In which country do you feel the most free: the USA or the UK? Why?Check out here!
Freedom in this sense is more about your personal experience than in any objective sense (if one could even exist). It's about how you free you feel to go about your everyday life without intrusion. If you can give examples, e.g. starting up a business, buying a car, walking around, not getting attacked, etc so much the better. Here are answers particularly welcome from people who have lived / worked in both places especially those who chose to live in one over the other.
Ryo Yokoe, historian of 20th c. Britain, have been living here for a few years
If you have a favourite country out of the two, please try to be polite about the other one.
I have stayed in both countries over an extended period, and I would easily prefer the United Kingdom in terms of my understanding of freedom. As the OP assumes subjectivity, I will base my answer on a very broad set of experiences that I've had.
Starting with the obvious, Britain is safer than the United States. The probability of me getting robbed or killed is much lower in the UK, and you can immediately feel the difference when you're in either country. There are dodgy parts of Britain, but I feel like I have to be much more cautious and careful when I am in any city in America.
Another aspect, which is quite important, is the bureaucracy and the police in the United States. American policemen, much more than anywhere else in the world that I've visited, are excessively authoritarian and intrusive. I and my family have had several encounters with the police where we have been treated us rudely or unfairly. The British police, on the other hand, don't even carry firearms and are much more friendlier. It's quite telling that I and many others immediately feel nervous whenever we have to walk past an American policeman or drive alongside a police car, sort of like walking past that frightening teacher that every school has. It's quite possibly an irrational fear, but I think it reflects to how I feel immediately safer or comforted whenever the UK police are around.
Bureaucracy is a nightmare to deal with anywhere, but the American bureaucracy, from airport security to the tax office, is downright unpleasant. It is no wonder that so many people grow to hate the government in America. Generally, I feel like I am given more choices and options when I have to deal with the UK bureaucracy, in contrast to the restrictive American counterpart.
Finally, I have to praise the NHS for making me free from the fear that I might have to cash out a lot of money for healthcare. It's not perfect, but at least I don't have to worry about the financial consequences of being sick. This is one of the primary reasons why I decided to study in Britain and not in the United States. Unfortunately, to this day the United States is exceptional among the developed nations for not having a universal healthcare system.
Based purely on these subjective experiences, this notion that America is the freest country in the world is unsupported. Freedoms go beyond the simple fact of freedom of being able to do things, like free speech, like the right to property, or like the right to bear arms. I consider freedoms from certain things to be as important as freedoms to do certain things. Britain's lower crime rate, its non-hostile policemen, and their welfare state are some of the factors that protect my freedom to live relatively freely from violence, from state intimidation, and from ill health.
Thomas L. Johnson, Visits the UK to extend his Schengen limits.
Like most Anglo-Saxon countries, the USA and UK are more likely to be similar than different on so many cultural issues that the question of which is more free actually gets down to one's personal preferences and activities. Pet-owners, for instance, might think it is draconian that the UK requires all imported dogs to be microchipped. But that is hardly a huge hurdle.
Europeans look at the freedom Americans have to bear weapons as some sort of infringement on freedom. In my three score years, I have never owned a weapon nor even seen an unholstered weapon outside of a shooting range or hunt. I spend a great deal of my time in larger cities and travel extensively in the USA.
American look at the CCTV everywhere as an invasion of privacy; Europeans look at the NSA tendency to want to get more information than we seem willing to offer as an invasion of privacy. Both are correct.
I think it is smart that London limits private automobile driving into the center of a major city -- and given the lack of convenient expressways or freeways, it makes sense; no major American city, however, would take that freedom away from the average citizen.
When Margaret Thatcher tried to implement her poll tax scheme, there were riots; there should be protests when American Republicans make overt efforts to suppress votes through legislation. As the freedom to participate in elections is an important Anglo-Saxon value, it is interesting how the two countries respond to challenges.
Both countries have erected entry barriers that make entry and exit more demanding. Needing a passport for me to enter the Canadian town that is 1 mile from my home seems to have taken away some freedom; the passport procedure coming to the UK from Europe can seem cumbersome.
Some have cited bureaucracy as being a difference. Fortunately, there is very little bureaucratic interference for the actual residents of either country (other than the strange TV thing in the UK) so it ends up having an impact on visitors and immigrants. I do know that it is easier for a legal immigrant to find work in the US than it seems to be in the UK even for EU citizens.
While the USA is a hotbed for entrepreneurialism and start-ups, the UK is also start-up friendly.
The ease of social mobility in the USA is commonly cited by "lower class" English transplants as a positive. While Americans have a concept of class, they are not fixated on it and understand that achievement cancels out class distinctions.
These are two models of freedom, as are Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. One of the great gifts of the Empire has been the transportation of the values of freedom and individualism.
Bruce Bracken, I have lived in France for about 25 years out of 60.
I have lived in both Great Britain (mostly in the south-east/London region, but with family in the Midlands) and in the USA (New York, Long Island). I haven't felt not free in either country, but there are things that make me prefer the UK.
1) Freedom feels assumed in the UK: it always felt like I had some obligation in the USA to feel free, to proclaim freedom, to prostrate myself before the altar of freedom. I didn't feel that this added to my actual level of freedom at all. This got to be a major annoyance, with people explaining kindly to me how much freedom I had now I was in the USA.
2) Freedom to go about my business: same in both places, although I did witness a very distressing incident concerning an African American friend of mine, who, for the same speeding offence as me, at the same time, was pulled out of his car and told to put his hand behind his head while one cop stood by with a hand on his holstered gun and the other checked if he had stolen the brand-new BMW he drove (same as mine - not surprising as we did the same job for the same company and were travelling in convoy); I didn't feel his freedom was very great at this time.
2a) I can't say (2) doesn't happen in the UK, I have never seen it and it doesn't quite feel like it would.
3) Freedom from guns: having also lived in France, the idea of armed police isn't so abhorrent to me as it may be to someone who has always lived in the UK. But I saw more guns, more guns drawn at the ready than ever before. I saw citizens with guns. I heard gunshots in the night (NYC) I once found one of my garden lights with what the police described as "a bullet" in it. Actually, in both France and the UK, you can see armed forces with significant weaponry patrolling airports and stations. But I have never seen them raised or felt threatened by them.
4) FREEDOM FROM RELIGION, as opposed to freedom of religion. In Europe, nobody cares whether I'm a practising/lapsed catholic/protestant/... or an agnostic or an atheist. As long as I am living my everyday life going to work, coming home, spending time with friends and family, and not berating everybody about what my faith is or isn't, nobody bothers me about their belief system either.
In the USA, when I first arrived, I was not familiar with the Jewish holidays. This made me some form of anti-semite to some people. I knew the Catholic rites and beliefs, but chose to ignore them. That made me into an enemy of Christ to some. This has never happened to me in Europe. Never. Not in a Protestant country, not in a Catholic country, not in Jewish or Muslim areas. I was mortified by these unfair and untrue comments. So, I had a very good time in the USA, met a lot of people I liked, made more money than I could make in Europe, and yet, I decided to come back to the UK.
You can read these opinions and choose any country, it depends on you where you will be happy… But I would rather choose the UK.