Maintaining Freedom Is Easier Said Than Done
America was founded to establish a uniquely free society. One where those in charge derive their power from the consent of the governed. This is in jeopardy as many academics have hijacked the education system, leaving our youngest generations without even a cursory understanding of republican ideals, our founding documents, or freedom. Because of this, all they see is that the country is not perfect or equal. They don’t realize that it can never be, nothing is, but they also miss how liberating freedom is. I believe it’s necessary to provide a clear explanation of freedom.
First, it’s important to note that freedom is not easy. It’s something you have to fight to gain and maintain. Nowhere in history has a group or individual in power relinquished it voluntarily. Where any amount of freedom has been obtained, people have either risen up against their oppressor(s), had a third party fight on their behalf, or both. Either way, this freedom had to be pried from the hands of those in control.
Freedom is also difficult because it means having to deal with things you don’t like. In a free society, one can be vehemently opposed to something but respect others’ right to do it. As long as it doesn’t cause physical harm or impede on someone else’s freedom. If someone believes homosexuality is a sin, it doesn’t mean a gay couple should be precluded from living their lives, working, or enjoying each other. However, the person who holds that homosexuality is a sin should also be free to hold those beliefs without attack.
The beauty of freedom is that it doesn’t care about your feelings. Transgender rights’ activists and social justice warriors are entitled to their beliefs, as are Evangelicals, billionaires, Tea Party members and the ‘alt-right’. Many who understand this don’t resist what they don’t believe in, they resist those who try to force them to conform to the beliefs of other.
We are quickly creating a society of people who don’t believe this. They try stamp out any opposing views and every time their feelings are hurt, they think it is an international incident. Recently, I saw an article about a flight attendant who wrote an open letter to a passenger who ‘belittled’ her. Can this be the first time a person in a service position has been disrespected? Why is this national news? Freedom is also extended to jerks.
This unique American freedom doesn’t mean that you are protected from having your feelings hurt, nor does it extend to anyone absolution from the consequences of their actions. The problem we face today is that people conflate facing consequences with mob rule.
Louis C.K., in an attempt to come back from sexual assault allegations, made a joke about the Parkland, FL shooting at a show in Levittown; people reacted with outrage. Similarly, Saturday Night Live writer, Nimesh Patel, was removed from stage at Columbia University for making a joke about gays. This is problematic, not because people protested, we’ve established they have that right, but because too many believe that people should not be allowed to hurt their feelings. If comedians can be prohibited from making light of sensitive situations, even on stage, what does that portend for the rest of us?
Another celebrity in the news recently has been R. Kelly. There have been rumors of inappropriate behavior for years but after Lifetime aired its documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, increased pressure mounted. While I accept those who call out his behavior, boycott his events and ask radio stations not to play his music, this is very different from what the prosecutors in Atlanta and Chicago are doing.
Days after the documentary aired, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had a press conference where she called on the public to bring her incriminating information on Kelly. She even supplied a phone number. It is abhorrent for an officer of the court to set her sights on a subject, with no evidence of a crime, then go in search for one. If a celebrity can be targeted, so can you.
More government equals less freedom. This is a basic fact lost on many on the left. They spend so much time trying to find places where big government works, they miss the point; it doesn’t matter. Because you like the way the government in Denmark operates, for example, is irrelevant. What if others don’t share your enthusiasm? Do their beliefs also matter? More importantly, in order for the government to achieve any of its Utopian goals, it has to take more control. This, by definition, limits the freedom of the people.
Some are willing to sacrifice freedom for security and increased equality. They are being naïve. Giving the government more power to limit your rights, track your movements or control behavior won’t eliminate security threats or increase equality. Doing this will simply minimize free will. We will be left to rely on the government to make decisions about our lives that should be inherently each individual’s decision. This is hardly freedom.
Those with the greatest understanding of this are immigrants. My friends and family who were born and raised in different countries speak far more highly of America than those who are native born. Many who only know America find it difficult to see its unique virtues.
Ours is a country that gives its power to the people not bureaucrats or kings. This may mean the outcome will sometimes be less than desired. For those who truly want freedom, this is a risk they are willing to take. We need to make it clear to people that freedom isn’t free. There is a cost to freedom but it’s cheaper than the alternative.