Tag Archives: freedom

The Price of Freedom

It is a popular sentiment today to believe in free enterprise. Why the heck wouldn’t it be free, it has free description. It is “free” enterprise.  Many find it a great idea to have everything in our life be privatized. One for instance is health insurance. This is how awesome free enterprise and privatization works for the average citizen in regards to health insurance.

My doctor scheduled some pre-emptive tests for me. Today, I received a notice from the hospital that my insurance company has yet to pay for the service. If I were to not pay the hospital, they would call a debt collector and keep nagging me until I pay. To a big corporation like Blue Cross and Blue Shield this is just good business practices. Bi-weekly money is taken out of my paycheck for health insurance, yet they decided when and if they are going to pay my insurance. Somehow I do not see that as a fair exchange, but that’s the beauty of “free” enterprise.

But it doesn’t stop there, banks play high stakes gambling games with our 401K, corporations have off shore accounts so not to pay taxes, they make inferior automobiles that kill people, they have taken short cuts in food safety that is making the public sick and they have destroyed our Gulf coast. All this is done so in the name of “free” enterprise and privatization. They are self-regulated and above most laws.

I make these complaints to everyone – family and friends. And their answers are always the same, “It is the way it is. Deal with it.” Have we succumbed to the powers of the corporations? Are we going to roll over and allow them to play with our finances and health? Is this something we should really deal with?

So we may all say “free” enterprise is great, but at what cost to us – our health, our financial security, our environment? That to me is not freedom. Although I may live in a free country, I am far from free. It is the corporations gambling with my livelihood that is taking away my freedom.

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Is Politics Worth Dying For?

It is the first question I asked myself after reading Iran’s Ayatollah announcement, professing violence to all those who continue to protest in the streets of Tehran. What would I do in such a case if I felt my vote was counted and my rights rejected? Would I confront violence and possibly death for the sake of democracy, or would I just follow along with current government policies?

I was one who protested the initial election of George Bush in 2000, when it appeared Al Gore, who had won the popular vote should be president. After the announcement came that George Bush was president, I accepted the Supreme court’s decision and thought to myself, “It is only four, or even eight years-what harm could he do?” I became a passive objector and went about my business.

Ironically, after doing research for another book on World War II, I saw similar quotes from Germans in the early 1930’s after Adolf Hitler “won” an election by a 99% margin. Many said, “What harm could Hitler do?” Well, hindsight is always twenty, twenty. Hm, many said about Adolf Hitler, what I thought about George Bush-interesting. Fortunately, for America we remained a democracy and not a tyrannical dictatorship such as Nazi Germany. But then the Bush administration broke the Geneva Convention in torturing prisoners of war.

Seriously, Americans have no idea what a tyrannical dictatorship is like. We are not arrested from our homes in the middle of the nights because of our religion, lifestyle or political ideologies. We are so fortunate to be able to speak our minds and speak so negatively of our nation and fellow citizens without fear of severe government retaliation. In fact, I believe we take our freedom to a frightening extreme. I believe we should have much more respect for our freedom and treat others in our country with respect.

Why this is so interesting, is that some in this country are rebelling and protesting against President Obama and that he threatens to take away American’s freedoms. Personally, I feel that ideology is seriously flawed, but many feel strongly and have no doubt violent thoughts of rebellion. When do we draw arms against the government when we sense injustice? What is the line to which we lay down our own lives for freedom? What causes to we promote and propagate revolution? I believe the answers to these questions should be made with the utmost care and certainty before action. The results could prove disastrous.

Today my heart goes out for the Iranian people. I am greatly impressed by their courage and conviction in the quest for freedom. I wish them peace and freedom and I sincerely wish no bloodshed upon them. Despite the outcome, the Iranian people have been an inspiration of faith and hope to everyone throughout the world. Good luck to them.

“Traditional Moral Values”

Traditional valuesI have put the title of this blog in quotes, because I am uncertain these days of the definition.  Comments have been made on my blog, and I see many comments and television commentators promoting the same-but what are these values they are promoting?

I was asked yesterday to pick one historical figure in which I could identify. Who was my historic hero? Without much thought I spouted out Galileo, who was just recently pardon by the Vatican for his innovated philosophy of the 1600’s. Yes it took the Catholic Church almost 400 years to catch up with Galileo. At the time, Galileo was sent into exile and shunned from Catholic society. The teachings and writings of Galileo give us insight today; a great man of genius plunged into darkness by a repressive church. What would our society be like today if Galileo were allowed to pursue his teachings? The mind could only wonder.

Many who shed such an intellectual light over our world are discarded, shunned, exiled and even murdered for the sake of morality and values. Can this be considered virtuous and moral? Can the shunning of another’s ideas be considered a value? Is killing someone because you don’t believe in their causes be considered moral? And can the denial of one’s civil liberty and the pursuit of happiness be valued?  Who determines these moral values and how can they be moral if they involve fear, prejudice, bigotry and hate? Shouldn’t kindness, tolerance and acceptance be a traditional moral value?  

Sadly today, to these folks of traditional moral values – Empathy is discarded. Apparently, empathy is not a value. How can a people who discard empathy consider them virtuous? But ironically, the same people criticizing empathy as a means of judging are the very same people who want to place legislation for their moral values; stem cell research and abortion. You can’t deny someone to the Supreme Court because they have empathy, and then promote your sense of “morality” as law. It is just hypocritical. If we value morality, then we defiantly need to value empathy. The two kind of go hand in hand-or at least should.

In thinking about this, this morning, I thought of America’s traditional moral values. Traditionally, the United States was founded on freedom; freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom in the pursuit of happiness. It is these reasons why so many fled oppression. People from around the world came to America not to be judged so harshly and condemned; yet today I see judgment and condemnations being shouted loudly by those who promote traditional values. Today in our country, I see oppression, the very oppression many have fled over 200 years ago. I find these values more archaic then I do traditional. If you’re condemning someone’s religion, liberties, etc you are being oppressive and that is not our traditional American value. Remember, America is the home of the free and that freedom belongs to everyone.