I am a big fan of freedom. I agree with the title of the book by Oliver DeMille, Freedom Matters.
The thing is Freedom, by itself, does not bring happiness – at least not immediately. In fact, increased freedom in my own life has had the effect of bringing short term discomfort and unhappiness because when freedom was acquired, there is a natural consequence that I didn’t have the external restrictions which existed before. I was either required to adjust, and self-govern; or someone / something else has filled in the vacuum of control eliminating the freedom.
The principle of agency indicates that the long-term happiness I seek can best be obtained through increased freedom, as long as that freedom is accompanied by personal responsibility and self-government. I am happier when I accomplish something by giving my own honest best efforts and voluntarily give full commitment and contribution. If we, and those with whom we associate are given freedom and become complacent, taking freedom for granted; or idle, depending on and feeling entitled to the efforts and resources of others to maintain our freedom, we will soon find ourselves miserable – losing our freedom to those willing to fill the void of control in our lives.
In order to gain the long term happiness I want, I must seek to have character and become one who is worthy of the freedom which allows it. In other words, I believe the more important goal and value to defend is righteousness – making sure I do the right thing, no matter what.
I’ve noticed a problem in myself. Perhaps you can relate, but when I get so passionate about freedom, that I forget that freedom is a means to an end, not an end itself, I allow myself to tend toward anger and negativity; and sometimes even having hurtful thoughts and feelings toward those who may not see freedom with the same importance as I do. I have said mean and hurtful things and harmed some important relationships, damaging the influence I may have in helping others to see how important freedom is for them. I’ve seen others take actions which seem to me to indicate similar thoughts and feelings, and I wonder if my actions when I’ve lost the proper priority give credibility and allow justification for these actions.
I want to make sure that I understand and reflect the priorities that the health of these relationships have in my life:
- my wife
- my children
- my parents
- my siblings
- the rest of my family
- my local community
- my state
- my country
- all other people
- material things
I am by no means perfect in reflecting these priorities, but it is my intention to improve and this is what I am working towards.
What are your priorities and how do you value freedom, the rule of law and respect for authority?