Sunday, January 23, 2005

Q: What is the meaning of freedom?

A: Not much unless you have an object.

When I say, "I want to be free.", what is it that I want to be free of, or free to do? Do I want to be free to travel anywhere I please? Do I want to be free to read what I choose? Do I want to be free to buy whatever I want?

It's easy to promote freedom as an abstraction. But once I want to travel to Cuba, read Windows 2000 Source Code, buy crack-cocaine without risk of arrest or acquire a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, reality intercedes. Such objective freedom is non-existent within the United States.

So, tell me please, what does this statement really mean?

"The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world." - The Inaugral Address of George W. Bush, January 20th, 2005


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't read one person's mind, but I'd say that when people talk about "freedom" generally they are talking about freedom of conscience and speech. "Freedom" in the political sense doesn't mean you get your way without resistance in a society. Obviously this is impossible in an immediate sense for everyone, since people sometimes have not just differing but even conflicting desires. Freedom describes a political condition in which you are not punished for expressing and promoting your views and even lobbying to change things so that your view prevails, but within a democratic context of persuasion that does not rely on force of oppression to eliminate your opposition. That's freedom.

Would that either the quote by itself or by some expanded quoted context more eloquently explain this to a world that is, by many accounts, woefully unaware of what this precious freedom meaen.

4:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your provocative question.

"I wan't to be free" is used, too often, the same way as "I want to be loved unconditionally"... as if being a batterer/murderer/rapist/war monger/other baddie might be the same as being a decent human.

I want to be free to differentiate.

8:30 PM  

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