During the long political campaign for a new president of this country, I became a sort of news junkie listening to all of the speeches, which began with dozens of candidates seeking the office of power.
I kept listening to hear one of them talk about freedom, but no one ever did, except one. And that was Sara Palin, the governor of Alaska, running on the Republican ticket for Vice President. She did speak of her love of freedom and was the only one I heard mention it. After awhile, I noticed the absence of any mention of the word, and concluded it had become a taboo word.
After concluding it has become unfashionable to talk about it, I realized there’s a lot of confusion about its meaning. In my blog articles, I write more about the meaning of freedom than any other subject. I write about what it is. In this article, I will write about what it is not.
First off, freedom is not a government grant. It’s a state of being that cannot be legislated by politicians. It is a gift granted to us as an inalienable right by our creator.
It is not a commodity that can be bought and sold.
It is not a privilege . . . a privilege being a special or peculiar benefit, favor or advantage granted to some by other humans, but not to all. A privilege can be a civil or political grant, favoring some and excluding others. Freedom is not exclusive.

It is not an endowment.  That is it is not a gift given to one by an individual or institution.
It is not a gift of unbridled power.  Freedom is neither a gift nor grant that permits some to take from others that which does not belong to them.
It is not a permit.  That is freedom does not permit one to take the life, liberty and property of another.
It is not a license. Freedom does not issue any particular license to anyone to claim power to take anything from others without the consent of the owner.
It is not a negative. Freedom is a positive state of being whereby one is responsible for his or her actions and consequences. It is not a negative state of forcing others to be responsible for irresponsibility.
It is not a debt. Freedom is not a debt we contracted for to be free. It is a gift we were endowed with from our creator at birth.
It is not a contract. When we were born as free human beings we received freedom as a gift from our creator. We made no contract with any other living being to have freedom.
It is neither force nor coercion.  Freedom is the absence of force and coercion.
It is not control of others. Freedom is self-control and self-responsibility, not control of others and the life and property of that which does not belong to us.
So there you have it. A list of twelve things freedom is not.
However, as individuals living in a civilized society, we might freely enter into some of the above. Making a valid contract with another can be a positive and responsible act.  Entering into a debt voluntarily can be a valid and positive act. There is nothing wrong with acceptance of a voluntary endowment and so on.
Some of these things one may be free to do on a voluntary basis, but they do not define freedom. They are acts one may or may not perform as a result of being free to do or not to do. It all boils down to a condition of self-responsibility and self-control. That is the criteria which defines freedom.
For example, if a person enters into a contractual agreement with another, then violates the terms of the agreement, this is not self-responsibility or self-control. It’s irresponsible trickery and deception.
Therefore, if we stop and think about it, and define for ourselves just what freedom is and what it is not, we will be in a better position to reclaim that which we have lost.
Despite the fact it is not a commodity one can buy or sell, I personally sometimes think of it as a commodity that is not for sale. When in essence, it’s a state of being, thinking acting and doing according to this gift of freedom we received from our creator at birth.
None of us was born into a condition of slavery and bondage. That’s a condition perpetrated upon us by other human beings. If in fact it is a gift from our creator, we cannot truthfully say any of us were born into slavery and bondage. Either we were born with this free gift or we were not.
To make a claim any of us were born into slavery and bondage is a claim of powerlessness. And simply not true as evidenced by our ability to be responsible, self-controlled human beings as a result of having the gift of life.
Let Freedom Ring!

From “The Freedom Lady.”

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0 Responses to Freedom: What It Is and What It Is Not (Issue 142)

  1. Eric Michael Martin says:

    I disagree that none of us were born into bondage. Many people are born less “free” than others. They do not have the ability to pursue happiness. They are constantly blocked by the powers that be. That is why civil rights movements exist. As a member of a minority, I can say that I love freedom, and I fight every day to secure it for myself and for others that also lack that state of being. Until all people are seen as equal, then there will not be freedom.

  2. to Eric Michael Martin

    The degree of ones happiness is no measure of ones ability to pursue Freedom. Happiness is a vakue judgement. Freedom is a Principle.
    You say< “until all people are seen as equal then there will not be Freedom” Seen by whom as being equal? No-one is equal, we are all un-equal and for that I!m thankful.
    This vague, nebulous, non-descript mantra about, “”equality” Some groups and some individuals are always yelling about, has nothing to do with individual Freedom. Freedom by definition is self-responsibility and self=control, no more and no less than just that.
    You sound like a young man quite capable of understanding the meaning of Freedom but have it confused with other words which have nothing to do with the true meaning of Freedom.
    No-one on this universe is “equal”, Each person is a unique individual different from any other individual. Equal means the same, to strive for equality, defies the wisdom of our Creator, who created each one of us different and un-equal.
    I appreciate your reading my articles and taking time to comment.Keep reading. The meaning of Freedom is a discovery. That comes to those who seek it.

    Anne Cleveland
    Chief Editor

  3. venta says:

    Freedom is not given to us by any creator, that would imply that freedom exists in nature. Freedom does not exist in nature and there is no evidence that whatever created us gave us freedom. Many say they love freedom, but can’t define it. There is only one definition of freedom I’ve heard that makes any sense. Freedom is the societal condition that exists when everyone has full control of all non-procreative derivatives of their lives.

    Of the major lies concerning freedom, none is more destructive than the idea that you can fight for freedom. Since freedom doesn’t exist in nature, it has to be built. Freedom is no exception: like everything else, it can not be fought into existence. Anyone who fights what they think is wrong, or fights for what they think is right has always failed, and will always fail.


    Because the subject of Freedom is so rarely discussed now-adays, I think its wonderful when one such as yourself, is thinking about it, writing about it and arguing about it.
    I have never in my life been able to prove anything to any-one.
    We disagree on the definition of Freedom, and thats ok.
    You say; “Of the major lies concerning freedom, none is more destructive than the idea that you can fight for freedom”. I!ve been fighting for mine as far back as I can recall, And won a few battles and lost some.
    No, I have not always failed when I have fought for that which i think is right. And will continue to fight for my individual freedom. Admittedly much erosian into it by acts of thievery of others, but still have some freedom intact.
    Your premise implies theres nothing we can do about anything. That notion is surrendering. A notion Socialist thinking promotes. Ie, just roll over, play dead and turn control of your life over to some-one else. And let us manage everything for you.
    I do believe Freedom exist in the nature of things. Not built, but sustained and maintained by individuals. And must be.
    Thank you for your interesting comments

    Anne cleveland

    Chief editor

  5. Greg says:

    First of all, and with as much respect as possible, I’d appreciate if you didn’t patronize me by calling me a young man.

    I think that this is written with good intention, and I mostly agree with it in spirit. I especially agree with how you describe freedom as the “absence” of force and coercion, to the point of rather disagreeing with you when you deny that it is a negative. As I see it, freedom is a purely negative state; that is, it’s the absence of slavery, servitude, and coercion of the mind and body in all of their forms. You say that freedom is a positive state because one must be actively responsible for one’s actions. I say that freedom is a negative state due to a clear absence of external actors that either usurp one’s responsibilities or that have had responsibilities unduly loaded upon them. This issue, however, is largely semantics.

    Then there’s this matter of a creator. You say that freedom is not an endowment, is not a gift, and is not a privilege – but then you repeat that it is granted to all of us by a creator. There are several problems with this idea. On the face of it, it’s contradictory – freedom cannot be granted to us by another person, government or what-have-you, but it can be granted to us by this archaic, paternal, anthropomorphic fantasy? In some of your comments you frown upon vague, nebulous and non-descript concepts. I assert that this creator of yours is the most vague, nebulous and non-descript concept possible. At no point do you describe how or why this creator exists or why it has the right to grant humans their freedom.

    This introduces another problem. If an omnipotent creator issued us our freedom in its entirety like some sort of magical meal ticket to all newborns upon their birth, I wager you would also believe that the creator has the power to revoke this freedom. If freedom may be revoked, then it is not freedom at all. If you argue that this creator is infinitely benevolent and thus would never revoke the freedom of humankind, it seems that omnipotence and benevolence are mutually exclusive, something wholly incompatible with typical Christian doctrine.

  6. AC says:

    Hi GREG,
    Thank you for taking the time to read my article and make a comment.I dont see another comment by you, therefore you will need to tell me what you are referring to with reference to “The Young man Comment.”
    First of all in my articles I express my ideas, and beliefs based upon what I have learned in my 85 years.
    I have never in my life been able to prove any thing to any-one. There have been instances when I could furnish proof relative to some things, but proving is something each must accept for them-selves
    Any discussion about the creator is based upon what I perceive and conclude from what I see. I have studied Universal Principles . There are universal laws, like Physics. Throwing something up and seeing it fall back to earth, proves the law of gravity to me.With reference to Freedom, I describe it simply as self-responsibility and self-control, no more and no less than that.
    Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, some may believe having to be responsible for their actions as a negative, some as I do, a positive
    You are correct I do not describe why this Creator exist or how he has the right to grant humans that freedom,Any answer you seek for that you must obtain from the Source.Growing up as a child, my loving parents took care of me, fed me, clothed me, tucked me in bed and etc.I never asked them why they existed nor why they took care of me.I did not need to know that. You Assert this creator is very vague, nebulous and non-descript. Not to me. The information I needed I went seeking it, and found all I needed and wanted to know for me. But I dont teach it nor preach it. Every-one must find what they are looking for themselves.
    In my articles I discuss Freedom, not religion.I studied all religions from Shintoism, mohammedism, Budhism, methodism, Catholicism, Babptism.all the ism to find what I was searching for.And discovered what I was looking for as a result,I don!t even discuss it with any-one else much less teach it.

    When I began my search, I wanted to know 3 things, where did I come from, whyam I here and where am I going, and I found those answers for myself.Not for any-one else only me.
    It appears your argument about a creator is more of an argument with your self.
    I will argue or discuss many things, but not religion.
    Keep searching and you will find what you are looking for.And write to me any-time you feel inclined to do so.

    Chief Editor

  7. Greg says:

    Allow me to revisit this topic.

    I’m certainly not arguing with myself here; I’m not really arguing. I’m bemoaning the state of the world where a large and powerful segment of humanity feels the need to lean on ideas of God to explain freedom and morality.

    Morality is what separates us from animals. Christianity and other religions would have you believe that there is a figure more powerful than you that will bring down punishment and vengeance upon those that would deviate from a certain system of practices and beliefs. This plays on the human psyche’s need to delegate authoritarian role models and father figures.

    What if my morality, and the morality of my human role models, were based not on some fear of judgment or on some particularly selfish desire for magical rewards in an afterlife, but on a conscious effort to do good in the world regardless of the results? Wouldn’t that show more basic human decency? Why does morality need a reward system?

    Similarly, why does freedom need to be deliberately assigned to you? Can’t it be inherent and inviolable, even by two-thousand-year-old mythologies? To say “yes, you’re free and no one can ever take that away from you – oops, except if you covet your neighbour’s wife, and oh there are a few hundred other archaic stipulations” – that’s just silly.

    Consider that many Christians would say that the heathen non-Christian masses automatically go to hell. Hell is a story about eternal imprisonment and torture. Isn’t that the exact opposite of freedom? Think a certain way, or else you go to jail for all eternity?

    The critical merit of humanity is derived from the power of people to be self-determining and good on a basic level, of their own volition, not as perceived puppets to an imaginary god. So. A creator? Seriously now?

  8. AC says:

    Hi Greg,
    Thank you for writing again. Your latest is a good letter stating your position. I just disagree on some of your points. I think arguing can be a good thing. I encouraged my children to argue their point if they believed a particular thing.
    First of all I just finished a new article with reference to your comments.
    You ask, “why does morality need a reward system?” Because that is what our human nature is. Every act we perform is for a profit or a gain, despite the fact it may result in a loss. Our individual moral judgments are based upon our value judgments.
    However , Morality, ie that which is Right or wrong, can be established and determined by a Principle. I have written articles on the difference in value judgements and Principles. One is subjective and one is objective.
    Secondly, you ask, “why does Freedom need to be deliberately assigned to you, can’t it be inherent and inviolable?” It is inherent and inviolable. Human beings violate its inherency, by trespassing by a system of thievery mostly. We cannot exercise our right to private ownership, because of a gun or threat of a gun, it is taken from us. Stealing that is. Thievery is either right or wrong. I believe it’s wrong. And Stealing is taking of the property of the owner in violation of the will of the owner. Killing is stealing one’s life.
    Freedom and morality is inherent in things as they exist. I didn’t invent this, I simply discovered it. I never said Freedom could not be taken away. It’s taken on a regular basis.
    I don’t know what “hell” is. I rather suspect it’s what we create for ourselves while in this embodiment on earth.
    As I said before I don’t get into arguments about religions. But will say, much about orthodox teachings, as we hear it today, is not for me. I think we are all on a pathway of learning, and not up to me to decide what another believes relative to their religion.
    What I’m for is individual Freedom and ownership of property Rights and opposed to thievery. That’s the bottom line in all of my writings. It is obvious to me there is a Creator. I did not create myself.
    I do think we were created to be creators, and that which I create belongs to me, and anything arbitrarily taken without my consent is an act of thievery, hence immoral.
    Thank you for reading my articles, and taking the time to write.

    Anne Cleveland
    Chief Editor

  9. Freedom Lady says:

    I dont know what the purpose is for filling my comment section, with thousands of dribbling drizzle remarks, Please spend your time and re-marks elswhere, because I!m not posting it on my web-site. Thank you, annecleveland@bellsouth.net, Editor-in-chief