First, Dr. CMS: If you read my quote, I was putting the US, Germany and Poland on the same playing field, or trying to. There are only small differences between all of the nations of the western world. In the US, you can buy guns, fireworks, etc., but not drugs or things like Absinthe. In other countries, you can get these but not the other. I'm not sure how you read into it that I was implying the US was more free. That was not the intent. Perhaps you are coloring your perceptions of my writings with your own heuristics and prejudices toward the US? I must admit, I do the same toward other places--I think it's only natural to take your own culture for granted and then apply it toward others. I only ask that you step back and evaluate it.
The post from you that annoyed and offended me in the first place was also from the VT thread:
The USA with its stupid outdated pigheaded insistance on the right to bear arms has got itself in a postion that has no good solution.
This was before I had ever posted. You use blatant name-calling toward the US. That is offensive and combative. Seriously, how can you do that and then tell me that it's my 'love of America' that makes me defensive of it? Of course I have national pride like most people do, and I take offense when someone blatantly insults my country. I'm not some nutball uber-patriot that waves the flag all day long and tell people to 'love it or leave it'. I actually disagree with many of my country's policies, dislike our current administration, and have a lot of problems with our country and the people in it. If I had started the thread by saying "The UK's stupid pigheaded insistance on the banning of firearms has raised their violent crime rate" or something to that effect, would you not be offended?
Geodome, the purusit of fireworks or hunting doesn't indicate more freedom, as far as I'm concerned. It's an example of freedoms we have there that other 'free' countries don't have, just like the netherlands has the example of freedom of drug usage that we don't have here. I bet many countries in western europe can buy Cuban cigars as well, which we can't here in the US because of a trade embargo. These are small differences, though, and I would consider all of our countries free. BTW, it's not illegal to own laboratory glassware in the US--just in a few select states.
And Borek, yes, it is confusing in the US at times because of the varying laws from state to state. For instance, in California, you can't buy hard liquor over 150 proof (or something like that), whereas in some states you can buy 190 proof. In Illinois, it's illegal to hunt with a rifle. In Missouri, you don't need a license to hunt if you are using your bare hands. In New Hampshire, there is no sales tax. In Kentucky, there is no personal property tax. In Montana, there is no daytime speed limit. In Nevada, gambling and prostitution are legal. It's weird and many times confusing when travelling from place to place, though most of the laws are inconsequential in their differences.