- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Gee ( si ) on September 14, 1999 at 01:35:16:

In Reply to: Freedom House: Freedom = Slavery ??! posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on September 12, 1999 at 00:27:26:

I'm not a huge fan of www.freedomhouse.org, it is very subjective - a rough guide really, broadly applicable but not absolutely 'right', still you made a few points to respond to.

: i.e. no mainstream papers promote the nationalization of industry, the declaration of war on China, the disestablishment of the military, the deriminalization of cocaine,

Are you confident that a mass market exists to buy such mass media? Chickens and eggs.

:Similarly, being able to change the governmet democratically is one of teh questions, yet in America some 51% of teh electorate does not believe they have any chance to influence their governmnet and thus does not participate.

It doesnt take into account whether or not people believe voting makes a difference, only if they 'can' officially do so. I think this pessimism would be worth noting in their reports though - where supporting data is available.

: To avoid appearing nihilist, let me hasten to add that there are ways in which freedom of speech COULD be objectively measured. For example, you could do a study taking into account the number of times a paper disagrees from the establishment policy, multiplied by the circulation of the paper, averaged over all newspapers, to get teh average "freedom" of each newspaper. FH did not do that, however.

That doesnt seem useful. If a government genuinely is doing what a great majority of people want it to do (and would thus buy media in broad agreement) then dissent would be infrequent and small scale. The above measure is as likely to reveal political contentment (or conceal state controlled media) as anything else.

:"freedom" package (e.g. teh freedom to start your own business, etc.) while the Left believes in social freedom (the freedom to take a share of the food, medical care, housing, etc. in society, and in general to live a life that meets basic needs and allows for some 'pursuit of happiness'. You can't very well make philosophical discoveries and follwo your heart if you are starving in a gutter, therefore one kind of freedom without teh otehr is impossible.)

The contentiion, I believe, is that if you have the *right* to the various services above then other people by definition do not have *right* to say no, they are compelled to provide for them. Hence the latter is less 'free'.

: If they were truly unbiased, they would use a broad definition of freedom that encompasses both social and entrepreneurial freedom.

According to the above definitions they would contradict one another just like the UN articles do.

: FH boasts on its board of directors noted figures like Andrew Young, Mara Liasson, and others. I wish they'd remove their august names from being sullied by jokers like PJ O'Rourke (a puerile comedian)

Out of interest, the various 'liberal' opposite numbers are puerile too? Or are they insightful social commentators? its subjective you see.

: FH claimed that South African whites in 1973 lived in a free country.

stupid huh.

: In the light of all of this, I hope that from now on people will take with a grain of salt the pronouncements of this ""Freedom"" House.

I would suggest a grain of salt to be appropriate.

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