Free societies vs. fear societies

Discussion in 'Politics' started by fromtheright, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. fromtheright

    fromtheright
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    Am now almost done reading Natan Sharansky's The Case for Democracy in which he argues that free societies are more secure when freedom is more widespread, that fear societies need an external enemy to maintain their repression, which is therefore also a source of international and regional instability. He makes this case very strongly with a history of the situation between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

    I would like to see here a debate on that thesis. Though I certainly don't own the thread I hope that we will steer clear of tangential issues such as:

    (1) a broader discussion of neo-conservatism beyond foreign policy, such as influences of Machiavelli and Leo Strauss.

    (2) a focus on Iraq and whether our aims are being attained there, though I think Iraq as a good or bad example of this aspect of neo conservatism is well in line.

    (3) since I mentioned Israel and the PA I should probably note I would rather not get into a discussion of the merits of the Zionist position, though the relationship between them as a good or bad defense of Sharansky's argument would be good.

    And I want to thank Joe Botwinick for steering me toward Sharansky. I have picked this book up and put it down many times before buying it after JB praised it so highly. When I first skimmed through it and saw much of it devoted to the situation with Israel, I was disheartened that he would take his thesis as an excuse to do a history, but rather he uses that history very well to make his point. IMO, the book is very Reaganesque in his argument for Reagan's point that a nation which tyrannizes its own people can't be considered peaceful in dealing with its neighbors.
     
  2. Daisy

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    The difficult part is that threats actually do exist. How does a population resist being manipulated through the fear the threats pose by clever, exploitative politicians?
     
  3. StraightAndNarrow

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    We do not have a truely free society. Repression of ideas opposing those of the government comes not only who have supported this this administration but also formally through law enforcement acting on laws like the Patriot Act.

    A very poor climate for discussing various ideas have developed in America.

    About two months ago I sat next to a British business executive on a flight. I asked him what he thought the general feeling in the UK (our closest and perhaps only ally) is about America. He said that in Britain it is still possible for people with differing ideas to have a useful and polite discussion without it degenerating into a screaming match. In the U.S. he felt, in general, that is no longer possible.

    We talk a lot about establishing democracy in other countries but we pay no attention to nurturing it in our own country. That's a sure way to kill freedom and our democratic way of life.
     
  4. fromtheright

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    S&R,

    A very poor climate for discussing various ideas have developed in America.

    Please tell me how the PATRIOT Act has had ANY impact on the free discussion of ideas.
     
  5. OCC

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    ftr...isn't that one of the main goals? Infringing on the right of free discussion of ideas? Nowadays, just to disagree with the government's policies is grounds for charges of anti-patriotism and "supporting terrorists". If you don't believe the Patriot Act will have a negative impact I don't know what to say. Could you tell us why it won't have a negative impact?
     
  6. fromtheright

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    Though I strongly support the foreign policy ideas being labeled as neo-con, as argued by Sharansky, I do admit there are problems. We stood by while the Shah was overthrown by a democratic, albeit theocratic Muslim revolution. We are now far less secure in that region and the world. There is also a problem with the argument he made that "as with the Soviet Union" if we will use linkage and make Muslim countries pay a price for their human rights violations that we will see results. There are a couple of problems with that argument:

    (1) the Soviets can at least be said to have been reasonable; i.e., that they would respond rationally to pressures when they saw the price for not doing so. Given the fundamentalist religious nature of Islamism, that appeal may not hold. The counter to that is that they can still be made to pay the price rather than looking the other way as we did until Reagan's response to the Soviet system. The "paying the price" side of that also has a price, though. Sharansky argues that the Mideast is dependent on us, as was the Soviet Union. The difference is that we were not dependent on the Soviets as we have become on Muslim oil.

    (2) Related to number one is the theocratic underpinning for human rights violations under Islam and particularly Islamism, where radicals believe it their duty to behead innocents and to strike at civilian targets. We will not so easily persuade those so motivated.

    Joe, help me out before I sink my own argument!
     
  7. fromtheright

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    KJ,

    ftr...isn't that one of the main goals? Infringing on the right of free discussion of ideas? Nowadays, just to disagree with the government's policies is grounds for charges of anti-patriotism and "supporting terrorists". If you don't believe the Patriot Act will have a negative impact I don't know what to say. Could you tell us why it won't have a negative impact?

    I don't have a duty to disprove a negative. S&R made a statement, which you have supported, that it will impact free discussion. Y'all have made the assertion, I'm just asking you to back it up. The PATRIOT Act has no design of deterring or impairing debate, only to assist in investigating terrorist threats. Is there any aspect of that act that will have an effect on debate? Sure, people may make accusations that a particular position makes someone else pro-terrorist, but what in the world does that have to do with the PATRIOT Act?
     
  8. OCC

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    That's about the answer I expected. [​IMG]

    I believe you do have to disprove a negative. You are the one who is saying that the Patriot Act will NOT have an impact on the free exchange of ideas. I say it will. I asked you to show me why it won't. You made the assertion here. I just took the opposite view. Since you won't back up your claim I will back up mine. Wrong or right...at least I will back it up.

    The Patriot Act will infringe on the free exchange of ideas because it gives the government free access to your PERSONAL life...what you read, what you buy, what you SAY. How can it NOT infringe on the free exchange of ideas? This basically goes against the freedom that you Americans believe in, does it not?

    I am being lectured to on another thread about American individualism and freedom, yada yada yada yet those same Americans support the Patriot Act! This astounds me.

    People should put their trust in the Lord for safety and protection from terrorists...not in the government and a "patriot act". Think about the name of that act. To me, it implies that if you aren't a "patriot" according to the government's definition, then you are a terrorist. If that's what you want in your country then that's fine. I wouldn't want it in mine.
     
  9. fromtheright

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    KJ,

    Let's take this one post at a time. See if you can keep up:

    ---My OP: nothing said about PATRIOT Act.
    ---Daisy's post: nothing said about the PATRIOT Act.
    ---S&R post: "Repression of ideas opposing those of the government comes not only who have supported this this administration but also formally through law enforcement acting on laws like the Patriot Act." Look at it closely. You'll see that I am reviewing these chronologically.
    ---My response: "Please tell me how the PATRIOT Act has had ANY impact on the free discussion of ideas." As you can see, I challenged the assertion made.
    ---Your first response: "Could you tell us why it won't have a negative impact?" If you can't support the assertion made by S&R just say so.
    ---My next post: posted before I had seen yours.
    ---My next post: "The PATRIOT Act has no design of deterring or impairing debate, only to assist in investigating terrorist threats. Is there any aspect of that act that will have an effect on debate? Sure, people may make accusations that a particular position makes someone else pro-terrorist, but what in the world does that have to do with the PATRIOT Act?"

    As you can see, S & R made the assertion, not me. Just for the record.

    ---Your last post: Aha, an answer (well, sort of)! " The Patriot Act will infringe on the free exchange of ideas because it gives the government free access to your PERSONAL life...what you read, what you buy, what you SAY. How can it NOT infringe on the free exchange of ideas? This basically goes against the freedom that you Americans believe in, does it not?" So what IMPACT (your word, not mine) does this access have on free discussion? What discussions have not been had, what statements have not been made due to government's access? I say again, you want to ask how it can not have an impact on free exchange, I simply ask you to tell me how it HAS. I've seen PLENTY of discussion. Hey, I think we have some discussion going on here. When the FBI busts into your house tonight because you have dared to question the government's authority, drop me a line. Now when you or anyone else start making threats to carry out a terrorist act or carry out violence against someone, then I HOPE they come after you. But if you equate such threats with free discussion then it's not just that your right has been taken away, I don't know of anyone who will WANT to spend time in such discussion.
     
  10. billwald

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    Ever since WW2 our masters have worked hard to keep the entire population afraid of something just as prophesied by George Orwell in "1984."
     
  11. carpro

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    Will anyone here admit their "fear" and what they are genuinely "afraid" of?

    There has to be something you are "afraid" of for you to be "manipulated" because of your "fear"?
     
  12. fromtheright

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    So who is your master, bill? :rolleyes:
     
  13. Filmproducer

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    Sharansky argues that the Mideast is dependent on us, as was the Soviet Union. The difference is that we were not dependent on the Soviets as we have become on Muslim oil.

    I disagree with Sharansky's claim that the Middle East is dependent on us, however, we are very dependent on their oil. Could the War in Iraq be Bush's way to accomplish what could not be done in Iran in the 70's? I just wonder if the whole thing will eventually backfire. Case in point, Latin America.

    argues that free societies are more secure when freedom is more widespread

    I consider this premise to be anti-Machiavellian of sorts. Machiavelli claimed that there is "greater security in being feared".
     
  14. fromtheright

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    'producer,

    I disagree with Sharansky's claim that the Middle East is dependent on us, however, we are very dependent on their oil. Could the War in Iraq be Bush's way to accomplish what could not be done in Iran in the 70's? I just wonder if the whole thing will eventually backfire. Case in point, Latin America.

    I agree with you (in your disagreement with Sharansky's point), though I think it is perhaps arguable that they are dependent on our money, as Sharansky argues. The problem with taking that too far is that we aren't the only market for their oil; China's demand is growing strongly. I do disagree with the cynical view that Iraq was simply about money and access to oil, though.
     
  15. Baptist in Richmond

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    Hey FTR!!
    I was driving out east to the airport today to pick up my dry cleaning, and saw the sign for I64 to NORFOLK, and started thinking about you. I hope that all is well with you and yours, and I am looking forward to that meeting in the future!!

    All in all, what did you think of the book itself?

    I must admit: I really got a chuckle from your first point. That is funny, if you really think about it. I have not seen those influences discussed, so perhaps we can start a civil discussion on that later!!! [​IMG]

    And who is Emmanuel Goldstein?

    Your left-leaning friend and brother in Christ,
    BiR
     
  16. Filmproducer

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    FTR,

    You are right, we are not they're only market for oil, and that is a sobering thought. I agree, somewhat, with the view that they are dependent on our money. The "commercial classes" are most certainly dependent on our money, but it can be argued that it is resented by the others, and also a source of contention. Muhammad Atta, described our country as one in "moral decay" where "consumerism and greed run rampant". The majority of Islamic extremists, IMO, are those of the "noncommercial" classes.

    As far as Iraq is concerned. I agree that Iraq was not only about money and oil, but it can be argued that a free Iraq will benefit American corporate interests. Hence, the saying,
    "industrialized nations rotate on the axle of oil that is the Middle East". The war may not have been simply about oil and money, but I think it played a strong interest, just not the only one. IMO, China is another reason. As you mentioned, China's demand for oil is increasing daily. It can only benefit us to have an ally in Iraq.

    My big question is how everything will pan out in the long run. Using Latin America as a model would show that there will be some long term consequences that may affect "democracy", in the long run. I am not sure that Latin America can be a useful model, mainly because of the overall wealth of Iraq compared to its Latin American counterparts. However, correlations can be found within the different religious factions and ethnicities in Iraq.

    [ September 13, 2005, 10:49 PM: Message edited by: Filmproducer ]
     
  17. billwald

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    "So who is your master, bill?"

    Don't know their names. The people who control old European and American money. The people who control the Republican and Democrat parties. Doesn't matter who is elected because nothing changes but the words. Nothing slows the transfer of assets from the workers to the Swiss banks.

    Our owners are much smarter than in the old days. They don't advertise their presence. Thanks to increased productivity it doesn't cost them much to allow us sufficient food, shelter, and clothing for health and relative happiness. Makes for more productivity.

    The nature of the working class has changed. Poor poeple has the same sorts of goods that rich people have only in poorer quality and we have to stand in line to get our goods. Allowing us cheap beer, the sports channel, and two weeks vacation is enough to keep most of us happy.
     
  18. OCC

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    I will address your post tomorrow ftr...but here is where you mentioned the Patriot Act. Because you said this...I surmised that you are in favour of the Patriot Act. No need to talk down to me like I'm an idiot. If you hadn't said that...I would not have posted what I did.
     
  19. fromtheright

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    KJ,

    'Sorry 'bout that. I was not the one who first mentioned the PATRIOT Act. Sure, I mentioned it--in response to S & R. Again, you seem to be implying that I first mentioned it. I talked down to you because the posts are very clear that I didn't first raise the issue of the PATRIOT Act.

    In any event, I'm through discussing who first mentioned it. The posts are there. I'm assuming we can now move on to the actual assertion that it impacts free discussion and look forward to your post tomorrow.


    FP,

    As far as Iraq is concerned. I agree that Iraq was not only about money and oil, but it can be argued that a free Iraq will benefit American corporate interests. Hence, the saying, "industrialized nations rotate on the axle of oil that is the Middle East". The war may not have been simply about oil and money, but I think it played a strong interest, just not the only one. IMO, China is another reason. As you mentioned, China's demand for oil is increasing daily. It can only benefit us to have an ally in Iraq.


    I won't deny that it played a strong part in the decision, but proceed on the assumption, unless reliable evidence otherwise comes forward, that our reason for entering the war was as stated. Though I don't deny the importance of an ally in Iraq I don't think it was necessarily for the reason of countering China though, as you stated, there is geopolitical reasoning for doing so. Personally, I do believe that our goal should include encircling China, as they assert is our intention. But I don't think it should be for the purpose of military confrontation but rather to serve as a check on their reach into the South China Sea and the Pacific.
     
  20. carpro

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    The thing about the Patriot Act that frightens me the most is the ability of the government to see my library records. :eek:

    Everything else pales in comparison. :rolleyes:
     

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