I actually enjoy posts like this on here.....we actually tend to stay much more civilized than most internet forums over anything remotely societal or political, and it is nice to see much of anything intelligent on the subject.
I have maintained for a long time that there is no such thing as a "free country", only free people. I believe that the idea of an entire governmental apparatus that guarantees freedom to all is a fantasy, just as it is for the government to guarantee much of anything. A government of any kind cannot impart freedom, it can only allow it for those that seek it. It is a power structure, after all, by default. It must control to ensure its survival....the question is how far in does it reach its tentacles to choke out freedom amongst all, or only some. Freedom is a continuum, in other words, not an absolute. In some countries, freedom is nearly impossible. The government, religious forces, business all collude to make property, happiness of how you see fit, all but impossible to improve upon. Taxes, price fixing, and roving death squads killing people for religious reasons all work against the citizenry....information is curtailed, and constant warfare of some kind, even the gov against its own citizens, provides all rationalization for any crimes. (Syria, to be current, is an example of the extreme of this)
There have always been, as recognized by many enlightenment philosophers such as those that inspired the United States, 5 separate entities that must be pushed back to allow for freedom....The problem that I usually have with people, or a group or political party, is their willingness to ONLY acknowledge the threats to freedom that they want to fight, while allowing for other forces to be unchecked. These are:
1) The government itself
3) Very large, monopolistic businesses
4) Information providers
In the US, the right wing goes bananas over #1, the government itself, while often supporting the curtailing of liberty through numbers 2,3, and 5. They dislike the media for its clear cherry-picking of information, as well as the government's constant erosion of rights....they often stick to a hyper-masculine compensation idea of "protecting the 2nd amendment", while ignoring the fact that the other 9 of the bill of rights are what are ACTUALLY getting taken away...I support all ten, with equal fervor.
The left wing in the US has no problem at all with #1, feeling that the government can go no wrong and is capable of fixing even deeply engrained cultural or economic disparity. Often they have less a problem with the media, although this is changing.
With this all laid out, it is easy to see that ALL FIVE of these forces against liberty require fear to continue their erosion. The same 5 forces are at play in every country, to different degrees. The founders of the country, especially in attempting to read every word Jefferson every put out for print, were well aware of all five....each group today wishes to ignore or even support the others on the list that they aren't in arms about....if one picks up anything Jefferson wrote, there is about a 90% probability he is speaking about one of the five above, and fear underpins them all.
I am optimistic that things will change once things get bad enough to mandate it, but I feel that each of these 5 forces will require each a reframing of their own. In a sense, we need 5 revolutions, or a single truly powerful one that gets it. Fear is control, and all 5 need that control to continue.
"Educating oneself is the paramount of liberty; otherwise mass franchise will only lead to mass deception. A citizen of our republic, and therefore an entire people, cannot be both ignorant and free." -- Thomas Jefferson
"Trying to convince every woman to love her body sounds like a lot of work.....can't we just find the ten women that do and emotionally destroy them?" - Me, while inebriated on homemade mead