Who doesn’t want to be free? Free to live life as you wish. Free to go where you want when you want. Free to speak your concerns. Free to worship where and how you prefer.
Although we in America find our freedoms dwindling, many in the world envy what we have. Why else would so many be flocking into our country?
The thing about freedom is anyone can have it if they want it. Freedom is a choice. Let’s take a closer look at this fascinating subject.
“Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.” — Ayn Rand (1905–1982)
What if I told you you can have all the freedom you want regardless of where and who you are? Freedom is yours to choose or deny. It exists in our minds so long as we have a functioning brain.
Freedom remains ours unless we forfeit it. The most important freedoms of all are the freedom to think and to choose. Thus, while we can choose to give up our freedom, no one can take it from us.
“I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit.” Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1890)
To be free is to be mature. Defining maturity as being responsible for yourself, it can be immature to give up your freedom. Better to remain mature, don’t you think?
“…to be truly free [you] must accept responsibilities.’ To be relieved of responsibility means to lose freedom and liberty. Thus it can come about the real enemy of man can be the state.” C. T. A. Sparks.
Giving away freedom
How many of us willingly give up some of our freedom to others and the government? To give it up is to become dependent on them.
Handing freedom to any person, organization, government, or even nature, binds you. One of the biggest thieves today is debt. Debt steals freedom, putting you under the thumb of the one you owe.
“Save part of your income and begin now, for the man with a surplus controls circumstances and the man without a surplus is controlled by circumstances.” Henry H. Buckley (1813–1888)
Absolute freedom means depending only on yourself, not on someone or something else. But is it possible in today’s world?
We give up a certain amount of freedom by not having enough money. I remember having no money in the bank and depending on that next paycheck to eat. I lost so much freedom during that time it made me work hard until I took my freedom back by having money in the bank and becoming less dependent on my job.
The debts you incur can go far beyond money. When you become indebted to anything or anyone else, you give up some of your freedom. If you can avoid it, never go into debt or become indebted. It isn’t worth the loss of your liberty.
When should you forfeit freedom?
Like many things in life, we must compromise our freedom on occasion. Necessary restrictions on our liberties are required to maintain a civil society. Because of this, no one’s freedom is complete.
“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” Peter Marshall (1902–1949)
Things that restrict freedom for the greater good rarely meet disagreement. We must obey laws that protect us and others. Paying taxes is necessary for a free society. Unfortunately, our poorly run, ineffective, and inefficient government steals more of our freedom than is necessary.
Government funds (our money) and debt (our debt) put too much authority in the hands of greedy, power-hungry people. But that can be fixed by the freedom we have to vote. Maybe one day, enough people will wake up and use this freedom to make changes and take back the liberties stolen from us.
Sadly, we stand to lose more freedom if it is left to many of those in power. Our forefathers knew this, which is why we have a Constitution with its Bill of Rights and other amendments to protect certain freedoms.
For freedom to reign in any country requires the items mentioned in the first amendment: the freedom of religion, speech, assembly, petition, and the press. The other twenty-six amendments are just as crucial to maintaining a semblance of a free society. Were even one of these amendments stripped away, we would lose a great deal of freedom.
There is much more to say about freedom, but it would take volumes of books even to start. Fortunately, freedom has been a popular topic written about for centuries, with more material existing than you could read in a lifetime. Still, it is a subject well worth studying any chance you get!
A summary of some of the thoughts about freedom in this article includes:
- When you become dependent on anyone or anything else, you forfeit a certain amount of freedom.
- You must be mature, accepting responsibility for yourself to retain your freedom.
- To acquire debt of any kind, monetary or otherwise, enslaves you and costs some of your freedom.
- Many choose to give up freedoms to be taken care of by others or the government.
- The United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the other 17 amendments protect precious freedoms.
- It is necessary to restrict some freedoms to maintain a civil society.
- The most basic form of freedom originates in your thoughts and the ability to choose, which no one can take from you.
To remain free requires standing up to those who abuse power. Everyone with a right to vote should do so in every election. If we are to remain “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” as Francis Scott Key wrote in 1814, we must remain vigilant!
“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” William Faulkner (1897–1962)