Freedom is an important concept to most of us. In this country we argue a lot over the exact interpretation of freedom. Some of the classic arguments I’ve heard over the years are seat belt laws, whether burning the American flag is an expression of freedom, even same-sex marriage, and other such emotionally charged issues.
For me personally there are lots of freedoms I enjoy and appreciate. Freedom to plant the crops I choose (see previous post) to more important freedoms such as the choices I make for my family and how I choose to worship God. And part of all of that is understanding there’s folks who view all those issues very different than me, while I may disagree with their choices, I appreciate that they too have the freedom to make their own decisions. There are times that conflicts with what I/others believe is fundamentally right, and those edge cases are where the debates over what freedom really means take place.
But all of that is really just arguing over details. Seeing the news this morning alerted me to what happens when freedom no longer exists, at all. Apparently a Chinese dissident was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work for basic human rights in China. There’s a lot of news out on the web, here’s a pretty good detailed look – http://bit.ly/chinanewstoday Formatting is awful, but content is telling. China is blocking ALL mentions of this from web searches, sites, even cellphone text messages!
See, when you get to the core of the issue, here’s the basic freedom that the Chinese people have lost, they’ve lost the ability to form an opinion based on available information. I may think some choices of the Nobel committee are as absurd as apparently the Chinese government thinks this one is. Those in authority in this country may feel the same way about a particular event, but we’re free to discuss/debate and ultimately decide how we feel and intend to respond to whatever the news is. Thinking about it, that’s a very, very basic and important freedom.