Brian, Excellent post. There are countries where freedoms are on the rise. Can we say the same? Offshore travel or living is really important to being able to analyze where the levels of freedom are--and how important to the population it is. thanks for submitting the post.
To most people, Freedom is relative. Many do not even know they have lost freedom until it is too late to preserve it.
The Homeland Security Act took too many freedoms from the American people. It should be repealled. It is too dangerous to let beurocrats have that level of power without a watchdog to keep them honest.
The other cold hard fact is that many people really like someone else to make their decisions. They would rather have someone to blame rather than take responsibility for their own decisions.
Just my opinion.
@EREBUS: we have already lost many freedoms, I am afraid, permanently, in many so called 'free' countries. Take video surveillance for example -it won't be too long before we see that misused / abused for commercial purposes (as more city governments feel the economic squeeze). The same argument can be made for a smartphone user as he/she walk by a store and see targeted ads whether they opted-in or not!
The corollary to this theme would be "not all ideas are equally valid". Sure we all have nationalistic bias, but history has shown some concepts of freedom (impartial judiciary, freedom of press) are clearly superior to the alternatives (widespread judicial corruption in places like China or Mexico, government firewalls in China or Iran).
The problem with "freedom" is that it cannot ever be unlimited because the freedom of one individual ends where the freedom of another individual starts. So "freedom" will always be a relative concept. I don't even consider Americans to be the people with the most "freedoms", as they need money to earn their most of their rights. Just think about how much "freedom" a poor/homeless person really has in the USA (or anywhere else in general).
It is true that we tend to project our ideas onto other people and cultures. But some cultures still practice laws and cultural ideas from medieval times. For example, in some countries, women are still treated as property, who should be treated as slaves and should not be educated. Are these out dated ideas really equivalent to modern concepts of freedom and liberty?
You make good points. As someone who has lived abroad and traveled extensively I have considered this many times myself.
However, speaking practically - in the world of business the home ethics rule. Just ask BAE Systems who found themselves in hot water a few years back for doing business in Saudi Arabia per the local customs, but contrary to UK ideals.
Some freedoms are global simply because we are. For example the freedom to not have our heads bashed in or to express ourselves without fear of reprisal no matter how stupid it may be. Some would argue that we are "Endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" In any event some rights and liberties are basic across cultures. It is only man that tries to control others that limits these rights.