in matters of choice and expression, america, perhaps, is one of the freest of all societies but there are some cases where the freedom of the individual seems to have been overlooked, consider these,
abortion - an issue that always seems to be en vogue in the united states, and yes this is a rather controversial topic.
polygamy - being a muslim i'm officially allowed to simultaneously have four wives, something i can do in my home country, if i tried multiple marriages in the us however, though i'll be within the tenets of a fairly conservative religion, i'll be violating the law. my question is, if all the parties concerned do not have a problem with the arrangement why should the government? here are pro and anti sites.
prohibition - something america unsuccessfully tried in the 1920s
there are other smaller things that demand conformation to a pre-defined framework and where functioning outside that framework requires great effort or is simply impossible. the credit system, or rather culture, is one example.
i'm not offering my own views on these subjects, the purpose of this post is to question the assertion that the individual is absolutely free in america. my perception is that here you are afforded a greater number of freedoms but with that you also lose other rights which in the legislative bodies' and, in several cases, the judiciary's wisdom cause harm to society in general. that is the clinching point, there have to be rules that curb some rights, in america there is one set, in india another and in saudi arabia yet another. the debate between the societies is like a carnivore trying to convince a vegetarian into trying meat, 'you have no idea what you are missing', many a times you do not miss what you have never desired or tried.
no single set of rules is perfect, albeit some are preferable over the others. how and what we choose is a luxury that may be afforded to almost citizen of the so called western democracies, but to a much smaller percentages of the populace, essentially the educated or the affluent, in say the asian democracies. perhaps that is the real advantage of being a citizen of the west.