June 3, 2010


So the writing prompt for June 3rd, 2010 by NaBloPoMo says:
(Don’t know what I am talking about: read this)

Define Freedom.

Even though, at first sight this seems like a silly question, of course, we all know definition of freedom; I think freedom is not as easy to define. It’s like a double edged sword: it will cut you either way. Consider these two examples:

- Today’s news include this piece about how religious freedom is endangered if US allows soldiers in its army to be openly gay (the infamous DADT repeal case). Translation: in order to secure the freedom of a highly privileged class, we should oppress the less privileged class: Oppression in the name of freedom.

- Did you know that according to the Indonesian law it is illegal to ‘publicize, recommend or organize public support’ for any religion other than or different to the orthodox versions of six sanctioned faiths: Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Confucianism? Yet again a highly privileged class trying to oppress the minority but this time it’s the religious freedom of the minority is in question: Oppression resulting in denial of freedom.

As I said, freedom is a double edged sword. It makes defining freedom, or rather, defining the boundaries of freedom utmost important, doesn’t it?

The answer is simple: every adult has a right to freedom of doing whatever they want to do, as long as it doesn’t violate other people’s property, privacy or freedom. The realization of this statement, however, is not so simple. The reason being: we live in a society and unless we are tolerant about other people’s way of life, the freedom of different sects of society can easily become mutually exclusive. And that’s where most of the conflicts start: intolerance.

Intolerance and freedom are mutually exclusive. Intolerance usually results in oppression of someone’s freedom, or at least, an attempt to oppress someone’s freedom. Only a tolerant society can boost itself to be guardian of everyone’s freedom (but wouldn’t that be Utopia? Oh well, I am day-dreaming again…).

Do you agree?

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  1. Completely agree. These were my precise views on freedom, but I would never have been able to put it in as many words!

    Yes, every adult is free to do whatever they want as long as it is not detrimental to another living being. But, as you mentioned, it is extremely difficult to grasp, classify or even recognize freedom or the absence of it (except in certain clear-cut cases).

    The only point I disagree on is your comment about tolerance and freedom being exclusive. In my opinion they are intertwined.

  2. Totally agree. Freedom is doing what one wants without being a hindrance to others' lives.

  3. I guess you got it a bit wrong. I said intolerance and freedom are mutually exclusive. Tolerance and freedom are intertwined.

    Glad you liked the post though!

  4. Oops .. you're right .. my bad. You did say INtolerance and freedom are mutually exclusive. Sorry about that.