J and D's Corner

From the Letters Archive

About Rights & "Freedom:
Yeah, OK, I got a little overpassionate on this....


To:  AV Press

Date: 03/2005

Re:  Freedom Is...

A recently published letter regarding “Freedom is…” caught my attention because, while it was a bit too fuzzy to decipher completely, it seemed to put forward the general idea that ‘freedom’ was something guaranteed by a supernatural power and received by everyone automatically just by being born. I find this an odd concept.

Freedom, by definition, is the state of being released from restraint by another. In other words, if you are “free”, you can do whatever you want. Obviously, this is not the case in any functional society, ours included.

What we generally refer to as “freedom” in America is actually the composite package of “rights” which we enjoy as citizens of our country. There are some high-minded words in our constitution alluding to the concept that some or all of these rights are granted by God or by some other supernatural power, but that is only rhetoric.

Lets talk reality here. The only true “right” this universe grants to any life form, be it a microbe or a human, is the right to compete in the environment in which it finds itself using the tools available to it. Not one single iota more (or less) than that.

What I am trying to say is: Don’t sit back and relax, confident that God will protect and preserve any “rights” or “freedoms” you think you have or deserve. They don’t come from God, they come from your fellow human beings, and they are always, constantly, up for negotiation. If you can’t be at the negotiating table personally, at least be sure you are properly represented.