Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Absolute Freedom Destroys Freedom

Truth and Freedom are inseparable, in fact, absolute truth gives us freedom and freedom demands absolute truth.  Without truth, freedom turns into chaos.

Let’s start with an easy analogy:
What if you were chosen from the audience to be a contestant for a gameshow called, “Freedom to Choose!” and were shown two blank white doors and told you were free to choose one of the doors.

You ask, “What’s behind them?”
The game show hosts replies, “You can’t know, it’s a surprise!”

You ask, “Is this really freedom when I don’t know what’s behind the doors?” So the gameshow hosts then adds three more blank doors. “Now you have REAL freedom! You can choose door number one, door number two or any other of the doors!”

“Well,” you ask, “how is adding more doors giving me more freedom when I don’t know what is behind any of them?”
The gameshow hosts is looking anxious at you and back into the camera. “More choices, more freedom, of course!”

You are not quite sure how that works, but you know something is wrong. Freedom isn’t about choosing from random unknowns. True freedom is choosing from things you do know.

“Well,” the gameshow hosts taps his ear receiver and smiles broadly to the audience, “my producer informs me that we can tell this contestant what is behind two of the doors. Behind door number one is a vacation to Las Vegas and behind door number two is a new washer and drier!”

“Oh! I really, really need a new washer and drier.” You jump for joy, “I choose door number two!”

“Our audience contestant has used her freedom of choice and has chosen door number two!” The gameshow host announces loudly. And the door opens up to find that behind it is a lifetime supply of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cookies. The audience goes wild with clapping and you are expected to be happy with the prize even if it wasn’t what you chose.

Again, something is wrong, but in front of the camera’s and audience you are not sure how to react. The cookies are a nice gift, but that isn’t what you picked out. That isn’t freedom when you don’t know your choices or you the choices have been lied about. The hosts sends you back to your seat with the shout, “Thanks for playing Freedom to Choose!”

So, what is wrong with this picture?

We often don’t stop to analyze what freedom truly is and how it is achieved. We don’t realize that the ability to have freedom is based on the idea that the choices we have been given are knowable and true.

You weren’t really given any freedom when you were given the choice of any of the doors when you didn’t know what was behind them, nor when you were given false information. 

Let’s say the “Freedom to Choose” gameshow has a guest after you that wins a cruise to any destination he wishes. So the person uses his freedom to choose a trip to Rome. When he gets onboard, the cruise to Rome instead ends up in the Bahamas. The ship advertisers and advertisements simply lied. They never were going to Rome, but were always going to the Bahamas. They used their freedom to lie to all the passengers saying that the Bahamas in their personal dictionary is called Rome. They just switched what the word meant and didn’t tell anyone. They all defended their position with the idea of personal freedom. After all, they used their freedom to choose what the word “Rome” meant.

Absolute, unrestricted freedom means that we all have the freedom to harm, do wrong, lie and cheat. But, that type of absolute freedom will eventually implode on itself like a black hole. Absolute freedom--or unrestricted, unconstrained freedom--cannot long exist as it brings anarchy and chaos. 

Imagine absolute freedom where a Campbell’s soup company can label something “Tomato Soup” and instead put in string beans. Or a map company using their freedom to add extra states and mislabel roads. Where words lose all meaning because we each have the freedom to make any definition to any word we please. What if we could make a new name for ourselves each day and sign our name differently on each contract? 

All consumers would lose their freedom to choose if we all had absolute freedom. For we could no longer choose to purchase anything because we couldn’t trust any labels or any person’s word! Their personal truths (and freedom to lie) would severely inhibit our ability to have freedom.

Every time we choose, we are choosing something based upon the idea that we have been given truth. We choose spouses and friends and careers and medical procedures and houses and cars and everything we buy at a store based upon the idea that what it or they say is true. If a pregnancy test doesn’t tell you the truth about whether you are pregnant.... or your boss promises that if you don’t quit he’ll give you a raise in a couple months, or if a politician tells you he won’t raise taxes or even if something is labelled “low fat” and isn’t... you can’t make a free choice. Lies have restricted your freedom to make a choice. 

The nature of true freedom can only be found within the confines of absolute truth. Freedom is lost when choices are not labelled or labelled incorrectly in some or all of its aspects.

Here is the great irony of Freedom. Freedom requires self-limiting of its own freedom to that which is true so that freedom can continue. For freedom will actually cease to exist without being founded upon absolute truth.

Isn’t that weird that absolute truth is the only thing that is absolute about true freedom? And I don’t mean true freedom in a spiritual sense, I mean it as a practical idea of us being able to think about what we want and then have the choice to be able to go out and do or get what we have chosen to do or get. 

Yes, we are all free to do wrong to lie and cheat. But that is a suicidal freedom. That freedom eventually enslaves you and others. Absolute truth is necessary to freedom. 

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