“Let Freedom Ring”

In America, we are now at a crossroads. We can continue the path of racism and exclusion, or we can embark on the path of diversity and inclusion. The latter course will uplift and enrich Americans, whereas the former will lead to the death and destruction of this great country. Moreover, based on studies conducted by the World Economic Forum, it is now evident that companies and corporations which value cultural diversity within their ranks perform drastically better and are more productive in comparison to those companies and corporations that do not value cultural diversity. Yet, 98 percent of all board members in multinational corporations are white males. Whether American companies and corporations enable minorities to reach the top of their hierarchies will be the litmus test for whether all the talk about ideals and values on the part of American society is sincere or not.

Ironically, ideals and values have been the pretext for American corporations and companies to use America’s powerful military to secure what are known as the “Commanding Heights” of the global economy, namely, the drugs and oil of Afghanistan and the Middle East. But a sincere commitment to these ideals and values is still an ongoing project at home. Although the prevailing notion is that the Middle East and Asia can never be free and prosperous unless their cultures and religions become “modern,” it is evident that capitalism and social freedom can be balanced with culture and religion, as demonstrated by countries like the United Arab Emirates, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan. You can have your cake and eat it too. Yet, the American agenda often seems to be one of social engineering in other countries, whereby countries are expected to become Western and “modern” rather than advanced and developed.

Max Weber’s “Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism” suggested that certain religious groups – namely, Protestants and Jews – were inclined to be richer than other religious groups. Perhaps this is correct when comparing the overall national wealth of the United States to other countries up to this point in time. Whether China debunks Weber’s theory is something that will be determined during the next couple of decades. Nevertheless, the economist Amartya Sen has also argued that freedom – in both a political and social sense – is the main prerequisite for economic and social development.

But there is still a fundamental difference between modernity and development. On paper, Afghanistan has a modern society with its English-speaking urban youth, elections, and free press. But it has not developed economically and socially. Development is also based on sustainable economic and social growth. The key word is sustainability. Although China does not have elections and a free press, it has sustained economic and social development for more than forty years and continues to do so. The question is whether China can sustain economic and social growth without turning to elections and a free press, but the statistics fly in the face of that suggestion. As the saying goes: “There are lies, more lies, and then there is statistics.”

Moreover, elections and the press in the United States are not free in the truest sense of the word. Joe Biden pushed Bernie Sanders out, even though people wanted Bernie Sanders. The mainstream media is also bought by the elites in both the military and Corporate America. Also, over the course of the last two decades, Anglo-America has been slacking, whereas Europe and Asia have improved their game significantly. For one, Amsterdam has replaced London as Europe’s financial capital. China’s annual growth rate has gone up from 6.6 percent in 2018 to 8.6 percent in 2021, according to statistics from both the World Bank and the IMF.

Amartya Sen’s thesis that freedom is the main prerequisite for economic and social development is clearly demonstrable in Amsterdam and in Holland as a whole. Amsterdam is free and liberal in the truest sense of these words. From its eccentric art and literary culture to its museums, recreational drugs, and sex tourism industry, Amsterdam can rightfully claim the mantle of leadership over the free world rather than the United States, which has always been plagued by cultural backwardness and religious extremism. As Millennials and Gen-Z youth, we want freedom and socioeconomic development in the truest sense of these concepts and words, not the cultural backwardness, religious extremism, and hypocrisy we get from the septuagenarians and octogenarians in power. As the late great Martin Luther King Jr. once implored White America: “Let freedom ring.”

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