The year 2012 was an election year, and we heard the word FREEDOM bandied around by every politician and pundit who could find an audience. I’m sure I heard it from at least a hundred different viewpoints on just what the word really means, and I’ve been mulling over (as my grandfather would have said) my own thoughts on the subject.
It seems to me that we all give lip service to the fact that we certainly do want to be free, right? I mean just ask anyone standing on any street corner in this country if he wants to be free or not. How many do you suppose are going to tell you that no, they in fact would prefer not to have their freedom? None, I’m thinking.
Of course, if you talk a little longer, question a little deeper, you just might find that the person on the street or the pundit on the television or even the politician running for office has no idea what the word freedom really means, and that can be a very scary thing indeed.
Long ago I used to teach the concept of Transcendentalism and the authors spawned during what is called the Transcendental Period. One of the basic concepts was self-reliance and the fact that we are all responsible for ourselves. To the Transcendentalist, this was freedom in its pure form.
It seems to me that with true freedom comes true responsibility, something none of us relish, and yet something that is very necessary if we are truly to be a free society. The upside of being responsible for ourselves is that we can take the credit when we succeed, right? Of course, it cuts both ways. In a free society and when we are responsible for ourselves, we usually have only ourselves to blame when we fail.
I have the feeling that in the very near future we are going to find ourselves at a crossroads in this country having to answer this very question before we can proceed: Freedom, Just What Does It Really Mean?
It’s a thought, isn’t it?