, it's almost Utopian.

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    I don't think any country is the land of the free. America offers opportunity to be free, to feel free, but when it comes to government regulations and the sense of big government, this country is a lot less free. Oddly, many people who champion the freedom and small government, do appreciate the government being used to do things that I believe impede on personal freedoms and even freedom abroad.

    Americans make a massive deal out of their government being too big, the system not working, and the overreach from all sides, but somehow think they are the designated country to bring freedom and democracy elsewhere. So, while maybe a little too easy, why advocate bringing what you don't think works that well at home to a place that isn't waiting for you to do it? A lot of what's good about America is the result of consensus and the country - through time - finding its own way, but if anything, American government now rushes parts of the world into 'our' mold at a pace that's creating turmoil and a lot, and I mean, A LOT, of animosity.

    The visibility of arms, both by the public and law enforcement, the wildly ineffective and invasive way the government at all levels takes taxes and charges you for everything you need from them, the spying, the spending on counter-productive military actions I truly despise, the way a large amount of people oppose personal freedoms that I've come to find so normal elsewhere, the way there's always someone who feels offended, prosecuted, chased around or slighted... there are days I feel less free to say what I want to say, be who I want to be, live how I want to live, than ever before, since moving to the US.

    And the worst part? No side of the aisle in D.C. will make it better. One side comes a little more for your money, the other side comes for my ideals. And to think I have it easy. I've never felt a victim of discrimination, I'm in a marriage everyone seems to support, I don't worry about money too much, I have health care. I can't imagine and hope to never experience what this country is like when you actually need some to defend you and your dignity, because I have so little hope it's a positive experience.

    Is this country free? Sure, in many ways more than anywhere else, but the shouting from the rooftops about how truly free it is has obscured existing issues with that and, more importantly, has created a false image of what freedom is in the first place. There's a great big world out there who, for reasons I actually understand (although, I might not always support them or agree), wish they were free from the US and the American image of being free. Freedom is, surprisingly maybe, not objective.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morphinity View Post
    I think you're mixing society/culture with the governmental concept. People getting fired for saying something is part of free speech. Don Imus worked for a company (which has the same rights as a person) and the company found it detrimental to their bottom-line to employ him after what he said, so he was fired.

    You don't have free speech when you're at work or when you're representing a company. You play by their rules. Outside of work, you're free to say whatever you want however you want it as long as you're willing to accept the societal implications of doing so. And people reacting negatively (or positively) to what you say is also well within their rights of free speech.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Free speech means that you can't go to prison for saying something. It doesn't mean you can't get fired for saying it.

    You have the right to say things. And your employer has the right to fire you for it.

    However, there are certain applications not protected by the freedom of speech amendment, such as speech meant to incite riots (yelling fire in a crowded theater).

    Also, Canada's healthcare system isn't perfect, but compared to ours, it's almost Utopian.
    I get what your both saying, but there also are some catches. Cops for example, we cant go on TV and give an interview on anything police related or we can get fired. This is why you never hear an active cop on TV, its always a retired cop or a higher up/union boss.

    Pete, I agree 100% with you on what you said about health care as well. Nothing is perfect, but its ten times better than what we have. They dont have restrictions on medications like we have hear, and medications are a lot cheaper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYR2711 View Post
    I get what your both saying, but there also are some catches. Cops for example, we cant go on TV and give an interview on anything police related or we can get fired. This is why you never hear an active cop on TV, its always a retired cop or a higher up/union boss.

    Pete, I agree 100% with you on what you said about health care as well. Nothing is perfect, but its ten times better than what we have. They dont have restrictions on medications like we have hear, and medications are a lot cheaper.
    That's not a "catch". That has nothing to do with your right to free speech. If you were arrested for speaking out against the police department (the state), then yes, that's a violation of the first amendment. If you get fired for breaking union bylaw or a rule from your employer, then that's not a violation of free speech...Or believe me, someone would have sued for it already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYR2711 View Post
    I get what your both saying, but there also are some catches. Cops for example, we cant go on TV and give an interview on anything police related or we can get fired. This is why you never hear an active cop on TV, its always a retired cop or a higher up/union boss.

    Pete, I agree 100% with you on what you said about health care as well. Nothing is perfect, but its ten times better than what we have. They dont have restrictions on medications like we have hear, and medications are a lot cheaper.
    That's not a problem with free speech though. Your employer forbids it because when you go on TV and declare your status as an active police officer, you're representing the department and anything you say can be held against them. You have different rights as an employee vs. as a citizen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    That's not a "catch". That has nothing to do with your right to free speech. If you were arrested for speaking out against the police department (the state), then yes, that's a violation of the first amendment. If you get fired for breaking union bylaw or a rule from your employer, then that's not a violation of free speech...Or believe me, someone would have sued for it already.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morphinity View Post
    That's not a problem with free speech though. Your employer forbids it because when you go on TV and declare your status as an active police officer, you're representing the department and anything you say can be held against them. You have different rights as an employee vs. as a citizen.
    Your both right, I wasnt thinking of it this way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYR2711 View Post
    Your both right, I wasnt thinking of it this way.


    And, don't get me wrong, I don't completely disagree with you. I just felt that your free speech example was a little offbase, even though I believe that the "offended" culture that we find ourselves in is disgusting.

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