What is freedom and do we have it?
The subject of freedom and its definition might mean different things to different individuals. We are a country with immense freedoms as engrained in the Constitution and these freedoms are not to be taken lightly. Today freedom of speech and freedom of religion is under attack by individuals, groups and sometimes the government with regards to some of their actions or decisions.
Just before our country entered World War II President Roosevelt gave a speech about four distinct freedoms worth fighting for. Two I have mentioned above were contained in his speech. They were freedom of speech and freedom of worship but there were two additional freedoms mentioned in his speech, they were freedom from want and freedom from fear. The source of this information was dictionary.reference.com/browse/freedom. Each of the freedoms cited in President Roosevelt’s speech are important especially in these troubling times around the world.
Below are some definitions taken from the Oxford dictionary along with a paragraph about each definition.
The first definition states: “The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. With regards to this first definition we do have some freedom in this aspect but we must also comply with other laws such as libel or slander which can have a negative impact on the reputation of others. The right to act or speak involves both verbal and written. We are a country built on the freedoms and philosophy of our founding fathers. We do have the power in this first definition but we must remember we need to take responsibility for our actions. Our decisions and actions can upset others who do not agree with our positions on issues. Another aspect of the above definition involves the right of elected officials to make decisions associated with their responsibilities and authority. The current indictment of Governor Rick Perry for exercising his authority in vetoing funding for an integrity unit is criminalizing actions by elected officials. This action opens the door for other prosecutors to bring lawsuits against actions by any government official acting within their authority.
Government officials should make decisions based on the facts and not worry about how the public will react. Another key point is the fact Rick Perry had stated for several months he would veto the legislation if it reaches his desk. The same statements have been made by President Obama that he would veto a piece of legislation if the current content reaches his desk. Some make say it is not the same thing but it principle it is. Both individuals are making statements about their actions which are within their responsibilities and authority.
We have the right and freedom to make our own decisions but some decisions are now being hampered by restrictive laws and regulations which violate the freedoms we have engrained in the Constitution. One example which has been widely discussed in several media reports is the right to choose the type of health insurance we have and the coverage we want to pay for. This is as an individual and as a business. Requirements in the healthcare law have placed minimum standards that policies must contain and there is even an evaluation of determining whether the health insurance we have is substandard based on a government official’s decision. In the past we were able to choose not only the type of coverage we want but how much we want to pay. Prices involve a determination of costs for each specific coverage and we should not be required to pay for coverage that is either not applicable to our individual situation or coverage we do not want. In addition our health decisions should be between us and our doctors not some bureaucratic system which defines or makes decisions on what the government feels is acceptable procedures or when. Government should not be involved in our healthcare decisions.
Other freedoms in relation to this first definition also relate to the fact that there are restrictions on companies who want to develop energy resources on government lands. The technology has some valid concerns in some respects but there are always going to be risk in any endeavor. The technology now being used in several states is proving safe and effective and has a positive impact on individual state and local economies. Additionally we have the freedom to move from one city or state to another without restrictions by government on whether we can take such action or make such decisions at least for now.
The last definition to be discussed states: “the state of not being subject to or affected by (a particular undesirable thing) government policies to achieve freedom from want. As mentioned before government policies affect our lives every day and achieving freedom from want should not be the result from or restriction related to government policies, laws or regulations. The freedoms we have both in principle and as identified within the Constitution we should resist by whatever means we have available to voice our opposition to actions of Congress. Congress needs to listen to the people for whom they work and avoid making decisions or creating legislation which directly or indirectly impact the freedoms we have come to enjoy and expect. We as voters have the capability through our decisions to removed elected officials from office if they are not listening to us or are not addressing our countries issues not their political agenda which contradict the principles on which this country was found.