Saturday, April 02, 2011

Freedom is as Freedom does

Freedom is the pinnacle of Modern Society and typically associated with one's ability to make their own choices and express their opinions freely.

But, the purpose of this article is to investigate (not necessarily answer) one question: Why do we have Laws in a Free Society?

Before we go any further, I'd like to adopt a definition of Freedom that we might all agree on, and I think this quote from Wayne Dyer does the trick:

"Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose."
But, what is an obstruction to Freedom? The only thing that comes to mind is when someone tries to manipulate me (or anyone else) for their own selfish needs.

…in other words, when YOUR version of Freedom impedes on MY version Freedom.

Freedom allows people to have an opinion; voice that opinion; and unfortunately also "fight to the death" about that opinion...and I don't think that kind of mentality should exist in a civilized society.

Just think of the agony, pain, stress, grief and drama surrounding the issues of:

-Left Wing vs Right Wing
-Climate Change
-Driving etiquette

And those are just some of the small issues. The conflicts grow exponentially when you include Business Practices, Political Gamesmanship, and Religion.

So, is it fair to say that the concept of Freedom needs a little bit more work? Is it possible that Freedom is too “Free?"

I know what I'm saying doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but when you think about it, the very concept of Freedom in our society is very counter-intuitive.

We are told that we are Free, and that means that we can do whatever we want, whenever we want, and however we want.......but only if it's within the law.

Kinda like taking a dog to the park, but keeping him on a leash.

And I suppose that's why we have laws in the first place: Because people can't be trusted to behave themselves in a Free Society.

If what I'm suggesting holds water, then I can only think of two remedies to cure this ailment.

ONE - Accept that between several points of views, there is one, pure, singular morality that exists. The Moral Pedestal that everyone needs to emulate…and everyone not on that pedestal is wrong.

However, some philosophers believe that moral standards can only be viewed within the context of where they were established.

Take this example: Whoopee Cushions. The use of whoopee cushions in a University Dorm Room is common and accepted…in the boardroom, that’s a different story.

If we accept the “singular morality” option, we also need to accept the fact that Whoopee Cushions are either always morally acceptable or always morally unacceptable in any setting.

Period…and many refuse to accept this choice. So, it leaves us with the 2nd option.

TWO - Learn to accept the differences between our moralities and not impose our views onto others. This is not easy...but it is attainable, and I find that this quote from Aristotle helps me quite a bit:

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

What does the New & Improved Freedom look like? How about having a society of Tolerant and Reasonable citizens? A society that requires no Laws to keep Order.

Now, I'm not a mind-reader, but I can tell that some of you are thinking "Yeah, good luck with that."

Seriously? Are we so doubtful of Humanity that the idea of having a Tolerant and Reasonable society is just a pipe dream?

This may be harsh, but I think people don't want to be Tolerant & Reasonable. Why? Because it is much easier (and satisfying) to be selfish rather than being honest and truthful.

...which is why there's only one Mother Theresa.

But, think about it for a moment.

If people behaved themselves; if people took responsibility for their actions; if people could get along well with each other...we wouldn't need laws...and only then would we have a Free society.