A January 31 report from the PEW Research Center shows that the American people feel that the government is a threat to their personal rights and freedom. The survey of 1,500 people showed that 53% of American believes the government cannot be trusted. This charge led by Conservative Republicans has little substance, but the mere idea that a majority of Americans believing their own government is out to get them reflects the reality of ignorance among the US electorate.

What freedoms and rights are threatened? When that question comes up, those surveyed are a little less specific except in the idea that their guns will be taken. With 300 million guns in the US it would take a special collection teams decades to locate and confiscate all the guns in the United States. Additionally, if it was a hostile movement AK-47’s, large clip weapons and handguns are not much help against mortars, 70 mm cannons or missiles, not to mention supersonic fighters and drones.

The right of free speech is firmly in place. And, since the Reagan era the equal response law is no longer an issue as conservative talk and TV shows dominate the airways. Religious freedom? Christianity dominates as the major religion in the United States. Although other denominations are growing Christianity is still the largest segment in the country.

Perhaps, it is that religious concepts as law or education cannot be promoted taught or proselytized on public property. However, religious school are free to teach it just as the unreligious are free to have no beliefs or to be being bombarded by the beliefs of others. By law, women are free to procure an abortion even though conservatives have diminished that right.

Additionally, any rights and freedoms infringed went that route voluntarily with programs like the Patriot Act. Repressive legislation fostered after the 9/11 tragedy were given away freely and passed by the very people claiming their freedoms and rights diminished. Keep the damn guns; they are worth little more than political fodder.  No one is coming to get them and if the Chinese attack the weapons they bring will turn our 300 million rifles and handguns into cap pistols.

Guns are off the table. So, what is the issue? You’re already denying women their right to a legal abortion. Freedom of religion is still in place although record numbers of Christians are leaving the faith each day. No, it seems the only right or freedom disappearing never was such and that was the arrogance of a group people thinking their ideas should be imposed on a country where there is a chance for true freedom.

Sadly, the truly free recognize that it is filled with responsibility, not license; accountability, not selfishness and most importantly, compassion, not avarice.

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Comment by Luara on February 2, 2013 at 11:16am

I sure.y don't want some loaded surgeon standing over thinking about chocolate chip cookies.

But doctors are notorious drug abusers - of prescription drugs!  They don't have to go to drug dealers!

In my experience when the gov't manages some public service they make a mess of it, because they don't have the incentive of directly depending on their customers' money.  They treat people disrespectfully and don't have as high standards for their services. 

The govt does have a role in protecting people from each other and getting people to treat each other fairly. 

Comment by Alan Perlman on February 2, 2013 at 11:02am

To Don...2 quick comments: After 25 years in Corporate-Carpet-Land, I don't trust business any more than govt.  I was in PR and was all too aware of the gap between rhetoric and reality.  Also, the "impaired surgeon" example should include being hung over from drinking or high on prescription drugs.  The separation of marijuana from other drugs is artificial: the same principles apply to all psychotropic substances.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on February 2, 2013 at 9:54am
Forgive me, but after a 30 year career in business with two Fortune 100 companies and one Fortune 10 company at the highest levels I don't have much faith in business or government and cosider them both necessary evils. Negotiating revealed what I always suspected as a college student, both were bankrupt. I am a cynic.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on February 2, 2013 at 8:54am
Laura, I know we are in the top three and the drug war continues. Legalization of some drugs would help, but would create a necessary bureaucracy to oversee it. I sure.y don't want some loaded surgeon standing over thinking about chocolate chip cookies. I'm for even more government involvement as a direct purchaser from any source. Now that's capitalism. Direct competition. Of course, this is an extreme example, but it is an area the government could do something to help the people. Take the weight of insuring people off of businesses, it would free up revenue. On the other hand, it removes employer leverage, puts insurance companies at risk and moves drug companies into global competition to do business directly with the government. Just a thought. There's always a "gotcha."
Comment by Alan Perlman on February 1, 2013 at 10:13pm

(1) Who said anything about infrastructure? You're changing the subject. I'm not an anarchist.  We obviously need govt. for some things, but what?  The Constitution provides for a limited govt. with enumerated powers. We can argue over the powers, but certainly you don't think they should be unlimited, that anything that seems like a good idea, govt. should do.  I suggest that as a general rule, govt. be the problem-solver of last resort, when all private means have failed.

(2) Libertarians do not want to figure out how to maintain a world empire - but to end it. We should call it the Dept. of Defense -- and mean it. 

(3) I believe in personal responsibility, but to tell me that I'm going to suffer government repercussions for violating the drug laws (as opposed to destroying my health with legal drugs like alcohol and expecting the public to pay for it) is, no offense, condescending and patronizing.  It is not at all clear that in a free country, govt. is charged with protecting your from yourself.

(4) I agree with Luara: the commerce and general welfare clauses have been used to justify the unlimited expansion of govt. power.

(5) "Where the people fear the government, there is tyranny.  Where the government fears the people, there is liberty."  (Jefferson)

(6) As an atheist, I don't trust God, whom I never see - so why should I trust politicians, whose antics and chacanery are on display for the amusement of all?

Comment by Donald R Barbera on February 1, 2013 at 6:12pm
These are common complaints of libertarians, but who is going to fund the infrastructure used by all for transportation. Do we restrict it to tax payers and make individuals not paying taxes find a way to work? Private schools are still available. Good estate planning can keep the government out of your pocket. You can even opt out of portions of other tax programs libertarians love to complain about, but they haven't found a way to support a giant military, pay for veteran care for endless wars, police protection or even basic programs to sustain prisons which I hear no one volunteering to fund. You are free as you want to be. You do not have to pay taxes, buy whatever drugs you like and more, BUT living comes with consequences and repercussions. The weight of freedom is not light until realization that it has little to do with the individual, but others.
Comment by Luara on February 1, 2013 at 2:09pm

The federal government has taken on more regulatory roles over time.  It seems that the power to "regulate interstate commerce" is is what is commonly used to justify this.  This has been used to justify federal anti-drug powers, and even somehow used to justify mandatory health insurance.  Those justifications sound wacky to me, like in reality it's just a federal power grab with no effective opposition. 

A lot of the unfreedom in the U.S. that I see, isn't the government directly restricting freedom, but rather the failure of our society and government to protect people.  For example, I as a woman am outrageously in danger when I'm by myself.  I've wondered why law enforcement wastes resources to pursue drug dealers that they could be using to protect women's safety. 

Comment by Alan Perlman on February 1, 2013 at 1:26pm

I was going to write more, but the commentators pretty much covered it.  I would only add that I'm not free to educate my children as I see fit (applies to those for whom public school is the only option), not free to save for retirement as I wish (Social Security takes 14%), not free to keep what I earn (as Sheldon Richman said, "The income tax and the IRS are vile institutions that have no place in a free society.').  I don't even have freedom over my own body - ingest the wrong substances, and I'm a criminal.

"Freedom" is all too often taken to mean "freedom to do the things I want."  We naturally have a blind spot when it comes to restrictions on freedoms we don't personally care about.

Comment by Idaho Spud on February 1, 2013 at 10:57am

I can understand wanting the government to force people to do what you want them to do.  I often get the feeling myself.  I often wish there were a law against something I hate.  However, when I think about it, if I want freedom to do my thing, I have to allow others to do their thing.  Some of the freedoms I think shouldn't be taken away are:

If I start a business, I'm not free to hire or fire those I want.  There's also a huge number of rules and regulations that cost a huge amount of time and money to run a business.

If I rent a house, I'm not free to rent to those I want and I'm not free to kick deadbeats out immediately.  

I'm not free to own property if I can't afford to pay the taxes.  I think sales tax is the most fair tax.

I'm not free to keep my money or give my money to those I want, because the government takes a large portion to give to those they want.  

In many cases, I'm not allowed to defend myself.

Comment by Luara on February 1, 2013 at 10:44am

The incarceration rate in the U.S. is the highest in the world.  Russia and China may have more people in prison but the rate of incarceration is (according to wikipedia) higher here.  

wikipedia sez:

As of 2009, the incarceration rate was 743 per 100,000 of national population (0.743%).[2] In comparison, Russia had the second highest, at 577 per 100,000, Canada was 123rd in the world as 117 per 100,000, and China had 120 per 100,000



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