Saturday, December 23, 2006

Freedom and the responsibility that comes with it

What is the price of freedom and how do we pay for it every day? I love living my life freely: to choose where I live, what I do for work, where I spend my free time, where I can go and with whom I choose, how I spend my own money, who I help and who I choose not to help, what I can say, listen to and write about. If we have these freedoms as individuals, shouldn't we be mindful of people around the world who don't have the same freedoms, and allow them to exercise their freedoms as well?

Democracy works when free people think and exercise their freedoms based upon their own self-interests and what they perceive will be the consequences on others, their neighbors and family. Exercising freedom preserves our freedom in all its forms. When we take our freedoms for granted, over time, an erosion takes place. Because people who can, will take power away from those who can't protect themselves. So unless freedom is continually exercised through daily practice, it decays as all living systems do, following the basic Laws of Thermodynamics (Entropy) and dies. Some have argued that the passing of the Patriot Act killed some of our freedom.

We are aware that giving up some freedoms can significantly alter our lives as free people. So, when it comes to changes in the rule of Law governing our freedoms, we are very mindful, as a society, of what we are willing to allow and what we are not, . Now comes the ethical dilemma.

I now have the freedom to write nonsense and/or provocative thoughts on this Blog and to search for any topic I want on the internet. Since these freedoms are protected under current laws, would you vote in favor, as a free person, to take away this freedom from the rest of us? Well this is the current conscious choice faced by many Technology companies today that want to do business in China.

The Chinese Government wants to restrict what individuals can search for, along with other liberties we take for granted. They take spying on their citizens to a new level of intrusiveness. One can argue that Chinese society is not free. Therefore we would not be taking away anything from them, if we allow for the use of Technology to limit their freedoms. But wouldn't that mean that every day we allowed our Technology to be used this way, we each are responsible for creating the loss of freedom to these people? As if we were personally denying it ourselves each day of their lives? The question here is this: Should there be laws that limit the exporting of Technology to countries that would use this Technology to limit individual freedoms? The argument for trading this Technology is that if we don't sell it to them, then someone else will. Is that a meaningful and socially conscious argument? I think not, but what do you think?

Call it naive if you like, but to me, if people want to use our Technology for government purposes and you think it is good for your people, BUT you want to decide for them what they may search for and how they use it, then you are not ready or mature enough as a society for its benefits. And as citizens of the free country which has been the hope for many enslaved in the world, I say we should pass laws that restrict the conditions under which our Technology can be purchased, and that condition is it must be used as intended, or not at all. That means no censuring of key words, phrases or anything else for that matter. You buy it off the shelf, as we do.

I don't think many of us care that much about this, especially at this time of year. We care more about Iraq, Afghanistan, our soldiers away at Christmas from their families, the joy of family times as Christmas. If we want to prevent having to go to wars in the first place, we could start by a simple act and say we believe in real FREE Trade and we won't be selling our best Technologies to countries that abuse Human Rights and Freedoms, period! Forget the cheap Christmas toys from China. Spend more time on family gatherings, giving thanks for our freedoms, our good life in this country, and for all the blessings we get as a result of being lucky enough to be born here. Or to come here and call this your country too. Yes and spend less time on cheap, discounted, materialistic things you bought that were made in repressive China. Thank God that you weren't born there, as most of the world's population is. Think about the peaceful people of Tibet and what they have experienced after the Chinese invaded and took over their country. And if you are a Technology person or work for a Technology company, ask yourself if your company is doing the right thing or is it making excuses for its behavior based upon the motive of profiting? Don't take this personally; just think about it as a free person who enjoys the gift of freedom for life. Once you've thought about it, ask yourself if you disagree with your company's practice, do you feel "free" to speak your mind about it? Have you?

Merry Christmas.


Blogger dotbar said...

sorry, but I just have to say it....ugly tree!!

12:11 AM  

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