In our democratic world, there is an idealization of the benefits of freedom without any guidance or discrimination as to how we use guide ourselves. However, it permits destructive attitudes or behaviors when this freedom is not connected to being wholesome and allows for significant harm and suffering to others.
It is all too frequently used in destructive attitudes, communications, and behaviors because it doesn’t imply or carry values related to integrity, care for the disempowered, the protection of natural resources, the impact on other people, our country, and the planet. Our public discourse and how we speak about freedom need to change to tie in practical benefits beyond the vagueness of free speech, success, jobs, and innovation.
Whether it’s global and national media’s impact or how to foster well-being for humanity and all of life, our conversations need to make these links. Otherwise, we are simply reinforcing permission that grants power for power, self-centeredness, and destruction of our planet to occur.
There needs to be some guidelines in a wide range of areas including but not limited to corporations, free speech, the internet, gun laws, police, enhanced freedom to vote, balancing the freedom for women’s rights to control their bodies with excessive permission to potentially injure an infant with late-term abortion. (abortion will be the subject of a whole article on its own.
Suppose we don’t see this clearly and don’t make the implicit connection of freedom with values that serve others and the world concretely. In that case, it is another way of unwittingly enabling narcissistic instincts. Then, for example, is it ok to allow for no boundaries with wealth when 15,000 people a day die from lack of food and water?
In fact, freedom is so assumed in the United States that it isn’t even a significant part of the dialogue to consider a redirection of wealth at any level to go directly to giving opportunities for survival, even for Americans that are dying each day in our country.
This is abusive in favor of self-serving ideals at the expense of others’ survival. Sometimes, this can foster indulging in lifestyles without developing character or evolving as individuals or even collectively as a society.
Freedom in “the free world” often relates excessively to a lack of care and balance for those individuals with money, corporations, religious holdings, and even foundations that are not using a significant part of the principle of their wealth. I am not saying that I have the answers to how each of these areas needs to be dealt with, but I am saying that these areas need to be part of our legislative process and conversations throughout America and the free world.
The resulting negative and horrible impact is always on the poor, the disabled, and those living in conditions that don’t leave them access to the power of job opportunities. The rationalization, which is a half-truth, is that freedom supports creating jobs and housing opportunities. But that doesn’t consider the gross imbalances of harm that it costs when the facts are not revealed. This trickle-down view of economics is a rationalization for not giving wealth to create job opportunities to those that don’t have them throughout our country and doing the same for those in the world that are disempowered. All able-bodied people deserve the right to work and protect their families.
It is very expensive to idealize freedom without an immediate qualifier that considers others that are not free. It has reached addictive proportions not only today but throughout history. To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t a single nation in history that has had the maximum amount of wealth and freedom during its time which it has used to take care of its have-nots to any substantial degree. Throughout history, only a large percentage of the world’s indigenous people have shown deep respect for the earth and the greater community.
The average wealthy family only contributes a tiny percent of care (in terms of net worth and yearly income) for the have-nots or the earth due to this one-sided idealizing of freedom. Freedom without boundaries is another way of saying it is ok to be virtually oblivious, intolerant, self-indulgent, and to a large degree — even graceless to the planet on which we live and those in the greatest need.
Yes, I use the word grace-less because it lacks fundamental generosity to those in a futile struggle for survival. In addition, those who are free include religious and spiritual sectors, which so often haven’t prioritized humanitarian outreach at a significant level. They have not attempted to teach a natural grace and humility to help others, even with our unprecedented times in our country with enormous poverty and a truly imperiled planet.
Freedom and religion
Religious and spiritual teachers don’t emphasize this blind spot in our society of freedom. Nor do they mention how this freedom is often used to accumulate wealth, which is not presented as a central part of their message in their congregations. Instead, some vague messages and programs address a tiny percentage of the need, even though the central tenets of virtually all religions are to treat others as ourselves.
This is devastating because if we can’t rely on our most “pure representatives”, teachers and ministers to advocate for sharing wealth, creating opportunities, and welcoming others into security, how can they ask for ongoing reflection from their congregants?
Religions also have the frequent occasion to use the freedom to discriminate against what they consider to be the faithful vs. unfaithful, our congregants and our beliefs vs. theirs. This is an abuse of freedom not to inspire a deep concern for the well-being of all people and the planet. In addition, religious benefits in the tax codes have no accountability for those using their wealth to be a direct benefactor with a certain percentage of their wealth. This would make the original religious and spiritual leaders turn in their graves. It’s fine to have different beliefs, practices, and traditions, but not actively encouraging caring financially, creating job opportunities, compassion, and support for others and the planet is an abuse of freedom.
Of course, there will always be a preference for those who practice or believe the way we do, but the degree of caring, generosity, and compassion for those truly suffering needs to be a higher percentage — no matter their belief. It is not dissimilar from how it needs to be for wealthy individuals, corporations, and foundations. We all need to come together to have a greater likelihood of amassing more power for goodness, cooperation, peace, and job opportunities vs. the forces who stand for corruption, tyranny, and dictatorships throughout the world.
What’s the importance of freedom in politics?
This is not meant as a one-sided political statement, even though in today’s world, it is clear that freedom is being abused by one party in a much broader way than the other. In America, it does appear that the freedom to vote is being threatened quite clearly. Similarly, the value of truth is under attack from those generating conspiracy theories out of their freedom of speech. Outright lies are an abuse of freedom.
Beyond that, which is as sacred as democracy gets, there are issues on both sides of the aisle regarding freedom of how money and opportunities are imbalanced grossly and held onto by both parties, which betray common sense, human decency, and self-centeredness. We can do much better when we look and act from a deeper part of our ability to role reverse and ask ourselves how would we want to be treated if we happen to be born in a different neighborhood, country, or environment?
It would seem obvious that the freedom to carry guns that could potentially kill more than six people needs to be monitored with strict criteria. Six is a mere hypothetical limit. One person cannot decide whether 3/6/12 bullets are too many. But the idea is for our congress to reduce the chances of mass killing and make it possible to fight against those that, based on their fears and insecurities, feel the need to carry multiple weapons and ammunition to feel safe at the expense of mass killings.
Common sense is that there can’t be enough firepower to allow for large shootings in schools, buildings, etc. I am confident that our founding fathers didn’t anticipate schools, temples, synagogues, and buildings to be shot up with any near this kind of heartbreaking regularity or killing so many.
The name of freedom, in this case, is a form of unwitting permission or license to kill others quickly and without cause, and the net effect increases the merciless slaughter. Also, the lack of scrutiny with mental health, criminal records, and violence of any kind isn’t closely monitored either. Once again, invoking freedom is being used to support indulgence, destruction, and death.
Freedom and abortion (in America)
Abortion is another critical area that would require a compromise in our political arena that has caused violence, especially in recent times.
There is an apparent compromise between the ‘Pro-Lifers’ (Right to Life) and Pro-Choice (Women’s Rights) that involves some boundaries on both ends. For example, right now, many states currently offer the right to abort at no more than 33 weeks — because it is deemed viable at that stage unless it’s a risk for the mother.
Instead, placing the limit at 12- 20 weeks would be a good enough compromise of freedom to consider the sincerity of both sides. Women’s reproductive freedom and their right to bodily autonomy are sacred. At the same time, it is also important not to injure an infant who might be able to sense life. It doesn’t seem sensible that either side of the issue has the right to pretend to be God. None of us knows when life is really created, and a lot of humility and sensibility need to be engendered on both sides.
Freedom needs to be balanced with the quality and respect for life in all ways. Again, I am not proclaiming to have the precise answer, but it does seem clear that there is a middle ground that doesn’t require the grandiosity of really knowing the exact start of life and how that needs to be balanced by women’s freedom/
Corporations and the myth of freedom
Corporate freedom is another area that gives privileges that allow for-profit over the well-being of humanity as a part of its bylaws. It would be sane capitalism if B-corps were the primary way of doing business in a capitalistic society. B-corporations, which seem like sane democracies and businesses, would be understood as a balance of supporting incentives for individual creativity, intelligence, work/wealth creation, and the well-being of others and the planet close to equally.
This is the fulfillment of the ideal of capitalism at its best. So why wouldn’t we want to create a system that has profit over purpose and support for all involved? This may sound like a radical thought, but I believe when we see the implications of putting profit ahead of humanity, we can see the connections between global warming, war, unhealthy competition, and a lack of cooperation —the list could go on and on.
Many other political issues would be supported if we could balance freedom with different qualities that are the best parts of our essential nature. This would be true with police reform, infrastructure, homelessness, low-income housing, global warming, etc.
Helping others and the planet in the spirit of freedom
How might we support refugees throughout the planet with good use of our freedom? A comprehensive immigration plan involves low-cost, good-quality housing and job training while the immigrants are working to prove their reliability by working for their room and board. We explore this immigration in great detail in this whitepaper.
The plan calls for several key steps that enable freedom to have boundaries that both sides of the aisle need to have. This proposal includes projects, ideas, and support for aspiring refugees to be required to work to create benefits for our country (like regenerative agriculture or clean energy). They would also give low-cost but secure housing, access to schools teaching English, etc. It would also allow for evaluations by staff to ensure higher quality discrimination for appropriate entry for immigration and equipped with electronic monitoring for security and containment along the border.
As for work and job opportunities, regenerative agriculture is one good answer to both immigration and planetary problems. This would allow food to be created in large volumes that can be given to the poor who are closest to each community along the border.
The absurdity is that once the facility is created, it will not cost more than the current dollars spent on immigration protection and all the appurtenant costs. It would benefit the country by more screening of immigrants, less law enforcement, and the highest quality food being given to food banks throughout the region. There could be other daily work that would also serve the country, but this alone could make an enormous difference in international relations as a model for every country and of great benefit to ours.
On the other hand, the United States policy on immigration has far too much freedom without setting boundaries. We need to give a clear message of how many immigrants we will allow from south of the border and monitor it in the best way possible, whether electronic, through helicopters, fences, or National Guard. There needs to be a clear statement that we can only handle a set amount of people per year so that we can offer them humanitarian care. This will greatly lessen the surge of immigration at our border with clear enforcement.
Let’s work to make sure our freedom is not selfish
Freedom can be so quickly another word for Self-Centeredness. It is a gift to bring out the opportunities for genius, inspiration, motivation, and not being controlled by an outside authoritarian force. It is the best way of governing that I can see.
However, there must be limits and balance in virtually every act of freedom, as our history has taught us. This is true with excessive religious freedom that has led to war, grandiosity, corruption, sexual perversions, and greed. At the same time, religion and spirituality have also led to the best values known to humankind on this planet.
The boundaries of considering the well-being of everyone and placing strict limits in the areas of power and greed allow for the gifts to be brought to the world. It also enables man-made perversions to be limited or eliminated. It seems evident that the founder of every major religion would agree with this simple premise.
From the best I can see, we have the best potential governing policy in the world. However, there is a broad need as this paper has attempted to begin a dialogue to balance this freedom with character and integrity to bring out the best ingenuity that can serve humankind and still inspire every individual to do their best. This would be a turning point for humanity even if it needs to start gradually, issue by issue, one freedom being balanced at a time.