What is Freedom?

April 27, 2009
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Freedom can be very hard to define because it depends on people’s views and opinions. Some might say that freedom is having control over one’s actions and words, belongings, and rights as long as they are not infringing upon anyone else’s rights or freedom. The dictionary mainly defines freedom as the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint. I believe that freedom is the opportunity to exercise ones rights, having the right to do what you should and ought to do, and having the opportunity to make choices.
My first definition of freedom is the opportunity to exercise ones rights. One can exercise one’s rights thanks to freedom, as long as those rights do not hurt others or infringe on other living things. I think people need to respect one another by making sure they are not imposing on other’s freedom. The first amendment of the Ten Amendments state that a person has the freedom of speech, religion, petition, and press. With these rights a person is allowed the freedom to say whatever they want, practice whatever religion they choose, petition the government to rectify problems, and the press is allowed to report on what they choose.
My second definition of freedom is having the right to do what you should and ought to do. Last year at Abbey Youth Festival Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus Christ in The Passion, was a guest speaker. He told us, “Freedom is not having the right to do what you want, it is having the right to do as you ought.” Freedom is doing what you should do. If one sees an elderly person drop something and one knows that it might be hard for them to bend down and get it, one should pick it up for them; little things like that make a difference.
My last definition of freedom is having the opportunity to make choices. We should feel lucky to have the ability to make choices and not have others make them for us. C. Wright Mills once said, “Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them -- and then, the opportunity to choose.” Freedom gives one the chance to have choices and to be able to choose from those choices. Not everyone has this ability, especially in other countries.
Without freedom one could never exercise one’s rights, do what they ought to and should do, and would never have the opportunity to make choices. Freedom allows all of that to happen. With freedom people can exercise their rights, as long as it hurts no one else. One can also do what they should do without having to worry about it. Lastly, freedom lets people make decisions. Though freedom may be hard to universally define, I still agree with what the dictionary says, in addition to more specific freedoms. Freedom allows us to live our lives without having to worry about every little detail in life. Without freedom, the United States of America would be a different place.

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