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Some Food For Thought

By maxwell edison ·
Premise Question: Do you believe that every person has an inherent right to live in freedom, with personal liberty, and with not only the right, but perhaps even the obligation, to either participate or to allow the participation in free and open elections of those who will lead their country; and that people have a right to determine their own destiny?

If you answered no, this question (or discussion) is really not for you; and for the sake of argument, we'll just agree to disagree. I might suggest, however, that you consider China, North Korea or Angola as a possible new country of residence.

If you answered yes, then consider this.

How would it be taken in the UK, Canada, Australia, the USA, or a myriad of other nations if there existed a faction of people who were attempting to stop the process of free and open elections, and threatened to kill any person who attempted to participate in such elections? That is exactly what's going on right now in Iraq - no more, no less. The "insurgents" as they are sometimes called -- even "sympathetically" called by many -- are often given "credit" for being the combatant against America, when, in reality, they are the enemy of freedom and liberty. True, any enemy of freedom and liberty is, by definition, an enemy of America, but they should also be the enemy of all who believe in the ideals as described.

It's often been asked how many American soldiers lives is worth the effort -- in this case, the effort to guarantee freedom and liberty to the people of Iraq. This is a false dilemma because neither answer, on the surface, is acceptable. On one hand, it's not worth even one American life; but on the other hand, it's worth as many as it takes.

In the cosmic blink-of-an-eye we call a lifetime, perhaps we can do something to make the world a better place for those who come after us. And if we can make the world more free and perhaps guarantee individual liberty to those who come after, perhaps the destiny they choose for themselves will make the efforts well worth it. I'm extremely grateful for the sacrifices made by those who came before me, as my quality of life is certainly better as a result. Let's hope that those who come after can say the same thing.

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by maxwell edison In reply to Some Food For Thought

I predict that MORE Iraqis (a higher percentage, that is) will vote in their upcoming national election than Americans who voted in the recent 2004 national election. I will predict the turnout to be between 60 and 70 percent, closer to 70 percent, while the turnout for the recent American election was right at 60 percent of eligible voters.

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I certainly hope so

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Prediction

Having been given this circumstance to exercise the right to choose a destiny, they would insane to throw it away. It would mean all the lives on either side that have been lost or damaged would have been completely wasted. Even if they simply vote for a candidate who'll put things back the way they were they will have made a choice.
If it's 'free and fair' it cannot hurt. I'm not sure how much this particular election will achieve by and of itself, but the habit has to start somewhere.
If it's done enthusiastically then the bad guys are not going to be happy, after all they are not big on the multiple choice front.

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Good job of predicting

by Montgomery Gator In reply to Prediction

From what I heard, the numbers are pretty close to that, in the mid 60s.

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Freedom vs Society

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Some Food For Thought

No individual in a society is free.
We are constrained by our fellow members. I'm not talking about fatuous things like the freedom to kill our next door neighbour. But we all accept a curtailment in our individual liberty in order to live with each other. A society can be free, but an individual never can be.

Freedom and liberty are very ambigous words, even in modern democratic societies, they are continually examined. It's this process, that defines our society as 'free'. Since the process is gauge the freedom of the individual against the needs of the society of which they are a part.

With the above proviso, I agree with you entirely, but given this how can we justify the imprisonment without trial of suspected enemies. It's happening in both our wonderfully free democratic libertarian societies at this very moment. Judge them guilty of putting their individual freedom before that of our society, fine. No judgement and we are liars and hyprocrites.

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A strange comparisson

by Oz_Media In reply to Freedom vs Society

The way the question is posted it is almost a closed ended question. Have you ever been in sales, Max?

Yes I believe in my personal freedoms and living in an open and free society. That's why I was moved here and not China. I was born into a free society that certain cultures have embraced, and others haven't, thus we move to a similar society to that where I originated, this way I am allowed a level of personal freedoms that I am used to.

If I was raised elsewhere my true core beliefs may be elswhere.

Canadians don't mind welfare for the most part, yet this is seen as a loss of personal freedom by someone such as yourself. Trying to instill your country's ways on Canada would create war of course, we are happy with what we have and don't want what YOU deem should be freedom.

This is what I see in Iraq too, people have been born into a society that they accept, for the most part, just as we ignore the negative aspects of our own government and focus on those that we cherish instead.

Yes, under my own personal expectations and standards, I think everyone should live just as I do, yet you would put up strong resistance yourself if I tried to instill Canadian views upon you. It doesn't mean you don't have what YOU consider freedom but it is far from what I consider freedom. Does that make your society right and mine wrong?

I know that the whole reason for democracy is to allow pepople choice and this doesn't mean that they will adopt YOUR choice but have the freedom to make their own.

So what if they make what is considered a BAD choice by others, what if they actually VOTED for Saddam?

Would we be leaving them alone in that case?

As for election turnouts, did America have a poor turnout for it's first election?

Over time this eagerness has dropped as people feel less and less important and find elections futility because someone is always elected that they wouldn't choose. That leader may not act as they feel and therefore they do not feel the same sense of freedom as you do. They will often equate it to a dictatorship.

If Canada had the inclination, you may have seen us and other allies invading the US to topple Bush as most dont'y like him in power either, the world sees him as having a negative effect on the world and we think you would be better off without him and you sould live in a more passive society. Bush could been seen as not allowing true democracy in a country, misleading the people to war etc.
Just because YOU agree with it, doesn't mean the majority of the rest of the free world see it as such a democratic country, epsecially inlight of all the supposed election scandals that could be seen as a corrupt democracy.

Would you embrace the thought of toppling your own leader yourself, Max? Even if other countries thought it was for the better? Yes it is the same thing.

Do you think the US election turnout would be bigger afterwards, as we see a bunch of people with new hope of actually having a voice put in a ballot? Maybe they could elect Kerry as they would have liked to the first time? Maybe others feel you would have been better off with what THEY deem a true democracy with someone like Kerry in power, as many people obviously want him in power.

I guess the point is, what is it that makes people from one society think that is best for other societies? What society has the right to make that choice and why?
Who's democratic society is the new world to be modeled after? America? UK? Canada? Would Bush remain in power? Doubtfully.

Why should we not build a Canadian democracy there instead? A Canadian styled democratic system, which it will most likely be more like anyway due to the voting process. I doubt they will have electoral voting by different states.

If Iraq had modeled itself based on the principles of the US you WOULD have been invaded by Iraq. As the only solution to stopping the infidels would have been a their nation invading you you to instill it's own ideals upon your country.

I know this is decision supposed to be left for a new free and democratic society to handle, but how do THEY know what's the best form of democracy to have?

What if it turns out to not be what you or others expect it to be, will you go back and invade them again?

What if they drop democracy and have a dictator take over again?

Will you be going back to play government police and try it again?

There is no simple answer and a closed question doesn't work in this case, I don't think.

Of course we cherish freedoms, that is what we are born into.

Had you been born under a dictatorship, you may have said the 'exact' same thing about living under a dictatorship.
People would be saying,
"Why should some people be allowed to choose what is best for their country? This shouldn't be left in the hands of commoners! Without strict government control, how can you lead the people whom you govern over if THEY are choosing thier own leader?"

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A "welfare" tangent? And a "ridiculous" tangent

by maxwell edison In reply to A strange comparisson

Yes, Oz, you're right. I believe that the practice of redistributing income for the purpose of equalizing outcome is, by definition, tantamount to infringing on another's personal liberty. But why do you put all such things under the "welfare" umbrella? And why must you always stretch someone's position to the absurd?

At the risk of sounding like a "flame", which it's not, I have to wonder if you're so dense that you simply can't comprehend my real position, or if you're intentionally trying to misrepresent it by stretching it to an unintended and ridiculous extreme. (The Wild West? Invade the USA and topple Bush?)

I'm not sure how many times I have to say it before it sinks into your apparently thick head, but I do indeed believe in helping people who can't help themselves. But "helping people" who are perfectly capable of helping themselves, and doing it under the guise of compassion, is not helping at all. It hurts the people from whom property is seized to finance such things. It hurts society as a whole, since any attempt to equalize outcome is doomed to failure; and it actually hurts those people it was intended to help. But Earth to OZ, I'm NOT talking about ignoring those who can't help themselves.

I really don't see you as someone with whom I can have a reasonable and rational discussion on such things. You simply can't be taken seriously because you post such ridiculous interpretations of my true positions. Do you really not get it, or are you just trying to be cute? Feel free to disagree with my opinions, that's all fine and dandy. But you can't even seem to restate them accurately. And if you can't accurately restate my various positions, it's obvious that you don't understand them -- or you have a different agenda entirely, in which case, I'm not interested.

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Don't get me started...

by house In reply to A "welfare" tangent? And ...

...on social programs. Just know that I work for every cent, so you can understand where I sit on the spectrum. I despise social programs to the core, as I have seen first hand thier failures and shortcomings.

I'm with you on that topic. I'm being ripped off in a big way.

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and baby makes . . .

by apotheon In reply to Don't get me started...

Well, that makes three of us on the same side of that particular issue.

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No I don't like it either

by Oz_Media In reply to and baby makes . . .

First the reason I reverted to welfare, that is the most visible taking my tax money and redistributing it. Knowing many that have scammed welfare for years and seeing the laxy people who rely on it also ticks me off to no end. Th eonly way of stoppin gthis in the short term is to not help at all, in which case, many who are in need will not see help. Certainly we should take care of our own, but some will still lose.

Welfare does help a lot of people actually get thier lives together again, for this I cannot turn my back on the concept of welfare. And hsould it be passed to the individual to donate and aide as needed, I am confident they will fall short of helping people.

The invasion concept was just a result of my explaining where forcing democracy on a nation that may not embrace it may be wrong.

You did ask "How would it be taken in the UK, Canada, Australia, the USA, or a myriad of other nations if there existed a faction of people who were attempting to stop the process of free and open elections, and threatened to kill any person who attempted to participate in such elections?"

My answer was perhaps these pople don't WANTY a democracy? And even if they do, who is the US to make such a decision?

This then resulted in what you consider absurdity by the hypothetical example of, what if YOUR democracy was no longer seen as a democracy by other countries? Perhaps they see the last few elections as democracy currupted. Would they then be justified in invading America to topple Bush? Afterall a great deal of your citizzens think he is repressive and is responsible for the death of thousands of citizens. Then again, a large portion stand behind him and believe in him.

Your country is divied over leadership in a democracy. Why could that not be seen by others as a potentially corrupt government?

We KNOW better because your nation is far more western tsandards, but what if we didn't?

In short, perhaps democracy WON'T be seized in Iraq, who's to say that after 10 years you are not going back to remove the next person who has been supported into a dictatorship?

I am not shooting down the concept of a free democratic nation, I am perhaps second guessing the want for a free democratic nation and owndering if it will last without continued conflict, or until all rebels are dead, if that's even remotely possible.

So no, I wasn't atacking you, yes I am sane. I am just seeing a different view of who's decision it is and IF it will stick.

As far as taxes, I get what I pay for. A stunning place to live and a higher wage to cover the extra taxes. You can be assured that as soon as taxes are reduced (not that it would happen if the pousted social programs enrtirely anyway) that minimum wage and the average working wage will in turn be reduced.

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it doesn't matter

by apotheon In reply to No I don't like it either

It doesn't matter if the culture doesn't want individuals to have various liberties. Only an individual has the ethical right to give up liberties, and then only that individual's own liberties, never anyone else's. Granted, "democracy" doesn't really qualify as rights and liberties; it's just a system of governmental decision-making that is often equated with the ability to exert one's will over oneself.

This "democracy" crap, in my opinion at least, is just a political expediency. Giving another country "democracy" doesn't mean anything without the ethical legislative controls needed to guide the capabilities of democratic processes. In the United States, we have the Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, there are other parts of the Constitution that allow for legislative nullification of some aspects of the Bill of Rights through normal lawmaking, or actual elimination of any part of the protections provided by the Bill of Rights through amendment to the Constitution. This sort of thing is the reason the country consistently seems to be going downhill: these loopholes build upon each other, so that each new one used produces the foundation for the next. Still, the Bill itself is of critical importance, so long as it remains intact.

Without equivalent guarantees, Iraq's putative democracy is screwed, blued, and tattooed, one way or another. I agree that liberty should be disseminated to the world at large, but the job being done of it in Iraq right now is broken, at best. Part of the reason for this is the government's susceptibility to popular opinion, particularly since "popularity" is no guarantee of "quality".

In any case, Iraq (like every other nation on Earth) needs liberties.

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