Freedom is a matter of perspective.
Topics in this post:
- Freedom in the United States.
- The cost of freedom.
- One word with many perspectives.
- Freedom in your view.
“… our Cause is the Cause of all Mankind; and that we are fighting for their Liberty in defending our own.” – Benjamin Franklin, Letter to Samuel Cooper, 1777
Freedom in the United States.
At Citizen Do Good, we recognize that the United States is the only land on Earth where the rights necessary to be free are promised. Freedom is a matter of perspective taken among many amendments about liberty and rights.
The Bill of Rights fundamentally describes our freedoms under the law early on. But, many more amendments have been and will be needed.
These fundamental freedoms should ring true for all humans under the jurisdiction of our republic. From the highest peaks to the lowest cofferdam.
This idea must be treated with dignity and respect and not taken for granted. Otherwise, the promises embedded in the U.S. Constitution cannot be fulfilled.
The cost of freedom.
Freedom is a matter of perspective and there are many perspectives to take about freedom. Let us begin with one aspect freedom: Choice. Here is an argument on this in two points.
One aspect embodies the rights that we have as humans under the jurisdiction of our laws. Some rights are more or less obvious. We have the right to many things, but unfortunately, they were not all enumerated. It was left as open as possible to be adjusted over time using reasoned arguments through our courts.
Now enter the stage, a second aspect to consider. It has the rub: Some rights are more accessible than others. Having the right to something that is made to be out of reach, behind a paywall for instance, is pretty unfair. Almost rigged, wouldn’t you agree? This is the effect of inequality.
Having the right to healthcare or to shop at the grocery store isn’t much good if one cannot afford the bill.
In many ways in life, people who are poor face different hurdles than those who are not. Freedom is no different.
How free is the person without enough money for food, shelter, or clothing in our system?
Consider those versus the person with more money or clout than they can use in a lifetime. Multiple homes, private travel, and the choice of how to spend their time – a resource that is limited by years for each of us.
Add to that, the rub that many are merely born into generational wealth, essentially lottery winners. They did not earn and do not deserve more freedom, they were just born into it.
From this example, you may be able to see. This is the power of access and the cost of inequality. Very different and unfair in many ways.
Although we should remind ourselves that too much of anything brings the costs of imbalance. These lottery winners still suffer in their own ways because they are still human. The human condition cannot be purchased or sold away. At the end of a long life, we all leave this world as feeble as we entered it. This is true regardless of our societal caste in life.
Let us be reminded that freedom is not free. What little we have thus far, has been earned. It requires us to continue paying in with our engagement, determination, vigilance, grit, and care.
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” – Thomas Jefferson
The right to exercise one’s agency in life. The freedom of choice to pursue happiness equally in a live and let live fashion. These are grand visions to fulfill. Our nation is a response. It is a grand experiment that aims to realize these visions. It can do better.
One word with many perspectives.
Freedom is a matter of perspective and it exists as a plot point across many coordinates in time, space, and perspective. Where you are, and when you are, can be key components to assessing opinions and attitudes on this topic.
For instance, the original framers of our system were each and unto themselves the epitome of special interest groups. States’ rights were one set of logical differences and slavery was another one, albeit one with significant moral realities to be addressed.
Some of these men were concerned about egalitarianism, to live and let live equally under the law. The best of them would see all humans as mortal equals and natural animals through and through.
Alternately, some preferred to perch upon an authoritarian hierarchy. This allowed them to have legal rights over others and for some to act above the law altogether. They would be allowed the right to own other people and keep them like farm animals. Keeping women like cows. Forcing their pregnancies and taking their babies as property to be sold.
A recent Supreme Court Justice’s draft opinion harkens back to this time of America, when women were the property of men. Yes, we don’t have the right to abortion in the constitution. This is likely because children were commodities supporting southern plantation economies, something I think he understands well. Seems like high time for Congress and the states to amend our constitution.
Both groups, the egalitarians and the authoritarians, were wary of strong central authority. This is because of the moral hazard embedded within the extreme difference in their views of freedom. Neither wanted to be forced to live under the despotic rule of the other.
Due to the deep differences between them, it would take at least three major attempts over many years to achieve a union. Briefly bulleted here:
- Organizing our colonies for the Revolutionary War was led by a group known as the Continental Congress. The group had no president nor kingship, they wrote their own rules.
- This was the same group that issued the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
- It also ushered in the Articles of Confederation, ratified in 1781. Which was a weak attempt at sowing a union and proved to be ineffective in short order.
- In 1789, the United States Constitution was ratified.
- The newly formed federal government followed up two years later by adding the first set of amendments. These are the Bill of Rights.
- The post-civil war amendments, which were passed after the end of open hostilities between the Union and the Confederacy, fundamentally moved the Union towards more perfect in major ways. They ended slavery as it was known and granted citizenship to all who were born in the United States. However, the failures of reconstruction compounded by the restoration of the authoritarian south would cause a backslide in both freedoms, equality, and treatment under the law.
- After the Civil Rights Act of the mid-1960s passed and the courts began upholding them, it helped to stem the tide of segregation. All Americans finally had the right to vote, albeit not equal access. This was the closest we had been to democracy ever in our history as a republic. Almost 350 years in the making to grant every citizen the right and equal access to participate in self-rule.
- The rise of authoritarianism among the conservatives in our body politic is a threat to this progress. It is a clear and present reminder that the war is never over and every battle counts.
Freedom in your view.
This smelting, forging, and revisiting over time has resulted in the foundations of our republic today.
Freedom is a matter of perspective and it has been since the nation’s founding. Freedoms originally reserved for the states have slowly shifted toward the people. Our nation shifted towards democracy.
This shift can be traced by who was allowed to vote for what office at what time in history. It can also be traced to who is allowed to do things over time. Things like owning property or earning an education or marrying whoever they want. There are many ways to show the sliding scale of freedom under the law throughout the decades.
For instance, reference Citizens Prerogative S2 E27 The State of Voting and Representation. It offers one such list focusing on the right to vote.
Yet again, Freedom is a matter of perspective. Freedom under the law is not the same as treatment under the law. Similar to the point we made about having a right to a thing does not grant access to said thing. Freedom may not exist for those who do not receive equal justice under the law. Our treatment under the discretion of law enforcement directly affects our freedom, make no mistake about that.
We have come a long way and are still not in the promised land.
The pendulum is swinging back towards the place from which it came, albeit at a different time. There is a movement to pull the center line in our tug-of-war back towards the authoritarian ways of freedom only for the wealthy and powerful. This comes at the cost of recent gains made for individual liberty and a more perfect union for us all.
For Citizen Do Good, freedom means that we can live and let live together. We do this in order to fulfill the purpose that opens our Constitution:
“To form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
Consider this fellow citizen, what does access to the “Blessings of Liberty” mean to you?
Let us know!