Friday, February 20, 2009

What is freedom?

If I were to say that freedom needs to be for all people, otherwise it’s not really freedom. Wouldn’t you agree? I know from experience that pretty much anyone you put this statement in front of will agree with it. But still it’s so damn hard for people to grasp and really understand what this means.

Pretty much every political party that has ever existed has spoken about freedom. Even the Nazis and the communists. Everyone from social democrats to libertarians speak of freedom. So you know they can’t mean the same thing.

If freedom really is when everyone is free, no matter whom they are, this must include things like gender, age, job, income or social status. Many people will agree also with this, much fewer then the above statement, but still a significant part of people will concur.

But if you stress the money part and maybe ask a follow up question if the billionaire having the same right to his single dollar in his pocket as the poor person whom only own one dollar in total, things start to go downhill. Suddenly, if you say this, it’s no longer applicable, must people do not agree with this. Why? Because some people might own more cars or have nicer jobs or have a higher social status than others. This inequality gets people jealous and start wondering why someone should have billions when others have nothing. So suddenly freedom doesn’t apply for rich people, which in turn means that things like what job you have or your social status does not give you the same rights or freedoms as the rest.

And then when we dissect the age thing and start asking questions, suddenly there is lines that need to be drawn. Things like; legal age for drinking, legal age for sex, for voting and so on becomes relevant. Some people don’t think old people can´t/shouldn’t drive cars. And when you really come down to it, people should go to certain schools or have certain old folks homes. Different contributions or restrictions are piled up the further you go and the more questions you ask. So apparently, age isn’t something that can be connected to freedom either.

Gender is the next topic for discussion. I don’t agree with much of what feminists often argue, but to some extent they have some points. Men have been the rulers throughout history; men still have some social advantages that women don’t, at least in many countries around the world. So there might be some things to be done about it. But when you start asking these follow up questions to the freedom concept, the same thing as with age comes up. Women should cut in line to certain jobs; some families (but not others) need extra help and support. There should be free breast cancer examinations and so on. And when you get into it, men also are a wronged group for some reason. Some men cannot stay home with their children, because the loss of income is to great, is one example of this.

In other words, people might concede the concept of freedom, but not what the word really implies. So when people, politicians or pretty much anyone around you are talking about freedom, it’s not really freedom they are talking about, its freedom for some, but not for others. Depending on their political views, gender, age or social status their interpretation of freedom will vary. Isn’t that interesting?

As long as people don’t grasp the significance of freedom and what it truly means when all people are free, we will keep having idiocies like death camps and racism. The meaning of a single word and the people of this world knowing this meaning could save billions of lives. But are you and the rest of this world ready to admit that the billionaire has the same right to his single dollar in the pocket as the poor person whom only own one dollar in total? If you don’t, you are against freedom. It is that simple.

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