One thing is for sure, none of those f*cking people know what freedom is. If you asked them they would probably say something like:
Obama “Freedom is blah blah blah bullshit blah blah when in America a black man can become president”
Hilary “Freedom is blah blah blah bullshit blah blah when in America a woman can run for president”
Trump “Freedom is blah blah blah bullshit blah blah when in America, a guy like me can become a billionaire”
It's also not some clichéd phrase like "My freedom stops, when your freedom begins" or "It's a free country. Well it used to be"
At its core the question of “what is freedom” is a philosophical question. However, if we asked two philosophers “what is freedom”, they would probably end up debating to the end of time and either come to no conclusion, or to a conclusion so abstract that it has no practical or functional value.
Let us now give a very practical definition of freedom, and then some real world examples. Freedom: Is the allowance of something to function with the absence of controls. Controls: Are those entities/elements which restrict freedom.
If you are free to drive, that is to say able to drive without any restrictions, you could drive where you want, how you want, or when you want. There would be no consequences of driving on sidewalks, into oncoming traffic, or running over pedestrians. I think most people agree that when it comes to driving, there should be some controls. That is to say that the freedom of driving should come with certain agreed upon restrictions. So in the example of driving the freedoms and controls could be Freedom: Drive when, where, how, an individual wants Controls: 1. Speed Limits 2. Drivers license 3. Law enforcement Of course there are many other controls.
Another example could be that you want to study at Harvard. If you are free from restrictions, anyone and everyone should be able to study at Harvard. However, we all know that Harvard has controls regulating who can study at their university. Such as 1. Academic Requirements 2. Tuition Costs
Poverty the biggest restriction to human freedom
If you look at human society, cost, or the requirement of money to be able to do something is the most universal human administered restriction or control. If an individual has no money or assets, then that individual will face limitations such as the following 1. The inability to pursue an education because they cannot afford to not work 2. The inability to travel 3. The inability to access medical care 4. The inability to choose what they eat. What is eaten is what is available. The wealthier the individual the more freedoms they have, as they face less restrictions. If an individual is wealthy enough, they could choose whether or not to work, choose where they would like to live, choose which university they want to study, access to the best medical care, and so on.
Not all limitations are human creations such as money and traffic laws. The most fundamental controls of freedom are the physical laws of the universe.
If I gave you the keys to a car and I said go drive as you want, free from human controls, you still aren’t free to do anything and everything you could possibly want. You would still not be able to drive off into space and do rounds around the sun. The laws of nature would prevent it from happening.
We are not free to break the laws of nature
Even with an individual’s imagination there are the limitations of being a human. Try as you want, you can’t even really imagine what it is like to be another human being, and that is imagining being another creature that shares very similar senses to you, much imagining what it is really like to be a dog or a goldfish. So absolute freedom does not exist in the universe.
Absolute Freedom: Is the allowance of something to function with the absence of any and all controls.
With that said, freedom can never be entirely controlled either. For example, an individual locked away in solitary confinement, still has the freedom to imagine, and the freedom to dream.
The man in the video says "the things I could control, I would"
Stephen Hawking has lost most of his physical freedoms due to his disease, but he is still free to pursue science, to love, and to do so many other things.
So if we look at societies the question isn’t about freedom, in the sense of absolute freedom, rather the question is about the controls of freedom. Certain controls are based on standards and regulations.
Standards: (should be at least) those controls supported by empirical data, with evidence demonstrating that life is improved by implementing those controls There are plenty in every industry, and sometimes they are even in contradiction to one another. Either way, most people would agree that when it comes to potentially risky activities such as driving or medical practices that some sort of Standards and Regulations should be followed.
How about for life in general though? The controls over what people should be allowed to wear, or what people should be allowed to do in public. Who should get to decide the controls? For American politicians and for large parts of the American population, it seems like they think America should determine global social controls. Americans though can’t even agree on their own social controls. Debates wage on about gay marriage, immigration, bank practices, pharmaceutical practices, gun rights, etc.
How can America tell the rest of the world about freedoms and controls? When they cannot agree on the controls which suit the American identity, how can they determine the controls of different society which have different identities.
Take Iran for example. The entire position of Grand Ayatollah was put in place by the Iranian people. Once the people were free to have a say in their government after the removal of the Iranian monarchy, they established the requirements. To this day the majority of the Iranian people would support the position of Grand Ayatollah in the government, because it is in line with the Shia Islam, the dominant religion in the country. Shia Islam forms a major part of the Iranian identity. How can an outside power, reject a society’s own decisions, and claim they are not in line with “freedom”?
The majority of Iranians support the position of Grand Ayatollah, as it complies with their religious beliefs
Again and again, the American position of “freedom” means freedom to behave and act and think like Americans. This is something I think you would find most the world would reject. Most societies are satisfied establishing their own controls of freedom, which are in line with their own social and ethnic identities.
With that said. There is still the question as to what point should a society be able to control its own freedoms without the interventions of other societies. For example, in the highlands Papua New Guinea, as is typical of tribal societies and was once normal practice around the world, girls are typically married off as soon as they hit puberty, sometimes earlier. Is the age of 12 really an acceptable age for a girl to be married?
There is no easy answer when it comes to the limitations of freedom.
One thing freedom is not though, is a meaningless catch phrase to be used to excite the masses.
Last edited by PainDog on Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.
The authorities arbitrarily restricted the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. A prisoner of conscience was serving a lengthy sentence for writing and reciting poems. Migrant workers, including domestic workers and those employed in high-profile construction projects, continued to face exploitation and abuse. Discrimination against women remained entrenched in both law and practice. The death penalty remained in force; no executions were reported. Background
In March, Qatar joined the Saudi Arabia-led international coalition that engaged in the armed conflict in Yemen (see Yemen entry). Freedom of expression
The authorities continued to restrict freedom of expression. Qatari poet Mohammed al-Ajami (also known as Ibn-Dheeb) remained a prisoner of conscience. He had received a 15-year prison sentence in 2012 for writing and reciting poems deemed by the authorities to be offensive to the Emir and the state. In February, the Minister for Foreign Affairs denied that Mohammed al-Ajami was jailed for his peaceful opinions.1
In May, security authorities detained four media workers, including British journalist Mark Lobel, although they had official authorization to visit Qatar to report on conditions of migrant workers. They were released without charge after two days and were allowed to remain in Qatar. Justice system
In March, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers reported on her 2014 visit to Qatar. She concluded that there were serious shortcomings that negatively affected the enjoyment of human rights in Qatar and the independence and impartiality of those working in the justice system.
The Court of Appeal in the capital Doha confirmed the conviction of Filipino national Ronaldo Lopez Ulep, who received a sentence of life imprisonment in 2014 for espionage. His conviction was largely based on a pre-trial “confession” that he said security officers had forced him to make under torture. The Court of Appeal reduced his sentence to 15 years’ imprisonment, while also confirming the convictions and reducing the sentences of two other Filipinos tried alongside Ronaldo Ulep. Migrant workers’ rights
Migrant workers, who numbered more than 1.6 million according to the authorities and made up more than 90% of Qatar’s workforce, continued to face exploitation and abuse. The Emir and the Minister for Foreign Affairs both committed to addressing exploitation of migrant workers in the recruitment chain during official visits to India and Nepal respectively, from where many of Qatar’s migrant workers originate. In October the Emir approved changes to the kafala sponsorship system, creating a new system for migrant workers to appeal a sponsor’s decision to refuse them an exit permit to leave the country and increasing the state’s oversight of the process by which workers seek to change jobs or leave Qatar. However, migrant workers were still required to obtain their sponsor’s approval to change jobs or leave the country. The new regime would not be enforceable until at least the end of 2016. In February the Emir approved the introduction of an electronic Wage Protection System that sought to regularize the payment of salaries by requiring all businesses to pay workers by bank transfer.
Migrant workers commonly had their passports confiscated by their employers, in breach of Qatari law, exposing them to forced labour and other abuses. Thousands of workers in construction and related industries continued to live in dirty, overcrowded and often unsafe conditions. The government said it would build new facilities to house up to 258,000 workers by the end of 2016, and announced in August that it had completed the construction of housing for 50,000 workers.
Thousands of domestic workers, most of whom were women, and other migrant workers employed by small companies or in informal work arrangements continued to face the greatest risk of abuse, including forced labour and human trafficking. Workers employed by large companies also complained of chronic labour abuse such as inadequate housing, low pay and late payment of wages, poor working conditions, and of being prevented from changing jobs or leaving the country under the kafala system.
Following the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in April and May, many Nepalese migrant workers complained that employers denied them exit permits to leave Qatar or refused to pay their return airfares, a legal requirement for those whose contracts had ended. Without this support, few could afford to return. Of those who did return to Nepal, many complained that their employers in Qatar withheld pay due to them. Women’s rights
Women faced discrimination in law and in practice, and were inadequately protected against violence within the family. Personal status laws continued to discriminate against women in relation to marriage, divorce, inheritance, child custody, nationality and freedom of movement. Death penalty
The Court of Appeal confirmed at least one death sentence. No executions were reported.
Qatar: Release the poet, Mohammed al-Ajami (MDE 22/2760/2015) Just for comparison.
I've personally spent hours researching this very topic for my thesis and after years of combing through every bit of information I could get my hands on, I cam to this conclusion; Murica.
When engaged in combat, the vanquishing of thine enemy can be the warrior's only concern. Suppress all human emotion and compassion. Kill whoever stands in thy way, even if that be Lord God or Buddha himself.
To me, the traditional concept of freedom is an illusion created by desire and the obstruction to having what you think you need to satisfy your desire. The concept that I believe should be associated with “freedom” is “awareness”. To be aware of the present moment and only the present moment is what I liken the most to being truly free.
To attain this awareness, one must first lose all forms of desire (which is obviously extremely difficult). The simple acts of classification and abstraction lead to defining things that are “good” and “bad” which leads to want and desire. When one accepts things for how they are though, then there is no desire, and there is no “freedom from control”. In addition, the more of this freedom you desire, the less you will have because the amount of control will appear more ominous. No society is more “free” than any other since everyone is ultimately bound by their desires.
Anyways, I apologize for my response being more philosophical than the operational approach you might be looking for
hawdrigoh I have the intention to address "desire" in a future thread.
You gave a very philosophical and spiritual definition of freedom; which seems to be rooted in Dharmic religions.
However, when we think of society we must think in functional and practical terms.
I work as a safety professional in the Oil and Gas industry. Safety is essentially one form of Risk Management; Risk Management is fundamentally the management of risks (generally defined as the probability of something going wrong multiplied by the magnitude of something going wrong) through controls.
As I defined in the original post these “controls” are at their core restrictions of freedom.
For example, we cannot allow someone to operate the plant as they like, we put control measures in place. These controls can be administration controls such as Operating Manuals, or they can be engineering controls such as operating limits in the design of the control center. We put as many controls in place as is reasonably practicable. That is to say as many controls as possible taking into consideration the cost of the controls, and how it disturbs our objectives.
Each and every accident from terrorist attacks to plane crashes to gas plant fires could be prevented, if there were sufficient controls. However, implementing those controls might not be practical, or even possible with current levels of technology.
Most people working in a hazardous industry such as the Oil and Gas industry accept the sacrifices of certain freedom in favor additional safety and security. The same thing can be seen when people fly. They generally go along with the lengthy check-ins, security checks, and flight regulations. Giving up some personal freedom is worth the benefit of additional security and safety.
However, in these industries we still have to be reasonable with the level of controls we have. People still must be able to fly somewhat comfortably or they will not fly at all, and revolt to a certain extent against the controls which they feel are in violation of their accepted limitations of freedom.
When we think of society in these terms, we see that a government has the responsibility to try and balance out the societies safety and security without removing too many of the societal freedoms the society needs to function. Most societies experiencing a particularly violent episode, don’t mind the extra restrictions such as curfews. Freedoms sacrificed for safety and security.
Even in specific industries such as the Oil and Gas industry managing employee freedoms with safety and security controls is a difficult balance. When it comes to societies as a whole it’s infinitely more difficult, because you have to consider social identity which includes socially accepted morals.
Guns are a part of the American national identity. Restrictions on guns in America must take into consideration the national identity as well as safety and security. That becomes a difficult balancing act.
Here in Qatar, guns are not a part of the culture, and are completely outlawed. Consequently, the country has no issues with gun violence.
You could even take into consideration something more or less harmless like the availability pork. In Japan people are free to eat pork where and when they like
In most Muslim countries pork is restricted. The societies find eating pork morally unacceptable, and therefore put in place controls to restrict its availability. Restrictions to freedom, because it violates a society’s moral norms.
This is what I mean when I say a society should be able to determine its levels of freedom. It is up to specific societies to determine what is allowable and what is not.
Definitions of freedom relating to desire and awareness are personal definitions. These definitions can lead someone to a place of greater inner peace. They cannot however, be used to develop laws, regulations, and standards, which are used to govern industry and society.
I think we would all agree…that laws, regulations, and standards, as well as other restrictions to freedom, are useful to society.
PainDog wrote:hawdrigoh I have the intention to address "desire" in a future thread.
You gave a very philosophical and spiritual definition of freedom; which seems to be rooted in Dharmic religions.
However, when we think of society we must think in functional and practical terms.
Yeah I know I wasn't so concerned with a functional/operational definition, although every time I've thought about this operationally I end up coming back to considering it from a philosophical/spiritual/religious point of view...these things don't seem so mutually exclusive and it's a bit of a rabbit-hole (in my opinion of course).
Anyways I've enjoyed reading these posts quite a bit, however I will happily wait for that future thread to discuss the philosophical side a bit more
Freedom is getting to choose between pre approved options
"In the end things will have to be as they are and always have been: the great things are left to the great, the abysses to the profound, tenderness and thrills to the sensitive, and to sum it up in a few words, everything extraordinary to the extraordinary. "
I was interested in seeing people’s opinions, on the following issue which I touched on briefly in the original post. “There is still the question as to what point should a society be able to control its own freedoms without the interventions of other societies.”
I don’t mean to keep picking on Papuan highlanders, I really have a deep interest in their culture and society, and population genetics, but they have some customs which would be considered taboo by most other societies. Granted they are slowly starting to fade away.
Papuans, like Australian Aboriginals, and Melanesians (groups sometimes collectively referred to as Australoids) have a tendency for blondism. The genes causing blondism in Australoid populations are not the same as in "Caucasoid" populations."
There are still certain tribes amongst the Papuans where cannibalism is practiced. They don’t usually go out and raid other villages (anymore) to get someone to chow down on. Usually they just eat their dead relatives, not eating their dead relatives was considered a sign of disrespect.
Cannibalism was at one time the main cause of the spread of Kuru or New Guinea laughing sickness. That was mostly due to poor hygiene when butchering a human body. Blood from the butchered body got every and ended up contaminating the area where the food would be prepared. Consuming the uncooked blood, is what spread the disease. With proper hygiene when butchering the body, and cooking the body thoroughly, the risk of spreading kuru would be quite small.
However, is it morally acceptable that people, at this time, are still allowed to practice cannibalism.
I think most would probably agree that if basic welfares are being denied such as the right to basic health care, medical care, and education, that other societies could make the moral decision to intervene.
When I say denied, I mean that they could be available or are available, but certain members of the population are denied access. Though I am not too familiar with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I will trust Justin Wren, and use his example of the Mbutti Pygmies being denied basic medical care due to racial and ethnic prejudices.
Even if we agree it is wrong, at what point do other societies take action?
A child is free, their mind is not shackled by society's expectations and bound by the corperate soul sucking machine. Once your age of innocence is over then you become a slave to wordly vices, it doesnt matter which country you call home. The lucky ones grow old and come full circle and die free. Freedom is in the mind, your body is the prison. New Zealand is on the right track.