Is the US more free than Russia?

Yesterday, our respected leader (and totally-not-senile-child-groper) Joseph Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

As expected, the free and not-CIA-influenced Western media dubbed the summit a success. Biden, we are told, was able to sit competently for an acceptable period of time without suddenly screaming obscenities or grabbing passing women and children.

Following the meeting, Putin stayed for a lengthy press conference where he answered more than a half-dozen questions from Western media outlets. Biden, of course, was rushed away before answering even a single question from a Russian journalist. (Biden did do his own brief press conference, where he yelled at a female reporter.)

Amazingly, all of the reporters who asked Putin questioned just so happened to repeat the same accusations that US government apparatchiks have raised for years: that Russia does not allow dissent and that it engages in election interference in other nations.

The unspoken premise in all of these questions was that the United States and the West are much more free than Russia. One might wonder what Edward Snowden thinks about that presumption, sitting free in Russia so as to not end up imprisoned or worse for the "crime" of exposing an illegal US government domestic surveillance program.

One might also wonder if any of the journalists asking these questions give much thought to the fact that all of their texts, phone records and web browsing history are property of the NSA.

And if they question what their own career possibilities are given that the world's greatest journalist-publisher, Julian Assange, is still sitting in prison in the United Kingdom for exposing war crimes committed by the US military.

Finally, one wonders if these reporters ever worry about tweeting verboten ideas that could get them deplatformed by the ever-vigilant Thought Police in Silicon Valley.

How can the US be more free than Russia when we demonstrably have no real outlet for expressing free speech? Even websites like this one are right now being suppressed by Google.

Is our electoral process more democratic, even though there are only two corporate parties allowed to compete in fairly in our elections?

Or do we even respect the principle of democracy more than Russia, given that the US has interfered in 81 different elections around the world (including Russia's)?

Or is it simply that we appreciate diversity more, despite the fact that we are supporting racist nationalists in Russia and Ukraine?

Or is it that people in the West don't need to fear the State swooping in and abducting us for our political beliefs -- even though Biden is now asking us to report our "radicalized" family members to the government?

How is the uniformity of thought in Western corporate media any less propagandistic than Russian or Chinese or even North Korean state media?

How are we more free than Russia? Because we say we are? Because we believe we are?

And why do we even believe that we are free? Because the ruling class tells us that we are?