On Freedom

Part 3 of why good things aren’t that great (see part 1 and 2 on human rights and democracy) is about Freedom.

Ah freedom, how beautiful a thing you isn’t.

Freedom isn’t an inherently good thing.  It is only a good thing after a lot of qualifications, restrictions, and clarifications are made.

Well, that’s not entirely true.  Freedom for me to do whatever I want whenever I want free from consequences is a good thing, but something tells me you people out there would disagree (with the possible exception of my mum).

So we have this whole convoluted system of morals based on the idea that expanding personal freedoms is a good thing.  It essentially boils down to two types of freedom; ‘Freedom Froms’ and ‘Freedom Tos’.

‘Freedom To’ is easy ‘Freedom to do whatever you want.’

Freedom from is a whole list of things that people don’t like being done to them; Freedom from fear, oppression, torture, prosecution, etc

And all these ‘Freedom Froms’ do is limit other people’s ‘Freedom Tos.’

So before we’re allowed to run off and do whatever we want, we’ve gotta make a list of things we’re not allowed to do, which, in all honesty doesnt sound much like freedom.

The thing is, the list of Freedom froms is set up to stop people from doing bad things.  This is a problem, because ‘bad’ is a loaded concept.  It’s a subjective thing that differs from one person to another, one group to another, one country to another.  The idea of hunting foxes in Australia is encouraged and paid for by the Australian Government.  In the UK, terrorist groups sabotage hunts and threaten hunters…and that’s not to bring up things like gender equality, sexuality, right to life, etc.

The word Freedom is used as a pretense to get other people to be nice, which is a good idea if it wasnt for the fact that the whole concept of freedom is supposed to be moral free.  It supposed to be about making sure people can make up their own minds about their own life, and live it on their own terms, but ends up being about making sure people aren’t dicks to each other.

Not that that’s a bad thing, but for christ’s sake, don’t dress it up in freedom, just call it what it is, ‘stopping people from doing bad things to each other.’


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