LIBERTY VS. FREEDOM

If there is anything I hate, it is hearing somebody say the stupidest, most ridiculous, most asinine, most thoughtless thing ever, because somebody else said it somewhere and they think it makes sense. That thing they say is: “They hate us for our freedom”. My brain does a slow burn EVERY TIME I hear this.

First of all, NOBODY IN AMERICA IS FREE. We are being carefully managed and manipulated to fulfill somebody else’s agenda, whether that “somebody else” is a politician, a corporation, or a rich guy with lots of investments. So what if we can vote, if all that is offered are pols who are indebted to the wealthy, bought and sold like cattle, and who are slaves to their own sociopathic whims anyway? Voting? Big effing deal.

Second: FREEDOM IS NOT AN ABSOLUTE. Your freedom might be my imprisonment. Sure, you are free to run your stupid-ass cigar boat all over Lake Couer d’Alene, but where’s MY freedom to not have jet-aircraft decibels rammed into my ears during a nice day at the beach? I have noticed that the people who bitch loudest about their “freedom” are also those whose indulgence of this “freedom” often comprises of abusing other people. This runs the gauntlet from homophobes through racists through right-wing paranoid nut jobs through survivalist loonie birds who would gladly shoot you through the heart to protect their cache of white flour. They all want their “freedom” at somebody else’s expense.

Third: FREEDOM AND RELIGION ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. If you need some book or padre dude or a list of rules or a purple dragon telling you what to do and how to behave, this is not freedom. Duh.

Now let’s talk about liberty. Unlike “freedom”, liberty is a complex concept. It is the idea that people may make decisions according to their own needs and desires, with an element of respect for the rights of others and the comprehension that liberty applies to everyone and not just them. It is also recognized as something that certain powers would like to get rid of because it doesn’t tend to make thoughtful people compliant enough to be satisfactorily controlled. The prediction that America is gonna come take your gun and put you in prison is particularly unlikely (unless you are black, in which case you could well be already in prison), because that would be exactly the thing that would wake up the sleeping giant that is American citizen outrage, which means you’d have a bunch of gays and rednecks and black folks and Hispanics and lesbians and guys who want to marry their dogs and Civil War re-enactors and drag queens and cracker hillbillies all equally infuriated and ready to go fight the guvmint. That would be really messy, and really expensive, and the mighty powers that rule this earth cannot tolerate that. So they are doing it quietly, behind the scenes, slowly whittling away liberty while WE AREN’T PAYING ATTENTION. If you don’t read, if you don’t check, if you don’t do anything but cheer for your favorite hockey team and sit on your ass a lot, you can kiss liberty goodbye, you big dumb American.

That’s the basic difference between liberty and freedom. Liberty takes work, and attention, and analysis and synthesis. Freedom is nothing but somebody putting a “Power of Pride” sticker on his gigantic diesel truck and watching Fox Fake News.

Come on America. You can do better that THAT.

 

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