Why are Americans willing to fight overseas for freedom but not at home?

For the last few weeks, I’ve been wondering this: Why are we willing to go overseas, and get involved in a very time, money, and life consuming war, to protect our freedom, but we so seldomly willing to stand up for a freedom that’s about to be made illegal, or about to have various regulations set up simply because the particular freedom is risky? I suppose a good example of this would be laws created to ensure drivers wear their seatbelts. I don’t recall hearing any protests set up to prevent any such laws from being set in place, and granted no major freedom is being taken away, we are that much less free to do what we want. Why put up a fight with another country to protect our freedom while ignoring new laws being passed in the US, without causing a ruchus, simply because it’s dangerous to posses this freedom, or rather, to use it? Isn’t the fight to protect our freedoms at home easier to recognize than the fights overseas? Why are so many new laws being created with so little protest?

Because, theoretically, these laws are being passed by people you elected. If you don’t like them, you can elect someone else. Fighting them - violently - is stupid and counterproductive because you’s only be fighting yourself.

HRM :dubious:

The title to this thread could have been named better. I didn’t mean to suggest people pick up AK-47s and take violent action when a new law comes to being passed. I do not support terrorism.

Could a mod change the topic title to “Why are Americans willing to fight overseas for freedom but not at home?” or something to that effect?

Freedom does not mean “no laws”. It means “laws of our choosing”.

I think you’d find that if the President and Congress tried to convince the American people to go to war over seatbelt laws in another country, you’d see a weak response. Most people see seatbelt laws as a minor imposition on their freedom and one that’s not worth fighting against at home or abroad.

Expanding on this, most Americans already have all the signifigant freedoms that they would be willing to go to war over, so there’s no need for the government to use force in this country to achieve them.

When was the last time we did that, Afghanistan? Even that was a half-assed job, as the bad guys who were threatening our freedom got away.

Your premise is slightly askew. You are looking at laws as if they are permanent. The current seat belt laws will, IMO, eventually be overturned just as motorcycle helmet laws were. Same principle. If I was a lawyer I would make it my life’s mission to fight a seatbelt ticket. I wear mine religiously but I’m 100 % against the concept that a government can dictate my safety. I might want to jump of a cliff some day (with a parachute) and it would be easy for a legislator to decide it’s too dangerous.

You’re right that nobody is fighting it but that’s because it isn’t worth the effort.

You’ve pretty well answered your own question. Not every freedom is worth dying for, or even fighting for, and in particular the freedom to drive without a seatbelt is not worth fighting or dying for.

Whether a freedom is worth fighting and dying doesn’t depend on whether the fighting and dying takes place overseas or at home; it depends on the importance of the freedom concerned, and the other avenues open to you to protect it, short of fighting and dying.

If it’s a question of restraints on freedom imposed by America’s own government, well, America is blessed with a democratic and (more-or-less) accountable government and, if you can persuade enough of your fellow citizens that their government is restraining their freedom in an important way, you won’t need to fight or die to protect your freedom; a sufficient volume of letters to representatives will get you what you want. If you can’t persuade enough of your fellow-citizens to your views on this matter, then a small handful of you and your pals fighting and dying isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference, as Timothy McVeigh found out.

Consequently, the only threats to the freedom of Americans which are likely to require fighting and dying are external threats and, unless the US is actually invaded, the fighting and dying will be done abroad.

Whether Iraq did indeed pose such a threat to American freedoms is a whole 'noither debate, and there are many other threads on that question.

On another forum I was arguing with a French guy about the headscarf ban. Eventually he just came out and said, “Hey, I like big government, sometimes I like government to tell us what is best and take care of things.”

That doesn’t mean France is any less free or the French are any less free (assuming that is the general feeling amongst them, which is just an assumption and a rhetorical point, to argue the facts is just a waste of time) it just means they choose to regulate themselves in that manner.

Laws aren’t really “hurting” our freedom because we pass those laws and accept them as legitimate.

Look, JoeSki, why don’t you focus on things that are being done that might really erod our freedom in substantial ways, like the USA PATRIOT Act?

Hail visitor from the past. Go back whence thee came, we’ve moved past the year 2001 here, do not try to drag us back to your arcane times.

I think you’re making the mistake of thinking someone you disagree with is either arguing a dead issue or a nutjob. You seem to do this a lot and it’s a touch obnoxious. You’re not as pithy as you think you are; please try to stick to answering people’s arguments since that’s sorta the point of this forum.

JoeSki: freedom doesn’t mean ‘do whatever you want.’ Many people supported seatbelt laws (just like gun laws and other regulations), and some laws garner stiff opposition. But apparently people think a lot of laws just aren’t that big a deal.

Afghanistan never enters into this debate. Americans like to think they are a goodhearted people spreading freedom to others whenever possible. Our right to wear a seatbelt ranks a long way below the right to vote, so obviously if people there can vote, they are now free and happy and the world is a better place, even if they have to wear seatbelts.

Most Americans already feel that they are free, at least in the most important ways, and I tend to agree. And I imagine most people here would be insulted if you told them "you’re not free, since it seems like a ludicrous statement and it sort of carries the implication of “and it’s your own fault,” since we have a representative democracy. Also you’re telling people you know better than they do, so they might find it a bit condescending…

Considering the acceptance quite simply tinfoilish and ludicrous theories about President Bush and other political issues get on this forum I don’t think what I did was inappropriate.

There is a certain saturation point when it comes to crazy conspiracy theories about how Bush is trying to set up a dictatorship or how Bush and his brother conspired to steal an election with me, and after awhile it all sounds like the same parroting.

No, Brainglutton had a point. Whether or not the PATRIOT Act is an covert attempt at a coup, it certainly restricts the freedoms of Americans in far more significant ways than requiring them to wear seat-belts, and you don’t have to be tinfoilish to question whether those restrictions are, in fact, warranted by the circumstances that Americans face. If Joeski was looking for an example of a restraint of freedom imposed upon Americans by their own government that warrants resistance or, at least, critical scrutiny, then the PATRIOT Act is a much more pertinent example.

What, specifically, are the ways the Patriot Act restricts our freedoms?

(Before you answer, please take a moment and search the boards, because the debunking-the-Patriot-Act-hyperbole is an occupation I’m getting tired of).

Thank goodness for your sanity. Now if you’ll just point to where in BrainGlutton’s post he said anything about a dictatorship or stealing an election, we’ll be set. :rolleyes: Like I said, over and over again you respond to points you disagree with by calling people crazy conspiracists. I assure you this is no more interesting or insightful than the stuff you’re complaining about.

Actually, before answering, he should take a moment to read HR 3162, the Patriot [sic] Act:


And then the criticism of it by EPIC:


You can also read concernc form the North Carolina Council of Churches:


Because for most people , “fighting overseas for freedom” means watching other guys doing so on TV and cheering, while “fighting at home” would mean shut down the TV and actually doing something?

Yeah, well, that’s the theory anyway…

Without launching into a huge conspiracy theory hijack, our ‘power’ as voters is somewhat marginalized by the system we (allegedly) created. It’s better than nothing, better than having big government tell us what to do without any recourse.

mollify: v.t., giving them just enough of an illusion of power to ensure they won’t really seek to have power.