Saturday, August 15, 2009

Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

On the great site called Opinione, Il Principe has written a piece on freedom, which follows nicely on the Richie Havens video I posted yesterday.

As mankind has progressed over the centuries and into the 21st century, the meaning of freedom is viewed differently by people around the world and is measured in various ways. Should freedom be measured by economic, free speech, the type of government, or the level of civil rights its citizens enjoy? It is interesting to note that the only category that America is number one is the level of defense spending and gun violence.

Most of the time when an American politician talks about freedom in a speech, they are usually talking about a quantitive measure of freedom rather than a qualitative measure of freedom.
Yet, as the Grand Prince points out, even popular rankings like the number of millionaires and other measurements of quantitative freedom, America is behind the rising powers of Asia. The United States "does not even rank as the leading country in a World Bank report on doing business, which is ironic considering how much pride most Americans take in being a country with a capitalistic based economy."

Americans do not see the correlation between the half trillion defense budgets of the US government and an Empire of Bases around the world, which allow other countries to invest more in their social welfare programs, to being a factor in why their own citizens have less domestic services available like health care for the poor and less fortunate. The military industrial complex or just simply put the Pentagon’s budget, is like the 800-pound gorilla in the room no one wants to discuss. It used to be a 300-pound gorilla but just as the average American has gotten more obese, so has our old friend the gorilla.

What's your opinion? Does the Prince have a point here about defense spending? Has our country gone too far with the business of policing the world? Is it often just a smoke screen for the oil business and other private interests?

If these suggestions are true, how could those responsible possibly get away with such a thing. Here's how.

Part of the reason why most Americans do not see the correlation between the lack of health care and the huge military defense budgets and all is related expenditures is due to the low ranking of the American press. In the latest Reporters without Borders analysis of press freedoms around the world, America is considered the 41st best in the world for press freedom. Countries like Taiwan, South Africa, and Ghana have better press freedoms and a better variety of news sources than America does.

What do you think about that indictment? Wouldn't the O'Rielly and Beck nonsense which is countered by folks like Keith Olbermann indicate there is great freedom in the American press? Or are they all just examples of a big charade designed to keep people from seeing what's really going on? What's your opinion?

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