Saturday, January 18, 2014

"too many freedoms"

An Israeli draft law that would criminalize the use of the word Nazi in most cases has sparked a debate on freedom of speech in a state that was founded out of the ashes of the Holocaust....
"We allow too many freedoms which are taking over in a way that is harming us," [the bill's sponsor said.]
You can fairly hear a white-whine constituency inveighing against even the suggestion of "too many freedoms." If you curtail freedoms, you invite enslavement ... something along those lines. And there is plenty of historical data to back up the outrage.

But isn't it the fact that parents, for example, routinely curtail the freedoms of their children as a means of keeping them from physical or mental pain? And who hasn't told a white lie or two or remained dutifully silent when asked about a set of circumstances which, if a friend or loved one became aware of them, would cause discomfort or worse?

Perhaps the conundrum is made clear in the joke about why old men don't get hired:
Job Interview
Human Resources Manager: "What is your greatest weakness?"
Old Man : "Honesty."
Human Resources Manager: "I don't think honesty is a weakness."
Old Man : "I don't really give a shit what you think."
In times gone by, there was the admonitory tale about the young mother who, before she left the house, told her children, "And while I'm gone, don't stick beans up your nose." The kids, who had never thought of the possibility, were of course intrigued....

Freedom becomes ever more wondrous with the application of strictures. But without strictures freedom turns to chaos. So ... which will it be? The sages may stroke their beards and suggest that circumstances dictate appropriateness. But this appreciation gives equal latitude to some pretty outlandish enslavements.

I don't have any answer. I'm just intrigued by the question of "too many freedoms."

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