The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Freedom?


Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothing don't mean nothing honey if it ain't free


[Me and Bobby Magee]

I like freedom. And it seems to be the main subject of conversation these days. In my arguments discussions with my brother, in the news and commentary shows, in the protests in California, Arizona, and elsewhere. Even overseas in places like Thailand. There was some concern about it not long ago in Myanmar but we don't hear much from there of late. It's still ongoing but the news media seems somewhat bored with that now. I digress again.

Much of the talk about freedom lately is centered freedom of movement. The right to not be bothered by someone stopping you and asking for identification, proof you belong here. There seems to be a lot of people outraged over the idea that the police could demand identification just because of what you look like. They call it "racial profiling" and denounce any law which would appear to permit it or even hint at it.

I was raised in the 50's and 60's. Things were a little different then. In those years, the police were not restricted from stopping anyone at any time for no apparent reason other than a hunch and asking for identification and an explanation of why you were where you were.

When I was in my teens, this happened fairly frequently. I would be walking down the street with a few friends, or alone, and a cop would pull up and ask for ID and query me about where I was going and where I was coming from. I would get pulled over while driving and have my car searched and any passengers would be questioned along with me.

Complaints about this treatment would not help. Complaining to the cop at the time would only increase his suspicion and cause you to be detained even longer. Complaints to your parents would result in their questioning your behavior at the time.

"Just why were you there?"
"What were you doing that made the police want to stop you?"

You soon learned to not complain to anyone but your friends. But you really didn't even do that. Mostly you laughed about it. You figured out how to make any stop as short as possible. You learned to look innocent. You took it in stride.

It was just the way it was.

In late 1965, I found it could be even worse. I enlisted in the US Navy. Now not only could the police detain me but so could any officer or NCO (on base) or Shore Patrol personnel (off base). And they seemed to need even less reason. I needed to carry not only ID but some things called a "Liberty Card" or "Leave Papers" or "Orders" to be produced upon demand.

I still thought I was free. That I was living in a free country.

I look at the crowds in the protests these days and I realize most of them were not even born when I went through all that. Most of them had no idea what it was like. They would be outraged. Except they wouldn't. Because it wasn't all that outrageous then. You see, unless we were actually up to something, it was a minor annoyance that you put up with for the greater good. Because we didn't see the police as "the Gestapo." We knew there were no concentration camps. We knew we would be on our way soon enough.

And when we weren't all that innocent? We learned to avoid the police as much as possible.

While in the Navy, I traveled to a few countries. Some of them were a bit more restrictive than others. We were reminded to act as "guests", to behave as if we had entered someone's home. Most of us followed that advice.

I guess what I am trying to say is that freedom is a relative thing. It's a state of mind. There are always restrictions within a society. It is the nature of society. It is how society remains peaceful and cooperative. And safe.

I am not saying it is right or wrong. I am saying that, of all the places I have visited... of all the countries I have been in, this one's pretty good in terms of freedom. Liberty expands here. When a law is unjust, or unconstitutional , it eventually gets overturned or rescinded.

In 30 years or so, you may find yourself wondering what the fuss was all about.





8 comments:

zeusiswatching said...

The Arizona law is simply a manifestation of just how incoherent our immigration policy has become. That a state is having to step up and do the Federal Government's job says a lot of things, very few of them good. Regardless of the eventual constitutionality of the law, the problem lies in bad Federal policies and enforcement.

I just had a non-productive conversation with a young Leftist who refuses to register and vote. One might think I would be glad that a kid who is a likely far-Left-wing voter would be willing to sit out any and all elections, but I'm not. This young man is saying that he doesn't mind carping and complaining about his self-perceived loss of freedoms but he won't use his freedoms to do something and vote his conscience. Not a wise choice on his part, but at least I don't have to use my vote to cancel out his on election day.

Douglas said...

zeus, I couldn't agree more with your comments; both on the law in Arizona and on the Lefty. Sometimes, a person (or, in this case, a state) has to do something to get the attention a situation requires. Even if that something is later proved to be wrong. In this case, I see it as a matter of civil disobedience. In that, I support Arizona. I also worry that if this law is overturned by the courts on constitutional grounds that there will be unintended (and undesired) consequences.

Gregory said...

zeus, those are the people that make me think its too easy to register to vote, perhaps there should be a short exam, multiple guess, that might keep the idiots from voting, but then that would be unconstitutional, its not illegal to be stupid, at least yet.
Doug, You are a little older than I, but I do see what you are saying, times I was detained by police I was usually up to no good. When innocent it was just an inconvenience, people should remember their history lessons, Nazi Germany, and other Socialist Gov't systems.

Douglas said...

Gregory, it was an inconvenience and that is what this is actually about. It seems these days usurpation of a right and an inconvenience have become synonymous to some. Actually, I think it is mostly political pandering and strategy involved. I also am bothered by "racial profiling" but I think we can protect against that while also protecting against illegal intrusion. I have the right to ask you to identify yourself on my property. Does not a state also have that right?

Douglas said...

Gregory, it was an inconvenience and that is what this is actually about. It seems these days usurpation of a right and an inconvenience have become synonymous to some. Actually, I think it is mostly political pandering and strategy involved. I also am bothered by "racial profiling" but I think we can protect against that while also protecting against illegal intrusion. I have the right to ask you to identify yourself on my property. Does not a state also have that right?

Douglas said...

zeus, I couldn't agree more with your comments; both on the law in Arizona and on the Lefty. Sometimes, a person (or, in this case, a state) has to do something to get the attention a situation requires. Even if that something is later proved to be wrong. In this case, I see it as a matter of civil disobedience. In that, I support Arizona. I also worry that if this law is overturned by the courts on constitutional grounds that there will be unintended (and undesired) consequences.

zeusiswatching said...

The Arizona law is simply a manifestation of just how incoherent our immigration policy has become. That a state is having to step up and do the Federal Government's job says a lot of things, very few of them good. Regardless of the eventual constitutionality of the law, the problem lies in bad Federal policies and enforcement.

I just had a non-productive conversation with a young Leftist who refuses to register and vote. One might think I would be glad that a kid who is a likely far-Left-wing voter would be willing to sit out any and all elections, but I'm not. This young man is saying that he doesn't mind carping and complaining about his self-perceived loss of freedoms but he won't use his freedoms to do something and vote his conscience. Not a wise choice on his part, but at least I don't have to use my vote to cancel out his on election day.

Gregory said...

zeus, those are the people that make me think its too easy to register to vote, perhaps there should be a short exam, multiple guess, that might keep the idiots from voting, but then that would be unconstitutional, its not illegal to be stupid, at least yet.
Doug, You are a little older than I, but I do see what you are saying, times I was detained by police I was usually up to no good. When innocent it was just an inconvenience, people should remember their history lessons, Nazi Germany, and other Socialist Gov't systems.