Sunday, December 03, 2006

Are we REALLY free?

free•dom n. 1. The condition of being free of restraints. 2. Liberty of the person from slavery, detention, or oppression. 3.a. Political independence. b. Possession of civil rights; immunity from the arbitrary exercise of authority. 4. Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition: freedom from want. 5. The capacity to exercise choice; free will: We have the freedom to do as we please all afternoon. 6. Ease or facility of movement: loose sports clothing, giving the wearer freedom. 7. Frankness or boldness; lack of modesty or reserve: the new freedom in movies and novels. 8.a. The right to unrestricted use; full access: was given the freedom of their research facilities. b. The right of enjoying all of the privileges of membership or citizenship: the freedom of the city.

Every day, in the mass media, in popular culture, in movies and television, we are told (and/or exposed to) more and more repetitive bruiting of the phrase “We are free!” While, at the same time, day by day, every day, our constitutional rights are being increasingly limited, truncated or simply stripped from the people. Look at the definition above. Of ALL the possible definitions above, the ONLY one that arguably still remains (and that in a limited degree) is 3.a. ‘political independence’.

As far as the premier definition, “The condition of being free of restraints”, can we really claim to be free from restraints? When we can’t even board an aircraft without being wanded, probed, x-rayed, and, as we now know, even having our entire background (credit rating, criminal/arrest record, even our library files) examined in minute detail, are we “free of restraints”? Do we have “ease or facility of movement”? When the TSA maintains its highly secretive database (the infamous “No Fly List”) which determines, on undisclosed criteria that, whether a particular person will be allowed to board a particular flight, even if they have been allowed to purchase a ticket for that flight! This certainly strikes me as a violation of definitions 1., 2., 3.b., 4., 5., 6. 8.a. & b. above. So, where is our ‘freedom’?

Does anyone truly believe that our present condition of ‘freedom’ in any way comports with the vision of our Founding Fathers? Is this the reason they suffered, fought and died from 1776 to 1783? Is this UCLA Student Gets Tazered an example of our ‘free’ society? We fought a revolution, at least in part, in revulsion of the quartering of the King’s troops in private homes. So, this situation, 88-year old Kathryn Johnson killed in a no-knock drug raid gone bad, any better?

Perhaps we should stop saying how free we are and, instead, ASSERT our freedom and return the state, in all its facets, to the status of civil servant rather than allow them to be civil masters.
Byzantine Blog