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#16366 - 07/03/11 05:54 PM Lest we forget
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety
.


- Benjamin Franklin
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#16367 - 07/03/11 07:50 PM Re: Lest we forget [Re: joemikeb]
MacManiac Offline
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Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
...and as we celebrate our own independence on this July 4th, please keep our military folks in mind. In past times "all gave some.....and some gave all" that we might have the freedoms that we have today.

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#16373 - 07/04/11 08:34 PM only in America [Re: joemikeb]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
do we have a national holiday dedicated to mixing alcohol and explosives.
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#16375 - 07/05/11 12:26 AM Re: only in America [Re: Virtual1]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
do we have a national holiday dedicated to mixing alcohol and explosives.


Actually, Guy Fawkes Night in the UK pretty much fills that bill.
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#16423 - 07/06/11 03:41 PM Re: Lest we forget [Re: MacManiac]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: MacManiac
...and as we celebrate our own independence on this July 4th, please keep our military folks in mind. In past times "all gave some.....and some gave all" that we might have the freedoms that we have today.


That's true...but I think it's also important to remember that the last time American servicemen and women actually fought to defend our freedom was World War II.

Wars have many justifications. We have been taught to see all war as being "something to defend our freedom," but the reality is it's hard to name a war we've been involved in recently that has anything to do with American freedom at all. Viet Nam? Korea? Panama? Iraq? These are wars we've fought for reasons having little to do with freedom in any sense of the word.
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#16433 - 07/07/11 05:32 AM Re: Lest we forget [Re: tacit]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: tacit
Originally Posted By: MacManiac
...and as we celebrate our own independence on this July 4th, please keep our military folks in mind. In past times "all gave some.....and some gave all" that we might have the freedoms that we have today.


That's true...but I think it's also important to remember that the last time American servicemen and women actually fought to defend our freedom was World War II.


Though I think many would agree that we've lost a lot of our freedom since then (most of which quite recently) seeing as the terrorists have won.

I wonder if we can send our militia to congress and get them back to work fighting for our freedom?
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#16436 - 07/07/11 04:54 PM Re: Lest we forget [Re: Virtual1]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> Though I think many would agree that we've lost a lot of our freedom [....]

America is still "the home of the brave," but it is no longer the "land of the free."
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#16437 - 07/07/11 06:19 PM Re: Lest we forget [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
...no longer the "land of the free."

About what mythical era are you reminiscing? Prior to the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment (1865)? Prior to the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920)?

I'm sure you're not thinking of Executive Order 9066 (1942), or United States Code: Title 10 § 654 (1993).

This is no less the land of the free than it was in 1798, when the Sedition Act was passed, or in 1918, when the, um, Sedition Act was passed.

I'm not arguing in favor of turning a blind eye to the erosion of liberties some of us may think of as fundamental; that's a clear and present danger. I just wanted to point out that the majority of people who've called themselves Americans over the roughly two and a half centuries of our formal existence lived under the kinds of constraints to liberty that the more fortunate among us are only now beginning to appreciate.
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#16439 - 07/07/11 09:40 PM Re: Lest we forget [Re: dkmarsh]
JM Hanes Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Ditto what you said, DK. I'd only add that when we have 364 other days to contemplate our national shortcomings, setting aside one day to count our blessings and celebrate the things that those who came before us got right seems a worthy exercise.

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#16440 - 07/07/11 11:26 PM Re: Lest we forget [Re: dkmarsh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
You've made a good point, of course, and perhaps I'm just still smarting from having been required to show ID before being allowed onto Coney Island Pier on Tuesday (which infringement on liberty I've already had stopped dead in its tracks), but no... Today's rule makers are focusing on more personally invasive, day-to-day issues than those you've mentioned, our right to die (gasp) included, if not in particular.

America seems to have reached a point at which what used to be "problems" are now "causes," and the "cause bandwagon," having become an important instrument of vote-getting, is getting its invasive tentacles into many of what I consider to be the untouchable nooks and crannies of our lives.

I'm waiting for someone to propose a rule requiring us to carry "Calorie Ration Card[s]" to be presented before we're allowed to buy certain foods and beverages, and I'm not being the least bit facetious in saying that, because why rely on personal responsibility? (The recently proposed, and mercifully defeated, onerous NYS tax on certain beverages is a case in point.)

(For years, one of my pet ideas has been to produce and sell transparent plastic appliques, to be stuck to car windows, that will make it look like people are wearing seat belts...a huge seller for at least a month until they're legislated into oblivion. I use my passenger-side seatbelt only as a courtesy to the drivers who will get ticketed for allowing me ignore the law.)

Edit: Ref. deadly irony


Edited by artie505 (07/07/11 11:41 PM)
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#16441 - 07/08/11 03:27 AM Re: Lest we forget [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
...many of what I consider to be the untouchable nooks and crannies of our lives.

I think you've missed my point.

What you seem to consider sacrosanct among your freedoms—the right to ride a vehicle sans seatbelt or helmet, the right to enter Coney Island Pier without showing ID, the right to drink competitively priced soda—are completely trivial compared to the right not to be enslaved, or the right to vote, or, in general, the right not to be excluded from the broad liberties inhering in citizenship in a democracy simply on the basis of race, religion, gender, etc.

You live in a state which just passed legislation in support of gay marriage. In Africa, homosexuality is illegal in several dozen countries and in Uganda was very nearly made punishable by life in prison or death, depending on the severity of the "infraction."

I doubt this distinction is what you had in mind when you lamented that 'what used to be "problems" are now "causes,"' but my reading of American History strongly supports the premise that most of our important gains in human and civil rights have come about because smaller vanguards of activists took up causes and worked tirelessly to attract the support of growing numbers of fellow citizens.

In fact, if I were to be asked what, if anything, makes me proud to be an American, I'd have to say it's our long and noble tradition of advocacy for progressive change in the face of overwhelming institutional opposition. We fought a revolution on that basis, put together a national government on that basis, and (with the notable exception of the Civil War) have allowed our democracy to evolve on that basis for almost a quarter of a millenium.

And if your right to breathe means I can't smoke in a restaurant, well, I'm sorry, but I just don't think such a law is something civil libertarians have any business chafing under. Grow up! A democracy isn't 300 million individual free societies; it's one free society which needs to accommodate 300 million people. There are all kinds of contradictions between one person's interests and another person's interests.

The application of a little common sense takes care of many of the conflicts. For those which somehow escape rational solution, there's the ballot box. Seriously. If you can't change a democracy in the voting booth, or, more importantly, if you don't believe you can change a democracy in the voting booth, then you [not you personally, artie] should either shut up or find another democracy.
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#16442 - 07/08/11 05:59 AM Re: Lest we forget [Re: dkmarsh]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: dkmarsh
In Africa, homosexuality is illegal in several dozen countries and in Uganda was very nearly made punishable by life in prison or death, depending on the severity of the "infraction."


Most (all?) muslim states have the death penalty on the books for homosexuality.
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#16443 - 07/08/11 06:54 AM Re: Lest we forget [Re: dkmarsh]
Jay-bird Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: south east fla
Very well put Mr. Marsh
To quote from an old TV series Slatterys People - "Democracy is a very bad form of government but all the others are so much worse"
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#16451 - 07/08/11 08:35 AM Re: Lest we forget [Re: Jay-bird]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Quote:
"Democracy is a very bad form of government but all the others are so much worse"

Sir Winston Churchill is credited as the originator of that statement, which is similar to other thoughts on democracy probably since the Greek republic was in its heyday. It has been rephrased or plagiarized by writers ever since including the writers of Slattery's People. Because of its following sentence my personal favorite version is
Originally Posted By: Robert A. Heinlein in Stranger in a Strange Land (1991 edition), p. 232
Democracy is a poor system of government at best; the only thing that can honestly be said in its favor is that it is about eight times as good as any other method the human race has ever tried. Democracy's worst fault is that its leaders are likely to reflect the faults and virtues of their constituents — at a depressingly low level.
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#16460 - 07/08/11 10:55 PM Re: Lest we forget [Re: dkmarsh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Good post; thanks.

(Your point having been clarified, I think further exploration of my own points would be inappropriate with in the context of this thread.)
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#16479 - 07/12/11 05:54 PM Re: Lest we forget [Re: dkmarsh]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: dkmarsh
This is no less the land of the free than it was in 1798, when the Sedition Act was passed, or in 1918, when the, um, Sedition Act was passed.

I'm not arguing in favor of turning a blind eye to the erosion of liberties some of us may think of as fundamental; that's a clear and present danger. I just wanted to point out that the majority of people who've called themselves Americans over the roughly two and a half centuries of our formal existence lived under the kinds of constraints to liberty that the more fortunate among us are only now beginning to appreciate.


That's a cogent point. When we think about the erosion of civil liberties, I think that a lot of us do so from a white middle-class property-owning perspective, and forget that for a lot of other folks, this country started out as anything BUT the land of the free and has made sustained and significant progress in extending liberty for them.

Originally Posted By: Jay-bird
To quote from an old TV series Slatterys People - "Democracy is a very bad form of government but all the others are so much worse"


We in the US tend to be trained to think good things about "democracy" from a very early age.

In point of fact, democracy is a TERRIBLE system of government, which is why we don't use it. We're a representative republic, not a democracy. That was an intentional choice on the part of the nation's founders; representational republics are marginally better than democracies as they are somewhat less likely to degenerate into what James Winthrop called "the usurpation and tyranny of the majority."

In some places, gay marriage is a prime example of the tyranny of the majority; gays and lesbians represent an unpopular minority, and in several states their rights have been usurped by majority vote.
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