Freedom from vs freedom to

Good morning everyone,

Yesterday was really cold! I don't know about you, but I swear that was the coldest I've felt in a long time. I rode my bike to Al Park wearing my usual winter gear-a down vest, a light sweater and a scarf. Usually, even with those I'm sweating by the time I get where I want to go. Not yesterday. I was freezing by the time I got home. I had planned to continue on past my house and to downtown to catch up on some work, but there was no way. My fingers were numb (yes, I was wearing gloves), so I said, "To hell with this" and just hid under my micro-fibre throw (it's a blanket you keep on your sofa) for the rest of the day. Thankfully, today and the rest of the week are looking warmer with temperatures creeping up all week and by the time we get to the weekend, we could see highs in the low teens. We may get some rain on Thursday, but that's all the precipitation in the forecast.

Have I talked before about the difference in freedom between Japan and America? On the most basic level, the difference is very simple. In America, there is a freedom to. This means that people have the freedom to live their lives however they wish provided it doesn't infringe on the rights of others. In Japan, there is a freedom from. This means that people are given freedom from danger, so they can live their lives peacefully. Sometimes it's difficult to explain the American style of freedom to a Japanese person and vice versa.

A perfect example of the difference is the recent case of the Japanese government asking a reporter who was planning to go to Syria to surrender his passport (which is perfectly legal for any government to do). In Japan, the government has a duty to provide its people with a  freedom from danger and allowing the reporter to enter that particular war zone puts his life in danger. And, as we saw in the most recent case with Kenji Goto, may also put others in danger as well. The Japanese government felt well within its right to protect him.

However, in America, reporters are free to travel wherever they like in the world, but have to assume the risks that go with those decisions.

Some critics of the Japanese decision say that they are 'letting terrorism win' and acting as a 'nanny state', while supporters say the government is doing exactly what it is supposed to do-protect its citizens. And you could also argue that by blocking the reporter's attempt to enter Syria, the government is saving itself a ton of money and headaches down the road, if he were to be captured. Are Japanese people missing out on some information from that area due to these kinds of decisions?'s hard to decide if our freedom to know outweighs the cost of getting that information. And this decision may go to the courts, as the reporter is now considering suing to get his passport back...

So, what do you think? Should he be allowed to go to Syria and report what's happening there? Or, should the government continue to ban any reporters from travelling to that area?

Have a great day!

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