There was a time when Liberty dominated the landscape. In the last hundred and fifty years, temples to Capitalism and to Man’s Self Worship have dwarfed her. Will She ever find her place again?

I’ve been trying to figure out what to write about again. A friend of mine told me that I needed to write about “liberty.” When I look up “liberty,” the first thing to pop up? The Statue of Liberty.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift of the people of France. We used to feel a kinship with that nation. France helped us win our independence. And then France had her own battles, her own revolutions. And both nations tried to make the whole transaction equal. Like lovers who cannot figure out how to make the relationship right, we kept trying to show each other our esteem and respect. But somehow what comes through is the contempt.

Ve are ze franch! And ve shall taunt you a second tima!

What is freedom? According to the internet, it is “The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.” Helpful, or just more confusing…you be the judge!

In order for this to make sense, we have to know what is oppressive and what is just us being arrogant. We have to know what is authority, what is our way of life, all of these terms need meaning, or the discussion descends into meaninglessness.

So let’s start with “free.” “Not under the control or in the power of another, able to do as one wishes.” Or, “Not confined, imprisoned, or enslaved.” Last of all, “Without cost.” I think the first two are what most of us are talking about, though I believe that some corporations rather think the latter definition is true freedom. Freedom from paying my labor a just wage is surely the greatest freedom of all….

No, I’m not a Marxist. But the imagery in the picture hits home with me…..

Since this is a simple post from a simple man, I’m going to focus strictly on the “not controlled by another,” the most central aspect of freedom. Cousin Benjamin was a fairly big deal in the American Colonial Revolution. Freedom was very important to him, as it was to all of the Founding Fathers and Mothers in the Revolution. He had been apprenticed to his brother, and while some find that family treats you better, others find the worst hatred and oppression under one’s own roof. Eventually he broke away and became one of the early American success stories. The Iconic rags to riches story we all love, because we yearn for the Fairy Tale in our own hearts. Give me liberty, or give me wealth. If truth be told, there is a strong correlation between the two, strong enough they are easily confused.

I thought about using an image of Uncle Ben, but when I saw this, I knew this was the image to share. Both with his brother, and with Britain, Benjamin Franklin knew better than to seek healing from an abuser.

Freedom is the capacity to control yourself. To make your own choices. To grow in the directions you wish to grow. It doesn’t mean there are no limits at all. Ironically there do have to be healthy boundaries for there to be adequate liberty. But the limits are put there by Nature, God, the Universe, the Floating Spaghetti Monster, Chthullhu. And by ourselves. It is not arbitrarily commanded by other humans.

So what does that ultimately mean? And is it really such a high priority as the Revolutionaries gave it?

Image of Moloch, a factory personified in the movie Metropolis, the workers are damned to a living death so the City may live. And the elites may party.

Frankly, the word seems to be little more these days than a buzzword. Like “empowered.” Like “synergy.” Don’t get me wrong, the words themselves, especially in the right context, have deep meaning. But the way they are used in the world today, by politicians, news media, and business mikados….it has become little more than “duckspeak.” Each political party promises it, only to deny it in the next breath.

In the end, there is a powerful struggle between those that desire freedom, and those that desire control. Every management and economics text book I have ever read tells you that the whole point of management is to control. But few ever do the “deep dive” (buzzword alert) to discover that the more one group or person controls, the less freedom there is for everyone else.

Am I wrong? Is it possible for leadership to control and yet for the people to be free? Are we still free? And if we have lost our freedoms….how and when did that happen?

The winds of change blew in my youth. We hoped for a better world. We hoped for a brotherhood of freedom. We felt a magic, and we envisioned a world where our children would fulfill dreams we could not imagine. Instead, they have inherited a world of horror we could not imagine……


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