What is freedom?

At the art college I attend, I have a new brief where I have to deal with the concept of freedom. Seems easy enough for me, since I have an idea of freedom. But when we gathered yesterday morning and were asked our idea of freedom, I kinda felt like that idea was under attack and thus becoming more confused. Have I ever defined freedom on this blog? Either way, it’s time for me to sure up my conviction.

Freedom, or liberty if that works better, is the condition of not being controlled or oppressed by the government, or any other overarching entity that can manipulate you (because sometimes it’s not just the government who can oppress you; spare a thought for those who erode our freedoms using the power of money). It is the condition in which you can say what you want while having that speech oppressed by no one, not even the public. It is the condition of being able to express yourself as you see fit, believe whatever you want, and think how you please. It is the condition of being able life your life for yourself, and in any way you choose (provided you have the means). It is the condition to pursue pleasure, joy, and happiness without oppression. It is freedom from banality and from being forced to live with mediocrity. It is freedom of sexual expression, to explore sexuality in anyway you wish without being oppressed by the ignorance and traditions of the prudes (you know, as in sexual repression). It is the condition of having the power to forge your own path and make your own road to walk. Freedom is power.

But freedom and liberty also carries responsbility for your actions. You see, if there is no one to control you, then it is now YOU who must be accountable for your actions, and you are the sole person responsible for protecting your freedom. Some might even argue that freedom or free will is essential to morality, probably based on the idea that one can only make moral or immoral choices if he is free to choose them. Anyways, if your liberty is threatened, you must oppose whoever, or whatever, dares threaten it. You must prepared to refuse, reject, resist anything that threatens your freedom, be prepared sacrifice whatever is necessary or can be sacrificed in the name of freedom. And don’t forget to protect your freedom, for it is something that can always be broken by evil individuals who seek authority or to take advantage of the weak and the ignorant. This most often requires independence, strong will, and some self-reliance. Be warned, apathy shown towards your freedom and your power will lead you only to slavery and oppression, for the apathetic are the easiest to control.

There’s a kind of freedom we had as children: the freedom to enjoy life. That classic joie de vivre in our minds that gets killed when we become adults, because we become trained up as hamsters for the machine, and eventually, most of us surrender to the pressure to conform and be a slave, and the desire to enjoy life is replaced by the fear of debt. Hell, how can anyone call any society free if you’re afraid to tell your boss to fuck off? But who now will speak for that freedom? The freedom of joie de vivre? The freedom to enjoy life?

I should take care to mention that I do not care much about systems, and am more concerned about freedom, mainly because every time I try to create or find a system supposedly designed around freedom, I run into problems. Besides, what’s the point of sacrificing freedom in the name of system supposedly designed around it?

And that’s what freedom means to me: the great sacred value equalled only by justice, that is to be cherished as such, like a sacred flame.

Let no one tread on you.

Blaming something else is a tool for social control

This is the asshole from the NRA who tried to use video games as a scapegoat for violence. Just as pathetic as progressive gun control advocates.

Ever heard all those random arguments that try to blame something else and emphasize less importance on the actual culprit or his actions? Religious nuts claim that crime and gun violence happen because of “sin”. Progressive anti-gun advocates try to blame guns themselves, rather than bad gun owners, and try to act as though responsible gun owners do not exist. Social conservatives and the NRA have tried to use video games and violent media as a scapegoat and try to attribute them to all of society’s problems. And still others blame the culprit’s parents, lifestyle, religion, or state of mind, all forgetting that the culprit and his/her actions are more important.

The reason? Everyone wants to blame something else because they delude themselves into thinking that it will solve the problem forever. The same reason that people would blame something else instead of taking responsibility for their own actions and choices. People try to have us believe that something causes you to act the way you act, instead of pinning responsibility on the culprit. The sad thing is it’s easy, especially if the culprit decides to evade justice and retribution by killing him(or her)self.

This rampant blaming also justifies administering social control, in part due to the belief that doing so will resolve the problem, when in actuality will only succeed in punishing the innocent. And that just won’t stand. Whenever politicians participate in this blame game, you just know they’re trying to push an agenda of social control. When religious nuts do it, you know they’re just trying to push their religious views on everyone. When normal people do it, they’re just being stupid.

The sooner we realize that the actions and the individual responsibility of the culprit are more important, the better.