Fact Checking on "the price of our freedoms"

I was speaking with one of those who believe middle eastern extremists hate US citizens for their freedoms. I was told that a problem with the US is that we don’t appreciate that we have the most freedoms of any country in the world - and we don’t know how to sacrifice our fime for our country. Do all European countries really require ~2 years of public service from every citizen?

I don’t think “we [US citizens] have the most freedoms in the world” because we are ranked so low for privacy, press, and political freedoms. I’m probably missing some good facts for comparing the US to europe. Thanks.

That person is stupid. Middle Eastern extremists hate US citizens because of perceptions (correct or incorrect) regarding US meddling in Middle Eastern affairs. It has nothing to do with “our freedoms”.

Oh, I certainly understand that. “They hate us because of our freedoms” is actually a joke now - mocking those that would be uninformed enough to say such a thing.

I was mostly asking if it is true that most european countries require citizens to severe in some way (not necessarily military).

Non-military service, possibly, although I don’t think so. Hardly any European countries have compulsory military service nowadays, though.

Germany does require 9 months of military or alternative civilian service. Greece requires all male citizens to serve 12 months of military service, as does Finland. That’s about it, though France abolished conscription in 1992.

Here is a list and it doesn’t seem to be that great of a sacrifice. It’s really more of a militia thing with Europe. Train the kids for a few months and send them home to be called if needed.

Here is a list of indices of freedom which may be of interest.

I’ve talked with a number of people from the Middle East over the years about this very subject. They acknowledge there is a hatred for America by many of their countrymen, but certainly not by all of them. The reason for the hatred is not because we have freedom… the reason is envy. We have a lot of nice stuff. Even worse, we *flaunt *it (or at least *appear *to flaunt it). They don’t have nice stuff. They’re envious.

In holland at least we don’t have to serve in the military anymore, but there is talk about making young people do social service (help the elderly and disabled). But I’m not sure whether this will actually happen.

On the comparison of freedom, it probably is just what freedoms you value. In holland I can buy soft-drugs, drink from the age of 16 and go to a Casino at 18. On the other hand I cannot buy a gun and there is brobly some more things I can’t do, that are possible in th US.

On another note I actually think that many (not all!) people are socialized to prefer the arrangement they are accustumed to. I for instance agree with our drugs/drinking policies and don’t see the need for legalized gun ownership, but i can’t be sure I would have thought the same if I were from Texas.

The United States has had freedoms and wealth for a couple of hundred years. But Islamic terrorists never targeted the United States until American troops were sent to the Middle East.


Not quite sure what to do with this one, but let’s move this over to Great Debates and see how it does there.



“They hate us for our freedoms” is really ignorant and stupid.
Ditto regarding “They hate us because they are jealous of our wealth”.
Same with “We are the freest people on earth and no one even comes close”.

People who spout these things are showing their ignorance and their very limited understanding of the world.

I think we all agree there.

This is more in terms of showing examples for US being the “most free” vs european countries and other obviously democratic nations.

You forgot Switzerland

Jihadists do not hate America because of our “freedoms.” Nor is the movement really rooted in poverty. It is rooted in pride. They see the Islamic world as having been dominated and humiliated by the Western world. And it only makes matters worse when they watch TV and see Muslims in Iraq being rousted out of their homes by occupying infidel soldiers. That’s no way to assuage their sense of injured pride.