What is Freedom?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Balbus, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. Balbus

    Balbus Members

    I was discussing freedom the other night and we were talking about the definition of freedom in the mind of Bush (or rather the speechwriters of the administration). Is the talk of championing ‘freedom’ hypocritical for a regime that supports the holding without trial of many individuals in Cuba and other places? Or do they define the ideas of freedom differently?

    Is it do what we say not do what we do? Or is the Bush admin the abettors of freedom, deciding who should get freedom and who shouldn’t?

    Is it the same with freedom from tyranny does a regimes usefulness or the gains gained dictate if the tyrannised should be released or not?

    Also aren’t all freedoms relative and subjective? Is it just to much of an abstract idea to be given as the basis of a policy?

  2. Pressed_Rat

    Pressed_Rat Do you even lift, bruh?

    It's hypocritical for many reasons that are obvious.

    The Neocons know they're not bringing anybody freedom, nor do they care about freedom. It's simply rhetoric that they want the American people to buy, so they will accept their agenda and have justification for further military action abroad (you heard Bush's inauguration speech about "spreading freedom"). Since they can't tell the truth about why we really slaughtered Iraq, and no WMD's were found, they make up the story about how we "liberated" them, which could not be further from the truth. We simply rescued them from Saddam's tyranny and installed our own.
  3. Eugene

    Eugene Senior Member

    Freedom is the right to fuck up or succeed based on your own water. Freedom is also the right to bitch till your blue about the country that gave you that right.
  4. natural rights exist intrinsically in all men. the bush admin is bordering on tyranny, in that they're reverting to a system of positive rights; they believe they grant our rights, and may therefore take them away.

    machiavelli would say so. however, the american understanding of government is such that, should we suffer a "long train of abuses", we have the right to overthrow it.

    this is true in part. context must be taken into consideration, but standards must be set, as relative morality and freedom are common excuses for human rights violations throughout history.

    freedom is property rights, basically. you have a right to yourself, your ideas, your choices, and the fruit of your actions. this extends only as far as the violation of another's freedom, however.
  5. OSF

    OSF Señor ******

    I’m not too comfortable with the notion of rights coming into a discussion of freedom. Rights are restriction.

    Bush’s ‘freedom’ is nothing more than a catchphrase of democracy. It sounds nice and no sane person can deny that spreading ‘freedom’ is a good thing. It is, unfortunately, exactly what is to be expected from a democratic country.

    A democratic government does what it does in order that it can perpetuate itself. If that means skewing the idea of freedom and feeding the masses the ideal that democracy brings equality and freedom, when it can do neither, so be it.
  6. restriction is not a bad thing at all. humans enter into social contracts to escape a state of nature. the united states government may be an example of the arrow falling short of the target as far as achieving aristotle's polity is concerned, but it certainly isn't as evil and bad as you depict it. the purpose of democracy is not to bring absolute equality, or absolute freedom.

    if you want absolute freedom, you can have no law, and therefore no government. all well and good if you believe humans are capable of existing peacefully with one another at all times. i do not believe this.

    if you want absolute equality, then say goodbye to any freedoms you may have had. absolute equality is most likely not even something a state could ever achieve, due to the greed of those in power. as with so many other countries in the past, you will get stuck with a stalinist regime before reaching the ideal mark of marxism.

    representative democracy is about the best medium the world has ever seen, as evidenced by the success of the US and ancient greece and rome.
  7. OSF

    OSF Señor ******

    “Restriction is not a bad thing at all.” You’ve intentionally left out the last half of that sentence haven’t you? It runs “Restriction is not a bad thing at all, unless you are the one being restricted.” It would be a difficult thing to convince a slave that slavery is not a bad thing at all. Ask the slave owner, on the other hand, and you’re bound to get something similar to what you have proposed.

    The obvious response is that the restrictions placed on us by our government are not as horrid as those placed on a slave by his owner. An argument can not be made that one evil is lessened by another. By comparison, slavery is a much worse offense than is democratism. By no means does this suggest that democratism not evil. Democratism is the tyranny of the majority. When truth is made what more than half of the people opine, real truth becomes irrelevant. With it goes those that might follow it.

    You’ve mentioned Hobbesian reasoning which leads me away from my initial stance. There are two types of restriction, those restrictions that are extrinsic and those that are intrinsic. Of the extrinsic category would be things like laws and regulations, rights and freedoms, all as awarded by an authoritative body. Of the intrinsic are the restrictions of reason and emotion. This is an important distinction to make if Hobbes is going to be discussed.

    Hobbes’ social contract is derived from the following premises:

    1. Humans are born with equal need. (Food, water, oxygen)
    2. The elements to fulfill these needs are limited.
    3. Humans are roughly equal in terms of power. (There is no individual that overpower a collection of people)
    4. Altruism has it’s limits. (That limit being when it becomes detrimental to the individual)
    5. Therefore, it follows that our basic state of nature is a war of all versus all.

    Of course you know these and I have only posted them in order that someone following the discussion might also be enlightened as to how the old man got there.

    From that argument it follows that our species has a big problem with survival. What chance at survival do we have if our basic nature is a state of war?

    Thus it follows that restrictions ‘must’ be enacted in order that we are prevented from harming one another and in order that we may keep our agreements with one another.

    I suppose that, in light of the employment of social contract theory, that you agree that the restrictions are the result of the rational decision of man. I have a big problem with this idea. Hobbes argues that the social contract is the decision that “all rational men” come to. How can that be? Many rational men have suggested many rational arguments against that very idea. I point it out only out of habit as it is not the problem I wish to discuss.

    Hobbes gives the power to the government to decide what the restrictions on man should be. He also gives man the power to overthrow the government should those restrictions be out of line.

    Many people question the idea that anarchy can work. Many people question how a monarch could be better than democracy. I question how it is the final conclusion of all rational men that such a contract can work. My question is supported by the inability of the citizens of a democracy to overthrow their government.

    It is an undeniable characteristic of democratic states that the only way to overthrow a government is through violence. If Hobbes was right (keep in mind that his state of nature is not based on nature but on logic) then he was not right for long. It would not be rational to assert that the very thing we are meaning to avoid is the only thing by which we can keep balance. Because of that absurdity I have to question whether or not we can justify how we live by evoking an obviously outdated social contract theory.

    You’ve offered ancient greece, rome and the United States as evidence of the benevolence of democracy. Again you have sold us short. Would it suffice as sufficient evidence that democracy is not good if I were to mention its failings?


    I’ve typed enough for now, let us see where the conversation goes from here.
  8. it's a bit late now, and i might respond more later, but for the time being:

    hitler is not an example of the failure of democracy; much more reflective of the dangers of salvationism and demagoguery, something almost every natural philosopher has emphasized as something to be avoided.

    and in response to the inability of a people to overthrow a democratic government, i offer the civil rights as a major example of the will of the people overcoming government "tyranny". have the american people suffered to the point that it is necessary for them to replace the government? i believe this question is just as important to ask as whether or not they are capable of it.
  9. TheMadcapSyd

    TheMadcapSyd Titanic's captain, yo!

    Freedom is just another word.....
  10. PhotoGra1

    PhotoGra1 Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    I hate to sound cliche, but I think Janis Joplin (or whoever wrote the song) hit the nail on the head, "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose."
  11. and that, i'd have to say, is the epitome of social irresponsibility.
  12. FreeBird1969

    FreeBird1969 Fleas on their paws.

    Education. If people would learn to...learn...I think our world would be much freer than we could imagine.
  13. OSF

    OSF Señor ******

    In a sense you are absolutely correct. Hitler was not a failure of democracy, he was a success of democracy. He was, after all, democratically elected. What must be noted, though, is that his November 1923 putsch was unsuccessful. Hitler, it seems, was unable to gain control of Germany through rebellion. Fortunately for him the Weimar Republic’s democratic constitution gave him the window through which he could seize power peacefully and legally – the electoral process. It is here that we see the rise of Hitler not as a failure of democracy, but a success.

    That is, assuming you are a follower of democratism. An ardent critic certainly does have reason to call it a failure. It turns out that those who don’t vote have the only right to complain.

    You deny this. You assert that the rise of Nazism in Germany was the result of perilous demagoguery and salvationism. You’ll have to forgive my rather amateur understanding of salvationism, but I’m willing to wager that a salvationist would likely deny any connection to Hitler. Salvationism is the doctrine of the salvation of the soul through legitemate means. Hitler brought the salvation of no one, not even his self. And demagoguery is only a tool of evil when used by the evil. No one declares demagoguery evil in a discussion of Martin Luther King.

    Regardless, it is only in a democracy that demagoguery gains an evil appearance. When politicians are forced to prostitute themselves in pursuit of the elusive 51%, the tool is made more than it should be. It becomes a tool to shape the masses, not inspire them.

    Only when there is no need to win the hearts of 51% will the ability to move with speech rest in it’s rightful place.

    Precisely what do you tell the gay man who has been denied the civil right to marriage in the United States of America?

    There are successes. There are concessions made on both parties on occasion. This is what should be the case in every situation. However, I strongly contend, this situation is mired by the countless bloody failed revolutions and the unnecessary restrictions placed on people in current society that are defended as ‘right’ because over half of the population voted republican. When democrats (republicans and greens included) fail all we can do is protest fruitlessly, reminiscing with our parents weed smoking friend about how there used to be a counter culture, and wait for the next election at which time we will forget the lies. After all lies are simple, simple is bliss. There comes a point when violence is justified. That point comes when the oceans of protestor’s chants fall, laughingly, on deaf but compassionate ears and there is no outlet for hope.

    Not only have the American people suffered, but the Canadian people as well. We ought include the ‘citizen’ of every other democratic state. The tyranny of the majority is an evil beyond which not much lies. It tempts the simple with ideals of freedom and equality. It holds no such sway amoung men of thought. I have read a great deal of political philosophy. I have found only a few democratic intellectuals, and absolutely no democratic giants.
  14. OSF

    OSF Señor ******

    The problem isn't with learning.

    The problem is with what is being taught.

    When was the last time your teacher outlined the benefits of the monarch?
  15. FreeBird1969

    FreeBird1969 Fleas on their paws.

    As in...? :D I'm sorry, I'm not sure if I know exactly what you mean by 'the benefits of the monarch'..

    If you want to learn something, you don't just take in what is taught. If you want to learn something you have to ask questions. Think deeper. Kids my age just don't have the passion to do that. They don't want to take the effort. They're utterly content with becoming housewives and brainless football washouts.

    It's all a matter of opinion here, though. I hold my education above all else, so I consider it the key to my freedom.
  16. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed & Confused Lifetime Supporter Super Moderator

    I'm sorry but I have to get this out...

    I don't believe there are any True democracies in the world, that is one person, one vote on all issues. We (in the U.S.) live in a Republic, not a Democracy.

    I think the only democracy to ever exsist was in ancient Athens and I think they were wiped out by the Spartans who were certainly not democratic.

    ...but I could be wrong.

    as far as freedom..I just heard the other day that the Supreme Court of the U.S. has stated that it is okay for the police to use drug dogs to search the outside of any vehicle which has been stopped for any type of traffic violation (i.e. burnt out tail light) EVEN IF THERE IS NO REASON TO DO SO. If the dog "hits' on the vehicle of course this gives the cops the right to search the inside.

    Now my question is, why would you use drug dogs if you have no reason to suspect drugs????

    I don't understand the logic....really, I am mystified!

    No reason at all??

    Would this occur in a "free" society?
  17. some of your arguments i can certainly agree with, but your use of nazi germany as an example of the shortcomings of democracy is beginning to border on sophistry. it doesn't demonstrate the success or failure of a democratic system of government, but the misuse of that system and irresponsibility of the german people. their plight after WWI was dire, but there really is no excuse for allowing what they did. i am referring to salvationism in the sense that he was providing a messianic message of sorts to the people of germany during a terrible time.

    after your arguments against this democracy, and then calling a figure such as martin luther king a demagogue (i disagree), i'm not really sure what it is you are suggesting.
  18. OSF

    OSF Señor ******

    Yes, you are quite right that the US is a republic. All governments can be placed into one of three types of governments, republics, monarchial, despotic. Republics are, generally, either democratic republics or aristocratic. Democracy, unfortunately for us, has approximately five hundred working definitions. All distinct and all accurate. Direct democracy, one person one vote on all issues, is encompassed by democracy, so is the system in the states and Canada.

  19. OSF

    OSF Señor ******

    A success under a democratic government is a legitimate election, no? Unimpeded and fair? Hitler was elected fairly and legally. A successful election.

    The problem (as I can say because I am not a proponent of democratism) is that the democratic system of government allows for and accepts as the only truth the irresponsibility of people. When what is ‘right’ is what the majority says, I wonder if we can still call what happened in Germany irresponsible? In hindsight we can. You have to understand that I have a great deal of respect for the Weimar Republic pre-Hitler. Some of the greatest minds of the modern era lived and thought and thrived there. I find it hard to believe that more people don’t. America is but a hollow copy of those ideals. Have you heard the names Louis Armstrong and Lotte Lenya? Their names can be replaced with names like Fromm and Reisman. Nietzsche and Heidegger masterfully wrote most of the American tune. What an abyss we would live in if the right side won. Unfortunately (perhaps fortunately for Americans) the wrong side won. It was a place that most Americans could have survived, except that they were not meant to adopt thoughts that were meant to be for German people. That is if there is any truth in the idea that history shapes people. Regardless, those German people can honestly say that if democracy was not of their country they would likely have avoided Hitler. He tried to take the republic by force but his coup was overthrown. What makes you think he would have been able to succeed a second time? Again, neither here nor there.

    Democracy allows for such irresponsibility. It justifies what would elsewhere be called irresponsibility through the idea that what is good for more than half of the population is what is right. When you eliminate absolute ideals of good and evil you are left with the will of the demos. If the will of the demos says one thing, that thing is right.

    What I mean to suggest is that freedom is inevitably going to be a foreign concept to proponents of democratism.
  20. m6m

    m6m Member

    Mr Bush's definition of freedom is the fagot's figleaf of democracy.

    Democracy is a sissy's right to squeal how hard it hurts.

    We traded our freedom 8000yrs ago for the effeminate security of hierarchical-civilization.

    Amerigo Vespuci was amazed to find men free of civilized restraints here, in this new-world soon to be named for him, and described such men as thus:
    They obey no lords, for each man is lord unto himself.

    Those are men.
    Only real men are ever truely free.

    So what could a discussion about freedom possibly mean to self-castrated queers of comformity?

    It means squealling with the anal-retentive pleasures of Mr. Bush's grasping ownership-society.

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