There can be no love without freedom. Without freedom, there can only be what is and what’s been designed to be. When I write the statement: 2+2=4, not 2, 2, or 4 have any choice in what they mean nor how they affect. Similarly, the sun (so far as we know, at least) has no agency in the manner by which its neighbors revolve around it. It cannot choose to abandon or change its role in the cosmic dance. In fact, so far as we know, it is not even aware of its own critical role in our galaxy.
Mankind need not exist in such a state.
It can, of course, choose to strive toward it.
Just as there can be no love without freedom, neither can there be responsibility, accountability, judgment, or anxiety.
But why am I even writing about this? What do I even mean by freedom? What does it mean to be without freedom?
To be clear, I believe that all men are free at all times. It is part of our nature. That does not mean, of course, that such freedom cannot be pricked and poked and prodded at by antagonistic forces (internal and external).
We are aware of ourselves. We make choices. When I feel hunger, I can choose (1) whether or not to eat, and (2) what to eat (which itself may require countless nested choices). Of course, not everyone is so fortunate as I. Another person might feel an even stronger hunger, but have no options, no choices, no decisions to be made. They have no food.
Are they any less free? Am I more free?
Are they more like the sun? If so, does that make them less like mankind?
How about the case of marriage? Why is it that much of the developed world frowns upon arranged marriage? Is it not due to the lack of choice on the part of one or both spouses? Many people might say that a marriage built on choice is of more intrinsic value than one directed by forces external to the parties. Why?
Choice. Which means more: being forced to share time, or choosing to share time? Which would be more appreciated: knowing someone is spending time with you only because they are bound by tradition, or knowing someone is spending time with you because they’d rather spend time with you than with anyone else?
Earlier, I mentioned that mankind can strive toward an existence modeled after that of the sun. Given that such an existence would be void of love (since love is prioritization, which requires deliberation culminating in choice), why would I even mention that mankind might gravitate towards such an existence?
I also mentioned that without freedom, there can be no responsibility, accountability, anxiety, or judgment. It should be plain why I make such a claim. You cannot be held responsible for something over which you have no deliberate control. Likewise, you cannot be held accountable for any outcomes of something for which you are not responsible. Given that nature, for what reason would you ever be anxious? On what foundation would judgment reside? None.
It is easy, then, to see why one might gravitate towards restricted freedom.
We see this in the common sense of today. We see the negative outcomes of choice (mass shootings, greed, lust, gluttony, and more), and respond by seeking restrictions upon the freedoms which allowed for such societal blasphemy in the first place.
After all, freedom itself doesn’t preclude consequence. Nor does consequence preclude freedom (in fact, there should be no consequence if not for freedom). It is true that I am free to do severely horrendous things. This does not mean that I will not likely face consequences after committing such acts.
Again, then, why am I even writing about this? Clearly, laws themselves do not directly impair freedom. They are merely words written on paper, agreed upon by some number of people.
How, then, does our freedom suffer encroachment?
People. Society, more specifically.
Laws are (mostly, ideally) reflections of the society in which they are written. They are the officiation of the externalized thoughts (and feelings) of the society’s inhabitants.
You encroach upon my freedom.
It is a well accepted notion that mankind is a social creature. We benefit greatly benefit from (some say rely upon) cohabitation to some extent. We each have differing strengths and weaknesses which we make up for/remedy via cohabitation. In fact, there may be a sort of synthesis that occurs, making our cohabitation more effective than the sun of our strengths.
Moreover, what do we fear the most? What poses the greatest potential threat to our lives? Not just the lack of cohabitation, but the presence of hostility. Antagonism.
Where does antagonism arise? Why do we become hostile?
Freedom. Freedom to be jealous. Freedom to be greedy. Freedom to not be charitable. Freedom to not be empathetic.
How do we react to hostility? With hostility.
How do you encroach upon my freedom? Hostility. You say I hate children when I don’t call for gun control. You say I’m a bigot when I err on the side of pro-life. You call me ignorant when I call for a smaller government with less laws.
Now, it’s not just the disagreement. It’s not even the arrogant hostility of your disagreement. It’s the part of the soul of your disagreement that seems to think that my opinion is a crime in and of itself. It’s the spirit of your hostility that defines me as a lesser being because of my thoughts and feelings.
To be viewed as lesser than human is to be outcasted from mankind, which is to be denied a basic necessity of life.
When I argue in favor of freedom, bringing along arguments against any expansion of government (and especially arguing in favor of aggressively shrinking government), I only argue in favor of promoting our natural human state. I argue against our becoming more like a non-sentient object.
I value and understand your concerns and opinions. Please, believe what you believe and say what you say. I only ask the same courtesy.
Let’s agree to disagree, at a minimum. But, please, value my differences just as I value yours. We are in this together, as different as we are.