Have Americans given up too much of their freedom?

Becky - posted on 11/22/2010 ( 53 moms have responded )

2,892

44

92

I'm not even sure I should ask this, because I can see it becomming pretty heated. I hope we can all be respectful! But the last line of the fb status I posted in my other post: "The terrorists won a long time ago & this is beginning to look a lot like a communist regime (papers please)." got me to thinking. Partly because I've seen other statuses and comments to this effect lately too. So, have Americans - or maybe I should expand that to include the whole western world - given up too many of their freedoms and rights in the interest of safety? Have we as westerners become paranoid to the extent that we are willing to give up our civil liberties for some sense of security? Have the terrorists actually won, by causing us to live in fear, constantly looking over our shoulders?

I'm not going to give my opinion on this one right now, mainly because I'm not sure what it is. I do hear about things and think, " wow, that seems a little paranoid to me" or that the government is going too far. But, I'm not an American. I didn't live through 9/11 in the same sense that Americans did. So my perspective on it is probably different, as an outsider. Not saying I'm only interested in what Americans have to say about it though!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

JuLeah - posted on 11/24/2010

3,133

38

681

I think the defination of 'freedom' changes in each generation, as it should. Freedom to our 'forefathers' did not include women having the vote and did include the buying and selling of some humans.
The 'rights' we have obtained, the 'freedoms' we have won were fought for by the people who wanted them.
Women went to jail for the right to vote. They were starved and beaten, but didn't give up. Think about what people risked and lost in the 60's civil rights movement.
Now we have these freedoms and rights that WE did not earn and really have no value to us. We feel we are entilted to them, but accept none of the responciblity that goes with them. We get mad if we don't get what we want as fast as we want it, but to go to jail for a cause is not something most of us would consider.
We have not given up too much of our freedoms or too many of our rights, we have become apathic and lazy. We are a nation of fluffy looking to the Government we calim we 'want out of our lives' to fix all that is wrong with our lives.
'Get the damn government out of our lives' is a cry I hear often. Okay, you will then take over the roads, the schools, the hospitals, the jails, the fire dept and police? You will take over the duties of the social wokers so there is no longer a need for the job they do?
We need more Martin L. King Jr. and Elizabeth Caddy Statons' and Tom Jeffersons' ......

Krista - posted on 11/23/2010

12,562

16

842

I agree with you, Sara. You hear some Americans hollering about their freedom being taken away, because of things like industrial regulation, or the banning of trans-fats. But the Patriot Act and warrantless wiretapping took away more of their freedom in one fell swoop than anything else ever could. And what do you hear? Crickets. It's as though a certain contingent of America will put up with ANY loss of freedom in order to be kept safe from the big, scary "other". But if you try to keep them safe from themselves, they scream to the rafters, even though the average American has much higher odds of dying from a trans-fat-induced coronary than from a terrorist attack.

Sara - posted on 11/23/2010

9,313

50

584

Personally, I think people have a different definition of what "freedoms" they have given up. To me, the Patriot Act was far more egregious an offense to people's freedoms than anything that has been done since. And I think the terrorists have won not because we require ID to enter the country or because we pat people down before we get on a plane, but because we've waged war against two nations where war should have never been initiated in the first place. Torturing "terror suspects" has only added to the terrorists own cause. Those things have made us less safe and have stripped away the freedoms and choices that should be held in a higher regard by Americans, IMO.



I also think that a lot of people are going way overboard, especially these new conservative groups that are being fueled by conservative media in this country. At the end of the day, it's all about the all-mightly dollar, and you know what? Fear sells. A culture of fear that fuels a culture of consumption, plain and simple.

Carolee - posted on 11/25/2010

21,950

17

567

I believe the American culture is one of paranoia and nosiness. We are so paranoid that anybody and everybody we ever meet will one day stab us in the back (either metaphorically or literally), that we tend to stick our noses where they don't belong... even with strangers! We have forced each other to not have an opinion that differs from the "norm". Most people have the mindset of "if it's different, it's scary... and if it's scary, then it must be destroyed". There is only "freedom" in the miniscule spaces between the unwritten rules that allow you to be your own person. This is why I am a hermit. I rarely travel and I don't talk to many new people. Even the "oddballs" have these unwritten rules. You're only "allowed" to be a certain kind/degree of "odd or different".

[deleted account]

I think people would complain either way. If the government does too much, we cry "Hey! You're taking my freedom away!" If the government did less, we'd cry "Hey, you're not doing enough to keep us safe!" I'm a very cautious person, but only because for so long I lived in a highly populated area with high crime rates and if you WEREN'T overly cautious you'd end up the victim of random crime. That's just the way it is in some areas of the country (world). Now that I live in a much smaller community, I'm learning to trust and loosen up a little....but I've still got one eye open at all times...habit. I don't feel like my freedom has been sacrificed in any way since 9/11 but that is because I'm a simple girl, rarely travel, never fly (not from fear, just don't have a reason to) and so a lot of the security measures brought into effect since 9/11 just don't affect me. Not that I'm aware of anyhow.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

53 Comments

View replies by

Mrs. - posted on 11/26/2010

1,767

6

30

You know, my mother flies very often, all over the south for her work. She was recently given one of those new "grope" scans and she said she has no problem with it. She figures if it stop people from bringing explosives on planes, she doesn't care. She certainly isn't a paranoid person in the least and she has reason to be. She was in Manhattan working when 9/11 went down. She took meeting almost on a weekly basis at the World Trade Center and lost friends that day. However, people make a choice to bring the fear in or not. I know she always says, as long as the airport security practices due diligence, it is futile to worry.

Eliz - posted on 11/26/2010

219

2

59

9/11 was terrible and though some people think its over its NOT! There is constant information being circulated about possible terrorist acts. People all over the world have a choice: be safe or not. Plain and simple. As far as TSA and how they treat the flying public: Most TSA do a great job and are there for the reason of keeping us all safe. There are a few that don't do it right and cause issues. That's no different than anyother place of employment. You have some good employees and some bad. As far as the minor changes in screening methods lately I think they are great! We can either be proactive about our safety or reactive. Why do people lock their doors at night?....because there are bad people out there that may try and enter your home while you are sleeping or away. Why do you lock your cars?...because there are people that steal cars. Why does the TSA screen every passenger that boards a flight?....because there are bad people out there that wish to use our transportation methods to harm good, innocent people. And They HAVE! The media makes it sound like the TSA is groping people when in fact they are ensuring no one is a threat to the flying public. I sure as heck don't want to get on a plane full of people who weren't screened. Things aren't like they used to be. Some people have become more dangerous and determined to hurt others.

Amanda - posted on 11/26/2010

45

361

0

Our culture has lived on paranoia for centuries. The cause of the fear has changed - but the fear itself has been used as a way to promote a certain product, or way or thinking, or a new law, etc...You can even trace this through movies and media. I did a course on this in University and it was quite interesting. Look at all the war movies that have come out the past decade...all the secret agent spy movies...the terrorist movies. Decades ago - the government was responsibly for allowing or banning particular movies as well. So they could control the mass public simply by controlling what movies or media they could see.

I live in Canada. I don't look over my shoulder all the time. In fact, I don't worry about an attack, or a war. I would bet there are people living in the US who feel the same way. 9/11 was a horrible event, but I don't believe we're given up our freedom at all. We have the freedom to choose whether to live in fear - or to just live.

Rosie - posted on 11/26/2010

8,657

30

315

i feel our media makes us paranoid, and crazy-well alot of us anyway. i do not however feel that going through a few extra measures to make sure someone doesn't kill me, or someone i love whilst on a plane is being paranoid. it's happened before, they threaten to have it happen again.

if we didn't do anything everyone would be all up in arms after it happened again.

i do feel however that when is it going to be enough? i don't know the answer to that. if someone does manage to have a car bombing successfully in the united states are they going to start dictating where, and how, and when we can park where (not that they already don't, but i hope you know what i mean). or are they going to change something about the way we drive? i don't know, i can forsee it just escalating, and that scares me. however, right now at this moment in time, i don't feel my freedoms are being stomped on in anyway. i didn't even feel that way with wiretapping. i don't have anything to hide so why should i care?



my city recently installed speed cameras on a certain part of the interstate. the city has made TONS of money of them+. yet almost everyday in our local paper there are people bitching in the opinion pages that the cameras are just a way for the govt to watch us, taking away our freedoms. yet in the 4 months that the cameras have been up on the short dangerous stretch of interstate there have been no crashes. last year during that time 3 people died, and i couldn't find accurate data on how many crashes there were. anyhoo, they're working. that's all that matters to me, they're making it safer for me. :) just as these extra security measures at the airport are making it safer for me as well.

Mrs. - posted on 11/26/2010

1,767

6

30

You mistake challenging (and if you are kidding, either it's not all that clear to people who don't daily visit the forum or the tone is just not translating via message board) and debating your ideas with calling you ignorant. If someone challenges your ideas and you know they are incorrect, back it up with your experience and thoughts instead of saying you really like to debate the subject just in private.

I don't know if you notice that you bring it into a lot of posts. As you say, I'm not here often enough to get in jokes and I notice it...so it must be pretty darn often. I guess I'd say, if you don't want to debate your points on pro/con Am-Can relations, don't keep dragging them into other posts and telling others it's not on topic and you'd rather start a new thread/pm them. Like I said before, it's odd.

Thanks though for the welcome. However, your tour of the neighbourhood (I'll spell it that way because I know you are Canadian) smells a bit like hypocrisy (and maple syrup isn't that weird?).

Becky - posted on 11/26/2010

2,892

44

92

I'm Canadian and I never put the "u" in, because I was educated in an American school. And I'm lazy and that extra letter just takes too dang much effort! gqtm!

Isobel - posted on 11/26/2010

9,849

0

282

I spelled it your way cause I know you are an American ;)

The only thing I've noticed about your posts is that every time I make a joke you respond and tell me (basically) that I'm an idiot.

I have a fair amount of experiences with both countries as well, and I am not speaking for everybody...just myself...and most of the time being silly. I don't know where you get that I am part of some mean-girl mentality, I enjoy hearing other people's opinions just not being spoken to as though I am stupid or ignorant.

Thanks for the input though.

Mrs. - posted on 11/26/2010

1,767

6

30

Whoa, holy welcome wagon Laura. Again, you keep speaking for the whole group and I've been around long enough to know that people are extremely varied in their opinions/views. I'm guessing you've been ignoring most of my posts, otherwise you'd know I have an excellent sense humour. Oh and if you're Canadian you should spell it "humour" not "humor"-that was a joke, in case it wasn't clear.

No need to get your underwear in a knot. I meant none of it in a nasty way. I just find it odd you keep telling me to stop addressing your/other comments you bring up in various post about the differences between the two countries as if you are the sole authority and the only one who is entitled to speak about it.

That is hard for me to ignore since I have a great deal of knowledge and experience living/working in both places.

I generally try to avoid the mean girl mentality on message boards (the I'm here all the time and have made more friends than you). However, in this case, since you've requested me to, I'll happily continue to comment and read them if I see there is something worth addressing.

This is a debate forum yes? I'd think most people would want varied opinions and not just the same people laying it out (and agreeing with one another) who are the only ones who understand the inside jokes. Talk about boring.

Isobel - posted on 11/26/2010

9,849

0

282

Rebecca, either you have no sense of humor, or you haven't been around long enough to understand why I make specific jokes...do us both a favor and pretend you don't see my posts.

Becky - posted on 11/25/2010

2,892

44

92

Lol Dana. Just for the record, I was only posting my friend's status to get some opinions on it. It in no way reflects my views!

Dana - posted on 11/25/2010

11,264

35

489

Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick, (gqtm) I hate those ignorant, misinformed fb copy/paste bullshit posts.
If they're talking about the full body scans at airports then they're stupid, if they're talking about wire taps then I agree that we've given power that we shouldn't to our government - not terrorists.

And I swear to Christ if I hear communism one more time or freaking socialism I may scream.

Rant over, thanks ladies. ;)

Mrs. - posted on 11/25/2010

1,767

6

30

No, it's not like a hobby of mine to talk Canada vs America...it just keeps being brought up in other threads. Then, after you bring it up, I'm told I can only address it if I pm you or start a new thread. Seems a bit odd.

Even the idea that you call it Canada vs America, as if the only way to think of the two is like a heavy weight match.

Sorry, just find it odd.

Isobel - posted on 11/25/2010

9,849

0

282

It started during the debates about healthcare and continued through the debates about hate speech...it goes on and on.

Again, if you wanna talk Canada vs. America, feel free to send a pm or start a new thread.

Mrs. - posted on 11/25/2010

1,767

6

30

I thought the same thing as Amie, why was she leaving it so tight to go through security? If she is so familiar with TSA rules and was going to request a special screening, she had to know it might take some extra time, right? Also, you can tell she's getting all terse and mouthy at the beginning before they tell her to go in the crazy glass closet thing. Security types hate that. Surely she has some responsibility in what happened? Both parties could have dealt with that better. Still, as always with security on planes, I'd rather they be over cautious than lazy. Just doesn't seem as cut and dry as the narration suggests.

Oh and what is with all this weird, don't bother to say anything to the Americans, (the Canadians) they all think we're communists? Truly, as an American who lives in Canada, has a child who is Canadian and is engaged to a man who is Canadian, I find that presumptuous and judgemental. Plus, it's simple not true. Of course, if you believe certain American media outlets and anti-American propaganda, you might believe that. If you had, however, like me, lived, worked and really gotten to know a variety of people in both countries you would know this is just a generalization. Americans are as varied as Canadians. They do however, have a giant media beast screaming at them to fear and consume 24/7. Take anybody, Brit, Canadian, Ukrainian and put them in that environment and they might get the rep of being a bit paranoid.

To the original poster, it's a tricky question.

To me, I think America was a bit sheltered and some have simple woken up to what a lot of other countries have been dealing with for years. I think, however, how America deals with this awakening is still being refined. I think it will be some time before America has adjusted to what it means to have the rest of the world's problems suddenly affect them in a real way. I think my home country is like a new mom, learning, adjusting while shocked and scared. You make a lot of mistakes the first couple years...so has the US.

[deleted account]

Sometimes I get the feeling that Americans will allow freedom to be restricted in the name of freedom. Confusing to an immigrant like me, but I guess they have their reasons.

I'm not sure about these new flying restrictions. It makes me reluctant to fly at all unless I have to, but when I fly I want to be safe, so I'm torn.

Amie - posted on 11/25/2010

6,596

20

408

Kate, I understand that. It's why I said "if you're just as rude to them." No one wants to help and no one can be forced to help if you retaliate.
I looked up TSA guidelines, I see where it's allowed now and that they can request for BM not to go through the Xray. However I did not find where it says they have to do the other inspection.

Does anyone know where to find this?

If it is left up to their discretion (to approve alternate screening or to just toss), as much as I may not agree with it, they are still within their rights.

Laura, that last bit is true enough. I've ran into a few (which is why I left PDM) who do not (and will never try) to understand. At least a lot of the ladies here are civil.

Isobel - posted on 11/25/2010

9,849

0

282

Corporations in America have WAY more power than your government...and yet every time your government TRIES to regulate them and get them to behave like responsible global citizens, the right jumps up and screams FREEDOM, FREE-MARKET and blah blah blah...even though half of them don't know what those terms actually mean.



and for all the Canadians who posted...don't bother...to them we are ALREADY communists. ;P

Kate CP - posted on 11/25/2010

8,942

36

754

I don't have any answers on the video as I wasn't the woman in the video. As for her being agitated...I didn't really see that until after they started giving her a hard time. The whole point of the video was that they refused to follow their own procedures regarding medical liquids and x-ray machines.

Amie - posted on 11/24/2010

6,596

20

408

I have some questions about that video Kate posted.

Why wasn't she going through security two hours prior to her flight? It's recommended here (Canada), I assume this is the recommendation in other places?

It shows on the time stamps she went through 20 minutes before her flight.

Why was she reaching for her things, there by aggravating the workers further, after they told her she wasn't allowed to touch them yet? I have never touched my things, whether it's going through airport security or the court house security. It's standard here, I don't know of anyone who has grabbed for their things without being told it's ok to take them now.

She's obviously agitated, I would be too. However, you get back what you hand out. No one's going to be nice or helpful if you're just as rude to them.

As for America, i don't know. I find it all ridiculous. If the people who complain can come up with ideas to make everyone happy, so be it. Since that is unlikely, deal with it. It's one more step to make the USA a safe place to travel. My brother and his girlfriend just came home 2 weeks ago from Vegas, they had a lay over in Denver going both ways. They went through security 3 different times, it didn't seem to bother them. They did find the "random" extra security checks funny but that was about it.

Becky - posted on 11/24/2010

2,892

44

92

Dana, you can heat it, you're just not supposed to microwave it. I use a bottle warmer or cup of hot water.

Leah - posted on 11/24/2010

286

20

6

Wow Kate that video was crazy! It didn't say in the end what actually ended up happening, if she ended up dumping the BM or if they let her through with it.
Its funny though, I just finished watching Michael Moore's "Capitalism; A love Story" (I LOVE Michael Moore movies!) and then came on here to this question. As a Canadian, it makes me sick to think what kind of society America has come to. It is my opinion that the Canadian gov't is more scared of its citizens than we are of it. Its seems to be the other way around in the US. In the respect to giving up freedoms, I have no problem being screened at the airport, but when the authorities push the boundaries like in that video, it makes me want to scream! If I was that woman, holy man, they would have to arrest me.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/24/2010

18,920

9

3002

Well I hope it does not effect the breast milk in the ta-ta's cause we are taking a trip in about 3 weeks! I am gonna be that mother that whips it out on the plane...tee hee.

Thank you Dana, something to bring a smile to my face ;)

Becky - posted on 11/24/2010

2,892

44

92

Well, I know that you used to be able to leave stuff out of the X-ray machine, like film cannisters, which would be damaged, and security would go through them by hand. So maybe breastmilk was the same? I've never travelled with pumped milk, so I don't actually know.

Bree - posted on 11/24/2010

194

5

30

I'm not trying to be difficult but it just occurred to me; how did people transport it before? I'm assuming this is pumped milk (I didn't watch the video my net is being weird from the weather). Before all of this stuff did they hold it? Cause if it was in a carry-on/diaper bag then it would have been X-Ray'd anyways...when your stuff goes in that little tunnel that's what they're doing...again, I'm not being difficult intentionally, I just don't know what the old protocol was and I'm not sure if any of the people complaining about it do either. It just seems like something to look into.

Becky - posted on 11/24/2010

2,892

44

92

I don't think they'd affect breastmilk that was still in the breasts, but pumped milk, yes. That's why you're not supposed to microwave breast milk, it breaks down the nutrients.

Bree - posted on 11/24/2010

194

5

30

I hope X-Rays don't mess with breast milk...I had to have a chest X-Ray while I was still bf...maybe that's why my daughter is 5ft at 9 though lol

Becky - posted on 11/24/2010

2,892

44

92

Wow! Just wow! Yes, we must all be protected from the evil breastmilk!

Kate CP - posted on 11/23/2010

8,942

36

754

Yes, we have given up too many freedoms. I hate the TSA and I hate what they are doing. This aught to get you fightin' mad.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/23/2010

18,920

9

3002

The terrorist made us realize how vulnerable we are...Americans were getting to cocky. They just showed us that we do need to watch our asses, cause not everyone likes us.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/23/2010

18,920

9

3002

I still cry every 9/11 anniversary. I remember the moment I heard, where I was..exactly what I was doing. Even what I thought immediately.."denial...it was a hoax..gee whiz...if PLANE hit the world trade center...something isn't right." Then the second plane hit. It was no hoax. It was terrible.

On that note, I think we need to take precautions, but I do think things are going overboard. Just as an example, I miss meeting my family at the gate of the airport. But sometimes I do think things are going to far.

ME - posted on 11/23/2010

2,978

18

190

I have recently been thinking that the western world is plunging into a second dark ages...sure we have technology, and that won't change, but KNOWLEDGE, critical thinking skills, an understanding of historical events and their relationship to our contemporary situations, an appreciation for art, literature, music, the classics...Most of us posess none of those things...

I agree with the other ladies who said that the Patriot Act was the real destruction of our freedoms...but until the right can find some way to blame that on Pres. Obama, we won't hear anything about it...

Sal - posted on 11/23/2010

1,816

16

33

on one hand i do sometimes think that by being overly careful the terrorists are sitting back laughing at everyone going insane with panic and paranoia, but is having the go through some midly unpleasant xray not worth the hassel, it is one little tiny thing and if it makes it safer why not just do it, it is the making a big fuss over civil liberties that is making it into a circus not the body scans, xrays and pat downs...i doubt that all these measure will indefinatly stop all attacks but if it makes them more difficult and fewer isn't that worth it....and if the goverments of our respectives countries did nothing, just sighed and said, "oh well what can we do...." and changed nothing there would be worse outcry. i'm sure if you were about to baord a plane and security stopped a guy with a knife strapped to him you'd be pretty thankful that the measures were in place.

LaCi - posted on 11/23/2010

3,361

3

171

No way. We need to give up MORE. We should totally be patted down and xrayed as soon as we leave our houses in the morning. And then, everytime we enter or exit a building. Cavity searches aren't a bad idea either. And we should just build an impenetrable dome around the nation, no one in no one out.

Jenn - posted on 11/23/2010

2,683

36

93

Well, I think that Americans do tend to be more paranoid than Canadians - or at least that's my finding from personal experience. And I don't think any of us ever had TOTAL freedom to do as we please or there wouldn't be laws. I don't think we westerners have given up too much. What have we given up?

Jodi - posted on 11/23/2010

2,694

52

168

I'm American, and while I agree that 911 was a HORRIBLE tragedy and should never be forgotten, far too many of my American counterparts feel the need to just not let it go. it's been nearly a decade, the government took extreme (too extreme IMO) measures to prevent another terrorist attack and those that are afraid are going to be afraid NO MATTER WHAT. Those that are afraid are willing to give up their own rights and those of others for that sense of security. I don't agree with that, if a terrorist is going to attack again, they will find a way to do it without the government knowing until it's too late. I do not live in fear, I understand it could happen again, but no sense in dwelling on the what-ifs that may or may not happen.
I was a freshman in highschool when 911 happened, and since it's occurance I have been decreasingly satisified with the state of this country, not just the government, but society and people in general.

Petra - posted on 11/23/2010

533

16

22

Also - I don't see Terrorists or Paedophiles or Rapists or Muggers everywhere. Its unfortunate that a lot of people do and are so prone to being worked up by media-driven stereotypes that do nothing but incite fear.

Petra - posted on 11/23/2010

533

16

22

I completely agree with Bree. I live in Canada and the fall-out of 911 hasn't reached the insane levels here that they did in the States, so my legal freedoms are pretty much the same (other than increased security at the airport, which doesn't bother me in the least). I think there is this increasing trend where governments, lobbyists, political groups and the media are pushing to try to protect us from ourselves (the happy meal/toy issue, for example) because - apparently - we're just too stupid to make sound judgment calls on our own. Like Bree, if I feel endangered by some activity, I simply avoid it. I don't need someone to tell me that texting while driving, eating fast food, speeding, etc. could have detrimental effects on my health and safety.

Bree - posted on 11/23/2010

194

5

30

There is a fine line between freedom and safety...it seems to be toed frequently these days. Everyone has different levels of fear as well as different levels of tolerance. I personally don't live in fear and if I feel that something endangers my feeling of freedom...well I'm free to avoid that activity. I think that too many people are blaming others for what they can control in their own lives.

Sarah - posted on 11/23/2010

5,465

31

331

I'm from the UK so I can't really speak about America, but I really do feel like a lot of people these ARE living in fear.
I think the Government and the media like us to be that way, I think that they see us living in fear as a way to maintain control, to keep us down.

I think it seems worse in America than it does here, but I think the whole Western world is getting paranoid about pretty much everything. Terrorism, paedophiles, kidnappings, etc etc, people seem so worried about everything.

Some of the "safety measures" they employ these days are just crazy. Not just for big stuff at airports etc, but really silly stuff like here there was a sign put up on a tree saying "Danger! Conkers may fall from this tree" (or something like that)

I think it's sad that so many people live in real fear day to day. I don't believe the world is half as bad as people seem to make out.

Stifler's - posted on 11/23/2010

15,141

154

597

I think we are a paranoid culture. Paranoid about anyone in a turban being a terrorist, anyone in a van being a paedophile, anyone that talks to kids is a paedophile, we don't even talk to our neighbours anymore in case they are freaks.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms