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Thread: The human quest for freedom (what is freedom?)

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    The human quest for freedom (what is freedom?)

    At our favorite neighborhood bar (in the US) this evening we found ourselves having a fine conversation with a Russian expat who left Moscow in 1991 at the age of 12 with his parents. I suppose he is in his mid 30's, so having spent most of his life in the US.

    He still had vivid memories of his youth in Moscow and speaks fluent Russian. And English. He was wearing a biker vest emblazoned with Poccia and later rode off on his Harley motorcycle.

    Interesting character. He told of us why he was so enamored of America where he was 'free' to pursue his own life. He detailed why he loved living in the US and why it was so dear to him - he could be his own person, he could go where he wanted, he could pursue whatever avenue he wished, he could be his own person any way he liked.

    So we had this conversation, (I playing the devil's advocate) put forth that Russia was in its own way more free, and I gave him many examples - Russians don't play by the rules, Russians are more free from legislative laws that generally ignore the average citizen, Russian rules which are posted but rarely enforced, the fact that Russian law is rather more elastic than US law depending on times and circumstance. US justice is not so forgiving.

    I asked him if he had ever returned to Russia. He said no, but that he was a duel passport holder and could return anytime he wanted (he's well past the age of military draft). I told him he should go, did he have any family left there to connect to?

    THEN he tells me his parents still own an apartment in Tanganka! They left the *oppression* of Russia 25 years ago but still hang on to the apartment! I was floored.

    In America, the legal liabilities of keeping an urban apartment in a major city rented out to tenants for -decades- is so overwhelmingly legally oppressive that nobody in his right mind would do such a thing. It's nearly impossible.

    And yet Russians with all their 'unfreedom' can vacate the country for nearly 30 years and continue to own [quite valuable] property from which it is almost impossible to wrest ownership, and consider themselves unfree??

    I reminded our new friend that in America you really never own anything, as the government/banks always reserve the fine print rights to take away from you the ownership if the contract ever goes awry or various tax/ownership payments are not made on time - into perpetuity.

    In the US is is truly not possible to ever own property without consistent and continual payment to the taxing authorities forever. They can, and will, put you out into the street.

    I find the the definition of 'freedom' and 'ownership' to be very different dependent on culture and perception. What do you think?

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  3. #2
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    I find your definition of "law" to be typically Russian - get away with murder if possible and if you can't then pay the cops a bribe.

    Law's are there for (supposedly) the greater good of society. The fact that Russia has "elastic" laws does the reputation of the country no good.

    What's so unusual about owning property even though you don't live in the country? Millions of people around the world do exactly that and rent it out. It's not unusual at all. I assume you have heard of AirBNB and all the other similar services? You have read the "for rent" adverts in Estate Agents?

    Your post points to *you* having a problem with America and it's system of rules and laws. If you find it that bad / oppressive then you can always leave and come back to Russia.


    In the US is is truly not possible to ever own property without consistent and continual payment to the taxing authorities forever. They can, and will, put you out into the street.
    Every civilised country has these rules; France, UK, the rest of Europe and many others countries. Why are you so surprised by this?

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    JP, what is especially civilized about confiscating people's property? Of course, there are hyper-rich who have far more than they need, and I am not defending that. But I DO defend the right of a very poor friend of mine who owns a piece of dilapidated farm land to continue to own it and not have to pay taxes and have laws designed to confiscate the land should she (an older woman with no pension to speak of) become unable to pay her exorbitant property taxes. I do not consider the laws civilized at all. She has lived all her life without government assistance. She should not now have to fear government confiscation of her property.

    I'm just trying to say that maybe a completely abandoned property in downtown Moscow is one thing, but the principle of taxing poor property owners to death is quite another.

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    And yet Russians with all their 'unfreedom' can vacate the country for nearly 30 years and continue to own [quite valuable] property from which it is almost impossible to wrest ownership, and consider themselves unfree??
    Money/possessions - it is not about freedom at all, it is just the natural (but not always present) result, one of many. As a rule though, there is more money and there are more possessions in a free country (consider Sweden or Norway, for instance) rather than in a third world country with oppression and lies (Russia). Of course, there may be exceptions from this rule, there are always exceptions from any rule. I am sure there are very well-to-do people even in the North Korea. Or in Somalia and Nigeria. And, of course, there are dirt-poor people in Norway and in Sweden, but much less than in Russia or Somalia. You are making a typical logical mistake - taking an individual case (which is lousy too, because the guy doesn't want to return anyway) and trying to extrapolate it on a whole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rusmeister View Post
    I'm just trying to say that maybe a completely abandoned property in downtown Moscow is one thing, but the principle of taxing poor property owners to death is quite another.
    I'm not disagreeing with that Rusmeister but in situations like that it should be up to the State to help out. I can't talk about Russia but in France and the UK the local taxes and benefits are based on the ability to pay and are "means tested". The more disposable income you have the more local taxes you pay and less State benefits you receive. However, if you can't afford to own a property then it is up to yourself to sort it out. If you can't afford it, don't buy it.

    Does Russia do this? Is it enough to cover the cost of living? If not then the problem is with the Government here and Annasophia trying to draw comparisons with USA is just plain silly.
    Last edited by JPS; 20-08-2016 at 19:41.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Russian Lad View Post
    Money/possessions - it is not about freedom at all, it is just the natural (but not always present) result, one of many. As a rule though, there is more money and there are more possessions in a free country (consider Sweden or Norway, for instance) rather than in a third world country with oppression and lies (Russia). Of course, there may be exceptions from this rule, there are always exceptions from any rule. I am sure there are very well-to-do people even in the North Korea. Or in Somalia and Nigeria. And, of course, there are dirt-poor people in Norway and in Sweden, but much less than in Russia or Somalia. You are making a typical logical mistake - taking an individual case (which is lousy too, because the guy doesn't want to return anyway) and trying to extrapolate it on a whole.
    I would say personal propwety rights are the beginning point, not the result, of freedom. Name me one country that went authoritarian that did not also confiscate personal property. Or alternatively a propserous country with generous "freedom" for its people that does not hold personal property rights in high regard.

    The third world countries you mention have wealth and posession but they are by and large ownee by the pigs that "are more equal than othets"; whereas in (for example

    ) the USA the constitution and other government bodies for the most part uphold personal property rights.

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    All the world's Kremlin,
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post
    I find your definition of "law" to be typically Russian - get away with murder if possible and if you can't then pay the cops a bribe.

    What's so unusual about owning property even though you don't live in the country? Millions of people around the world do exactly that and rent it out. It's not unusual at all. I assume you have heard of AirBNB and all the other similar services? You have read the "for rent" adverts in Estate Agents?
    ?
    From my experience the Russian definition of law would be more like:

    Your right to punch me stops at my nose

    I'm putting words un annasophia's mouth but I imagine she's sirprised by the property ownership because the expat hasn't paid Russian taxes or claimed the rental property on his US taxes for years??

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    My bad; I did not break down my logic fully:
    it's amusing that the Russian expat finds his adopted country freer yet feels the need to hide capital gains from the US tax authorities.

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    Does the US of A really take people's houses off them?

    If so, under what circumstances?
    Если враг в пределах досягаемости, то и вы тоже!


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    Quote Originally Posted by TolkoRaz View Post
    Does the US of A really take people's houses off them?

    If so, under what circumstances?


    Yes they do. Even old, sick people who just owe $1000 in taxes. Or someone who didn't cut their grass short enough and must be heavily fined until they lose their house.
    If you trust the government you obviously failed history class. " George Carlin"

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    Quote Originally Posted by annasophia View Post
    At our favorite neighborhood bar (in the US) this evening we found ourselves having a fine conversation with a Russian expat who left Moscow in 1991 at the age of 12 with his parents. I suppose he is in his mid 30's, so having spent most of his life in the US.

    He still had vivid memories of his youth in Moscow and speaks fluent Russian. And English. He was wearing a biker vest emblazoned with Poccia and later rode off on his Harley motorcycle.

    Interesting character. He told of us why he was so enamored of America where he was 'free' to pursue his own life. He detailed why he loved living in the US and why it was so dear to him - he could be his own person, he could go where he wanted, he could pursue whatever avenue he wished, he could be his own person any way he liked.

    So we had this conversation, (I playing the devil's advocate) put forth that Russia was in its own way more free, and I gave him many examples - Russians don't play by the rules, Russians are more free from legislative laws that generally ignore the average citizen, Russian rules which are posted but rarely enforced, the fact that Russian law is rather more elastic than US law depending on times and circumstance. US justice is not so forgiving.

    I asked him if he had ever returned to Russia. He said no, but that he was a duel passport holder and could return anytime he wanted (he's well past the age of military draft). I told him he should go, did he have any family left there to connect to?

    THEN he tells me his parents still own an apartment in Tanganka! They left the *oppression* of Russia 25 years ago but still hang on to the apartment! I was floored.

    In America, the legal liabilities of keeping an urban apartment in a major city rented out to tenants for -decades- is so overwhelmingly legally oppressive that nobody in his right mind would do such a thing. It's nearly impossible.

    And yet Russians with all their 'unfreedom' can vacate the country for nearly 30 years and continue to own [quite valuable] property from which it is almost impossible to wrest ownership, and consider themselves unfree??

    I reminded our new friend that in America you really never own anything, as the government/banks always reserve the fine print rights to take away from you the ownership if the contract ever goes awry or various tax/ownership payments are not made on time - into perpetuity.

    In the US is is truly not possible to ever own property without consistent and continual payment to the taxing authorities forever. They can, and will, put you out into the street.

    I find the the definition of 'freedom' and 'ownership' to be very different dependent on culture and perception. What do you think?

    I think you are totally right. Once you pay off the note you still will pay tax until the day you die and then your kids will pay more tax because you died and left it to them. All this tax will be spent on killing other people in whichever county the US government has decided is "undemocratic"
    If you trust the government you obviously failed history class. " George Carlin"

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    Quote Originally Posted by nicklcool View Post
    My bad; I did not break down my logic fully:
    it's amusing that the Russian expat finds his adopted country freer yet feels the need to hide capital gains from the US tax authorities.

    indeed, and moan and complain in every second sentence how bad everything here is, no English is spoken, one can not read the street or Metro signs because all is in russian language, coffee is outrageous expensive or dishwater. everything is smothered in dill,mayo and sour cream. and the locals drink Vodka like fish and chew their stinking Wobla. what a bad country Russia is. or great compared to the USA, all over sudden?
    There is no greater treasure then pleasure....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Wally View Post
    Yes they do. Even old, sick people who just owe $1000 in taxes. Or someone who didn't cut their grass short enough and must be heavily fined until they lose their house.
    TR Wally has let raw emotion cloud hos thinking again; the way properties can be taken are by foreclosure (not paying the mortgage for a REALLY long time), or by tax lien (not paying your taxes for a REALLY long time). Where is the immorality in these two situations, when the homeowner made multiple ill advised financial decisions over a long period of time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nicklcool View Post
    TR Wally has let raw emotion cloud hos thinking again; the way properties can be taken are by foreclosure (not paying the mortgage for a REALLY long time), or by tax lien (not paying your taxes for a REALLY long time). Where is the immorality in these two situations, when the homeowner made multiple ill advised financial decisions over a long period of time?
    With the mortgage, I'm more inclined to agree that it's not necessarily immoral, and people actually making bad decisions should have to bear the responsibility. But taxes are whatever the rulers want them to be, and are outside of the control of the homeowner.

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