Freedom 101 – Do we Really Understand Freedom?

By David R. Young as published on
You can view the entire political spectrum as a conflict between the dichotomy of freedom and enslavement. We know what slavery is. But do we really understand freedom?

Rights & Freedoms

One could say that complete freedom would be chaos, disaster and anarchy. Considering the state of man today, few would contest this. Do you trust your fellow man enough to give him complete freedom? Do you even trust yourself with unrestricted freedom? Apparently, our Founding Fathers were the first to place enough trust in the individual to forge a government which guaranteed freedom to the individual.

If the entire universe consisted of just one person, Joe, and he created and destroyed at his own discretion, the concept of freedom becomes very easy to comprehend. Joe has complete ownership and rule over his universe. According to the Constitution, that is you, and your universe.

However, there’s this other guy, Sam. He also creates and destroys within his own universe, just like Joe. Separately, Joe and Sam are free, without restriction. But what happens if their universes eventually overlap?

If Joe and Sam freely create and destroy anything they want within their overlapping universes without any regard to one another, conflict would inevitably occur. Sam finds his blue elephant has suddenly been replaced with an oak tree. What the heck? Where’s Joe?!

After some “hey, what’s the big idea?” they agree to lay down some rules about who can do what with who’s creations. Perhaps, they mark off some spaces and say, “Look Joe, if an item is in this area, even if I created it, do whatever you want with it. If it’s in this space over here, it’s my private creation, hands-off. Okay?” And perhaps they agree to brand items to identify who created them. Whatever rules are agreed upon, each has willingly given up some of his freedom and reduced his responsibility within the universe they share.

Sam has responsibility for certain areas and items while Joe has his. But it’s important to note that within their own areas of responsibility, each is still completely free to create and destroy as they wish. Both go back to happily tending their own business within the universe they now peacefully share.

Agreed upon restrictions form another level, or strata of freedom. With freedom defined as ‘without restriction,’ Sam and Joe have moved into another condition: “Agreed upon restrictions”. Freedom has been reduced to “freedom from” and “freedom to.” Sam may still have the freedom to create blue elephants anywhere in their shared universe, but Joe has the freedom to replace them with oak trees within certain boundaries, if he wants.

This new level of “freedom” falls under the heading of rights. If you replace “freedom” with “rights” in the last example, “Sam may still have the right to create blue elephants anywhere, but Joe has the right to replace them.” You can see that RIGHTS are one step below FREEDOM. RIGHTS are necessary within a social structure.

These created zones, establish areas of responsibility. Where a person has exclusive rights over an area, it is usually considered “private property.” Joe would recognize that Sam has full responsibility over his property. If Sam has responsibility for a farm, he completely controls the farm without any impositions from Joe. Areas which allow for coordinated creation and destruction are usually considered common property, such as a park where they may occasionally meet and go fishing together.

Up to this point Joe and Sam have self-ruled, and through communication they have worked out agreements for all aspects of their relationship. Communication is used to form these agreements, integrity holds them in place and TRUST is the keystone to a peaceful relationship.

Any two people, be it a friendship or marriage, fall under this idea of self-rule within two universes bound by agreements and areas of responsibility. And to the degree their communication is open and trust is maintained, the relationship will continue and perhaps flourish.

But, what happens when a third person enters this universe-of-two?  (See Freedom 102)

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hide me
Get New Political Spectrum Chart FREE jpg Download
Subscribe to our mailing list
Show me