Circles Of Freedom

By Gary E. Ashford

Like its sister article, Circles of Influence, an attempt is made to show the relative impact or perception related to what position you are located on a series of concentric circles.  In that article I suggested we could call the outer circle the level of freedom experienced by Americans.  The next circle could be for Singaporeans or Japanese or Europeans.  The next circle could be China or Russia.  The one after that could be Cuba, and finally the inner most circle could be Iraq (in transition) or North Korea.

My office colleague, when confronted with some of the silly events of daily life, would exclaim, "We have too much freedom."  I passed it off the first time, but upon further examination using examples, I started to accept, if not totally agree, with this concept.

Using the "American circle" and overlay his statement, what you end up with is a circle with a bunch of gnarling warts on it.  To put it in more academic terms, certain groups or factions of our society have chosen to push the barrier of common consensus and understanding far beyond comfortable limits into areas that leave absolutely nothing for the imagination.

To make it worse, we are, in many cases, forced to be exposed to this or our children are forced to be exposed to this due to the relentless support of "First Amendment Rights" by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), as one example.

I've always viewed myself as relatively open to new things, but when the quantity of those new things, exploiting what has historically been "underbelly" of our society, begins to be oppressive, there has to be some pushback.  Unfortunately, our society does not seem to have the gumption to do that at the moment.

Like the "evil" that our country is currently trying to deal with externally and contain, likewise, we must face and deal with and contain the "evil" or rot in our own country, or truly they can call us INFIDELS.

I cannot dream that such things could be eradicated...only contained in a much smaller "vessel" than they are in now.

To make matters worse, there are very vocal groups that complain bitterly that our civil rights are being stepped on by the recent Patriot Act and other actions to counter terrorism.  As Michael Savage noted in a recent radio broadcast, "Show me what civil rights you have had removed or are you just complaining about the rights and/or treatment of suspected terrorists."  Here is a case where our openness and freedom has been turned against us.

So what is freedom... Can a person live under the Chinese system and feel free and/or have a good life?  I propose that he/she can as long as she abides by the rules.  Similarly, we Americans may feel oppressed when we cannot chew gum in Singapore, but Singaporeans would tell you they relish their system of law and order and point to the American crime rate, etc., etc.

So freedom is a perception or is relative to some other circumstance.  It is quite difficult to quantify.  Even in America, the land of the free, we are subjected to an even more insidious threat to our freedom...growth of government, regulation, and taxation.  Every time we turn around, we have new rules to follow, new safety regulations, whatever, that continues to undermine personal responsibility and ultimately, our perception of freedom.  We are being suffocated.  The knee-jerk reaction by people is becoming less pleasant all the time.  It's time to wake up to what is really happening.  In that simple sense, at the moment, the Chinese person in Southern China is, in some ways, freer than the average American, because he is a long ways away from Beijing.

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