What is Freedom?

Just what is freedom? Does it mean we can do anything we want? Can we do anything we want? Well no not anything we want. We can’t kill each other. OK, that sounds a little corny but really after having laws against hurting each other what’s next? How much freedom do we really have? People on the right are always talking about how our freedoms are slowly slipping away. The left completely ignores these statements. So are we losing freedom? From a philosophical point of view yes we are. Every time a new law or regulation or tax is passed it makes it harder for us to be able to do what we want therefore we lose a little of the freedom to do it. It happens so slowly little by little that it is a hard argument to make but one that needs to be looked at. But they are laws and regulations that are going to be good for us. That is an easy statement to make and I suppose to be fair in theory maybe it works that way. That is how most things are sold to us. But do they really work that way? Both political parties will complain about the other sides lobbyists. Most regulations are lobbied for by special interests. They say they want to protect us from evil people but if you really look at what most regulations do, they help the special interest keep competition away. Nothing makes a monopoly faster than a regulation. So we have less freedom to buy what we want because we have less to chose from because the government is protecting us from the evil that may or may not be there. Between federal state and local governments there are a hundred thousand pages of rules and regulations added every year. Do you still feel free? I don’t. Do we need laws against companies dumping toxic waste into rivers? Absolutely. But John Stossel did a show on Fox News about a woman that wanted to start a business braiding hair. In order to get a license from the city she had to get a certificate from a cosmetology school. So she spent a year and a couple thousand dollars to get the certificate and the school never talked at all, ever, about braiding hair. But the city did there job and protected its people from this evil woman that wanted to braid your hair without proper training. Like having a license or certificate or diploma is going to guarantee that we are always going to deal with good honest people that know what they are doing. But she had the freedom to do what she wanted, she just had to jump through a few extra hoops to do it. Is she just as free as she would have been without the rule? No not really but it is a hard argument to make. A little step toward less freedom because the argument is hard to make. How many little steps is it going to take until we suddenly realize that many of our freedoms have been regulated away? For our own good of course. We have to see this and stop it while they are just small baby steps or we are not going to be able to stop it when it’s rolling down a hill.

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2 comments

  1. Pretty much agree, but at the beginning of your article you seem to blame liberals for taking away our freedoms. Both political sides are doing it, and I don’t think it is true liberals or true libertarians who support any of it. The Patriot act comes to mind. Our most liberal senator, Feingold, was the only one to vote against it. Recently, we lost more of our rights (they can hold me without due process if someone decides I’m a terrorist) that were taken away by a republican house, democratic senate and president.

    1. I do blame both sides John. I do probably blame liberals a little more because this started for the most part with the progressive movement nearly a hundred years ago. The last 20 years or so the republicans have become just as good at it. I’m not saying that republican’s over the last hundred years haven’t had their moments. You are absolutely right on the two issues you point out. Way two many tea party republicans voted for the last one and it makes me mad that I haven’t heard much from the tea party against those votes. I don’t believe either party is going to save this country. It will take a third party to do it. Another four years of Obama would be the best thing for a third party to rise up.