FREEDOM & RESPONSIBILITY
There has been a lot about Freedom recently. Protesters with guns are complaining that they are being denied their freedom to work, to go to church, and to congregate in large crowds. They embrace the word freedom, but ignore the responsibility that comes with it, reducing it to a meaningless word designed to trigger an emotional “gut” response in the listener or reader. A recent diatribe on social media against some perceived broach of “freedom” ended with the declaration, “we are born free”.
What does it mean to be born free? That we are not born into serfdom or slavery? That we are born with the freedom to think, say, and act anyway we choose, free from the restraints of the rules of the state, or the community, or our families? That we are born free from any obligations to others, to our community, or to our government? To say we were born free is meaningless. In this country we share living space with 310 million people, and whatever freedom we want for ourselves must take into consideration everyone else. This means making compromises and accepting restrictions that would have made no sense 250 years ago. Freedom comes with responsibility to others and to our community. Freedom cannot exist at the expense of the wellbeing of others.