|Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014
|Many times liberty is identified as freedom or personal rights. Where the terms, by definition, are interchangeable with one another they really have different meanings. Liberty is a relationship between a government and its citizens. The idea is the governing authority will impose restrictions on everyone so everything is equal for all. So stealing, as an example, is illegal in the hopes that it will deter the strong from preying on the weak.
Freedom and personal rights are directly related to liberty. The more liberty the government affords its citizens the more personal freedom one has. So now, as an example, say stealing is illegal but only if the theft is greater than a certain value? This has expanded everyone’s freedoms and personal rights. They can steal so long as they don’t take too much. So we see in this example the more liberty we are afforded the more freedom we have, which of course makes the opposite true as well.
Today, many complain about their privacy and government control. Cell phones are being tracked, conversations are being recorded, video cameras are stationed virtually everywhere in all of the major cities and hi-def satellites fly over-head watching everything. This can be a frightening scenario being a citizen of the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, but when one thinks about the amount of liberty American citizens are afforded and the amount of personal freedoms they have it can be surprising to see just how limited freedom is.
How many times have you walked out of your house, naked, and set up a comfortable lawn chair in your driveway and just sat there enjoying a wonderful summers day? Once, maybe, then Law Enforcement showed up and took you to jail for indecent exposure. We’re born naked, we can make jokes about being naked, we can see naked people on TV and we can read about them in books – we’re just not allowed to “BE” naked. Now granted, seeing some people naked may not be pleasant, but there’s a question as to the ideology that makes it not allowed.
When was the last time you could get in your car and just drive without having to worry about getting pulled over for a myriad of violations? Violations that arise from making right hand turns during certain times of the day, changing lanes without putting on a blinker or having a taillight out. Drivers get punished if they drive too fast, too slow and go to jail if they are deemed reckless. Also, don’t forget we have to PAY to drive on city streets – no license no driving – and on top of that only certain cars are allowed on the road. This is why most States refer to driving as a “privilege”.
One of the greatest freedoms America was founded on was the right to vote. Today everyone, 18 or over, has the right to vote. What good does that do, however, when the Electoral College, a group of people that were not chosen by the people they represent, can vote any way they choose? Now, to be fair, the EC usually votes with the popular vote, but they don’t have to. This makes the popular vote worthless because of that fact and makes the American’s “right to vote” an illusion.
We also have the inalienable right to assemble right? Right, so long as we get permission, fill out all of the paperwork required, pay the fees associated with the paperwork and follow the rules governing how the group is to assemble and what they can and cannot do. Rules that are put in place to ensure the assembled group doesn’t get passionate or rowdy about the very issues that brought them together in the first place. So the right to assemble is really the right to assemble quietly – which pretty much defeats the purpose of assembling. Wanton acts of violence and destruction should never be sanctioned, however but squeaky wheel does get the oil.
Everyone in America is required by law to have health insurance or pay a penalty. Never mind the younger, healthy people that might want to take few years off from coverage to save some money. Be careful what you say. If your opinion is unpopular you will be instantly flagged as a hater, a bigot or a threat – which pretty much destroys freedom of speech as most people aren’t comfortable with being accused of that. And finally, believe it or not, it’s illegal to try and kill yourself. Suicide is not something anyone should advocate, but that life does belong to them.
The list can go on and on. This isn’t about being anti-American – far from it. America is the greatest country on earth. It has more potential to bring good things to the world than any other nation or culture. It’s just that such a great nation, founded on the greatest of human principles – liberty – is more constrained than nearly any other place on earth.