What Does “Freedom” Mean?

Richard Salbato - May 4, 1009

My latest Newsletter,Dignity & St. Joseph, the Workerprompted such a large response (100% good) that I have decided to expand on the theme of dignity.  As expressed in the last article we are born with dignity and we or others can do nothing to add to our dignity as humans, but can only take away that dignity by failing to live up to it. 

The two major reasons for this dignity are that fact that we have free will and can never die. These are the two reasons we are made in the image and likeness of God. We will expand now on the meaning of free-will.  Free-will means that we have the freedom to choose good and evil, truth and falsehood, love and hate, and/or peace and war. 

All this implies that we have the freedom to choose, and so, freedom is the subject here.  We know from the above that God gave us freedom, but what does this word mean?  How do we protect our freedom?  How do we use it for our selves and the common good?  Should we give up some freedom for the better good of all?

The enemy of freedom is force, coercion and/or psychological aggression. These enemies of freedom are not the same as the consequences of using freedom badly. God does not force us to do anything, but He does have consequences for choosing evil over good.  Consequences are always there when we choose the good or the evil.  These consequences are even there if we lived alone in a cave all the days of our life.  Nevertheless, we still are not forced to do this or that.

When we are forced to do anything, we have lost our freedom.  Totalitarian governments take all freedoms from all the people except themselves. Anarchy gives individuals total freedom, but does not protect the weak from the strong.  Democracies give freedom to the majority, but not the minority. Pure Capitalism gives freedom to the rich but not to the poor.  More on this later! 

False Freedom

There is no limit to the sophisms by which the attractions of the word ‘freedom’ can be used to support measures which destroy individual freedom, no end to the tricks by which people can be exhorted in the name of freedom to give up their freedom.

Liberal do-gooders have tried to expand the meaning of “Freedom” to include freedom from poverty, starvation, treatable disease, and even from making the wrong choices.  "Liberty" and "freedom" have probably been the most abused words in recent history.

This false idea of freedom takes away the freedom to fail and suffer the consequences of failure. This false idea of freedom takes away freedom.  In order to reward failure, government has to take from the successful and give to those who failed, and do so without their permission.  In other words, forced charity, and force is not freedom.

What right does a man have to free medical care, who spends 20% of his income on beer but nothing on health care insurance. You could solve the uninsured just by making insurance mandatory, just like driver’s insurance. It would cost the tax-payers nothing.    

The unforeseen consequence of this false idea of freedom is what breeds and rewards failure and failure fails. Even governments fail and many have. I would not be against this government failing, because people would wake up and build a better nation.  (Note One)

Government’s First Job

The first job of a good government is to protect freedom and in order to do this it must be the regulator of equal fairness and justice – fairness and justice for all.  All authority, in Churches, Governments, or Family must be protectors of the rule of law just like sports games. 

Imagine a basket ball game without rules, and referees to enforce these rules. In order to give equal opportunity for two teams to win or loose a game, we first must have equal rules and someone to enforce these rules.  It takes very little money to pass rules of fairness and enforce them. 

When the rules of fairness in sports are found to be unequal, new laws are passed to equalize the game.  The same was true in America’s government in the past, when it found that Colored People were not being treated equal we went to war. When it found that rich people were monopolizing a section of the economy and eliminating the fairness of competition, it outlawed unfair monopolies and even broke up large companies. 

It was always interesting to me that the richest people in America are Democrats, whereas the rich (but not very rich people) are Republicans. The reason for this is the very, very rich get unfair advantages that make them filthy rich. It is like a referee that calls a game hard on one side but easy on the other.  This is why the IRS code is 10,000 pages long, so that the filthy rich have an advantage over the smaller businesses.   

When the government gives billions of dollars to failed banks, they create an unfair advantage to the big banks over the smaller banks.  When it is not fair, it is not freedom.  Allowing them to be so big in the first place was not in the interests of fairness and justice, therefore it is not true freedom. 

It was this government’s unfair refereeing that caused all the recessions and depressions of this country. This recession was because the governments gave big banks and FM and FM unfair advantages over the free market, which created the bubble.  Now to correct the government’s own mistake, they want to take 30% more of our freedom to bail them out. 

The next bailout will be Cap and Trade.  Spain has had Cap and Trade for 10 years and the green jobs have cost them $500,000 per job and ended with a net loss of jobs so that for every green job there were 3 jobs lost.  Now they have unemployment of 17.5%.  

Pure Capitalism does not work

If pure capitalism were allowed like many want (Libertarians), it would be like a basketball game with no rules and no referees.  Capitalism, with rules and regulations to make competition equal and fair is the greatest system in the world.  Without the rule of law and regulations for justice and equality, it becomes no better than Socialism.  Every social system that works depends on justice and fairness.

We still today do not have a proper Capitalism with fairness in America, because we do not have equal fairness in the unions, especially in the Government unions.  The founder of unions in America was against monopolies, and he knew that unions could also become monopolies, and so he advised that unions should never become larger than the companies they were in or the town.  Today we have unions that cover hundreds of businesses but they have no competition because they have pushed out everyone else and the government did nothing. The teacher’s union should not be larger than the city it is in but it covers the entire USA. 

The fundamental danger to political or financial freedom is the concentration of power.  The existence of a large measure of power in the hands of a relatively few individuals (government, business or unions) enables them to use it to coerce their fellow men.

Preservation of freedom requires either the elimination of power where that is possible or its dispersal where it cannot be eliminated.

Freedom in our daily life

As said above, God does not take away our free-will - our freedom to choose right and wrong.  But He informs us of the consequences of these choices. In the same way we should kindly inform our children or friends of the consequences of our freedom to choose, but we should never force them to the point they have no freedom.  “You do not like the rules; you have the freedom to leave. – You do not want to study; you have the freedom to fail. – You do not want to work; you have the freedom to be poor. – I am not going to reward you for choosing poorly.”

I have seen husbands loose their freedom of choice by nagging wives; and wives loose their freedom by abusive husbands. Even children can loose their freedom of choice by abusive parents.  Consequences yes, but coercion no.

To be free we have to be free to be a failure. But most of all we must protect by all means our own freedom and the freedom of others even if we have to use force to do so.  To sit back and watch women or children being abused and do nothing cannot be justified.  To allow yourself or others to be abused in any way even with the coercion of words – nagging, should not be tolerated.    

History of Freedom

Before showing the perfect examples of the real meaning of freedom, let us look backwards into history.

Cain and Able had freedom but Cain did not respect the freedom of Able.  Hence started the idea - “I want freedom even at the expense of your freedom”.  Afterwards the earth divided into two societies, one that respected everyone’s freedom, and the other that was coercive with power.

Even after the Great Flood and the one family that survived, the world was divided into two societies, one of freedom for all, and the other freedom for only the strong, who took away the freedom of the week.

The greatest of examples of a coercive society was Egypt, and the greatest example of a free society was the First Written Law, under Moses.  The beauty of this written law was that it protected the freedom of the individual and of the freedom of everyone else, which we call the common good.  Under this law the governors and the governed obeyed the same law without distinction between rich and poor, strong or weak. 

Besides Israel, the Greeks and Romans developed societies that were close to real freedom of all the people.  Even Rome prior to the Emperors taking over the power from the Senate, were a great society.  The Emperors made it into a coercive society with few having any freedom. 

Then came Christ, who founded the most perfect society of freedom in history, the Catholic Church, with a Written Law Constitution, of perfect freedom for all.  When the Church converted the Emperor of Rome, the world almost became free of coercion, but when the Emperor outlawed Paganism and confiscated their temples, he violated the concept, “Freedom”. 

Even under the Catholic King system (even though many of these Kings were very holy) the only real freedom was in the hands of the kings and who else they wanted to give it to.  The Kings owned everything and the people owned nothing except what the kings wanted to give them. 

During and after World War I, most of these kings were overthrown in favor of republics but these all became more totalitarian than the kings, Communism, Nazism, Socialism, and Military Dictatorships.

All except one, that became the third government with Written Law as the governing law, the Constitutional Republic of the USA.  The “Rule of Law” was the power of this government.  In other words, rule by written law and not by people.  The object of this law was to give everyone the maxim freedom and protecting everyone’s right to freedom, from the coercion of others.  The “rule of law” was the only job of the government, to protect you from taking my freedom, and me from loosing my freedom to others – to protect you from me and me from you, but not me from me.    

The original Supreme Court, the 2nd and 10th Amendment even protected us from the government.


(Note One)

In ten years the USA government debt will cost $1,000,000,000 per year (Trillion) just in interest on the debt.  This is not possible, so what if it financially failed. Everyone who saved money would loose it.  Everyone who had money coming from others would not get it.  But in the end, the people, the best in the world, would re-make America back into a Constitutional Government and would bring it back in just a few years.  Supply Side Economics of Ronald Region doubled the total wealth of this nation in just 40 years (100%).  In only 4 years of Bush-Obama economics we lost 30% of that gain.  A revised Constitutional Government would come back in 4 to 6 years.

(Note Two)

The best common sense promoter of freedom in America today is 14 year old, Jonathon Krohn. 


(Note Three)

Internet related items: 

Freedom of assembly , Freedom of association , Freedom to bear arms , Freedom of education , Freedom of movement , Freedom of the press , Freedom of religion , Freedom of speech , Freedom of thought , Intellectual freedom , Sexual freedom , Suffrage