There is something conspicuously absent from this election season – it’s like football season, but the cheerleaders are not as attractive – and that is any real discussion about what this country is about; or at least it used to be about; and that conspicuously absent “something” is the rather novel concept called freedom. Oh, I am sure the word “freedom” has been mentioned numerous times, but simply mentioning the word is not the same as discussing, or advancing the concept of freedom. Our country was founded on that concept, and we have assisted others (sometimes justly, and sometimes not) in the advancement of the concept of freedom. So, what is freedom? And why is it merely given lip service in today’s America?
I could give you the definition of the word “freedom,” (click here for that definition), but instead I will try (successfully, I hope) to explain what that word means to me. Freedom is an ideal, which, yes, makes me an idealist. It is the belief that not just I should be free, but everyone should be free. Freedom is not the domain of a few, nor is it, or should it be dictated to, or by another. Under the founding precepts of our country, as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, freedom is granted to us by our creator – not the state, not a person in an ivory tower, or any other Earthly construct. We are then essentially born free, and then it is up to each of us to determine how, or what we do with our freedom. Being free means that I do not have the right to coerce, or force my will upon you; just as you do not have the right to do so to me. Freedom then requires understanding, and compassion of and for others and their views. The minute you tell someone that they are wrong, and that they need to follow you and your line of thought and belief’s is the minute that you are no longer an advocate for freedom, rather you have taken the first step towards oppression. Freedom does not demand compliance; freedom does not acquiesce to the whims of another for some pragmatic solution, as Benjamin Franklin so wisely said, “Those who would give up essential liberty [freedom] to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty [freedom] nor safety.” While I may not like what you like, or believe what you believe, I will not deny you the right, ne’ freedom, towards those things, and should someone else try and take them from you, or convert you, then I will stick up for your rights and your freedoms; as anyone else who values the concept of freedom would do for another. Freedom then, is not selfish and is universal. It neither knows nor endorses any color, creed, nationality, religion, nor sexual orientation, and instead accepts all.
So, why is freedom getting only lip service (barely) in this election season? Well, I don’t know, maybe we should ask the candidates that question? I would be curious to hear their responses. Maybe it is because they already know that we are no longer free, and to bring up the notion of freedom would only expose that reality? I mean with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act which basically destroys the Bill of Rights, which in turn guts the Constitution, by allowing the indefinite detention of American Citizens, essentially based solely on the government’s whim. This by the way was a bipartisan bill, passed by both Democrats and Republicans in both the House and the Senate (click here for House Votes & here to see Senate Votes) and signed into law by a Democratic President Barack Obama. Maybe it is because they would rather tell us about all of the grand things that government can do for us, and give to us, making us more beholden (less free) to the government.
There are two candidates who actually speak consistently about their want to not take your freedoms, but to actually restore them; which basically means that they are not running for the power of public office, they are running for the public’s power, and they are none other than Dr. Ron Paul, and Gov. Gary Johnson. Unfortunately though one is retiring and the other is basically ignored, and both have been called kooks for their steadfast beliefs in that absolutely insane concept called freedom. So, maybe no one mentions the word “freedom” anymore because it is an antiquated ideal that should no longer exist?
“You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.” (Charles A. Beard (1874-1948), U.S. historian)