Saturday, June 20, 2015

What Price Freedom?

The U.S. is one of the freest nations on earth. We extol freedom. Freedom is the hallmark of our constitution. The search for freedom is why we attract immigrants. A mix of those escaping poverty come here, looking for a better life, seeking to capitalize on their skills and to contribute to mankind.

But freedom has a price - gun violence, limited access to health care for some, unhealthy behavior by many, sometimes hateful speech, unequal opportunities, uneven economic outcomes, and never ending debates on the regulatory, taxing, and war-making powers of government and individual freedoms and rights of privacy.

When will it ever end? It won’t. That why we call America “the land of the free.” Freedom has its upsides and downsides. It involves good and bad choices, rational and irrational people, loving and hateful people. Freedom is the price we pay for being human and having differences.

President Franklin Roosevelt said there were four essential freedoms: one, freedom of speech and expression, two, freedom of worship, three, freedom from want, and four, freedom from fear.

We have fallen short on all four. On the speech front, one of the prices of freedom has been “political correctness,” or p.c. If you are a liberal or a Democrat, too often you are labeled an elitist or a socialist. Or you are a conservative or Republican, you are deemed a racist or a bigot. This is too bad, for you are likely neither. You are seeking common ground in the center of politics and humanity.

To be p.c. or not to be p.c. is not the question. The question is: what is best for American freedom of expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. All of these freedoms are at stake in one way or another in the upcoming Supreme Court decision. Let us not over “politicize” the decision, whatever it is.

No comments: