slideshow widget

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Is the U.S.A really a free nation?

Is the United States of America truly a free nation?  That's a question I wish to ponder today, because I'm not convinced we truly are free. Are we truly free here in the blosphere to speak the truth?   Let's investigate and come up with a viable answer.

The United States Constitution was created with the intent on limiting the power of government to prevent lawmakers from making laws that infringe on natural rights.  The Declaration of Independence makes light of this as Thomas Jefferson wrote, ""We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Many see life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as the goals of the Constitution, yet what they often forget is that these three were examples of unalienable rights, not all of them.  The following are other examples of unalienable rights protected by the U.S. Constitution:
  • The right of self government
  • The right to bear arms for self defense
  • The right to own, develop, and dispose of property
  • The right to make personal choices
  • The right of free conscience
  • The right to chose a profession
  • The right to choose a mate
  • The right to beget one's kind
  • The right to assemble
  • The right to petition
  • The right to free speech
  • The right to a free press
  • Ther right to enjoy the fruits of one's labor
  • The right to improve one's position through barter adn sale
  • The right to contrive and invent
  • The right to explore natural resources of the earth
  • The right of privacy
  • The right to provide personal security
  • The right to provide nature's necessities -- air, food, water, clothing, and shelter
  • The right to a fair trial
  • The right of free association
  • The right to contract
Are our unalienable rights truly protected by the Constitution?  Well, are we equal?  No.  A progressive tax does not treat all people as equals.  It forces rich people to pay more of the money they earn to the government than the poor, who pay none.  

Likewise, when the U.S. takes your money and spends it on something you don't want nor care about (say to study how crabs have sex or to build a bridge in some remote place in Alaska or Boston for that matter), then you don't really have a right to the money you make.  Your unalienable rights to own, dispose and dispense of your property has been violated.

Take the right to free speech as another example. The U.S. Constitution, via the 1st Amendment, makes it so no law can be made that infringes on our right to free speech.  Sometimes lawmakers ignore this Amendment (the fairness doctrine is one example), yet overall lawmakers have made good on this promise.

This is an important part of the Constitution because in Britain in the 18th Century people were not allowed to openly criticize the government.  In the U.S. we do.  Technically speaking (no pun intended) the 1st Amendment was made to protect our right to criticize the government and that's it. 

It was not created to give us the right to say anything we want, say, about our bosses or the institutions we work for. In fact, your boss can fire you for anything he wants.  He's free to hire and fire anyone for any reason, so long as that decision isn't based on color, creed, or sex.

The Constitution was not designed to give us the right to wear T-shirts that say "I hate George Bush" or "I hate Obama."  It does not give us the right to run around naked in public.  However it has been used for this purpose over the years.

It also does not give you the right to create a blog and write posts criticizing your workplace, and this is the point of writing this post.  I can say I hate Obama and know that he's not going to throw me in jail.  Yet I do not have an unalienable right to write on here that Shoreline Medical Center sucks.

I also don't have a right to describe on this blog things I learn at work, such as that CMS will not reimburse for a PFT unless the diagnosis of COPD, asthma or CF is written on the order.  Likewise, it's not legal for the hospital performing the PFT to tell the doctors office such a diagnosis must be written, but we know it's done all the time.

Sometimes doctors write "asthma" as a diagnosis just so CMS reimburses the hospital for that procedure, and so the patient doesn't have to pay.  Did I just violate a hospital policy by writing about this here.  Perhaps.  Will I go to jail?  No.  Can I be fired?  Perhaps.  

Hence, a lawmaker cannot punish me for speaking, yet my boss can.  Your boss can make a policy whereby you cannot blog while working.  They can have a policy you cannot write about what occurs at work anytime.  If I, for example, wrote on my blog something like the following, I might be fired, "My boss frickin sucks.  I hope he dies."

Or, say I wrote the following:  "Jane Smith is a patient at Shoreline Medical and she has MRSA."  This is a blatant violation of hospital policy and HIPPA laws that protect patient confidentiality (HiPPA laws protect privacy rights of patients).  HIPPA, therefore, is unconstitutional because it limits my speech, some might say.  Yet it is Constitutional based on the founding intent because their intent was to protect natural rights not individual rights.

Another example is a lady wrote a book describing patients who frequently visited the hospital.  She wrote the book under an anonymous name, yet because her boss found offense in what she wrote about, she was fired.  She is suing.  Yet in the end I think she will win.  Your boss has a right to fire you because you write  something she finds offensive.  You cannot go to jail, yet you can be fired.  You can be fired for anything at all.

It's for this reason you don't see many people blogging about the stuff I blog about here at RT Cave.  It's for this reason much of what I write comes out as humor.  If I wrote about a discussion I have with a doctor, no matter how goofy I find it, I risk getting in trouble.  Yet if I generalize, as if I twist the episode into a little RT humor, I'm playing it safe.

Yet could my boss find it offensive?  Surely he might.  

See?  The Constitution does not protect your right to free speech.  We, therefore, are not a truly free nation.  If we were truly a free nation I might be judged by my individual decisions yet I would not be punished unless I violated the unalienable rights of other people.  Yet that is not the case.

My workplace has a policy I cannot blog or go on facebook at work, and I can never write something defamatory about my workplace anywhere.  Have I crossed that line?  Perhaps more than once.  This, in essence, is not an infringement on my unalienable rights nor my Constitutional rights.  It's completely legal.  Hence, no law protects me from defaming my workplace nor of defaming my patients.

The Constitution protects me from serving jail time for speaking out, yet it does not make it illegal for my boss to fire me -- or threaten to fire me -- from writing something he finds offensive.

It's for this reason it's hard to learn the real truth.

While these are just a few examples using just a few of the unalienable rights, you can see that as a nation we are not truly free.  Hence, you can see the United States is not truly a free nation.  Still better than all the other nations, yet not truly free.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Freedom is a relative term. Absolute freedom is tantamount to chaos. No laws, no enforcement, and no govt is what you had in parts of the wild west a couple hundred years ago or the dark ages a few thousand years ago. Laws, from banning drugs to banning assault to the patriot act, are designed to bring order out of chaos.

We fund a military to protect us from chaos. We fund the police and firefighters to also protect us from chaos. We fund schools to teach us order at an early age. We create a tax structure to create the most harmony. We create programs to try and keep people from poverty.

We consider ourselves free, because we have the ability to elect the people who create our laws, fund the enforcement, and structure our tax code. But there is a problem. The mob isn't very bright and is swayed by tv ads, fox news, and campaign speeches.

Officials are not elected by their principles and qualifications, but on their likeability and ability to raise funds for their campaigns. The fundraising, of course, comes from big corporations, who by law are required to only look out for profits for their shareholders (not their workers, their customers, their local community's unemployment rate, or the environment). The corporations pay to have certain politicians elected and they expect a return on their investment.

If our best interests are not being looked out for, it is because it conflicts with corporate interests. One such example of this was the bank bailout of 2008. Another is your boss being able to fire you for anything he wants. Another is requiring all healthy Americans to buy health insurance, or banning Medicare from negotiating drug prices with the drug companies. They couldn't even get the bank reform act right because the banks objected.