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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » "From Freedom to Facism"

   
Author Topic: "From Freedom to Facism"
Shanna
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We got a call from a friend who told us to check out this website. I'd never heard of Aaron Russo but always enjoyed Michael Moore's films, both for the education (always with doubt) and entertainment.

I'm not quite sure what I think about this new documentary. The claims are certainly interesting and the dramatized attitude makes me laugh.

Claims:
-The government refuses to show the law that requires Americans to pay an income tax.
-National funds are controlled by private banks.
-By May 2008, all Americans will be required to carry ID cards in order to board planes, trains, etc.
-New technology will allow tracking of Americans and any important documents and money.

From Freedom to Facism

The boldness of the presentation makes me hesitant. He makes Michael Moore sound like wuss. But its certainly a few things that I haven't heard and are making me think.

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fugu13
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- http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/26/1.shtml . There's even an amendment in the Constitution saying its okay to have that sort of tax (since the original constitution forbade that sort of tax).

- What do they mean by national funds? If you mean the fisc, that's controlled by Congress. If you mean the money supply, that's influenced by a bureaucracy appointed by the President and approved by the Senate which has close relations with a set of privately owned banks (given that its job is basically overseeing banks and influencing how much in the way of reserves banks have, since that's what influences the money supply). The money supply is impossible to control directly, though it can be substantially influenced.

- No idea, though I suspect not.

- Who needs new technology? That's possible now.

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King of Men
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He is probably referring to the Federal Reserve, which strictly speaking is a private organisation. It's a favourite gripe of Libertarians who want the gold standard back.
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fugu13
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The Federal Reserve board is as much a part of the government as any other bureaucracy, and it is in charge of all the operations on the money supply, not any other part of the Federal Reserve. That it is technically a private organization is almost entirely meaningless.
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Jim-Me
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Don't you have to have an ID card to get on planes now? I haven't been able to board one post 9-11 without showing my driver's license.
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Stephan
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A national ID card doesn't bother me, unless it has some kind of GPS tracking chip in it or something. Especially if it can replace all the other IDs like passports, social security cards and driver's licenses somehow. I could free up my wallet.
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Eduardo St. Elmo
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I know you're going to dislike me for this. But it's fascism. Sorry to be such a stickler for details, but I cannot ignore such an error if it's in the title of the thread.

Since I'm not an American myself, I find it hard to give my opinion on these matters without registering that America is the most powerful country in the world. Not just talking about military might either. Perhaps it is better to say it is the most influential nation on this planet.
From an outsider's point of view I have to say that America doesn't question itself enough. The attitude that is displayed towards the rest of the world, tends to have this arrogant undertone (something along the lines of: "hey, you want us to help, right? Then do not question the way we choose to help you").
I'm not saying that I believe that America is completely rotten, in fact I truly admire the basic wish for freedom that eventually gave birth to the USA. But as soon as some wise people wrote down some guidelines on how to achieve this bright future, it started to go wrong. Because ever since then, people have been taking those lines far too literally. If one keeps in mind the basic idea that led to the creation of the words, in stead of just interpreting the words as unquestionable truth, then things might just turn out that much better.

In no way do I believe that America has fallen prey to fascism, the filmmakers only use this word to attract attention to what they have to say. Nevertheless, I think I will be going to see this movie, if I ever get a chance to.

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Jim-Me
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quote:
Originally posted by Eduardo St. Elmo:
The attitude that is displayed towards the rest of the world, tends to have this arrogant undertone (something along the lines of: "hey, you want us to help, right? Then do not question the way we choose to help you").

Am I the only one who thinks this is an appropriate attitude?

I had a homeless guy come up to me on the street and ask for some change so he could get food. I offered to buy him a sandwich at the place I was going for lunch. As we walked, he came up with excuse after excuse, wheedle after wheedle, to try to get me to give him money, instead. My response was like the one quoted: "I'm willing to buy you lunch, if you want it. You don't get to make demands on my generosity."

He eventually went away hungry, and, I'm sure, feeling trod upon. That's his issue, not mine. I don't see any problem with a nation taking the same attitude.

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Tresopax
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But do you agree there would have been a problem if, after declining your offer, you forced him to come along with you and eat lunch anyway?

I suspect you would have also seen a problem if you had told him that in order to get his lunch, he had to change his beliefs and ways of life in accordance to how you think he should act.

In such cases, I think it is highly appropriate to question the help one is receiving. If you are actually being generous, you might decline to help someone if they will not accept the restrictions you require on your help, but you shouldn't take the attitude that it is wrong of them to reject that help. It is generous to give help, but it is arrogant to think that they are wrong to disagree with you over what would truly help them.

[ July 27, 2006, 10:52 AM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]

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Eduardo St. Elmo
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I believe you were wise to act in the way you did. A person asked you if whether you were willing to help him, by giving him money so he could buy food. You perceive this to mean the person in question is hungry. So there's nothing wrong with your offer to buy him food, in stead of just handing out your money.
You were just allowing him a chance to prove food really was the thing he wanted most. But your actions and his response proved that he really only wanted the money, which he could then spend in any way he thought fit. In all probability he would have spent the money on some form of drugs (alcohol included) and you didn't want to aid him in his self-destruction. (since that would not have been helping at all)

Now, in the Iraqi situation America's spokespersons have constantly been denying that the war over there was about oil, money and power. (I'm not saying it was, I personally think it most plausible though) In stead they prided themselves for bringing freedom to a suppressed people, by removing a vile dictator. Which in itself is definitely a good thing. But look what else it brought. MISERY!

completely fictional discussion between an American and an Iraqi:
A: we brought you freedom. And still you bitch and moan.
I: you brought us freedom from Saddam. you did not bring us freedom. freedom can only be found in peace. There is no peace over here anymore.
A: So you prefer being ruled by a dictator?
I: No, I prefer living in an orderly society. Just look at the chaos I have to live in now...

What I'm really trying to say is: If your ultimate goal is peace, do not think that violence will get you there. Communication is most important.

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Eduardo St. Elmo
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excuse the double-posting but I just have to add that I fully agree with Tresopax.

btw does the pax in your name have anything to do with peace, or am I way off?

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James Tiberius Kirk
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See, this:
quote:
-By May 2008, all Americans will be required to carry ID cards in order to board planes, trains, etc.
doesn't really bother me, as long as there's nothing stored digitally on the card, and as long as I am not required to show the card on demand (meaning, in places where I would not currently show my license).

But I know there are objections to the idea. Can someone enlighten me?

--j_k

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Jim-Me
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
But do you agree there would have been a problem if, after declining your offer, you forced him to come along with you and eat lunch anyway?

assuming you are using the word "forced" in a narrow sense, yes.

quote:
I suspect you would have also seen a problem if you had told him that in order to get his lunch, he had to change his beliefs and ways of life in accordance to how you think he should act.
No, I don't have the least problem with saying "I'll give you my money if you do these things that I wish." Agreed that this lessens or elimates the generosity, but it's still mine to do with as I choose.

Eduardo, aside from Bean Counter, who I lambasted pretty hard for his attitudes, I haven't seen anyone take the tack you are describing. I'm not saying that those people aren't out there, but that if you think that typifies American thought processes, you are being very unfair to Americans.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Am I the only one who thinks this is an appropriate attitude?
I would hope so, but probably not.
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Jim-Me
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Well then, Rabbit, I suggest you report to everyone in your community who is less well-off than you and let them dictate how you may serve them.

After all, you owe it to them, right? With great power comes great responsibility and all that...

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akhockey
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quote:
Originally posted by Eduardo St. Elmo:
Now, in the Iraqi situation America's spokespersons have constantly been denying that the war over there was about oil, money and power. (I'm not saying it was, I personally think it most plausible though) In stead they prided themselves for bringing freedom to a suppressed people, by removing a vile dictator. Which in itself is definitely a good thing. But look what else it brought. MISERY!

completely fictional discussion between an American and an Iraqi:
A: we brought you freedom. And still you bitch and moan.
I: you brought us freedom from Saddam. you did not bring us freedom. freedom can only be found in peace. There is no peace over here anymore.
A: So you prefer being ruled by a dictator?
I: No, I prefer living in an orderly society. Just look at the chaos I have to live in now...

I'm sorry but I find this pretty unfair. That conversation would only work under the idea that the Iraqi people had freedom/peace under Saddam. "Freedom can only be found in peace. There is no peace over here anymore" implies that there was peace there to begin with. Iraq is and always has been a poop-storm of instability and war. The idea that our presence there has somehow made the situation there worse is preposterous. Yes, it's still in shambles.

It'd be more like if Iraq was the homeless person and we fed him and gave him a job so he could feed himself in the future, and he still used most of his pay for drugs and alcohol and then blamed us even further.

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Eduardo St. Elmo
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Yes, well I never said my example would fit the situation perfectly.
What I meant to say was that the situation in Iraq is currently less stable than it was before. Even though the people were being ruled by a dictator, it wasn't up to any outsiders (not just Americans) to forcefully change that situation. You cannot bring freedom to people, they have to want it for themselves. Apparently, the Iraqi people weren't quite ready to give up Saddam.

Liberty:
(...) is the only thing you cannot have unless yuo are willing to give it (all) others - 'William Allen White'
(...) means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. - 'George Bernard Shaw'
Freedom:
An indivisible word. If we want to enjoy it, and fight for it, we must be prepared to extend it to everyone, whether they are rich or poor, whether they agree with us or not, no matter what their race or the color of their skin. - 'Wendell L. Willkie'

Also, I am fully aware that the attitude the America displays on the world stage isn't equal to the general feeling of Americans. I'm sure there's loads of enlightened people living within the borders of the USA. However, I think they must be a minority. None too surprising, given the anti-intellectual feelings that seem to be common amongst the general population in America. ("What you reading for?" - Bill Hicks)

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Dan_raven
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Eduardo, you gave me a very interesting take on the idea. Here is another conversation.

Bush Republican, "Man, I can't believe they are arguing over this. So we give up some civil rights in exchange for safety. You have no civil rights if you are dead."

Iraqi, "I almost wish Saddam was back in power. He only killed a few thousand every year. Ten times that are dieing this year."

Bush Republican, "Ungreatful (explative deleted). You whine about safety? We gave you freedom and civil rights!"

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Synesthesia
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quote:
It'd be more like if Iraq was the homeless person and we fed him and gave him a job so he could feed himself in the future, and he still used most of his pay for drugs and alcohol and then blamed us even further.
I don't see it like this at all.
But the violence and tension is getting worse. Now there's Shiite on Sunni violence on a regular basis it seems.

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Tresopax
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I was under the impression that it is much less safe now in Iraq, although before the threat to Iraqis came from the government itself and now the threat just comes from rogue elements and criminals.

There is a reason tyrants like Saddam exist, and that is because some people are willing to give up a large degree of freedom in order for a small degree of stability and physical safety.

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Dan_raven
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I agree Tres, which is why every thing the NSA does to protect us from Terrorism needs to be thouroughly considered by as impartial an oversite regime as we can muster.

President Bush is not a Saddam wannabe, but habits of protection of freedoms must be ingrained, the precedent of trading freedoms for safety must not be made, the excuse of war and terror must not be allowed to be the ticket to losing our rights.

There are Saddam Wannabe's out there, even in the US. We need to prove to them, even before they start their campains, that we will not roll over for them.

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Eduardo St. Elmo
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I concur.
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