In Alberta, we are on the cusp of an election campaign where predictably freedom will be a buzzword; where each party has their own conception of how freedom is represented in society.
One side sees that freedom is freedom from interference, You are free to do what you want, where and when you want without interference from authorities. I have free speech so no one should interfere with my exercising it. The sentiment seems reasonable and I subscribe to a personal responsibility mantra but absolution from actions that impact others feels wild west. The pendulum swings from laissez-faire to over-regulated without pausing long enough to test a stasis of acceptable accommodation.
The other side talks about freedom to act with free will. In the west, most of us have more personal freedom that royalty had 200 years ago. Economic and cultural shifts have afforded us with almost unbridled liberty – or so it seems. But if I don’t have economic means and opportunity, education, aptitude, or connections then I fall into servitude and those freedoms are out of reach, Authorities promoting positive freedom also promote institutional and legal frameworks to attempt to mitigate the disparity.
Again the application swings wildly and we move from ‘pulling yourself up’ to ‘ you aren’t capable so we need to protect you’. Neither seems effective or fair.
For me, freedom is an ongoing experiment where we use reasonable accommodation, meritocracy, empathy, and limited rules to make the application of liberty equitable. Where I need a hand, one is available. Where I expect too much based on someone else driving a Lamborghini, I am advised that isn’t reasonable. There isn’t/shouldn’t be hard and fast one-size-fits-all rules.