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Post Tagged with: Freedom of Expression

What Really Matters after 2012

What Really Matters after 2012

Barack Obama won. I won’t be enthusiastic, but I won’t be hateful, either. He was a better candidate with a better argument. The voters chose. Mitt Romney was an awful alternative. And, truth be told, I didn’t vote for either one. Quite clearly, my cynicism has evolved greatly since 2008.

Where do we go from here? There will be more elections, and more bitter contests. Although most people claim to belong to one party or another, I believe that all people have a soft spot for that one thing that matters more than anything else: our freedom. So here’s what I’m looking for in any candidate I support for any election in the future, regardless of party. I’m looking for candidates who support:

  • Freedom to choose whom I marry
  • Freedom to choose whom I work for and in what profession
  • Freedom to invest and save my wages as I please
  • Freedom for parents to choose schools for their children
  • Freedom for parents to pass their money onto their children
  • Freedom to make decisions about my health, both positive and negative
  • Freedom to vote without preconditions
  • Freedom to trade with foreign companies without penalty
  • Freedom to sell my labor for as much or as little as I am able
  • Freedom to sell any product or service I can provide for which there is a willing buyer
  • Freedom to believe in any god or no god at all

With this very simple metric, I will be able to tell which candidates deserve my vote in the future, and which candidates don’t. I don’t care about identity or politics, I only care about the odds for liberty.

Right now, the odds look a little better, with sweeping changes in four states in favor of gay marriage, and two states overturning marijuana prohibition. On the other hand, the bailouts of Wall Street and the auto industry just got a rousing endorsement. It will be hard to predict the next four years, but one thing you can count on after this generation demonstrated where it stands on social issues: the freedoms above are not unattainable. They just will require some work.

Congratulations, President Obama. Time to get moving.

November 7, 2012Comments are DisabledRead More
A Few Words About Pussy Riot

A Few Words About Pussy Riot

I’ve never heard their music.  It doesn’t matter.

There is nothing more odious, nothing creepier, nothing more outrageous than the jailing of people whose only crime were in thought, writing and expression.  It is the cornerstone of a free society–which Russia is clearly not–that all people have the right to express their views, and that right, contrary to some so-called anti-“hate speech” activists, is exactly the right to express an unpopular view.  As Rosa Luxemburg once said, “Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.”

This was a trial that took place as live streaming was barred from the courtroom and the defendants faced a 1% chance of acquittal against a transparently political charge of “hooliganism” against the regime.  Putin’s Russia is not unlike the Russia of his KGB youth when he could bully opposition into submission with threats of violence and imprisonment.  It is clear to anyone paying attention that Putin is a thug, a criminal, a fascist, a liar, and a thief.  The mere fact that he continues to strangle Russia with his barbaric klepto-theocracy is a testament to the failure of the world to end such shenanigans once and for all, and of freedom to assert itself in the face of tyranny.

What’s even more outrageous about the harsh sentence of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” is the pretext for their condemnation, the so-called hatred of that entrenched, easily offended and all too powerful Russian Orthodox Church.  Clearly the “blasphemy” of Pussy Riot is the true crime here, and why not?  History has shown us that any time a church has any power in society it uses its power to imprison the conscience of others, with “blasphemy” the catch-all crime that rolls political and religious opposition into one offense.  How scary for the Russians that their leadership is under the so-called moral authority of a fascist dictatorship that uses its monopoly on the truth to bully free thinking opponents?

And how outrageous that 20 years after the fall of communism, the same creeping statism continues to infect and destroy individual liberty in Russia, to the point where not a peep of support for Pussy Riot has been heard from their fellow musicians whose own survival depends on keeping quiet and complacent.  Well, they just lost their rights today, too.

Amnesty International considers Pussy Riot prisoners of conscience, and they are correct.  It doesn’t matter what sort of “hatred” they preach (even if it is a justified hatred against a corrupt theocracy)…if a band is being put in jail because of what they sing about, the world has suffered a devastating blow to freedom.

August 17, 2012Comments are DisabledRead More