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