Monday, July 5, 2010

A Grand Fourth

We've just celebrated our 234th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. There's nothing wrong with a good holiday, a little beer, one hot dog too many, and some fireworks to help it all settle in. Yes, freedom is a good thing.

FDR spoke about "four essential freedoms" on January 6, 1941, naming 1) freedom of speech and expression; 2) freedom of every person to worship in his own way; 3) freedom from want; and 4) freedom from fear -- which he explained was related to a reduction of armaments and the lack of physical aggression against any other country in the world.

We're actually doing pretty well with #1. Thanks to the Supreme Court, corporations are doing pretty well, too. Expect lots of "free speech" this coming fall, just prior to the general election. Only it won't really be "free" -- all of us will pay for it in higher prices for everything we buy.

Americans are doing pretty well with #2 as well -- far better than people in most countries. I wish we were doing half as well in recognizing the freedom of people not to worship. (Well, it's true, nobody can make us pray. But if we need to interact with certain elements of society, we can be made to feel uncomfortable if we choose that option. Try belonging to a Rotary Club! Try attending a City Council meeting!)

In regard to #3 -- not so much. What FDR was referring to was "economic understanding which (sic) will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants." Right now economists worldwide are debating the merits of stimulus vs. deficit reduction -- without giving much thought to methods of reducing the deficit that are politically unpopular. As a result, people will go hungry, which usually is not consistent with "healthy."

Freedom from fear -- unfortunately not. Physical aggression -- between nations, between people -- continues unabated, even when it's unnecessary, unproductive, and unpopular. Tell the Marines getting their limbs blown off in Afghanistan that they possess "freedom from fear."

My birthday is coming up soon. If you're thinking of getting me a present, consider the following: 1) freedom from deregulation where the potential (no, the LIKELY) result is higher profit at the expense of unnecessary loss of life (e.g. mining and oil extraction operations); 2) freedom from people who use "no taxation without representation" as an excuse to promote their actual philosophy, which is "no taxation at all"; 3) freedom from any more deaths resulting from stupid wars and government agencies that don't do their jobs (e.g. child protective services, juvenile probation departments, etc.); and 4) freedom from rigged elections, anywhere in the world, but especially here in the good ol' US of A.


  1. Since I don't much like either candidate for governor of CA, my birthday present to you will be to write your name in for governor when I vote.

  2. "Right now economists worldwide are debating the merits of stimulus vs. deficit reduction -- without giving much thought to methods of reducing the deficit that are politically unpopular. As a result, people will go hungry, which usually is not consistent with "healthy.""

    I dispute this pretty strongly, to the extent that there is a statement of fact there. I have seen no proposals to cut SNAP (food stamps), or WIC (welfare).

    By world standards, undernutrition is unmeasureably small in the US:

    In the US, "the estimated prevalence of very low food security during a single day was lower yet—between 0.9 and 1.2 percent of households."

    As to your four proposals, what exactly does freedom from deregulation mean? I assume (based on the double negative), it means regulation, so an expansion of the criminal code.* What exactly would you like to criminalize? Be specific.

    *Effective regulation must come under the criminal code, or a code that is effectively criminal, in that it can impose criminal punishments (fines).

    In regard to your second freedom...huh? I assume you don't actually wish to arrest people for making a silly argument, but I don't get what you're after.

    In regard to the third: I agree with you on the war, but if you want a look at what your #1 will give you, see such agencies as...CPS and juvenile probation departments.

    In regard to the fourth. Yes, but I really don't think this is a big issue in the US.

  3. Anonymous I: What planet are you pretending to live on. Freedom from want and fear go hand in hand. US Census Bureau stats released 9/09 state that the official poverty rate in the U.S. was (and I emphasize was, since it has only gone up since then)
    13.2%. This is the highest since 1997, 11 years. For children under 18 yrs. the rate was 19%. Almost 1 in 5 children in the US live in poverty. That, in my opinion should be the lead story every morning until it is corrected. We should be ashamed as a country and as individuals that this large portion of our population lives in fear and want. And yes, if you are in living in poverty, you live in fear.

  4. You live in a fantasyland of delusion, you promote a morally bankrupt dogma that offers no hope to the world, you deny the existence of human nature and you devalue the meaning of life and love with your mechanical materialism that reduces humans to little more than highly evolved animals. All you do is cite figures and statistics from selected sources that point all fingers at underfunding and suggest that we need more government to fix problems. You are so woefully detached from reality that no shred of common sense could possibly penetrate your adamantine logic. You have not the slightest clue of how destructive Comrade Obama's policies have been in suppressing economic growth and squelching businesses. People in power with your views are dangerous, plain and simple, because of their delusion that socialism can actually save society when in fact it destroys the profit-motive (which actually does work with people but because you don't know anything about human nature you wouldn't understand- your brain is too warped in ivory tower idealism that has been fed way too much academic indoctrination and media radiation). You hold everything in contempt that does not conform to your far leftwing godless radicalism. You should've lived in the Soviet Union or go to North Korea where your secularist utopian pipe-dream has come to fruition and tell me it's better there. Tell me it works better at improving the quality of life.