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An Allergy to Freedom


Freedom makes people uncomfortable. At least, that's the conclusion I draw.

Some on the right side of the political spectrum don't like the idea of people having social freedom.

Some on the left side of the political spectrum don't like the idea of people having economic freedom.

Now, when I use the word freedom, I'll borrow the dictionary's definition, just to let you know that I'm not choosing my own definition:

Exemption from external control, interference, regulation.

The power to determine action without restraint.

The absence of or release from ties, obligations.

Freedom means that I have the right to determine my own actions and direction in life, and I do not owe anyone anything to which I haven't explicitly obligated myself.

That right there makes some people really uncomfortable.

There are some people on the right who want to use the government to restrict your behavior, even if your behavior is among consenting adults.

There are some people on the left who want to use the government to obligate your personal property, even though they had nothing to do with your voluntary exchange of work to gain that property.

To get around that discomfort, someone abandoned the words "freedom" and "independence" and coined new terms, such as "conservatism" and "progressivism."

A lot of folks have now just inherited those words without giving much thought to them. If you're one of them, I ask you: how do you feel about freedom?


by Brett Rogers, 2/28/2011 9:10:02 AM


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