Thursday, June 4, 2009

Freedom and Liberty

Lew Daly, a guest contributor at FPR, has posted at FPR an essay on Liberty or Freedom? It is not exactly on point with respect to my earlier statement, "I keep waiting for someone at FPR to tell me what they mean by freedom," but it's at least in the ballpark.

Lew provides some etymology for both words and says this: "Our Bill of Rights is the world’s greatest monument of negative individual liberty. But our Christian heritage bears the imprint of the deeper idea that true liberty—freedom—derives from connectedness, not separation."

So true liberty is freedom, which is connectedness not separation. In at least one sense, this statement accords will with my own beliefs - to be truly free is to do only that which you must do.

In the end, Lew's essay is not helpful in defining what freedoms or liberties are being lost in the current social order. Perhaps it is the sense of connectedness, but Patrick in comments concludes that because freedom, severed from the political, has been corrupted with individualist overtones, the word is rendered into meaningless noise. So we are back where we began - what freedoms are being lost?

Patrick says something else interesting in his comment; "... the Greek idea of freedom - that its opposite is the condition of slavery, which is not only or merely the condition of being a slave, but most profoundly the condition of being subject to forces over which you have no control." Patrick goes on to modify this statment to mean control of appetites, but I wonder if his original, very broad, statement doesn't present his true belief, that free men are in control. If so, what an odd and telling confession.

Patrick, in case you are confused, you are not in control of anything but your choices. Everything else is out of your hands.


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