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Essay Freedom Means

Shown below are essays* on the topic
"What Freedom Means To Me" that have been submitted by the
applicants for the James Daniel Faulkner Scholarship.
Freedom means many things to my country, my family, and my life. Freedom means that every individual has a
chance to grow to become everything they know and wish they could be. Freedom gives hope for opportunity
and a life without dictators or a controlling government. Freedom gives confidence, inspiration, and fulfillment.

To be without freedom, would prove to be without dreams. Without the possibility to strive for the best and most
promising education and the highest goals, would leave a mere life limited of opportunity. Hope, satisfaction, and
growth would dwindle, and life would scarcely exist. Freedom gives the utmost opportunity and the chance to be
all that you can be.
Freedom to me is priceless. Without it I wouldn't be able to enjoy most of the things I have the privilege to do
today. I wouldn't be able to express myself freely through my speech or the way I dress. I wouldn't be able to
participate in trade of football. And most of all I wouldn't have the opportunity for higher education. Freedom
means everything because without it I along with many other Americans would have nothing to enjoy or call our
own. Freedom needs to be defended at all costs even though it is tragic when American lives are lost in the
process. I feel I owe those men and women in the Armed Forces everything I love and have the freedom of doing
today. Freedom to me is indeed priceless.
What freedom means to me is Sgt. James Daniel Faulkner and any other individuals that have lost their lives for
the freedom of everybody else is what freedom means to me. We are so lucky to live in a country where
individuals will fight and defend for others rights and freedoms. I am able to wake up, put on anything I want, eat
anything I can find in the refrigerator and go to school without being worried that somebody will tell me to go
home and change clothes or make me eat something else. I have the choice to go to whatever church or gather
with a group of people to worship the God of my choice. If we weren't as fortunate to have brave men and
women like your son then some of the things that we are able to do or believe in would not be found in our
society today. Your son is a symbol of freedom and is a highly respected individual in the hearts of everybody in
Clarksville.
For many Americans freedom means they are allowed to vote, say what the want, and live whatever life they
wish to. However, freedom and the American dream mean a little more to me. To me, freedom is the feeling you
get inside when you watch the news and thank God you are healthy and safe. Freedom is the feeling you get
inside of yourself when even though the most tragic events occur you are able to hold your head up high
knowing that we are protected and we have something other countries may never dream of having: genuine
comfort, happiness, and a people that will forever stand for these things. Yes, for me freedom doesn't mean I
can elect a president, or bash one I don't like, freedom is not a bold flag, or a chunk of land, no freedom is the
feeling we all have in our darkest hour, that little voice saying "things will get better, after all, you've got me on
your side."
What freedom means to me is the ability to do what I want, when I want and how I want to do it. Freedom gives
me the tools to achieve anything that I am willing to work for. Many people take for granted the word freedom
and misuse it all the time. They don't understand that living in a free country does not give them the right to
break laws and hurt other people. Living in a free country gives us the responsibility to honor the lives that have
been lost to provide that freedom. We can do that by working hard to reach our goals and improve our lives. I
am very proud of being an American, and try to appreciate the incredible sacrifice that others have made so
that I can enjoy the benefits of freedom.
Freedom is a big thing in my life. I wake up every morning knowing that I don't have to walk outside my house
seeing soldiers or people getting shot on the side of the road. I appreciate everything our soldiers have done
for the United States in the past and in present times because if I weren't for them the lives that we have today
would not be the same.
I was born an extremely lucky person. I was born in country called the United States of America where for
centuries men and women have given their lives to ensure that we are all free. We are free to pursue our
dreams whatever they may be, free to live our lives exactly as we choose, and free to express our personal
opinions openly. We live in a country where we can be actively involved in every aspect of its existence. We all
have a voice and are listened to. In America people take care of one another and support each other even
though they may have their differences in many areas. We stand up as a country together and proudly show
the world who we are, how we function, and how our people are encouraged to be successful compassionate
individuals. We are all lucky people.

I have been educated through high school at this point, but I know that because I'm free I can choose to pursue
my own personal dreams. My education will come first beginning at Franklin College, then a family and career
of my choice. I will one day make my country proud that I was born a citizen of the United States of America by
becoming everything that I have been free to become
As I sit here trying to write this essay a million thought cross through my mind. "What exactly is freedom?" I
think to myself. I have known nothing but freedom so this essay is extremely hard for me to write. I believe you
cannot fully understand or appreciate something until it is taken away.

From my understanding freedom is my life. Everyday I wake up and am free to decide who I want to be, how to
live my life, and most importantly what to do with my future. I know not everyone in this worked is born into a
blessing like I have been. Every second of everyday I have someone protecting my freedom so I can continue
to live the only life I have ever known. It is a gift from every American soldier who has given his or her life to
secure our freedom.

As I sit here trying to think of an abundance of reasons to wrap up this essay on what freedom means to me, I
simply cannot. I can only think of one reason and that is freedom is my life and it is the most important thing
that anyone could have. I can live my life the way that I choose and that is simply what freedom means to me.
Freedom to me is having the capability to rise from my bed each day with a smile and know that I am the only
one who can mess up the day ahead. We, as people who have freedom, are often times guilty of taking it or
granted. We greedily do this, while there are people who do not even get one chance to have the opportunities
that we have. Having freedom is very important to me, and I know hat it takes people willing to put their lives in
harms way just for people to have this amazing option. When I think about what freedom means to me, I try to
put into words- but the words I came up with still do not fully express my thoughts on how awesome it is. But I
know that freedom allows me to wake up each day with a smile, and know that it is up to me to take advantage
of the amazing gift that people put their lives on the line for.
Freedom is the United States. When I think of freedom I think of men and women who serve in the Armed
Forces, many who have given their life for my freedom. This sacrifice is greatly appreciated by me and my
family. I ray for the protection of our families here in the United States by the men and women who bravely
defend us against people who do not understand or have the freedom that we take fro granted.
These essays are presented only as information for the purpose of illustrating what freedom means to an average high school senior.
Your opinion and definition my differ greatly from the ideas and opinions expressed in these essays.
If you are interested in sharing your thoughts and ideas of what freedom means to you please send your essay to: greggilk@insightbb.com
Freedom to me is having choice. Having the choice to use my voice. Having the choice to praise God. Having
the choice to wear what I want to wear. Having the choice for opportunity. Freedom is waking up every morning
knowing that I can go and make my own decisions and live my own life. Freedom comes from men and women,
who risk their lives everyday because without freedom we would not be "The Land of the Free."
Freedom to me is something that can't be rationalized or put into words. I see freedom as something many
people take for granted. There are so many things that classify as having freedom that many people don't
even notice. I do notice the freedoms I have. Freedom means a lot to me. I am happy to have the freedom to
do almost what I want. My freedom has come a long way from the slave days that my ancestors used to live in. I
no longer have to go through what they went through. I am grateful for all the soldiers that died just to help
greater the freedom that "we the people" have. So if I were to try to put freedom into words I would say that
freedom to me means the right to make your own decisions or express yourself the way you want. Thanks to
the work of soldiers who fought in war I am able to do things that even I take for granted.
Freedom is something that is near and dear to my heart. It is something that I appreciate every day of my life
by recognizing the idea of freedom. Freedom is an idea that is a combination of many ideas. This combination
includes the ability to say anything a person wants, do whatever he wants (while obeying certain laws), and the
ability to become whatever he wants. This last idea is the one that means the most. It says that any person has
the ability yo be whatever he wants to be. That idea is the heart of the American dream. It is the reason why
people began coming to America, and why we work so hard to defend our ideals. I appreciate the chance to
realize my dreams. Without our freedoms, I would not have that chance.
Freedom to me is the ability to wake up every morning in my comfortable bed and turn off my alarm clock to
start the day doing whatever I want, when I want, talking to whoever I want, when I want to, and seeing my
family every day. I look over at my boyfriends picture and wonder if this is the day the men and women fighting
for our country will get a chance to sleep after going days without it or if today is the chance they will get the
opportunity to call home for 30 minutes after weeks without talking to their loved ones. Because of the nobility
of the men and women of our country I get the chance to live my life however I wish. That is the freest freedom
to me.
Freedom is one of the greatest rights given to Americans. Through years of war and turmoil our nation has
become independent. With this independence, came freedom. Each day Americans wake up with a choice.
While in other countries they don't. Freedom was created because men and women of America have fought
for it and I am forever grateful for that.
Freedom to me means being able to choose and decide on my own. I feel that as a person I should be able to
choose which religion I want to practice. I should be able to choose which career I want to be involved in. I
also think freedom means walking around in this country without being terrified for my life. Thanks to the
brave men and women fighting and who have previously fought, I can proudly walk around knowing that I
have the freedom to choose and that I am safe in this country.
All across the United States of America people take for granted the freedoms that have been bestowed upon
us by a countless number of soldiers throughout many grueling wars. Unfortunately, many times it has taken
war to establish freedom. Right now, as we speak, a war is being fought in Iraq in order to establish freedom
for members of hat struggling nation. However, freedom is not a concept hat a nation as a whole only
experiences and achieves, freedom is an individual right, an individual privilege that can be taken away at any
given moment.

As a United States citizen, I am naive to the harsh circumstances other kids my age of other nations must
endure. I can honestly say that I do not know what it is like to fear a government. Living in the United States
has given me freedom to trust, freedom to relax knowing that my government strives for the continuing
establishment of liberty for each individual person. Because our nation is operated with the mind-set/goal of
allowing everyone to have a free life, we in the United States have individual freedom to achieve whatever we
want, to involve ourselves in whatever we want, and to live freely without serious concerns about how our
nation is being run. Specifically, we have freedom to form opinions, likes and dislikes, and to accomplish what
we choose in every aspect.

Personally, I feel that freedom is something that is not necessarily free. Although we live in a country that
entrusts us with this privilege, we must all contribute to this effort for a continuous free nation. Freedom means
that we are all united and searching for a common goal and therefore, must use this advantage in order to
unite Americans even closer. Freedom is hard to express considering that I have experienced nothing else.
However I do know that it is fragile and must be handled with care: I must continue to live with integrity so that
my country can make this condition available to its people. We all have the freedom to unite ourselves as one
team and must use this privilege in this way firstly in order to maintain it.
Freedom to me means to be able to have my own beliefs and thoughts, my own speech, and to wake up in
the morning and take a step outside knowing that thanks to the men and women fighting for the war on
terrorism, that I can be my own individual.
Freedom to me means being courageous. It is not free and it did not come to our country easy. People fought
for our countries freedom with tremendous courage and determination, and people are still fighting today to
help others seek the same kind of freedom you and I have. I appreciate all the men and women who have the
courage to fight for our country and keep us all safe and out of harms way. We as a country are very lucky to
live in a place where we are not limited to the things we want to do because of what freedom means to all the
people who have the courage to defend our great nation.
To me freedom is a strong word, it is very important to me. I have had many members of my family and U.S.
Citizens fight in wars so I could have my freedom and I would never take it for granted. Many people in other
countries don't have the freedom that we have in the U.S. and some people don't even realize that. They
don't realize that when they walk down the street wearing what they want and saying what they want, that they
can do that because people have sacrificed their lives for them. Freedom is very important to me.
Freedom is an important aspect of my life. If I did not have freedom I do not know what life would be like. I
would have to live my life through the way someone else wanted life to be like. I am so thankful that we have
freedom in the United States. I am so grateful that we have soldiers in Iraq fighting for freedom. I wish ever y
soldier the best of luck and not just me  but America supports all of them. I pray that God is by their sides
every step of the way.
Freedom means everything to me, because without it the world as all of us know it now would be totally
different. We probably wouldn't be able to say what we want, believe what we want, or even try to achieve
what we want. Because all of those things involve freedom. But that freedom isn't just given, it was fought for
by many people during many different wars. I appreciate and am very thankful for each and every man and
woman that put their life on the line to protect the United States, our citizens and our freedom.
Freedom is a gift that  was given at birth, and one that I do and will forever treasure. The word freedom may
be defined as being free or at liberty in the dictionary, but to me it means so much more. I have the ability to
be who I want to be, to learn and strive for success, and to have my own personal views and thoughts on any
matter. People in other countries do not have this wonderful gift, and that is what freedom is: a gift. This gift is
given to every new child born by our founding fathers, parents, and the service men and women who fight
everyday just so that gift is not taken from us. Freedom is the advantage that every American is given, and is
the gift that separates a person from a U.S. Citizen.
Freedom is more than being able to become who you want to be in life, or having the choice to become
anything at all. It is more than being able to do what you want to do. Freedom is defined in the American
Heritage High School dictionary as the right of enjoying all the privileges of membership or citizenship. To me,
it is more than that. I feel that freedom isn't just being free. It ties into respect as well. Standing up for the
pledge of allegiance every morning before first period, or even staring at the flag and thinking of all the ones
across seas during the national anthem knowing they'd give anything to be where you are. I really don't
believe freedom can be truly defined in words but can be defined on how we use it. Thank God for our living
and fallen heroes and may God be with them all.
Without the freedom that is granted to me and my fellow Americans, life would be nothing like the way we live
it now. No, the lives we live here in America are not perfect, but they are far better than the life that people
live in most other countries. We can see this by the overwhelming amount of people that leave their native
countries to come to this one.

Like most things, freedom is not free. We as a country take for granted that we had to fight to obtain it and
still fight to keep it. Our troops are the ones who do that for us and they are not always given the
appreciation they deserve. Without those willing to give their lives to protect our freedom like Daniel Faulkner
did, we would not have that freedom today.

Our freedom is not everything, it is the only thing we truly have. Everything else comes as a result of
freedom. Our freedom of democracy, our free market economy, and the most important component of
freedom with the youth, the freedom to a free education. Most countries do not offer such a thing or do not
offer another one, the freedom to a higher education, the very reason we compete for things such as this.

I'm most thankful for my freedom of expression. I know that my opinion is something that I will always be
entitled to and I'm thankful I will never have to walk down the street hiding my face or holding my tongue. I
know that other people in this world do not have that freedom but I am thankful I do and thankful for the
brave men and women that give their lives to make sure that it will never change.
What freedom means to me is everything.  I mean there really is no other way for me to explain it. If it were
not for freedom then I wouldn't have the option of going to the college I have dreamed of attending since I
was six years old. If it were not for freedom then I wouldn't be able to play baseball, and go to the movies,
and enjoy everything that my country has to offer. When I think of the war, I hate the fact that our soldiers
are over there, and it doesn't seem right, but I know that they are there fighting so that those people don't
have to suffer the consequences of a ruling dictator or corrupt government. Our soldiers are there because
everyone deserves the right to be free and be their own person.
Freedom is a word that we Americans take for granted. Freedom to me means that we are allowed to say
what we want, think what we want and believe what we want without having to worry about being killed for
using aforementioned freedom. Finally freedom to me means that you are willing to give up your own life so
that someone else can have the same freedom as you. That is true freedom.
To me, freedom is something that most Americans take for granted. We don’t think about what every single
one of our soldiers fight for every day. I have many friends that have enlisted and I know how passionate
they feel for what they fight for. To me freedom is something that I value and I thank God and our soldier
constantly because I see the news and it is troubling seeing people suffer because they don’t have the
freedom we have.

We don’t think about how many of our soldiers lose their lives for something as simple as going to school.
Many countries do not have the freedoms we do to obtain an education. We are very lucky to have men and
women out there fighting for us so that we can better our lives and in turn make the world a better place.
With our freedom of education we can spread the knowledge to other countries. I am very grateful for the
sacrifices that the soldiers fight for and for the freedom we as Americans have.
Freedom is being able to be who you are and do what you want. Being your true self is what life is all about.
Some people will like you and some will not. It’s not a big deal if they don’t though. Doing what you want to is
also a part of freedom. No one can make choices for you and you should never let them. Just make sure
when you’re doing what you want, you are not keeping someone else from it. Freedom is a precious thing.
Freedom means the choice to do as one pleases – with the exception of limiting another’s freedom.
Freedom allows me and many others to decide for themselves all aspects of their future. Some such
aspects include career, family, place of residence, etc. Freedom is an innate desire, but it is not assured for
all people. Many people have at times been subjected to systematic oppression by those in power, such as
the Israelites at the hands of the ancient Egyptians, and by small, boisterous groups intent on harassing
them, such as African Americans by the Ku Klux Klan, which leads to a puzzling aspect of freedom – the fact
that it has requirements such as the aforementioned respect for others’ freedom and also the need to aid in
the procurement of freedom for those who suffer oppression.
The one thing in life that I can always be proud of is being a citizen of the United States of America. Just by
chance of birth I have so many more rights than people form other countries. To me freedom is the basis
that makes this country so great. Because we are free to think, feel, say, and believe what we want then we
have an advantage over everyone else in the world. To me freedom is getting to have our own opinions and
have a say as to what goes on in our lives. Americans love our country and want to protect everything that
is stands for, so they risk their lives to do just that. Fighting for our freedom is the most important thing that
one can do with their life and I am proud to be in this country that has so many brave and courageous men
and women that will fight so other people can be free. We are all privileged that we have been so lucky to
be born into this country – the land of the free.
What freedom means to me is that I get to be myself. Because I am free my life is not predetermined and I
am able to become the person I want to become in life. With freedom I make my own life choices. Because I
am free I can pursue the dreams I make for myself without the worry of being stopped.

Because I am free I can run my life-long race. While setting my own pace and choosing the path I want to run
down. Freedom gives me the ability to climb the ladder to the top and finish in first or fall to the bottom and
finish in last. But because I am free I am able to set and achieve my own goals without the influence of others.

If I wasn't free I wouldn't be able to make my own decisions and I wouldn't be able to run my own race in life. If
I wasn't free I wouldn't be able to determine my own future and put forth the effort to achieve anything I
dream of. Without freedom I couldn't choose the path I want to follow in life.

What freedom means to me is that I am able to run my own race and be the person I want to be because
nobody else can.
Freedom means to me that I have nothing to worry about; you are free from worry. In America, I know I am
free because of our troops and their service. They risk their life day in and day out to make sure the people
of America are free. Having freedom is not a right to me, it's a privilege. Having the privilege of freedom is an
honor. I know that me, my family, and my family of friends are worry free because of what the privileges we
are given. I respect my right to freedom of speech, press, and assembly as given to me in the second
amendment of the United States Constitution. I also respect my privilege to have the freedom of being
worried as given to me by the troops of the United States of America.
Freedom is a thing that cannot be ripped from our minds or forced from our hearts; it is the underlying idea
that drives us to stand, at all costs, to preserve this right that was the very basis of our country's standards
and morals. As Americans, we understand freedom as a different definition than the rest of the world, we
hold it tighter and more personal, seeing the inter-workings in everyday life. In childhood, our vague
understanding swells into deeper understanding and takes a personal meaning to each individual. Being
able to openly express intimate ideas and act upon personal conviction is very crucial to how society and
community molds itself.

Freedom to me, is being able to educate my self inwardly, to help my community outwardly. With each
individual choice, there is an opening in the community to inspire other people, to guide them towards a
personal relationship with freedom and help transfer it into community themselves. America as a country is
like no other, strong with unique people supplying new ideas to add depth and advancements to our culture.
Before I could ever help my community I learned what it is to be a morally straight citizen; to be such I had to
have a personal relationship with freedom, letting myself evolve and deepen what freedom is.

Growing up, I was intrigued and eventually immersed in dirt track racing; every second on the track with
equally addicting and strengthening in character. This was not a normal thing, normal interest, normal
pursuit. Racing sparked my deepened understanding of freedom, being able to openly follow what I am
drawn to was an epiphany towards how I could strengthen foundations of freedom for others. Not only
racing, but cross country and track sparked my personal relationship with freedom. Freeing myself through
working my body and exercising my team skills opened new opportunities to express myself and realize the
privileges that I have been so fortunate to receive. We all became very close through this, being able to
express our ideas while absorbing others ideas as well. Without the freedom I have been given, the very
same ones that were earned every day, I wouldn't be able to take advantage of the opportunities that make
me who I am, and who I want to be.
Freedom is the ability to be anything you want to be. Freedom is knowing that you get to make your won
choices every day of your life, and knowing that you can say and do  anything you want. Finally, freedom is
what the military in this country fights to give all of us. These freedoms mean so much to me, because they
allowed me to freely choose my path in life. That choice is something that not everyone in the world is given.
Furthermore, these freedoms need to be taught, and that is why I want to be a coach. I want to have the
opportunity to show young adults that they can do anything they want in life because of their freedom. I'm
very grateful to have the freedoms that give me the opportunity to do this, and I hope that everyone in this
country is grateful for the freedoms we have. Without them, none of us would be doing what we want to with
our lives. Freedom means so much because of the opportunities it vices to everyone, and no one should
live their life without exercising their freedom.
By Reference Tools definition freedom means a state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or
she chooses, without being subject to any, no restraints or restrictions. Freedom to me is o much more.
Freedom is my life and my way of living. If I were not free I would not be who I am today. It has allowed me to
grow and blossom. If it weren't for freedom I just would be another close in the endless sea of despair. I
wouldn't be allowed to have dreams, goals, or aspirations for my future. If I were not free I would be a
miserable shell of a human walking through everyday life and never enjoying anything. That is what
freedom gives me: a reason to live, a reason to believe in myself, and a reason to follow my dreams.
Freedom means everything to me.

Freedom stands for something greater than just the right to act however I choose—it also stands for securing to everyone an equal opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


To most reasonable people, freedom means more than just ‘free to do whatever I want’. Taken literally, that approach would produce anarchy—every man, woman, and child for himself or herself. Fortunately, none of us has to live that way (unless you’re reading this in Somalia or a similar disaster area).

Certainly freedom does mean the right to do as one pleases—to think, believe, speak, worship (or not worship), move about, gather, and generally act as you choose—but only until your choices start to infringe on another person’s freedom.

This still leaves a great deal of latitude. There is a long list of things that one can say, and say freely, for example, that excludes shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

One way to think of this is the difference between “freedom of” (or “freedom to”) and “freedom from”—a point eloquently made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his State of the Union Address delivered on January 6, 1941:

We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.

The Four Freedoms


Securing freedom from fear and freedom from want is very likely to entail some collective, organized action. That kind of activity is often carried out most effectively and efficiently (although, admittedly, not perfectly) by the government. If we want to live in a society where freedoms are protected and where the opportunity to exercise freedom is assured, we have to rely on some form of governance. So far, liberal representative democracy seems to do the best job of it.

Note also that Roosevelt spoke in “world terms.” He and his colleagues (including his wife, Eleanor, one of the greatest women of the 20th century) operated according to a vision in which the United States belonged to a family of nations. This family was interdependent, cooperative, and shared common values. The U.S., in their eyes, would act as a member of that family—a leading member, to be sure, but not a belligerent or domineering one.

In the same speech, Roosevelt said:

There is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:

  • Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.
  • Jobs for those who can work.
  • Security for those who need it.
  • The ending of special privilege for the few.
  • The preservation of civil liberties for all.
  • The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.

These are the simple, basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.

This message is now nearly six decades old, but still rings as true today as when first spoken. We can hardly improve on FDR’s description of the fundamental goals and objectives of technoprogressive policies.

Of course, in 2009 we must take into account new issues and possible new areas of freedom—and potential infringements on freedom—that could not be anticipated in 1941.

In the next 50 years, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and cognitive science will allow human beings to transcend the limitations of the human body. Our senses and cognition will be enhanced. We will have greater control over our emotions and memory. Our bodies and brains will be surrounded by and merged with computer power. We will use these technologies to redesign ourselves and our children in ways that push the boundaries of “humanness.”

One central mission of the IEET is to protect what we call “morphological freedom”—the right for individuals to manage, maintain, augment, and upgrade their own bodies as they see fit—so long, of course, as their actions don’t negatively impact somebody else’s freedoms.

It is interesting that in his 1941 State of the Union Address, Roosevelt spoke of heath care issues that sound immediately familiar in light of the current debate on the U.S. over health insurance reform. He said:

We should bring more citizens under the coverage of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance. We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care.

The argument about health care as a human right and access to basic medicine as an important part of freedom is not a new one. Nor is the effort by opponents of expanded coverage to cast the provision of benefits as a threat to freedom.

As Thomas Frank points out in this important op-ed from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal:

Conservatives of the 1930s, led by an upper-crust outfit called the American Liberty League, certainly felt that way. “That Roosevelt was a dictator there was no doubt; but Liberty Leaguers were not quite sure what kind,” wrote the historian George Wolfskill in “The Revolt of the Conservatives,” a 1962 study of that organization. “Some thought he was a fascist, others believed him a socialist or Communist, while others, to be absolutely sure, said he was both.”

Frank’s piece is titled “The Left should reclaim ‘Freedom’—The Right was wrong about FDR too.” He says:

There are few things in politics more annoying than the right’s utter conviction that it owns the patent on the word “freedom”—that when its leaders stand up for the rights of banks to be unregulated or capital gains to be untaxed, that it is actually and obviously standing up for human liberty, the noblest cause of them all. . .

Any increase in the size or duties of government, the right tells us, necessarily subtracts from our freedom. Government is, by its very nature, a destroyer of liberties; the Obama administration, specifically, is promising to interfere with the economy and the health-care system so profoundly that Washington will soon have us all in chains.

“What we’re going to end up with is higher taxes, bigger government and less freedom for the American people,” House Republican Leader John Boehner said on Fox News in July. “We’re going to have a real fight for how much freedom we’re going to have left in America.”

Hogwash.

Today, of course, we know that the right’s tyranny-fears [about FDR] were nonsense. Most of Roosevelt’s innovations have been the law of the land for 70 years now, and yet we are still a free society.

In closing, Frank makes this vital point:

The reality of misgovernment, meanwhile, is not something you can grasp simply by donning a tricorn hat and musing on the majesty of Lady Liberty. It requires, among other things, close attention to the following irony: That many of the most destructive and even corrupt policies of the past few decades were engineered by exactly the sort of people who claim to be motivated by freedom and liberty.

During the recent horrible administration of George W. Bush, I often pleaded with people not to view Bush, Cheney, et al., as conservatives. They were clearly and profoundly not interested in conserving the liberties or the general welfare of Americans, as was their Constitutional duty. Rather, they were intent on maximizing the security and strength of powerful corporations, on whose boards they and their cohorts have so comfortably sat.

Have you ever taken the World’s Smallest Political Quiz? While it is far from perfect, it does offer a useful alternative to the traditional left-right spectrum, opting instead for a diamond-shaped depiction of U.S. political positions.

The red dot shows where I score on the quiz. I would submit that supporters of Bush-style politics, including many of today’s alleged ‘conservatives’, are really much closer to Big Government Statists. Bush, after all, increased the size of the federal deficit far beyond what any of his predecessors had done, while at the same time overseeing the most heinous incursions into civil liberties of any President since, well, perhaps ever.

Although I’ve openly stated my displeasure with the extreme positions of certain declared libertarians, I am not at all opposed to many of the tenets of libertarian thinking. I’ve even at times declared myself to be a “libertarian socialist.” Social freedoms should, in my view, be free from government restraint in almost every case.

Being a technoprogressive means being in favor of freedom. What we have to make clear, though, is that freedom stands for much more than just the right to act however I choose—it also stands for securing to everyone an equal opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Mike Treder is a former Managing Director of the IEET.


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