Does it make sense that an Ohio Congressman banned the public from recording his townhall meeting but allowed the press to record it?
“Government should not be involved in the bedrooms of consenting adults. I have always been a strong advocate of liberty and freedom from unnecessary government intervention into our lives. The freedoms that our forefathers fought for in this country are sacred and must be preserved. The Republican Party cannot be sidetracked into discussing these morally judgmental issues — such a discussion is simply wrongheaded. We need to maintain our position as the party of efficient government management and the watchdogs of the “public’s pocket book”.
“This ‘pledge’ is nothing short of a promise to discriminate against everyone who makes a personal choice that doesn’t fit into a particular definition of ‘virtue’.
Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton gave a speech today on Internet rights at George Washington University. Read the full (and long) speech here. Here is a good paragraph:
When countries curtail internet freedom, they place limits on their economic future. Their young people don’t have full access to the conversations and debates happening in the world or exposure to the kind of free inquiry that spurs people to question old ways of doing and invent new ones. And barring criticism of officials makes governments more susceptible to corruption, which create economic distortions with long-term effects. Freedom of thought and the level playing field made possible by the rule of law are part of what fuels innovation economies.
She meant the above when the following happens:
In China, the government censors content and redirects search requests to error pages. In Burma, independent news sites have been taken down with distributed denial of service attacks. In Cuba, the government is trying to create a national intranet, while not allowing their citizens to access the global internet. In Vietnam, bloggers who criticize the government are arrested and abused. In Iran, the authorities block opposition and media websites, target social media, and steal identifying information about their own people in order to hunt them down.
All found here on the official website:
America, the Greatest Country God ever gave Man, was built on three bedrock principles: Freedom. Liberty. And Fear — that someone might take our Freedom and Liberty. But now, there are dark, optimistic forces trying to take away our Fear — forces with salt and pepper hair and way more Emmys than they need. They want to replace our Fear with reason. But never forget — “Reason” is just one letter away from “Treason.” Coincidence? Reasonable people would say it is, but America can’t afford to take that chance.
Timothy B. Lee delves into the irony of living in the woods to get away from the long arm of the government:
The question of whether the advantages of freedom (in the “leave me alone” sense) outweigh the benefits of living in large urban areas is not a theoretical one. If all you care about is avoiding the long arm of the law, that’s actually pretty easy to do. Buy a cabin in the woods in Wyoming and the government will pretty much leave you alone. Pick a job that allows you to deal in cash and you can probably get away without filing a tax return. In reality, hardly anyone does this. To the contrary, people have been leaving rural areas for high-tax, high-regulation cities for decades.
Almost no one’s goal in life is to maximize their liberty in this abstract sense. Rather, liberty is valuable because it enables us to achieve other goals, like raising a family, having a successful career, making friends, and so forth. To achieve those kinds of goals, you pretty much have to live near other people, conform to social norms, and make long-term investments. And people who live close together for long periods of time need a system of mechanisms for resolving disputes, which is to say they need a government.
This reminds me of Andrew Jackson and can be found in many Conservative ideologies. First off, it is important to note that it is folly to think that rural denizens are free from the long arm of Washington. I talked to a dairy farmer while on vacation in Maine and he mentioned that he may have to go out of businesses because of the milk industry is almost dead. This is obviously an effect of supply and demand economics mixed with fuel changes (see ethanol). Politics is leavened all within that quagmire.
The irony comes out in seeing this ideology come full circle. Possessing freedom and the ability to make any decision you want is not full freedom. Making choices that free you, as opposed to bind you up, marks true freedom. The “log cabin in the wood” ideology is relatively similar.
Freedom and liberty are fully enjoyed when with others. Community forms together individuals and their own traits. As Lee mentions, our goals cannot be fully achieved on our own. Few families are able to grow up in a log cabin completely cut off from the world. It is not wrong to want to ditch the world and hide out in a cabin for a few weeks. That is what vacation spots and summer getaways are for. But I feel that the inner desire underneath this is a desire to get beyond this world.
Many of us get sick with different aspects of life. Sick of paying for high car or health insurance premiums that you most likely never actually use unless in an emergency? Sick of the acquaintances, friendships, and relationships in your life being only on the surface level and not authentic? Sick of hypocritical and illogical institutions (greedy corporations, unloving churches, messy politics, et al)? The list of things we are all sick of in the world could go on forever.
Some see their desire to get away from the world as rooted in a “don’t tread on me” approach, bitter usually over ballooning bureaucracy and losing your money to the IRS. Whatever your reason, it comes down to ultimately the world’s inability to fully satisfy us. C.S. Lewis sums this up quite well, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Is that ever a question that is asked? One ideological side may respond that there is much work to be done to change our world, to bring it up too speed and help humanity. The other side may say that the world too needs to change, but that will come through us reverting back to our roots (usually constitutional roots of 18th century America). It too is folly to think solely in an American exceptionalism frame of mind, that our founding fathers were perfect and the best men on earth, hence we should emulate them. I wonder if that includes riding horses, wearing wigs, and having sex with our female slaves?
The answer to all of this is that there are no easy or clear answers. That is not what the media wants to report to you because you may think after all of this that that was a waste of time. I insert the third way approach to this situation: we have work to do that can take us forward all the while looking back. We need to see our limits in what can be done on earth but letting our consciences remain a strong voice in our lives to yearn for change, for reconciliation, even if that may be called naive. That little voice inside you saying how fed up you are with life may in fact be a call for you to seek a type of redemption that should always begin with love.
Ted Olson brings it: conservative style and in a very polite way, too. When was the last time you heard someone talk about such a hot button issue so calmly? He seems to be confident in what he is saying, doesn’t feel threatened by these polemic issues, and feels protected by our Constitution. Money quote:
“We believe that a conservative value is stable relationships and stable community and loving individuals coming together and forming a basis that is a building block of our society, which includes marriage.”
He brings up so many good points yet clings to our Constitutional fundamentals. Thank you, Ted. Even the host wonders how he ever lost a court case.
George Washington himself delivered the rebuke to those who would urge American Muslims to “refudiate” their right to worship freely.
All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens …
Hat Tip: David Frum