Liberty, Freedom, and Rights – Do We Really Have Them?


Hello, my name is Mike, and I am NotYourAverageMillenial….

In today’s article we are going to talk about liberty and freedom, which is the central theme of this website. In the United States, we have had the idea beaten into our head that “America is the land of the free”. But as you grow older and become more conscious about how things really work in this country, you will learn that this is far from the truth. We merely have the ILLUSION of freedom here in America.

Now you may be thinking: “At least we have more freedom in America than we do in other countries. But again, we were only TOLD over and over that we were free. Then we just started believing what we were told without questioning it. Then there is the idea of liberty. We are told that we have civil liberties in America. Now although this is true, there is something you must understand. Day by day we are losing civil liberties due to legislation passed by “representatives” who use the excuse that it is for our safety.

In this article, we will discuss what liberty and freedom are, how they are similar and how they are different. We will also be discussing the difference between natural rights and privileges. Then we will discuss the difference between liberty and security. Then we will talk about the individual versus the collective. After this, I will explain how America is truly not a land of liberty or the land of the free while ending on a positive note of how we can be free, even in the land of the illusion of freedom.

Liberty and Freedom: Similarities and Differences

In order to understand liberty and freedom you have to know what each means. Let’s begin with the definition of liberty. Liberty is the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior or political views. Freedom is the power to act, think or speak as one wants without hindrance or restraint. So let us begin with the similarities.

Both liberty and freedom have a central theme of one not being restrained or restricted by outside influences, whether by a government, a religious institution, or the public. Now the difference between these two is that freedom is a power while liberty is a state of being.

Now let us tie these two together, because the truth is these two things go hand in hand. Without freedom there can be no liberty. Freedom is the stepping stone that will lead to liberty. In order to get the results that you want, certain actions are required. My point is that in order to get to liberty, our actions must be exercised towards freedom.

Natural Rights Versus Privileges

Another thing we are told is that we have rights. Everyone is always talking about their rights. I have a right to this. I have a right to that. But did people ever stop to think where exactly we got these rights from? Some say they come from God. But if you are one who doesn’t believe in God, then you may say that your rights come from another man, whether it be a king, a president, a dictator, or a group of men who call themselves government.

For those that do not believe in God, allow me to humor you by calling these rights natural rights, or inalienable rights. These rights would include the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as per the Declaration of Independence. But to make this even more simple, let us say that natural rights are the rights to live as you choose provided that you don’t trample on the rights of your fellow man. Murder is taking someone’s natural right to life. Deep down in our being we know this to be wrong. Slavery or oppression is taking someone’s natural right to liberty, as well as their right to pursue happiness. We also know deep down in our being that this is wrong as well.

When man gives you a “right” to do something, such as drive, or start a business, you are merely being offered a privilege. The problem with privileges is that the same man/woman who gave them to you can in the same breath take them away from you. But thanks to the conditioning through the government-controlled school system, we were told the government gives us rights.

An example is that man has a natural right to travel, whether by car, bus, bike or on foot. However, in order to drive, we must apply and pay for a license (which is basically asking permission from the government to do a certain action). Which means that under the government, all rights have been converted into privileges, which once again can be taken away from you by the one who granted them to you.

Liberty Versus Security

After the 9/11 attacks, the very nature of America changed. This was the era of giving up liberty for security. This was done by causing so much fear in the American people that they wouldn’t think twice about it. The screams of terrorism became deafening and the willingness to sacrifice liberty was not such a bad idea. I would like to refer you to a quote from one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, Benjamin Franklin:
“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

I couldn’t agree more. And in 2018 America, people are doing the exact thing that Ben Franklin warned about. This just confirms that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The truth is that with liberty you can create your own safety instead of depending on someone else for it.

Individual Versus Collectivism

In this section, we will touch on the individual rights versus collective rights. Now before we move on, this section is not about convincing you that individual rights are more important than collective rights, or vice versa. This is about how individual rights are just as important as collective rights. We all have different goals for our lives as individuals. This is because we are unique. Some of us want to be musicians. Others may want to work in the field of medicine. Some of us just want to be left alone to live our lives.

Collectivism bases its philosophy on equal outcome. Basically a “one size fits all” approach. The problem with this is that it is an unrealistic way for someone who is striving for liberty to live their life. If it is only about the collective, then liberty can’t be possible for the individual. This will build a false utopia that is doomed to fail, just like the Soviet Union and just like Venezuela, which is collapsing now. On top of that, in order to achieve equal outcome, that means the individual must be restrained from pursuing his interests. On top of that, this means that the individual must be taken from (usually against their will) in order to provide for the collective. This is not liberty. It is the opposite.

What Side Are You On?

As we conclude this article, we have covered a lot of ground. As stated before this website is about finding freedom in a world that is not really free. But in order to find that freedom, we have to stop lying to ourselves and pretending that we are free. This is a primer article for the NotYourAverageMillennial website. There is a lot more to come so stay tuned



12 thoughts on “Liberty, Freedom, and Rights – Do We Really Have Them?

  1. I really enjoyed reading your article. It was very informative. I didn’t know the difference between Liberty and Freedom. Thanks for the post! 🙂

    1. Thank you for your feedback Monique. Yes I found out recently that there was a difference between the two. Stay tuned because there is more to come.

  2. Sunny

    I sometimes wonder what the perspective is for today’s millenials and beyond. I grew up in California with liberal parenting, but I still had that same sort of idea instilled through school that America was somehow better than other countries because of our liberties. It does seem they get fewer and fewer as one tries to venture into doing things as an adult. I feel like we make laws to try to improve life and end up complicating things further. I’m glad you’re writing on the subject. Hopefully others will listen and learn, and maybe we can make some changes.

    1. Mikey Somersall

      Thank you so much for your comment Sunny. Yes this subject means so much to me and I feel it is important to light a fire in everyone else’s mind to motivate them to action. In the end if we don’t have our liberty we cannot live our best lives yet. It does take some unlearning of the indoctrination that we received in government schooling in order to learn how to think as free people. And you are right about the laws that are made to improve life which ends up making things even harder. I’m glad I was able to reach you.

  3. Sharon

    Hi Mikey,
    Thanks for your great site and insights. I am British, not American, but found you ideas inline with British ideas too. One of our main rights has always been freedom of speech, but where has that gone. We can speak freely about someone who is the same sex, culture, colour etc., but is that freedom of speech? Terrorism has also changed our society. Many of our rights have been taken away in the name of security. Where is it all going to end? Our country is made up of many races and people who either came here by choice or force, either by us invading or being invaded. That has alway been Britain and the United Kingdom.

    1. Mikey Somersall

      Hello Sharon! Yes British and Americans are dealing with the same situation. After 9/11 that is when our rights started being picked apart in the name of “security”. In my opinion, the government could care less about the citizens’ security and cares more about maintaining their power. On top of that, if the government can just take rights away, is it really a right or is it a privilege. Rights cannot be taken away unless freely surrendered. A government can try to take your rights but in the end, it is the citizen that can give them up if they feel that their security is in jeopardy.

      Freedom of speech to me is freedom to express yourself the way you see fit as long as you are not slandering someone or yelling “fire” in a building where there is no fire and causing a false panic. Other than that, everything is fair game.

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. Nadja

    I read this post twice. Complex topic. I like the detailed explanation of the terms which we using regularly without proper thinking about the meaning. The logic of entire discussion looks obvious but it has some unexpected interpretations. I am not sure that I can take any side… But when it comes to individualism and collectivism, I am for practical compromise between both of them. The success of any venture depends on individuals supported by respective teams of followers. I practice it in my managerial job, and it has proven to be successful. Very interesting post. It triggers some thinking, and I believe it is not easy to answer the question asked.

    1. Mikey Somersall

      Hello Nadja. I agree that collectivism on a voluntary basis is fine. However when collectivism is forced to where individual thought and freedom of expression is suppressed is where i would draw the line. Regarding your example of your managerial job, that would be collectivism on a voluntary basis. No one is being forced to show up to work hence this type of collectivism would be acceptable.

      However, in collectivist “utopias” such as those touted by socialists and communists, freedom of thought and expression are suppressed in the name of equal outcome for everyone. I hope that clears it up. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Justin

    An interesting post on a topic that I don’t see discussed directly too often anymore.

    With freedom being ‘the power to act, think or speak as one wants without hindrance or restraint’, would there be anything to prevent someone from defaming another by publishing libel? Based on the definition, I don’t think it is possible to try to prevent this because this would be placing hindrance/restraint on the person who is spreading false information.

    The idea of freedom is nice until someone with ill intentions takes all of your stuff because they are free to do so.

    1. Mikey Somersall

      Well Justin, there are two things that are important in a society committed to liberty: the non-aggression principle and the self-defense principle.

      The non-aggression principle simply means that no one has the right to use violence against another human being. The self-defense principle means that if someone attacks you, then you are within your natural right to defend yourself.

      In the case of libel, the one who was the victim of said libel has the right to confront the one who committed the offense (in a non-violent manner of course). Possibly make the confrontation public as to make an example of those who commit offenses. Any grievance can be dealt with face to face.

      In regards to your comment of someone with ill intentions trying to rob you. Enter the self-defense principle. if someone is using force against you to take something well then you have the right to defend yourself, even to the point of deadly force. This is why I will always be an advocate of the 2nd amendment.

      The idea of liberty and freedom is definitely about taking 100 percent responsibility for your life. It can become more than an idea, but it has to be better understood before we can apply it.

      Thanks for the comment!

  6. Jerry

    Thanks for explaining the difference between freedom and liberty. I just found out that I am more of a libertarian than anything else. I am a Dutchman living in Thailand and the reason I left my country was the total lack of freedom, not being able to fully explore your capabilities. Right here I do not have such problems and I can do whatever I want. Of course within the law and adhering to the rules of ethics and morals. My country is no democracy anymore, where politicians get chosen every four years and subsequently do whatever they want. Big parties can be excluded from governing just like that. The only ‘freedom’ you have is that you pay taxes, more every year. Liberty has long gone in the Netherlands.

    1. Mikey Somersall

      Hello Jerry! Good on you for finding your little piece of liberty in Thailand. I am hearing the eastern side of the world is booming right now so you are in the right place. As far as the Netherlands, if I am not mistaken they are a part of the European Union, so, yeah, there is no intention of increasing freedom for them.

      America is unfortunately becoming one of those countries that are picking away at liberty and freedom, even going so far as to indoctrinate children at young ages to look to the state as the provider, and we eventually find out that doesn’t turn out well.

      Thanks for the comment!

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