Tomorrow is Freedom Day in South Africa and that got me thinking.
Throughout history, people have been fighting for freedom. It seems that every era has a new oppressor, something or someone limiting people’s freedom. And so it is natural indeed that we fight for what is ours.
But is it really? When was the last time we were completely free, as humankind? Was there such a time? Well, I cannot answer these questions as I’ve only been alive for mere 18 years and still know not what complete freedom would be like.
I have a lot of theories cooked inside my head with regards to Freedom, but for now I’ll focus on the Government and its best friend, Anarchy.
Many are those who are quick to demonise the State, or its role in society, which is surely pivotal, thus, the need for efficient execution of the same.
And many are those who, sadly, fail to understand the very foundation of the State. In order to understand its role we’d have to read John Locke, who beautifully concludes that the State works for us, and not the other way around.
The State protects us, or is supposed to, through the laws that are passed and implemented. The very laws that are able to prosecute people are the ones that were demanded by the victims. These laws are only passed with the intention to protect humans from each other’s “mischief”. Let me elaborate.
Say we are completely free, in an ideal free society. And by free, I mean no State to regulate our lives and actions. Suddenly we are able to do and live as we will. This means that there would be no limitation to one’s freedom. If I happen to wake up in the morning and steal an apple, there would be no consequences, as there would be no law prohibiting it, stopping me from exercising my freedom. Even further, maybe I don’t like the way Jane wears her skirt, so I decide to kill her. (dramatic) Theoretically speaking I can, since it’s my will to erase her existence, and I have the right to be free, no?
Indeed we have the right to freedom, but this same romanticised concept of Freedom can be used as a lethal weapon against another person. My freedom has the potential to harm someone else.
It is because of this that we have abdicated some of our freedom in order to establish what Hobbes would call a “social contract”. By giving off a bit of our freedom we are able to ensure collective security. Hence, we have laws and morals that have been introduced in our psyche from the day we were born.
It’s nice to dream of an anarchist society where no one tells us what to do, but the truth is that we, unfortunately, need some kind of authority to keep us from killing each other. Also, a completely anarchist society would eventually breed chaos. There would be no Police to keep us from stealing, as their power wouldn’t be legitimate.
Before singing songs of Freedom, we must decide where we stand. Do I want the best only for myself, or do I want the best for the community in which I live?
Perhaps the will to be free is more important than free will itself.