A January 31 report from the PEW Research Center shows that the American people feel that the government is a threat to their personal rights and freedom. The survey of 1,500 people showed that 53% of American believes the government cannot be trusted. This charge led by Conservative Republicans has little substance, but the mere idea that a majority of Americans believing their own government is out to get them reflects the reality of ignorance among the US electorate.

What freedoms and rights are threatened? When that question comes up, those surveyed are a little less specific except in the idea that their guns will be taken. With 300 million guns in the US it would take a special collection teams decades to locate and confiscate all the guns in the United States. Additionally, if it was a hostile movement AK-47’s, large clip weapons and handguns are not much help against mortars, 70 mm cannons or missiles, not to mention supersonic fighters and drones.

The right of free speech is firmly in place. And, since the Reagan era the equal response law is no longer an issue as conservative talk and TV shows dominate the airways. Religious freedom? Christianity dominates as the major religion in the United States. Although other denominations are growing Christianity is still the largest segment in the country.

Perhaps, it is that religious concepts as law or education cannot be promoted taught or proselytized on public property. However, religious school are free to teach it just as the unreligious are free to have no beliefs or to be being bombarded by the beliefs of others. By law, women are free to procure an abortion even though conservatives have diminished that right.

Additionally, any rights and freedoms infringed went that route voluntarily with programs like the Patriot Act. Repressive legislation fostered after the 9/11 tragedy were given away freely and passed by the very people claiming their freedoms and rights diminished. Keep the damn guns; they are worth little more than political fodder.  No one is coming to get them and if the Chinese attack the weapons they bring will turn our 300 million rifles and handguns into cap pistols.

Guns are off the table. So, what is the issue? You’re already denying women their right to a legal abortion. Freedom of religion is still in place although record numbers of Christians are leaving the faith each day. No, it seems the only right or freedom disappearing never was such and that was the arrogance of a group people thinking their ideas should be imposed on a country where there is a chance for true freedom.

Sadly, the truly free recognize that it is filled with responsibility, not license; accountability, not selfishness and most importantly, compassion, not avarice.

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Comment by Alan Perlman on February 9, 2013 at 11:11am

Jay,

This is why I am a libertarian.  Dems pretend to be socially liberal (to them it means affirmative action) but take your money for their endless social programs.  Repub's pretend to be fiscally conservative but have no problem spending lavishly on war and want to use the govt's power to regulate your personal life. 

They're all hypocrites: Both sides prolong the drug war, huge entitlement programs, and worldwide military empire.  Libertarians are the only ones who honestly want to promote smaller govt., social liberalism and fiscal conservatism.

If I, as an atheist, don't trust God, whom I can't see, why would I trust politicians, whose antics and corruption are on display 24/7?

As regards "All the government has to do is invoke 'national security', 'terrorism' , or 'drug war' and invasive behavior becomes acceptable."...recall Ben Frankin's observation that a nation that gives up liberty to gain security will not get either one -- and doesn't deserve either.

Comment by jay H on February 9, 2013 at 7:14am

I am an atheist and yes, I definitely consider the government to be the biggest threat to freedom. The only freedom somewhat intact is free speech (and that is constantly under threat). The 4th amendment has been largely bypassed by both the Dems and the Repubs. All the government has to do is invoke 'national security', 'terrorism' , or 'drug war' and invasive behavior becomes acceptable.

Obama's administration has greatly expanded warrantless surveillance of citizens, and has vigorously fought attempts by citizen groups to challenge this under 'national security'. We have government attempting to personal behavior in plenty of ways that are simply not the government's business. The drug war has entrenched a variety of invasive technologies as 'legitimate', including now the use of drones.

"Additionally, any rights and freedoms infringed went that route voluntarily with programs like the Patriot Act. Repressive legislation fostered after the 9/11 tragedy were given away freely and passed by the very people claiming their freedoms and rights diminished."  On what planet did I or millions of others 'give up' my rights? What gives the president or congress (or even non existent popular vote) the right to gut the Constitution?

Both the liberals and the conservatives cry freedom, but each camp just wants freedom in a few areas, and are more than willing to trample on other freedoms that they don't happen to  like.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on February 3, 2013 at 11:20pm
The interesting thing in these "big brother" watching you is that they result in average production. If there is no incentive in doing more, it isn't done. The more repressive the work place the more employees find way to sabotage what they perceive as unfair activities. Free labor ended with slavery.
Comment by SteveInCO on February 3, 2013 at 9:22pm

I interviewed at a place that had fingerprint readers on the bathroom doors, both going in and going out.  I wonder if they wanted to count squares of toilet paper too.  Probably a good thing I bombed that interview.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on February 3, 2013 at 6:42pm
Sentient, I was a beginning systems sales rep and we sold T & M (Time and Motion) study software that counted keystrokes and time. Employees hated it and employers thought they loved it until they found that employees found a way to take advantage of gaps in the software.
Comment by Daniel W on February 3, 2013 at 4:10pm

A hospital where I used to work had GPS monitors on the nurses.  That way the supervisor knew where they were at every moment - even the restroom.  

You reminded me of a company where my dad worked in my small town.  The foreman there trolled the taverns for employees who, if caught drinking, were fired.  

All of which is why I think we need govt as "another kind of evil" to counteract the "evil" of corporate monarchy.  Unfortunately, much of govt is in their pockets.

Comment by Alan Perlman on February 3, 2013 at 12:51pm

S/B, Oh, yeah, I forgot about the damned drug test - the ultimate invasion of privacy.  And unpaid overtime will be an issue indefinitely, as long as there are more people than jobs. 

These infringements on personal liberty go way back, to when Henry Ford checked up on employees to make sure of their church attendance and other rectitude, as he defined it. 

The company pretty much owns you, body and (often) soul.  They can tell you when to show up and when to go home, just like 5th grade. (PS. Ron Perlman is my cousin -- maybe.)

Comment by Daniel W on February 3, 2013 at 12:31pm

Ron,

Beyond that even - from personal experience, corporation can monitor computer activity down to the keystroke if at work or logged on at home through company servers.  Demand for "homework" means work can extend beyond the times offices are closed and cleaning staff have locked up.  Employer demands urine drug screens.  Speaking to 3rd partys OFF the record can haunt you too.  None of that is "American" - it's corporate greed and megalomania.  

Comment by Alan Perlman on February 3, 2013 at 12:12pm

One forfeits pretty much ALL Constitutional rights when one goes to work for a corp. 

You have no privacy, either physically (my boss would routinely march into my office even when the door was closed) or on your computer.  You cannot speak to any 3rd party on the record, no matter what subject, unless you get clearance from the PR folks and/or the lawyer. 

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on February 3, 2013 at 5:03am

The right of free speech is firmly in place?

Tain't.

Congress has an awful time writing laws that protect whistle blowers who work for the government when they've reported wrongdoing in their departments.

Or, work for a private company that seeks a government contract and publicly campaign against a project favored by incumbent politicians. Maybe you don't want to pay the taxes for the project, or maybe you oppose its environmental effects. If you are effective:

1) You will frighten people who will profit from that project.

2) They will contact those incumbents, to whose elections they have probably contributed big bucks,

3) Those incumbents will fear the loss of future contributions,

4 ) Those incumbents' staff people will ask your employer if you represent the company's views,

5) Company management will fear the loss of the government work they want, and

6) You will probably soon be looking elsewhere for employment.

In hardball politics you might hear this metaphor: "To silence a man, take his bread. If that fails, take his blood."

I knew a newspaper reporter "whose blood was taken" by a car bomb. The killer left tracks and spent time in prison.

For the details, search Wikipedia for "Don Bolles".

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