As seemingly divided as this country is in today’s political environment, I have taken notice of one fascinating trend. No matter what the issue, no matter which political persuasion, no matter which “side” of an issue people claim to be, I find that most people are actually fighting for the same thing – their own freedom!
Let’s take a look at some of the current issues of the day. I will describe what each side thinks they are fighting for, not necessarily that either side is correct in their way of thinking.
- Gay Marriage: one side is fighting for the freedom to marry whomever they want; the other side is fighting for their religious freedoms
- Healthcare: both sides believe they are fighting for freedom in healthcare choices
- Gun Rights/Gun Control: One side is fighting for the freedom to bear arms; the other side is fighting for freedom from violence
- War on Terror: One side is fighting to end war because they believe it infringes on others’ freedoms as well as their own; the other side is fighting to protect their freedom from perceived foreign threats
- Drug Prohibition: One side is fighting for the freedom to choose how to live their lives; the other side is fighting for freedom from drug-induced societal problems
- Economy/Taxation: Both sides believe they are protecting their financial freedom
- Abortion: One side believes they are protecting the freedom of women; the other side believes they are protecting the freedom of babies
Name any political issue, and if you dig down deep enough, you find that each side is simply attempting to protect their own freedom. So how is it that if each side is fighting for freedom, we can seem so far apart? The problem isn’t in the freedom. The problem is in the idea that in order to have freedom, we must infringe on someone else’s. Of course, as I’ve written before, big government politicians foster this win/lose, us vs. them, class warfare mentality. It’s in their own best interest to blame anyone else for society’s problems. As long as they can keep the attention diverted away from themselves, they can keep people from looking at the real source of the problem – big government itself.
As I’ve shown above, freedom is very popular! Who doesn’t want freedom? We love freedom. We love it so much we’re willing to fight to protect our own freedom, even if it means trampling someone else’s freedom. But what we don’t understand is that by oppressing someone else’s freedom, we destroy our own. Because in order to keep someone else down, we must turn to the force of big government. By giving big government the power to infringe someone else’s freedom, we give big government the power to infringe our own. No matter how justified we think we are in protecting our own freedom at the expense of someone else’s, it won’t be long before that power is used to infringe our own freedoms.
What we need to strive for is solutions to problems that do not involve the force of big government. We need to look for win/win situations where everyone’s freedoms are protected. We need to stop blaming, and start cooperating. Many of us need to change the fundamental way we look at the role of government. The recipe for this transformation involves a main dish of ”live and let live,” served with a side of “respecting the hard work of others,” washed down with a nice, hot cup of “comprehending the difference between freedom and morality“. In future articles, I will take a closer look at resolving the above issues using win/win mentality.