We continue yesterday’s discussion of being equal and free by considering Marilyn’s question/assertion: Isn’t freedom the right to think—and act—for ourselves? To answer that, let’s review an exchange between two great thinkers …
Hagar the Horrible (in today’s cartoon section) and his faithful sidekick, Lucky Eddie, are sitting around the campfire and Eddie asks, “Will there ever be peace between Vikings and the English?” [Pretty deep question from wimpy Eddie, I’d say. Substitute Democrats & Republicans, Yankees & Southern Rednecks, etc., and you catch the gravity of his question.]
Hagar responds, “That depends … if the English respect our basic rights … to invade their country … raid their castles … confiscate their livestock … and take over their pubs …
“… it might work.”
So … to answer Marilyn’s question, we could say that peace between the two countries really depends upon England’s “respect” of the rights of the Vikings. Of course, that’s strictly from Hagar’s point of view. If the English show that measure of deference, then it would seem that the Vikings would have freedom. To use Marilyn’s phrase—the right to think and act for themselves.
Alison comments only ten minutes later (without having seen Marilyn’s comment, as I hadn’t gotten around to approving it) by agreeing with me (bless you, Alison!) that “our worth is no greater or less than any other human’s.” Alison then torpedoes the entire scenario by adding this brief sentence: “It’s what you do with that freedom that matters.”
Alison, how could you? You’re talking personal responsibility. How do you expect Hagar to experience freedom, much less enjoy it, with that kind of talk?
To complicate the mélange even more, Eric arrives on a red horse, guns blazing, and sez: “You’re talking about two different ideas. There is overlap in the ideas of freedom and equality but the concepts are more different than they are similar.” (I always knew Eric was a wise guy.)
All right, all right!
Put simply, freedom is assured—if you’re king (or queen, as the case may be). But Tom Jefferson didn’t guarantee it. What the Preamble says is:
|We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.|
It goes on to say that “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men …” So, we have these rights—endowed by our Creator—but we may not necessarily enjoy them.
And how can you bring greater understanding to this concept of freedom?
Tomorrow, more to come …