Free is an adjective, and freedom is a noun. An adjective describes the condition, and the noun is the condition. The significance of the word is based upon and understood in the context of negatives. That is to say, free is not constrained, not limited, not coerced, not charged. Out of the negatives used to describe the meaning of the word comes positives. Do what you want; go where you want; say what you want; own what you want; be what you want, and think what your want.
There is no absolute freedom – that is obvious by the above definitions. So, free, or freedom, has restrictions. You can do what you want, as long as you don’t infringe on somebody else’s freedom(s). As long as you don’t trespass on someone else’s property. As long as you don’t slander or libel someone. As long as you don’t steal from someone or cheat them out of their own property. As long as you don’t cheat someone out of their position. (Cheating is a combination of lying and stealing.)
Within the above context, keep in mind to be truly free, you can do all of the above, but after so doing, you are subject to the legal sanctions that protect other’s freedoms from being infringed upon. Who is the arbiter of the legal sanctions? The government is!
Governments tend to anticipate bad behavior, and legislate laws that reduce the ability of people to act freely before they actually act. Governments go way beyond that though, and they will start to require people to get permission to act before they can act. They require people to get permission to drive a car, start a business, work a job etc. In so doing, they accomplish two negatives. They take away freedoms, and they also undermine responsibility.
People think that if someone has gotten permission from the government to be a doctor, then they are qualified to practice medicine on people, and people don’t do their homework (responsibility) and qualify that doctor themselves before they let him do any medical work on them. Of course, once a few people have qualified that doctor, and had a good experience, then they (the doctors) have developed a reputation which earns them word of mouth advertising which is the cheapest and best advertising there is, and that is much better than government approval and/or permission.
The bottom line here, is that if you want freedom, then you must assume responsibility and do your own homework. Know the law, know the circumstances; know the players; know the options; know the risks etc. The government has tried to take away the potential risks through licensing and permitting. In the process, they have also taken away the citizen’s desire to be responsible. There’s a price to pay for that, and it is a loss of freedom.
Additionally, freedom is lost when people receive “free” benefits from government. Firstly , they are not free, it comes at the price of other’s labor and property, and secondly, they undermine the freedom of those who accept them by making them dependent upon those benefits – it’s called slavery. Governments do this to control people. The bottom line is they have then lost their freedom. They are no longer “free”.
It has been said that those who don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, are doomed to repeat them. Freedom isn’t free. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Freedom wasn’t won by a registered gun. There is freedom in Christ. America was founded by men who entered into an experiment of the first nation in history to engage in self-government – no king, no dictator. Self-government is the greatest freedom ever known this side of Heaven, and the price to keep it is responsibility – individual responsibility!
So, is America and are Americans, free? This writer would say more than some, and less than others. America has a significant degree of freedom, but nothing like they did in the 1700’s and up until the mid-1800’s. Will that freedom ever be restored? Only God knows.
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