Tuesday, February 01, 2005

We don't need no... freedom?

Can someone American please tell me why the rebellious teenage youth in the land of freedom and opportunity don't actually want their freedom? This article has left me thoroughly gob-smacked (and I usually have an answer to most things). Has the culture of fear now entirely replaced the culture of freedom?


Anonymous said...

A messy combination of too much television, not enough to actually do, and a vicious sense of entitlement. That's the short answer. The long answer is a combination of the above, coupled with a long discourse about the anti-intellectual and paranoid strain that has run through American history. It's too bad, too--it's probably the best idea for a country that anyone has come up with, and it's being pissed away.

simon said...

If they don't want their freedoms, they can freely amend their constitution via the democratic process. Perhaps, given the anti-intellectualism of the US electorate, intellectual Guardian readers from Britain could advise them via letter. Better still, a self-chosen group of European intellectuals could decide what's best for the US and save the Americans the trouble of voting at all. After all, they are so stupid they usually elect the wrong man, don't they?

Cruella said...

Well this gets me on to a whole 'nother topic: democracy itself. Personally while I accept there's not much likelihood of it going out of fashion, I also fear that low educational standards and dumbed-down media could lead to a system where Rupert Murdock/random media tycoon chooses the government.

We know full well that people do not always vote in their own interestd. In fact in the US in general the poor vote for less welfare and the rich for more! In history there have been women who voted against equal rights and black people who voted for segregation.

Seems to me that what's happening in the US is a culture of fear being built up by the media, leaving the public at a disadvantage when it comes to deciding what is best for themselves.

Personally I don't believe they did elect GWB this time around either. But anyhow some people must have voted for him. Voting against your own interest could be construed as stupid, true, but equally its a common symptom of oppression. The victims of oppression merit our support, even if they may not realise that they need it.

simon said...

Cruella, I didn't go to Oxford, and I'm sure my IQ isn't 156, so could we arrange for you to decide how I vote in the next election? I'm beginning to suspect I could be one of those, silly, uninformed people you speak about. Should I be allowed to vote without assistance?

Cruella said...

this could be arranged... [maniacal laughter]

Lesley Plum said...

Fortunately the high school students polled cannot freely amend our Constitution via the democratic process. Actually, even we adults cannot do so as individuals. Amending the Constitution is a rather tricky process which requires 2/3 of state legislatures voting in favor of the amendment. It is, therefore, unlikely, that 33% of high school students could have such a profound effect on our Constitution.

I should also like to point out, in our defense, that said high school students aren't even old enough to vote at all. It's rather unsurprising that high school students are more likely than adults to believe that unpopular opinions should be banned from expression, as high school students place a far greater value on conformity than adults. As we get older, being just like everyone else loses some of its appeal. Although these students will be old enough to vote in a couple of years, I would expect that as they mature, their views will mature as well. I shudder now at some of the things I believed when I was 18.