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Freedom has been the foundation of and synonymous with America.

What is your definition of freedom?

What are the elements of freedom most important to you?

What would a truly free America be like?

Pand0ro 6 July 12

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What is my definition of freedom? Umm... don't know; what do you mean by "freedom"? Political liberty such as voting or equality under the law? Natural rights? Freedom from government intrusion as outlined in the Constitution?

Freedom: The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. From

My thinking on freedom. It is a feel-good word that in a practical sense only has the meaning every individual assigns to it, and when the meanings are compiled has only a vague or no meaning at all. There is a list of these basically meaningless words (justice, independence, liberty, etc.) that are nothing more than mental masturbation and accomplish nothing but a sense of false unity. False unity is a way of allaying the fear that has been encouraged in us by our politicians to gain votes. Despicable practice that does not care about the fate of our country, only their own personal gain. Words have meaning, and if the meaning is not clear it is the duty of the user to make it clear to the audience. Clarity in language is necessary for effective communication. If you cannot say what you mean, you cannot mean what you say.

@Pand0ro I'd generally agree with that definition of freedom - but keeping social contact in mind. My right to swing my fists ends at your nose. There must be a certain level of "hinderance or restraint" for a society to function.

I don't think words like "justice, independence, liberty, etc." are meaningless words. Justice is very difficult to precisely define: Justice to society may be quite different from justice to a victim or family of a victim... But not meaningless. And independence, I feel, is quite essential to freedom itself. One can't be free while dependent on another. The greater the dependency the less free one is.

@Tycho Are you dependent on suppliers of goods, the work other people do maintain electric, water, transportation, infrastructure, food? If we did not have car makers and car dealers you could not have a car. Freedom is an idealistic mirage that ignores the realities of life. We all depend on others and have been since before we climbed down from the trees. When a word has different meanings in different situations and for different people it has no meaning unless fully defined for the situation.

@Pand0ro Not quite the same thing. All the suppliers of various goods are likewise dependent upon others for their income. And if I don't like their service or product I can go elsewhere. I can buy a car from any number of manufacturers. That's no longer true with a single payer health care system or any socialized or nationalized supplier. As I said, the greater the dependency the less freedom. That's the reality of life.

@Tycho i disagree. if you want a car you have to by from someone. You are dependent on those that mine the iron, copper and aluminum those who process the materials, those who assemble it. If you go off-grid you still depend on those who manufactured the complex equipment. Every individual is dependent unless they go into the wild and live by harvesting and hunting. In today's world that's a real long-shot and even if you do you are dependent on available resources. Freedom is entirely conditional and those who dream of freedom don't consider this.

@Tycho You have to buy your car from somebody. Just because you get to choose does not mean anything. The metals had to have been mined and processed, the shipment of parts coordinated, the assembly done. If any of them weren't there you could not have your car. To live in today's world we all rely on each other, just as our hunter-gatherer ancestors. There is no way we can be completely free. Living requires accommodation of others.

@Pand0ro Well, it's nice but not an absolute necessity... Even so, once I buy the car, Chevy (or who-ever) doesn't control my life. The automobile and the supply chains that make an affordable and reliable car possible doesn't diminish my freedom. My freedom is enhanced to a degree. There's no obligation put upon me other than payment for their time and labor. Are you saying I don't really have freedom unless I can get a car for free including replacement parts and fuel?

Living does require a certain accommodation to others - that's generally referred to as social contract.
How "complete" must my freedom be, how independent must I be before it's no longer an "idealistic mirage" as you called it? Transcendence?

@Tycho What I am saying is you by yourself could not mine the ore, process the materials, and assemble them without other people. You are relying on others being there and doing their jobs so you could buy a car. Others are relying on you doing your job. The fact that we rely on each other limits our freedom. We have some choices in life and that is our freedom. What I am concerned about are the people who think freedom is not having to answer to anyone.


Seems like a lot of people trying to make freedom sound complicated, but it isn't. Freedom is simply to be left alone to do whatever one pleases as long as it doesn't interfere with the rights or well-being of another.

That's it right there. The freedom to live ones life anyway they choose. So long as that lifestyle doesn't violate another person's definition of pursuit of happiness

But in reality extremely difficult to determine. There are thousands of people we interact with amd some things we do have unintended consequences. If you are alone in the world you have complete freedom, if you have to deal with one other person your freedom is limited.


However, you ask a very good question...
What freedoms do we actually want?

To live in a low crime environment.
To be allowed to pursue my own happiness as long as it does not limit or impede the happiness of others.
To earn the fruits of my labour.


A friend once explained to more eloquently... however I will try to repeat.
Rights (freedoms) are like a bag of marbles with only so many in there.
Once you have handed them out, you need to take some back to give more to someone else.
My right to be gay or abort my baby, removes your right to live in a Christian society ruled by Christian values.
Giving woman the right vote, halved my rights as a male
Allowing immigrants to move freely removes residents right to associate with whom they want.

To protect the rights of everyone we need to remove the rights of criminals.
Giving criminals more rights reduces the rights of their victims.

Giving someone rights necessarily implies having to take it from someone else.


Freedom is really very subjective. The challenge really for any society is to define freedom that is all inclusive of all members of society and I think that is the rub. We get hung up on our own concept of freedom and frequently it has limitations on the freedoms of some other members or groups in the community. I would think that basically we should be free to pursue our path to happiness and a full life as long as it does not harm anybody else in my family and the wider community.

Most references to key freedoms focus on the freedom of conscience, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the right to security and liberty, freedom of speech, the right to privacy, the right to equal treatment under the law and due process, the right to a fair trial, and the right to life. The First Amendment specifically includes freedom of religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly.
I am not sure a real free society is achievable. The Cato institute, perhaps questionable because of their basic philosophy, has a freedom rank for many countries based on Personal Freedom, Economic Freedom and Human Freedom. New Zealand ranks #1 and the US ranks #17 (

This is the short version. Is true freedom achievable - I am not sure but it is always worth a try.

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