Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What Kind Of Freedom?

Are we really a FREE society? If freedom must include “freedom of expression”, then what could be wrong with all the "filth" that Hollywood broadcasts? Is it not our choice as citizens to either watch or not watch this "filth"? What ultimately influences Hollywood anyway? Money, which stems from viewership. It seems we, as a society, have chosen to watch this "filth". Of course this leads to questioning whether we are really free.....from our own depravity. What kind of freedom do we seek? "Freedom of expression" or "freedom from our own depravity"?

What then is or perhaps more accurately SHOULD be the ultimate ideal concerning freedom? Do we create a society predicated on "freedom of expression" (so long as these acts do not hurt others, this itself seemingly dubious in many instances) or "freedom from our own depravity" (of course this itself dependent on a consensus as to what constitutes depravity)? One seems to preclude the other in many instances.

"Freedom of expression" should theoretically leave Hollywood unhindered to broadcast whatever it so desires. But what about the seeming fact that this "filth" easily permeates and corrupts the minds of the impressionable among us, especially children and adolescents? Will somebody please think of the children! This sentiment seems to suggest we must censor material as we are essentially too weak-minded to control ourselves from sinking into the depths of our own depravity. But I think it reasonable to say that nobody is forced to watch t.v.! It is a choice!

In this sense, if one is hurt by this "filth", it is "self-caused"! And if determining "allowable expressions of freedom" are to be based on whether these expressions might lead to "self-caused" hurt, then I am afraid just about everything any of us does can cause "self-caused" hurt and lead others into "self-caused" hurt as well! For all I know, my eating a jelly donut in a coffee shop may, apart from my own "self-caused" hurt, cause one who is stricken with obesity or severe gluten intolerance to imbibe in a batch of them and hence engage in "self-caused" hurt just the same! Is this my fault? I think not.

Then I think it no more credible to claim that Hollywood is anymore at fault for what we choose to view. We must take ownership of our own depravity and not blame others! In any case, where must we draw the line between what should be allowed and what should not given that anything allowed can potentially cause "self-caused" hurt?

How should we resolve this freedom "dilemma"? The ideal of freedom seems predicated on how one defines freedom. "Freedom to act as we wish" or "freedom to avoid our own depravity"? It seems to me that many societies "we" label oppressive are simply seeking freedom based on the notion of "avoiding their own depravity". For if many practices thought to be destructive to society are banned simply as a means to maintain a more moral society (of course banning immoral behavior does not make a society moral, it simply prohibits their immoral tendencies which would otherwise likely manifest), how can this be oppressive? It is simply "freeing" the society of its inherent depravity. This is seen as freedom to some, but oppression to others!

Of course few view this issue with a strict either/or perspective. Most arbitrarily determine what must be allowed for the sake of being "free to act as we may" versus what must not be allowed under any circumstances because of its ill-effects on the morality and well-being of society. This arbitrariness is apparent in our society as it pertains to how we view, for instance, illegal drugs and food.

Many believe controlled substances are prohibited for the sake of protecting society from its ill effects. This could be the case but my own suspicion is that the government is reluctant to legalize currently illegal substances unless or until it can figure a way to control and hence TAX them. If this is not the case, perhaps these substances are illegal for the aforementioned reason: they cause undue harm to society. If so, what about the food industry?

What with the health-care issue plaguing our society, can not a reasonable argument be made to control the way our society feeds itself? How much of our precious health care resources are utilized to mitigate the effects of poor health caused by poor diet? If we prohibit certain drugs because of their ill effects on society, why not use this same reasoning to ban all junk foods and perhaps even FORCE every citizen to eat a ration of raw spinach and kale at every meal? How much might health care expenditures decrease?

Once again, do we as a society seek "freedom of expression" (which commonly leads to enslavement to something else) or "freedom from our own depravity" (which keeps depravity at bay only through suppression or force)? It seems both options, as they pertain to freedom, leave something to be desired.

Is there even such a thing as freedom? Or is it one of the many seeming paradoxes we must cope with on this godforsaken mud-ball we call Earth?

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