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alex mcghee

Paramedic, Fire Department

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What is YOUR definition of Freedom?

The recent uprising in northern Africa and the Middle East has got me thinking about my liberties in America, which in turn made me ask the Question are we really free? To answer this question you must answer the question what is freedom? Since freedom is relative to the observer I figured I would ask the world, and what better census can you get for the world than TED (without some people ruining a thread with arguments and or satirical comments) So tell me what is your definition of freedom?

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    Apr 19 2011: Freedom? The possibility of doing whatever you want as long as it does not harm others health or property. (Yes, I am economist and libertarian.)
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        Apr 19 2011: Uhm. I knew I heard/read that somewhere before.

        But I see one huge problem with that: where is the end of freedom? When it harms others health and property? I consider this question more interesting than definition of freedom, because simple answer „It ends where freedom of another person begins“ raises more topics for discussion.
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          Apr 19 2011: This is the discussion I was having with a friend before I posted this thread. Egypt has successfully overthrown their gov't in order to have a nation as free as mine, this made me think, is America the free nation the the world views it as, or has that time past still living on as a lingering iconic fairy tale that inspires 3rd world nationals to be immigrants or rise up in their home land?

          So based on all your views of freedom I pose the question... do you feel free in your country?
  • Apr 24 2011: You cannot have freedom while you have copyrights and patents that seem to go on forever.
    There is one fellow who copyrights English Phrases. When the author of a book used one of these phrases he got sued but the printer settled out of court for $1000 because it was the cheapest way out.
    Also since "The Patriot act" Americans have had their freedom of speech curtaied.
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    Apr 19 2011: My simple answer is the ability for the population of a given area to control the way its collective body acts, shares and protects. It seems like both of you agree with that statement, but at the same time this statement will invariably alienate a portion of its population. Say 49% voted one way and 51% the other on a major issue, would the 49% feel less free as a consequence? What if it happened to the same person more than once? Ie 51% voted to take your bullets away, then a few months later your guns. (I know that will probably never happen in America).

    @richard that question reminds me of the TED talk from Caroline Casey, most of the people from those countries have restricted information on the rest of the world so they cant relate to western influence.

    A prisoner in prison, I would say no, reason being that that person would probably choose to live like that because its better than his/her alternative of living on the street. but at the same time s/he is making a consious decision on what to do with his/her life so final answer no/yes.
  • Apr 18 2011: Well, anytime government plays a role in a society, freedom is restricted to a degree. But a "free society", with government involvement, would probably say that the loss of a few rights and a little privacy in exchange for the security (military security, economic security, etc) provided by their government, is well worth the trade. So, my definition of being free is: where a society, fully and voluntarily, abides by the social contract between the government and its people.
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      • Apr 19 2011: Hm.

        Very good point. I need to re-think this.