Home > Pictures, Politics, Spirituality > Freedom doesn't buy you medication

Freedom doesn't buy you medication

This post was inspired by Zoë Westhof’s “What is Freedom?

Freedom is such a lofty concept. I like my freedom. I even love my freedom. And I love your freedom, too – if you abstain from going on my nerves with your stereo on full blast. I would even do certain things to keep our freedom. Or should I say: to obtain freedom? Flying like a bird above the clouds, nothing oppressing me, going where I want to go, living where I want to live, saying what I want to say.
Above the Clouds
By Detlef

Alas: freedom is a concept difficult to reconcile with daily live on earth:

Back Alley
By Detlef

  • If you can’t buy a decent thing to eat: do you want freedom?
  • If you have lost your job, cannot pay the mortgage or the rent any more: do you want freedom?
  • If you are still young and your teeth are rotting in your mouth because you don’t have the money to have access to a dentist: do you want freedom?

Freedom is not a basic human need. To be protected from thirst, hunger, cold, crime and disease are basic human needs.

Why is “Freedom!” the big rallying call? Why is it used to explain why young people have to die? Are these young people free to do other jobs than being freedom fighters? Are they free to get another education than being freedom fighters?

I fear freedom is just a blank space above the clouds used by crooks on earth to stash their cash.

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  1. May 17, 2009 at 9:05 am

    This post is awesome DC. Always a different point of view from you, forcing us to reconsider our assumptions. Freedom is equal parts burden and blessing, at least in its purest form, and using the spirit of freedom to justify the subjugation of others isn’t freedom at all.

    • May 17, 2009 at 9:40 pm

      Thank you, Jeb, your comment at Zoë’s made a big impression on me.

      It’s political freedom I’m talking about here, not inner freedom. I think political freedom is grossly overrated because it’s such a featureless value. People are free to die crossing the Mediterranean Sea in a rubber boat from Africa to Lampedusa. They are as intelligent as those of us living in “developed countries”. They want to eat and drink and a perspective for themselves and their children. The countries they come from don’t need freedom but legal security and opportunities to sell their products in the world market.

  2. Zoe
    May 19, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Detlef,
    I think it really is important to underline that freedom is not freedom when it imposes on the freedom of others. Thanks for this thoughtful response!

    But I do think freedom, though lofty and abstract, implies the freedom to go where you please, get the services you need, and basically the freedom to live (not just survive) — things that legal security and opportunities can provide. I don’t think they’re separate from this idea of freedom, but rather part of it. Political freedom is when no one is stopping you from exploring these opportunities, and you can do so without unreasonable threat/risk.

    • May 19, 2009 at 11:55 pm

      Hi Zoë, thank you for stopping by and for inaugurating this debate.
      There is still your post about the Cambodian garbage dump in my mind. I think we should be as specific in politics as possible in politics. Where there are no economic opportunities freedom is a cynical concept.

      Take my country, the European Union and those African refugees stranding at the Italian island of Lampedusa. From the viewpoint of their governments they are free to go whereever they like. It’s my government that doesn’t let them go where they want to go.

      If the Europeans would let them all in the demographic and economic changes would be a landslide. Europe would cease to be the place it is now. If for good or bad – I really don’t know but I suppose my own standard of living would very much be affected.

      So my own freedom to travel and to live the life I live depends on those Africans (and other emigrants) being denied their freedom to travel and find their luck wherever they want.

  3. Zoe
    May 22, 2009 at 12:19 am

    That’s a great illustration of the whole paradox … nothing we do can be black and white, it’s always balancing along the spectrum.

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