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Is Freedom Possible Anymore?

Updated on February 14, 2010

Freedom! Mel Gibson screamed it in a spine tingling sort of way as he pretended to be quartered, and the USA in particular tends to go all gooey over the phrase. But can we really experience freedom in the modern age anymore? Or is freedom as dead as a dodo?

9/11 precipitated a global assault on freedom that has half of us reeling and the other half of us praising tight security. 9/11 turned terrorism from something that happened to people in Andorra into something that might occasionally happen on home turf, and millions of people who had apparently never come to terms with the fact that they were going to die someday suddenly became convinced that of only the threat of terrorism could be weeded out, we'd all live forever.

If you're suspected as a terrorist these days, nobody cares if you're locked up indefinitely without charge or trial, and that, my friends, is a terrifying reality that none of us care to look at properly. We have forsaken our freedom for the illusion of security and even the most progressive Western nations are becoming steadily more totalitarian as a result.

It's odd, because we don't mind the fact that you're quite a great deal more likely to die as a result of heart disease or in a car accident, or even by being struck by lightening than by a terrorist attack. We'll eat fries and burgers and pizzas until the cows come home, and we'll happily poison the planet with toxic wastes as we breed ourselves into oblivion and that's fine, but if a man with a bomb or a gun might possibly come for us, suddenly we care and suddenly we are happy to subject ourselves to radiation from body scanners, wire tapping, the selling of email records from ISP's to governments and all manner of other infringements upon our freedoms because it might keep us 'safe'.

We're not safe people. The world never has and never will be a place to be safe in. It is a place to live in , to experience the wonders of creation. It is not a place in which you can be protected by a government that has a hand in all your affairs and can demand to see you naked if you want to take certain types of transportation.

I know its a terrifying thought that we're never more than a hair's breadth away from death, but it is nonetheless true, and it is time that we all grew up and accepted the risks of death so that we might actually enjoy some freedom in our lives. Freedom, true freedom, means giving up our attachments to things that can never be real, and safety is one of those things.

Freedom is possible, but it means no longer acting like a bunch of kids watching a horror movie at a sleep over. It means being the adults we are and acknowledging that whilst life comes with risk, being so obsessed with those risks that we give up our freedoms and rights in order to feel protected from them is a waste of life.

You'll be safe when you're dead.


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    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      I approve that comment :D

    • profile image

      Got Metta? 8 years ago

      Well said, Hope.

      We live in a passionate or ideological era, and emotion commonly trumps reason. Critical thinking and common sense seem to be in short supply.

      I’m far more afraid of dying on I-95 than I am from a terrorist attack, and avoid it during high traffic periods, if possible. (This view seems to be in the minority – when my wife and I refused to cancel a visit to friends in Australia in December 2001, many of our friends and family thought we were nuts.)

      Fear is a powerful motivator and terrorists, politicians and charlatans know this and use it to further their own agendas.

      Rational people need to push back. The Universe is not Binary – life is not either/or. Zero risk exists only in our imaginations; living is risky, the sensible approach is prudence. To live in fear is to refuse to live – and to let the fear mongers win.

      Benjamin Franklin summed it up well: “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”


      Got Metta?