Freedom

19 Nov

That’s a word that has been stuck in my mind, and I don’t know why. It keeps shooting around in my brain like a pinball, and, each time it hits a bumper, another question pops up. What does it mean? Does it really exist? Why do we hear it so often?

Here in the United States, people see freedom as one of the foundations of the nation’s structure. Freedom of Speech. Freedom of the Press. People fight to protect our freedom. Freedom is everywhere, but, then again, it’s not. People are not free from responsibilities. People are not free to pack up anytime they want and move. People are not free to drive on the left side of the road.

Some people say that our freedoms are being taken away because religion has been taken out of schools. Those same people believe that women should not be free to have an abortion. Can we pick and choose our freedoms? Who decides what freedoms are right?

Some people say that freedom used to exist but has been slowly eroded. They look into history to prove that the good old days were filled with something that has been lost. Often, they will point to my area of study, the American West, and use cowboys as examples. They had the freedom to get on their horses and ride the plains. They didn’t have a care in the world except where they were going to camp for the night.

Guess what. They weren’t free either. Cowboys worked difficult jobs for little pay. They would have done another job if they could have gotten the work. Cowboys didn’t have freedom. They had paychecks.

I don’t know what freedom is, but I know the following:

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose – written by Kris Kristofferson and famously sung by Janis Joplin

Freedom is defined as the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action – Merriam-Webster

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction – Ronald Reagan

A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – Jim Morrison

Nobody can give you freedom – Malcolm X

Freedom lies in being bold – Robert Frost

Punk is musical freedom – Kurt Cobain

Freedom to joke; Freedom to hope; Freedom to win; Freedom to be in – Simply Red

Freedom, that’s just some people talking. Your prison is walking through this world all alone – The Eagles

So, what is freedom? I reckoin freedom is being able to put all of that in a blog post.

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4 Responses to “Freedom”

  1. DyingNote November 19, 2012 at 04:53 #

    No such thing as absolute freedom, is there? We all live with constraints, but as long as we’re able to not have those as a heavy yoke on our neck and shoulders weighing us down, we have freedom. I think freedom’s really freedom from tyranny – personal, social, economical, political – of any sort

    • Rick November 19, 2012 at 15:28 #

      I think you are right about tyranny. Staying away from that makes us as free as possible. Absolute freedom is impossible to achieve. But, it is probably impossible to achieve anything absolute.

  2. John S November 21, 2012 at 00:46 #

    Malcolm X is probably right. You can’t just be given freedom – you have to take it. We are lucky in countries like the US and UK, because we are essentially free. But I think we also have to exercise responsibilities. As well as rights we have duties – to society.

    • Rick November 21, 2012 at 15:25 #

      With freedom comes great responsibility I think. That’s why freedom really isn’t free. I wonder, though, that we sometimes believe that our way of life should be forced onto others. That’s not freedom, either.

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