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Freedom On The Wane. Or Why This Stuff Matters

Man is inherently free.  There are few more elemental truths. We were not conceived and born indentured or the property of anyone or any power. We are simply and wonderfully free. That is our natural state. This is true whether you believe that freedom to be a gift from your maker, or you believe your ancestors crawled up out of the primordial soup. Everyone, deist and atheist alike, should, in fact must, have an interest in freedom, lest they simply become no more than a slave, subject to the whims of their owner or king.

As a matter of convenience and practicality, we make a free decision to form ourselves into societies, states and countries. We freely authorize elected governments to run things for us. The sustaining of freedom in any such constitutional form of government depends almost entirely on an informed, educated and involved citizenry. Fundamental to that process is an independent and unbiased press. That is why the fourth estate is “granted” a special place in society, including “freedom of the press”.

The continuum of freedom has, in the West, been steadily progressing since the Middle Ages.  Maybe this is in part because of the development of the printing press and the ability to more widely disseminate information (“news”).  It may owe a debt to The Enlightenment.  No matter. We have achieved a state of governed freedom unthought-of in the time of pharaohs and dynasties.

No longer. Freedom in the west is tragically receding. And it is in no small part a result of a massive failure of the press. Examples abound. But often they are sufficiently subtle, or we are so caught up in our daily lives, that they go unnoticed. And like the slowly boiling frog, our freedom evaporates.  Usurped by leaders who do not act in the best interest of the people, and who are aided and abetted by a biased media. A media who no longer speak truth to power.  A media who no longer provide unbiased reporting sufficient to allow people to make informed decisions.

Don’t get it?  Here are two stories, run by two different Canadian press agencies on the same day (October 5, 2013). They have to do with two Canadian citizens (a doctor and a filmmaker) who were in Egypt during the recent uprising and ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood government. The pair was arrested by the police who suspected them of being involved in activities related to the riots. Read the stories in order:

By The Canadian Press Agency (“CP”), as it appeared in the Huffington Post Canada:

By QMI Agency (“QMI”), as it appeared in The Toronto Sun:

If you are struck by the stark contrast between the two different stories, you will realize that the CP has an agenda – one that, whatever it may be, is served by not fully informing its readers.  The QMI story gives you all the facts, and assumes you have the intelligence to sort it out for yourself.  Moral of the story?  Realize that the media has, to a great extent, abandoned its independence.  Understand the difference between sources that are opinion, and those that provide factual news reporting.  And strive to be informed.

Your freedom depends on it.

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