Friday, September 08, 2006

Defining "freedom"

George W. Bush, when speaking about the "war on terror", says, "All these people who sacrificed their life or limbs sacrificed in the name of freedom." What does he really mean when he uses the word "freedom"? When I think of "freedom", I think freedom of people have sole dominion over their lives, living their lives in complete sovereignty over themselves and their justly acquired property. That's what I think about when I think about freedom.

However, I have two stipulations with true freedom. Number one: if you want freedom for yourself, you have to extend freedom to everyone else, even if that freedom makes you uncomfortable or uneasy. For example, if your neighbor owns pit-bulls, or rottweilers, and large, aggressive dogs make you nervous (they don't; in fact, I own both kinds of dogs, but hypothetically speaking), then only you can do is carry a gun. Your neighbor has the freedom to own whatever dogs he wants. If s/he owns or have a rental agreement which allows dogs, then you being nervous is irrelevant.

Which makes for number two: individual liberty and personal responsibility are two sides of the same coin. In other words, if you want freedom, you have to be responsible, and vise versa. If you neighbor has large dogs, then s/he has to be responsible to put up a fence, tie the dogs up, or whatever your neighbor can do to keep the dogs inside of the property. If your neighbor's dog jumps the fence, or crawled underneath to your property, you will have carte blanch on what to do. You can shoot the dog immediately, shoot the dog if or when it attacked you, hide inside and call the dogcatcher, or do nothing (i.e., pet the dog, fetch the stick, or other playful thing with the neighbor's dog). If it was a truly free society, each individual properties would be sacrosanct.

But the elected officials perverted and skewed the meaning of freedom to mean the exact opposite. In Orwellien paradigm, they twist "freedom" to mean "slavery", and "slavery" to mean "freedom". Their favorite topic is to equate freedom with "democracy". They say democracy and freedom, freedom and democracy, on and on, without end, so before long the people see "freedom" and "democracy" to mean the exactly the same thing.

But our Founders loathe democracy. Democracy means simply "majority rule". To the Founders, it means "tyranny of the majority". Thomas Jefferson once said about democracy, "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49." Benjamin Franklin said it best: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch." I will bet that democracy is not freedom to the lamb! The word "democracy" is nowhere in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights. But if you want to find the government the Founders wanted, look in Article IV, Section 4.

If our rulers mislead us about something as basic as freedom, we have to be very skeptical about anything they say. The Founders are geniuses when we wrote the three equal but separate branches of government, checks and balances, and adding a Bill of Rights before ratification. They knew so well that the underlying principle of the Constitution is the greatest threat to our liberty and prosperity lies within our own government.


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