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 1, 2013 at 1:26pm

I was going to write more, but the commentators pretty much covered it.  I would only add that I'm not free to educate my children as I see fit (applies to those for whom public school is the only option), not free to save for retirement as I wish (Social Security takes 14%), not free to keep what I earn (as Sheldon Richman said, "The income tax and the IRS are vile institutions that have no place in a free society.').  I don't even have freedom over my own body - ingest the wrong substances, and I'm a criminal.

"Freedom" is all too often taken to mean "freedom to do the things I want."  We naturally have a blind spot when it comes to restrictions on freedoms we don't personally care about.

Comment by Idaho Spud on February 1, 2013 at 10:57am

I can understand wanting the government to force people to do what you want them to do.  I often get the feeling myself.  I often wish there were a law against something I hate.  However, when I think about it, if I want freedom to do my thing, I have to allow others to do their thing.  Some of the freedoms I think shouldn't be taken away are:

If I start a business, I'm not free to hire or fire those I want.  There's also a huge number of rules and regulations that cost a huge amount of time and money to run a business.

If I rent a house, I'm not free to rent to those I want and I'm not free to kick deadbeats out immediately.  

I'm not free to own property if I can't afford to pay the taxes.  I think sales tax is the most fair tax.

I'm not free to keep my money or give my money to those I want, because the government takes a large portion to give to those they want.  

In many cases, I'm not allowed to defend myself.

Comment by Luara on February 1, 2013 at 10:44am

The incarceration rate in the U.S. is the highest in the world.  Russia and China may have more people in prison but the rate of incarceration is (according to wikipedia) higher here.  

wikipedia sez:

As of 2009, the incarceration rate was 743 per 100,000 of national population (0.743%).[2] In comparison, Russia had the second highest, at 577 per 100,000, Canada was 123rd in the world as 117 per 100,000, and China had 120 per 100,000

Comment by Donald R Barbera on February 1, 2013 at 10:37am
Yes, we have k rr a million, but I think China is still number one with Russia a close second. Ht those numbers could have flipped.
Comment by Luara on February 1, 2013 at 6:13am

We do have the War on Drugs in the U.S., and a large fraction of the population is in jail because of it.  According to wikipedia the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. 

In a very literal sense, the U.S. is a very unfree country. 

Comment by roland707 on January 31, 2013 at 10:32pm

Saw an interesting piece relative to this on ,I think, Jimmy Kimmel the other night. They were doing a 'man on the street interview' bit. They ask "Do you think Congress is doing a good job?". The person would respond "Oh no, Congress is doing a TERRIBLE job! They should all be fired.....". Then the interviewer says "So who is your representative?" They got a lot of "Um... uh.....I don't really know". Hilarious, if it were not so sad.

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