Simple word. Complex meaning. Freedom is something precious to so many, but so many people have different ideas about what it actually means to them. Freedom to me means being able to do anything you wish so long as you are not harming others in the process or diminishing their ability to do as they wish also. In its purist logical sense this may be as much freedom as is ever even theoretically possible. Why? Because human nature can be a destructive thing, and more often than not, when unbridled it is.
You may be peaceful, and kind and even generous. It is an absolute that you will cross paths in this life with many others who are none of these things. If a place existed where there was absolute total freedom where anyone could do absolutely anything they wished – and you encountered another who was not impressed with your kindness but instead wanted to take from you all that you have, even your life, then what would happen? You would either fight back, and win, or you would lose everything. Period. It’s unpleasant for some to think about such things – yet this is the reality of the very world you and I live in, like it or not.
So in modern society what prevents one person from preying on another person? Is it good nature and mutual concern? No, Its not like that in the real world. As we just mentioned, what would happen would be a division of people into two primary groups – predators and prey. Is it morality (which really is just a subjective version of good nature). No, its not that either. Your morality is not my morality, and even if it were there are others with neither your version or mine regarding what morality is or should be.
What provides the closest thing we can get to freedom is itself a necessary evil. Government. More specifically laws which are deterrents to those who would break them. Of course they don’t always work. Do you think that there are no murders, rapes or assaults because there are laws against such things? Of course there are such laws, and these laws carry heavy penalties in any country in this world. Despite existing laws all these things still happen, but there are far fewer occurrences than there would be in the absence of such laws. What do you suppose would happen to the murder rate in our own country if the penalty was reduced to just a fine? How about a fifty dollar fine – that’s it no other penalty at all for murder, do you think murder rates would drastically increase?
Some rules are necessary. That means some government is necessary, to provide for the common defense of the people, and to establish minimal basic laws that allow a civil society to be and remain civil, but when government becomes excessive and begins to overstep its bounds you lose freedom and you lose a great deal of your overall quality of life immediately. Even then it can get much worse. Unbridled government is, has been and always will be a very bad thing. Governments feed on their own power and with more power they become ever more power hungry. When it isn’t reined in by the people themselves – then the government eventually becomes a dictatorship and everyone in the country no longer has any real freedom. Instead they live in tyranny, in fear and in oppression.
Freedom is never free. It must be earned in this world as it always has been. Those who have it, or at least some measure of it will be best off protected it and not allowing it to be taken from them. It is far easier to keep it and maintain it than it ever is to get it back once its gone.