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Topic: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security  (Read 28799 times)

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Offline Borek

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Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« on: May 10, 2007, 03:27:20 AM »
Your free to buy what you want

like crack?

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work where you want

at meth lab?

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practice whatever religion you want

like mormonism - just forget about polygamy

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say/write what you want (one of America's past times seams to be president bashing)

especially about CIA covert operations

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live where you want

you think they'll let me build a condo in the Yellowstone National Park?

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business isn't that highly restricted (compared to other countries)

sure, you can start to transport hazmat at will, synthesize meth at will, you can even own lab glass in Texas ;)

Let's face it - your freedom is limited in US just like in every other country. It just happens that in US guns are on the other side.

Now, I don't have any stats at hand, but one thing is obvious - argument that guns in private hands make the coutry more safe is completely wrong. There are millions of guns everywhere in US, yet crime level is not smaller than in Europe. If so, billions of dollars spent for the guns were just fatting up pockets of gun industry. They have money and they have means to brainwash every American telling him that he needs a gun and that this is his right and so on... Tommy Gun was advertised in twenties as 'needed in every household'. Gimme a break ;)
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Offline hmx9123

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2007, 05:30:50 AM »
OK, as an admin, I was willing to let this go, even though it's a charged issue, partly because I'm responsible for some of the flame war, but after this kind of response:

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Your free to buy what you want

like crack?

Quote
work where you want

at meth lab?

Quote
practice whatever religion you want

like mormonism - just forget about polygamy

Quote
say/write what you want (one of America's past times seams to be president bashing)

especially about CIA covert operations

Quote
live where you want

you think they'll let me build a condo in the Yellowstone National Park?

Quote
business isn't that highly restricted (compared to other countries)

sure, you can start to transport hazmat at will, synthesize meth at will, you can even own lab glass in Texas Wink

we're not going anywhere anymore.

To answer your last two questions, Borek:

1. It does not differ from owning lab glass in Texas, and the fact that lab glass is prohibited in Texas is a major violation of our rights.

2. It does not differ from the anti-terrorist phone tapping proposed by the Bush administration, and I vehemently oppose their unconstitutional and illegal warrantless wiretaps, as do most Americans with half a brain.  (Yeah, I know, you can argue that most of us don't have half a brain...)

Every country does have its own brand of freedom and its limitations; guns don't make a country safer--I never claimed they did, as a matter of fact.  They may make the place more dangerous in point of fact.  However, that is something that we, as a country, are free to choose if we so want.

As for DrCMS, where do you draw the line?  One can collect swords or other knives.  Knives themselves, even combat knives, have a number of uses.  I have a K-Bar combat knife that I don't use for defense, but for camping--it has a serrated edge useful for cutting rope/twine, and has a long flat blade useful for digging.  And it's got a regular edge so you can cut other things with it.  A knife has more of a use as a tool.  What if the UK wanted to ban all knives, even kitchen knives?  How about blunt objects?  Pepper spray?  Mace?  Baseball/cricket bats?  Large sticks?  Where does one draw the line?  Personally, I would say that the line ends at missile (ranged) weapons such as firearms--if you have to get up close and personal, like with a sword, you're much less likely to be able to do as much damage.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 01:34:56 PM by hmx9123 »

Offline Borek

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2007, 03:27:41 PM »
I have declared EOT - I could post any time, but I felt like it'll be abuse of my privileges; now, that the thread is open again to everyone, I decided to add my $.02 again :)

What constant thinker was most likely expressing was that here in the US we enjoy more freedoms than many other places in the world.

I think personal freedom in all established democracies - like US and UK - is similar enough that it doesn't make sense to compare - we have more freedom, you have less. Places like China, Belarus, North Korea are in completely different group... Well, one picture is worth a thousand words:

http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=22&year=2006

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Looking at places that are much less restrictive, like perhaps Poland or Germany, they are much closer to what the US is like in terms of freedom, but even there you may not be allowed to pursue certain interests such as fireworks or hunting with the relative ease of the US.  That is what I would wager he was getting at, and in that respect, it is not faulty at all.

I was looking for the map linked to above (I have seen it earlier) but here is what I have found on the same site:

http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=275

PR - political rights, CL - civil liberties.

Funny thing that I didn't expect: looks like UK scores are a little bit higher than US scores :) And Freedom House was "founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie, and other Americans" - so it is hardly UK biased ;)

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I agree with geodome that irresponsibility is the cause of bad things that happen.  I would disagree with his sentiment, though, that others' freedom cannot compromise the security of others--I would say it backward: others' security cannot compromise the freedom of others.

That's where we have to agree to disagree. Still, speed limit serves just this purpose - limits your freedom to increase my security - and speed limit exists in US just like everywhere else. Same about limitations when you are buying nitrates and powdered zinc. Same in many other cases. As you have wrote - you don't live in anarchy. But it is not the same when it comes to guns. With all due respect - it doesn't fit.

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The whole topic was originally devoted to Mitch's request for comments on limitations on firearm ownership.  There definitely is a generational gap in firearm owner responsibility.  The older generations had a different approach to guns, and those people still in rural areas have a very different approach to guns--they treat them as tools and not as weapons.  That's a big value difference.

If times and generations are changing, perhaps it is a time to change policy? Just asking ;)

EDIT: I am not known as geogome - geodome
« Last Edit: May 11, 2007, 04:45:20 AM by geodome »
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Offline hmx9123

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2007, 09:23:13 PM »
That's a pretty cool map with the 'free' countries of the world.  I agree, the differences between the countries marked 'free' on the map are trivial.  You could argue that the netherlands are more 'free' than the rest of those countries because of their lenient stance on drugs, or could argue that the US is because of their lenient stance on guns.  I'm sure every 'free' country has something to this effect that they are more lenient on and thus more 'free'.

The freedomhouse site is pretty cool, too.  I, too, agree that America isn't as free as it thinks it is--we've been fighting to keep our civil liberties and political rights here for a long time, and we're still fighting to keep the government from trampling our rights.

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That's where we have to agree to disagree.

Absolutely; it's probably engrained in us because of the cultures/societies we were raised in.  It's what our values are all about.

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Still, speed limit serves just this purpose - limits your freedom to increase my security - and speed limit exists in US just like everywhere else.

Speed limits are different in every state in the US, as we are allowed to set them, and Montana does not have a speed limit on the interstate.  Germany's autobahn has not speed limit.  These are an agreed-upon societal limit, but you can still break the law.  If we outlawed cars that could go over the speed limit for that state, then we would be talking about something different.  A firearm in some ways is like a car in that sense; one can break the speed limit, just as one can use a firearm in an irresponsible manner.  In the same vein, the right to own a firearm is also an agreed-upon societal limit as well.  Your society has a different speed limit than us, and they also have a different attitude toward gun ownership.

My intention was to quote this earlier:

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

It's been attributed to Benjamin Franklin, though I don't know if that's correct or not.  In any case, the point is moot as the sentiment is more important than the author.

First, one has to figure out what is 'essential' and then the society has to agree upon it.  It will differ from society to society.

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Same about limitations when you are buying nitrates and powdered zinc.

Funny you mention this.  The US is dealing with the CPSC overstepping its bounds and trying to regulate commodities such as this once again.

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But it is not the same when it comes to guns. With all due respect - it doesn't fit.

That is strictly your opinion.  You state it like fact.  It isn't.  It's your opinion, and probably your society's opinion if yours doesn't allow firearms.  It's our country's opinion to allow them.  We also don't allow drugs, contrary to the netherlands and probably some others.  I bet in Poland you can buy Absinthe liquor--you can't legally here.  It all comes down to societal values.  I respect that you do not believe that guns should be allowed in society.  You should respect the fact that others do and not state your opinion as fact.  Perhaps that is an affect of the language barrier, though I find your English to be very good.  (Better than many of the native english-speaking posters on here as a matter of fact...)

Hopefully we can agree to disagree.  I think that we both agree that the VT shootings were a tragedy, as it is whenever there is an innocent loss of life.  Just what our society is willing to accept or do about it is a matter of opinion.

Offline constant thinker

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2007, 09:36:24 PM »
Borek, you do have a valid point with the opening post in this thread. I was considering putting restrictions on it, but I just didn't. What I really wanted to get at is that the laws are very different (the U.S. police force does have less power) in different countries as would be expected. They also differ from state to state (in the U.S.), and my state is a fairly conservative state when it comes to restrictions. I'm honestly surprised that New Hampshire hasn't passed any medical marijuana laws.

I held off from saying anything in the other topic as far as opinions...
I'm thinking the majority of the disagreement comes from the difference in all of our respective societies, cultures, and generations.
...That's why I held off from putting my 2 cents in.

I honestly like a small government. I don't want the government in my life telling me what to do and not to do, what's wrong and what's right, telling me I can't live on this piece of land, I can't do this drug, I can't drive as fast as I want, etc. At the same time though I realize the need for restrictions. For civilization to exist restrictions are required, and a "government" needs to set restrictions to keep order and security.

I know there is a need for a governing body. I would hate to see what the forums would be like without rules and a governing body. :)

By the way, the only way to really offend me is to directly attack my character. I love discussing things, especially with people who obviously don't have the same views as me. All I ask, and everyone here is good about it, is that no one should directly attack another person's character (example, blatantly call them ignorant, or stupid), and to respect the different opinions of everyone.

Man, that last thought/paragraph was corny now that I read it.  ::)
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 09:42:49 PM by constant thinker »
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Offline DrCMS

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2007, 07:09:08 AM »
If you look at the table on Freedom house website Borek posted you'll see that just about all the European contries have higher scores than the USA.  Thats only one website but maybe it has a point?  Yet the Americans in these threads feel America is the most free country in the world.  Why is that?  

Reading this thread and the other I'm struck yet again by how much Americans love America.  When someone cristisises something about America you take it as a personnel insult.  I've been to America a few times and I liked it and most of the people I met.  However I can see that not everything is perfect in the USA.  

I live in the UK and I'm proud to be British and I love Britian but I know its not perfect.  Other countries do somethings better and some worse than the UK.



Offline hmx9123

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2007, 02:12:57 PM »
Reread the posts.  Do I say anywhere that America is the most free country in the world?  No.  Read the specific examples where I'm comparing the US to the likes of China.  Are we more free than China?  Absolutely.  I think that's perfectly clear from the map that Borek posted.  I don't think we said that things are perfect here.  Personally, I think the tone of your posts is fairly confrontational, if not direct attacks at the US and its citizens at points, and as Americans, we love confrontation.  We're an aggressive and overly-competetive nation.  So we argue. :)

Offline Borek

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2007, 02:22:47 PM »
Personally, I think the tone of your posts is fairly confrontational, if not direct attacks at the US and its citizens at points, and as Americans, we love confrontation.

Reading this thread and the other I'm struck yet again by how much Americans love America.  When someone cristisises something about America you take it as a personnel insult.

Nail on the head?  :P

I must say I have the same feelings as DrCMS. And I don't see his post as confrontational. But this can be again language thing ;)
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Offline Mitch

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2007, 03:16:21 PM »
Some states are more free than others in the United States. So, that map is kind of pointless really.
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Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2007, 04:40:27 PM »
So, that map is kind of pointless really.

I agree with Mitch that the map is pointless. I also think it is pointles to compare the extent of freedom among states. This is because different societies perceive the same state of freedom differently and have varying expectations of what acceptable freedom is. In fact, we will never get far in comparing the extent of freedom in our country to another. I always see that in Model UN conferences - it is a pointless debate trap because it infringes on individual national soverignity and nobody will ever agree on what is acceptable due to inconcillable differences in values and expectations.

Instead, I propose let's try to draft out a general principle in balancing individual fredom and public security.
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Offline Borek

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2007, 04:44:07 PM »
Some states are more free than others in the United States. So, that map is kind of pointless really.

You forget that US is seen - from abroad - as ONE state.

I suppose one can prepare similar map for individual US states, but this map is about states, not their parts... Geez, state is a state but not state :o I hope you get what I mean.

UK can be split as well - it is UNITED Kingdom, not JUST Kingdom. They have even separate soccer teams :) Poland can't be split.
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Offline Borek

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2007, 04:57:24 PM »
So, that map is kind of pointless really.

I agree with Mitch that the map is pointless. I also think it is pointles to compare the extent of freedom among states.


As long as we agree that democracy is better then tyranny, this map serves a purpose.

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This is because different societies perceive the same state of freedom differently and have varying expectations of what acceptable freedom is.

You really think that people of North Korea are happy with their situation and they perceive it as 'acceptable freedom'? I think they have no choice. Or rather - their choice is - agree or die.

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In fact, we will never get far in comparing the extent of freedom in our country to another. I always see that in Model UN conferences - it is a pointless debate trap because it infringes on individual national soverignity and nobody will ever agree on what is acceptable due to inconcillable differences in values and expectations.

To some extent you are right, and if maximum number of points for Civil Liberties is 60 I suppose we can say that difference between - say - 40 and 60 - can be atributed to local culture. But 10 points is not a local culture, it is enforced on the society with whip and gun. No society likes its members to be tortured just because they see their ruler is squinty. No society likes its members to die of hunger when their rulers eat cavior from golden plates. That's why such map makes sense. To some extent. I am not going to move to Norway just because they have full 40/60 :)

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Instead, I propose let's try to draft out a general principle in balancing individual fredom and public security.

I thought that's where we have already agreed to disagree?
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Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2007, 05:22:20 PM »
I thought that's where we have already agreed to disagree?

The general concensus is do not micro-manage, isn't it?
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Offline DrCMS

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2007, 05:24:51 PM »
Reread the posts.  Do I say anywhere that America is the most free country in the world?  No.  Read the specific examples where I'm comparing the US to the likes of China.  Are we more free than China?  Absolutely.  I think that's perfectly clear from the map that Borek posted.  I don't think we said that things are perfect here.  Personally, I think the tone of your posts is fairly confrontational, if not direct attacks at the US and its citizens at points, and as Americans, we love confrontation.  We're an aggressive and overly-competetive nation.  So we argue. :)

This is your post in the Virgina Tech thread:
Looking at places that are much less restrictive, like perhaps Poland or Germany, they are much closer to what the US is like in terms of freedom, but even there you may not be allowed to pursue certain interests such as fireworks or hunting with the relative ease of the US.

I would say your statement above implies that the USA is the most free country in the world while Poland and Germany are less so.  Its that arrogant "USA is No.1 at everything" attitude that annoys me and others.  When I question it you become aggressive. 

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Re: Balancing Individual Freedom & Public Security
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2007, 05:32:24 PM »
I would say your statement above implies that the USA is the most free country in the world while Poland and Germany are less so.  Its that arrogant "USA is No.1 at everything" attitude that annoys me and others.  When I question it you become aggressive. 

I doubt so. hmx9123 becomes more defensive. It is perfectly normal to have national pride.

Looking at places that are much less restrictive, like perhaps Poland or Germany, they are much closer to what the US is like in terms of freedom, but even there you may not be allowed to pursue certain interests such as fireworks or hunting with the relative ease of the US.

Does the pursue of interest in firework or hunting indicate more freedom? Germany has a fair-share of do-nots, which do not necessary over-lap with the list of do-nots in the USA. For example, it is illegal to own laboratory glassware, but it is legal to own firearms. In Germany, it is legal to own laboratory glassware, but it is illegal to own firearms.
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