Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Freedom and after all hope

The idea of freedom has been hollowed out. It has become a metaphor for a simplistic democracy where one can vote and that’s it. If one speaks out against the state of affairs one is vilified and accused of being a traitor. Defending the ruling paradigm has always allowed manipulation and influencing of the general public by lies and misrepresentation, the lofty goals making the unseemly means ‘acceptable’ to some. Such a situation leads to corruption of power. In many western democracies it are the industry barons, oil peddlers and media moguls who in fact own the country. Their interests are taken to heart by the governments they fund, going against the needs of the general public of the dispossessed and the middle class. Our freedom has been redefined as a free market economy, and our choice reduced to red, white or blue stripes in one’s toothpaste, or so it seems. The concept of freedom seemed to imply that if liberal democracy ruled the world that we would all become rational and free-thinking individuals, mistaking economic principles of always greater gain as the basis for ethical choices by the individual. So I would redefine the western democracies as a market democracy, not behaving rationally, non-violently, nor fairly. Ask the small farmers, ask the developing countries. Freedom imposed on other countries through economic means or through force & coercion always has perverse consequences and leads to chaos, murder and mayhem. Then usually people stop caring for a deep-seated, multifaceted concept of freedom and out of fear start looking for order brought by a leader. Nationalism breaks out, security concerns overriding everything else, since for safety some people are willing to loose themselves in the state, giving up their freedom to think and speak and thus canceling our fundamental rights. Perception manipulation, exaggeration, fear mongering have been the instruments of choice by totalitarian states, and are now used by some of what used to be the greatest nations in the world. The thought that one can actually export ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ as defined in a narrow concept of freedom as a free market economy within a class society engenders a utopian bloodbath and not justice. Only in letting go of all this, can hope rise.
Yes I am hopeful, especially now that in Northern Ireland Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley have for the first time shaken hands and are sharing power in the Northern Irish government, working together. After centuries of bloodshed, inflated nationalism en terrorism by both sides, peace returns to the hearts and minds in Ireland as a beacon in a dark night of the soul.…

2 comments:

  1. Here in out Capital Bldg, on of the young intern had a bumper sticker that said "Fuck War". One of the old Legislators said he served in the Marine Corps and didn't have to put up with that kind of thing. My comment is that's the reason we served dummy. Only in the worst kind of country would people not have the right to day that. I was a little offended by the combination of the two words. I think War is about the worst thing you can happen to you. If you think being raped is bad you should try getting shot at, ambushed, rocketed and mortared. The only hole in your report of Northern Ireland was the failure of Gerry and Ian to shake hands at the end of the agreement. Good Post. MUD

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  2. For democracies to have the ability to function as they were conceived, that is, of, by, and for the people, many changes must be made. But the first two, in order of priority, would be:
    1. Make the rule, one person, one vote, apply. Not one dollar, one vote, as the Supremes in the US have decided, under the guise of 'Free Speech'. Money has the major influence on elections, just as it does on which package of soap is bought. If you don't want elections determined by unethical, amoral capitalists, the wealthy, money should be taken out of politics. (I'm not saying that all capitalists are amoral or unethical, at least not at first. But those who survive, and become wealthy, are, because competition forces them to equal or exceed the lowest of their competitors, and they translate those techniques, that corrupt knowledge, to their whole lives, including politics).
    2. The equal time rule should be strictly enforced on the media, so that every political opinion offered must be accompanied by the granting of equal air time, or equal column inches, to the opposition. This, of course, is to prevent the oligarchs who own the media, for the same reasons outlined in 1., above, from owning the political system and elections.
    Obviously, many other things are needed to enable democracies to flourish; effective, honest education; competent health care for all; truly equal opportunity; many others, but steps 1. and 2., above, would prevent the kind of amoral, corrupt, treacherous administrations such as the Bush debacle from triumphing over honest, sincere, dedicated-to-democracy-and-individual-freedom candidates for political office.
    Oh, occasionally a despicable mendacity would creep in, but not a whole gang as has done now. And a healthy society can survive occasional perversion.
    There's a question as to whether the US can survive the disastrous fascist maladministration it suffers under today.

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