The world will never tire of advocating in favor of freedom. Many of us bloggers will never tire of writing about freedom.
So, here again, I put in my two-cents about this hallowed subject. Once again, I say that a part of my personal opinion regarding this topic is highly influenced by Immanuel Kant. “Freedom is the alone unoriginated birthright of man, and belongs to him by force of his humanity; and is independence on the will and co-action of every other in so far as this consists with every other person’s freedom.”
Prior to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, people in the West were restricted and ruled by monarchs, tyrants, and religious hierarchy. People who disagreed with their proclamations and holy decrees were severely punished or even executed. People yearned to live in a place where there was no coercion of people by their fellow people.
The ideals of the nation’s founders are incomplete. While many minorities have achieved many legal milestones designed to enhance and protect their freedoms, the social acceptance of the validity of these legal rights is incomplete. There are many who wish to cancel the legal rights of others through political opposition. There are others who wish to deny rights through the reassertion of religious authority over people through theocratic means.
Although I’m not a particularly religious person, I agree that people should be free to worship the god(s) of their choice in the religious buildings of their choice. I don’t dispute people with religious opinions the right to their opinions. However, I will oppose them when their goals are to eliminate my rights.
Since rights protect freedoms, in the case of political rights, I agree with founding father Thomas Paine. “Your rights end where mine begin.” As this regards my personal life, the rights of religionists end where my rights begin. I have a strong aversion to monarchy, tyranny, oligarchy, and theocracy. This is coupled with my deep love of hard-won freedoms and civil rights. Furthermore, I do NOT cherry pick which one or two Amendments in the Bill of Rights to abide by. I favor them all. I view any politician or powerful person who advocates the elimination of any portion of the Bill of Rights with deep suspicion.
On the surface, freedom seems like a nice flowery word. One of those lovely things we trot out on days like our recently celebrated Independence Day. The trouble is, that a great number of people are very fearful of freedom. To have freedom means that we are ultimately responsible for our lives and that we allow others to be ultimately responsible for theirs. A free society allows everyone to live our lives as we see fit as long as we do not interfere with that same right of others.
We have been trained to love permission, not freedom. Rights are permission to exercise liberty within certain bounds. Freedom means we are not imprisoned by any person’s words, thoughts, ideals, religions, or deeds. Freedom is indeed a scary place that contains many social taboos.
We euphemistically proclaim that we live in a “Free Country”, but we wish to place constraints on people we do not like. We cage ourselves in beliefs and ideologies, then align ourselves with political direction. As we have surrendered our independence and freedom to those we have granted high respect and esteem, we forfeited our freedom and that of everyone else.
The people find it easier to be in chains than to fully cherish freedom for all. A question has been asked by poets and philosophers throughout the ages. “Are you free?” People avoid truthfully answering the question because they know they truly are not.
In a sense, freedom means avoiding spiritual paralysis. When we follow our hearts and allow others to follow theirs, we will begin to know real freedom.