Thursday, July 17, 2008

What is it to be free?

I look outside this morning. The sun is rising, barely glimmering over the hilltops, the air smoky from wildfires. The sound of traffic nearby, rushes, people travelling by without seeing, wthout hearing, blind and dumb in their motions, without knowing the strings that make them a puppet.

What is it to be free? Oddly, it's to know a responsibility, a greater responsibility than to just y ourself, but to everyone. It's to know that your people, your life, are as great as your own. Even the 'least' of people is a person, and.. there but for the grace of God go I.

I'm fighting still. I've very little left to fight with. The pain of late increases, but it doesn't matter, really. What matters is the cause. Perhaps I tilt at windmills, thinking them to be giants, but still I fight. I must fight.

Who, after all, is the more courageous? Is it he who fights, or he who stands back and laughs? Believing windmills to be giants, does it not take more courage to defy the mocking laughter than to join it?

I will die a free man. I do not know about others, but the spirit cannot be conquered, so long as there is still courage. The heart cannot be crushed, so long as there is life, and hope can never be extinguished save by my own hand.

So what is freedom? It's more than the simple trappings we so often accept, more than the ability for life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Fredom is the ability to dare, the ability to fail. It's calling up the fire inside, the fire of inspiration, to defy all that comes against you.

It's the freedom to love, to be loved.. the ability to try, and fail. It's the ability to climb and fall, hope and fear, without the intervention of a government beyond what is absolutely necessary. Freedom to speak, think, believe, associate, are all part of the core. Freedom to live, to have a home, to not be driven from that home, to have that home secure from searches, and not have it taken from you by a government. Freedom allows you to live and love, and to pay the price if you've made a mistake.. but also to be redeemed at the end of the day, and the end of the judgment.

Freedom is the heaviest price, the greatest burden, and the greatest gift anyone may have. Freedom forces us to look within ourselves, at our failures, at our frailties, at our greatest weaknesses, and then to overcome them. It forces us to overcome all bounds to freedom, to fight and die for something larger than ourselves, something greater than what we are.

And it forces us to realize our own mortality. I long right now to be in the forest, listening to the rustling of trees, the whisper of the wind... to feel the cool rain on my face, hear the thunder rumbling overhead, and gaze out over a land that is free...

But what really is freedom?

It's the ability to make mistakes... the ability to be responsible for your actions, the ability to reach, fumble, and fall. The government would have us believe that freedom is dangerous... it is. But at least freedom is our own mistakes, and not those of an overreaching, and overgrasping myopic tyrant.

Government is really, in many ways, a toddler.. trying to control the world. It cannot know all the issues, but it can try to control them... and what means has it to control? Only restriction, only the destruction of freedom. Ultimately, the unrestricted government caring for you can only bring you to chains and slavery. It is the nature of governments. They expand and expand, find every possible way to gain more power... and the only powers they gain come at the costs of your liberties, which, as was said by the founding fathers, are made by the hand of God and bestowed upon the person.

When restriction and restriction and restriction come onto the people... when do you stop being free? The answer... you don't. You can either choose to follow the restrictions of your master, or to defy them. Your freedom never truly wavers.

The question becomes, ultimately, if the exercise of that freedom is worth more than the sanctions that can be placed upon you, the punishments that can be meted out. For my part.. if life is a prison, then perhaps it is time to speak out against it... and the harder they press me not to speak.

It is a legal fiction that freedoms can be taken.. they can only be ceded.. and then only by choice.

You see... if any law is a civil regulation... it can only be by choice that it is implemented.. and only by choice that it is followed. Legal fictions be damned, civil law is only consentual law. There can be no civil law that is imposed on another.

No comments: