Freedom and Freedoms

Freedom and Freedoms

I t ought not to be difficult to agree that restrictions on freedom are not quite so dangerous when we call them by their proper name instead of pretending that they are a more perfect form of freedom. Yet this awareness is of little comfort in the absence of agreement on what constitutes restrictions on freedom and what, safeguards.

Why this haziness? As every student of history knows, throughout the ages men have called freedom whatever they held in high esteem or thought worth striving after. Hardly any good that, besides its actual name, was not also called a freedom. A person who has enough to eat is said to be “free from want,” and one enjoying security, “free from fear.” Equality could just as readily be interpreted as “freedom from inequality,” and knowledge as “freedom from ignorance.” Since time immemorial Christianity has defined obedience to the Divine Will as “freedom from sin,” and skepticism, at least since the 17th century, has been acclaimed as “freedom from superstition.”

...