What Is Freedom?

Most of us think that we are free.  We have the ability to make decisions, choose where we live, work in occupations of our own selection, etc.  But are we really free?  Let me ask you a few simple questions.  Then you decide for yourself.

Do you keep the fruits of your labor?  Here in the USA, where I live, we keep a portion of the money we earn, but we also are required by the governments (note the plural syntax) to surrender a portion of our earnings to fund public projects whether we agree with them or not.  We are also required to pay for the privilege of owning assets, even after we have paid a tax when we purchased them and the people who made them were taxed for the right to make them.  So are we really free?  Do we really have the right to own and retain the fruits of our labor?  That doesn’t appear to be the case.  Do you think you own your real estate?  Go without paying your taxes and see if you do. In fact, look at your deed…it names you as a TENANT!

Let’s move on to the family unit.  Surely we are free there, right?  But wait, if you want to get married, you need permission from…you guessed it…the government!  Suppose they don’t like the choice you make; can they deny your right to get married?  Nah, they would NEVER do that, right?  Or would they?  There was a time when interracial marriages were outlawed, but we have moved past that, right?  What about gay marriage?  It may not be my choice, but if you don’t have the right to choose for me, how do I have the right to choose for you?  And why do we need permission from the government to select a given mate anyway? (Hint, it goes back to the taxes thing, but I digress)

Surely there is freedom of speech, at least in the USA, right?  Really?  And what exactly IS freedom of speech?  Some say that we have the right within limits but the public good trumps our right to yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater.  Others say that we have the right to speak freely as long as we don’t practice “hate speech.”  I say, you have the right to say whatever you like….BUT you are responsible for the result.  That is what freedom is…it is a proverbial double-edged sward, with responsibility being the other side of the blade.  Whatever you do, you own.  Whatever you say, you must take the credit for.  Words have domino effects.  They are the seeds of ideas.  You can plant beautiful flowers in the minds of others or you can plant noxious weeds.  As an individual, it is your choice to make.  But if you yell “fire” in the middle of a crowd and people or property get hurt, it is your fault and your responsibility to atone for your actions.

So the point of this blog is to inspire free thought, to share ideas, to reflect the concept that our Founding Fathers believed in.  In fact, their conviction was so deep that they risked their lives to cross an ocean for the chance to think like free people.  If the posts inspire you to rethink your concept of freedom then I have planted the seed.  You may end up where you started, believing that the application of freedom is limited based on the “greater good” or you may alter your outlook.  Either way, the choice is yours in your reality, just as it is mine in my world.  I don’t ask you to agree with me (or to disagree), I only ask you to look honestly at the world around you, question everything, take nothing for granted, and make up your own mind.