Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Freedom

In a sense, it's fitting that Freedom is the last need on this list, because in many ways it is a summation of many of the other needs on this list. As someone pointed out, there is freedom from and freedom to. Many of my earliest posts in this series could be looked at as freedoms from. My posts on water, food, and shelter were also posts on freedom from thirst, hunger, and homelessness. My posts in June about 'Protection from...' could also be seen as 'Freedom from...' My recent posts on Nature, Spirituality, Challenges, Creativity, and Identity, could be seen as posts on 'Freedom to...' posts. Freedom to find our place in nature, explore our spiritual connection, take on challenges, be creative, and be more of who we are.

Freedom may be last on this list but it is first in the minds of many people, both on the right (Libertarians) and the left (from Liberals, who share more than the initial 'liber'--Latin for freedom--with Libertarians, to Anarchists, who were once known as Libertarian Socialists). I certainly think that freedom is a need, and one that I am aware many people have died for. Liberation (there's that 'liber' prefix again) struggles have been fought around the world. The struggle of the civil rights movement was awash in cries for freedom from the Freedom Rides in 1961 to the Freedom March in 1966 to the simple chant "Freedom Now" and the song, "Oh, Freedom". But Audre Lorde reminds us "Not to believe that freedom can belong to any one group of us without the others also being free." Or as the slogan goes, "No one is free while others are oppressed." (Which I found attributed to both Martin Luther King and Albert Einstein.) Freedom is something we all need to achieve together.

But it gets confused with individual freedom. Milton and Rose Friedman entitled their book on the 'Free Market' system, Free to Choose, which I referred to as 'Free to Exploit'. It's not freedom if it takes away from the needs of anyone else. It isn't freedom if it hurts or hinders another person. It's not freedom if it restricts the freedom of another.

Personally, I believe that if we focused on meeting everyone's basic needs (as I've outline in this series) and paid no attention to advertising's 'created needs', we would feel very free indeed.


Resources:
Alberto Abadie, "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism"--A paper which shows (among other things) that countries with a 'moderate' level of freedom are more prone to terrorism than countries with either a great deal of freedom or very little freedom
Francis Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins, Food First--Contains a chapter on 'Food Versus Freedom' where they demolish the myth that feeding everyone would mean a restriction on freedom; the essence of this chapter is also repeated in the authors' book, World Hunger: Twelve Myths
Libertarian Socialism--An explanation about what Libertarian Socialism is along with how it differs from both 'Libertarians' and authoritarian socialism
A S Neill, Freedom, Not License!--This was the book that got me thinking about the differences between real freedom and things that harm others


Quote of the Day: "Freedom is like air, you breathe it in and never think of it until it runs out." - Anonymous

1 comment:

SoapBoxTech said...

Great post.

There is also that "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose" to consider here as well. It is definitely a much more complex thing than it first appears, this freedom.