5.10.2007

Wood Splitting Thoughts

As the logs split left and right under the heavy blows of my dull axe this thought came to my mind: is the term “freedom of speech” a contradiction?

I’ll expound. In conversations where I am criticizing the government of this country I often hear the defense that, “well, at least we have freedom of speech”, as if that single fact is supposed to make this country better than any other.

Imagine this scene: two women are talking about their husbands and how they are treated by them. The first woman tells of how her husband beats her and only allows her to leave the house twice a week, and only then to go and buy groceries. The other woman then says her husband also beats her and only allows her two trips out a week as well. But then she says she is very grateful to him, almost indebted, because he allows her the freedom to speak in his presence.

The second woman has this feeling of gratitude not because of what her husband had done for her but for what he had allowed her to do.

Here is how I see it, if you have to rationalize government’s actions with what it allows you to do than we have a problem.

Do you need to be allowed to speak? Do you need a government to be grateful to?

The fact that we are “allowed” freedom of speech is frightening in itself. I do not need to be told if I can speak, when I can speak, or what I should say when I do speak. Upon reading this you might say, “well, it is because of that freedom of speech that you are allowed to write this blog post and share it with the world”. My response to that would be that while a government in a more media oppressive society might limit my access to the Internet and the means with which to publish this entry they could not stop me from freely speaking my mind.

While the consequences for what I spoke might be different than those in America, namely I could be arrested or put to death, that still wouldn’t void that fact that I have the freedom to say what I want to say.

So when Americans say, “at least we have freedom of speech” what we are really meaning is that the ramifications within this government system may be less than those under other governmental systems.

The simplicity of this thought floored me as I mulled over its implications. I am not advocating for a change in governments, I am advocating for the abolishment of government in itself.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Keith Boger said...

The main problem with your resolution is that due to the nature of man, he can not exist without government. Since man is born evil with a proclevity for good, he is incapable of loving his fellow man on a consistent basis. Consistent enough to have a society that can live in harmony with each other. Without government, you have such things as anarchy, barbarianism, cannibalism, etc., where only the strogest survive and the weak are eaten or trod under. Love, KB

9:12 AM  
Blogger Corey said...

Keith,

Great to hear from you! It's been along time and i had no idea you even read my blog.

I would fully agree with your view of society if i agreed with your view of humans. However, i do not see humans as being "born evil with a proclivity for good". Rather i see them as rational beings that are highly influenced and affected by the society they are raised in.

A result of this socialization can be a tendency toward violence or a tendency toward peace. I believe your social setting speaks more into your life than anything else.

If you are raised in a society that tells you you are born evil and you need to be governed, than you are more likely going to convince yourself that “well yes, I guess I am really evil and I do need to be governed”.

Actually, this has stirred up enough thoughts inside of my head that I think I will write a semi-reactionary post partially in response to your comment.

Thanks for sharing your insight.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Keith Boger said...

My thinking doesn't come from teaching. It comes from experience. I would challenge you to babysit for a roomful of 2 to 3 year olds and you will see this truth in action. You'll see greed, selfishness, hate, mental & physical cruelty, etc. These children didn't learn these traits. They were born with them. Each of has the inborn ability to be either Adolf Hitler or Mother Teresa, which is kinda scarey. Most of us end up somewhere between those two extremes.

9:53 AM  

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