What images does this word conjure. Do you think about camping in a secluded, pristine part of the country? Do you think about loving who you want to love, breathing clean air, drinking pure water, contributing to the betterment of society, supporting education for your children, supporting science and maybe even supporting equal rights for all? Maybe freedom is being able to walk down the street without big brother watching. Possibly, if a woman, being able to drive a car, walk the streets without fear, controlling your reproductive system or wanting equal pay for equal work? Maybe you want to say and think what you wish without fear?
I could go on with that list. Maybe they're not all examples of what all of us might think is being free, but I would think that certain people would agree to certain described examples. Possibly you want to travel unhindered, maybe you would like not to be profiled; I understand.
But these thoughts are probably more ingrained into the progressive mind.
When looking at the conservative mind, you must remember that none of these thoughts define their freedom. Freedom for a conservative never includes freedom for everyone. It is a very selfish and destructive freedom that they promote.
As an example, a recent conversation in my local pub with a conservative friend on freedom:
I tell him of a story that I think is amusing, not a conflict. While in FL, family members that came to visit were surprised no one recycles in the area we are staying. I don't know if it is a state wide initiative, but in the panhandle they burn everything to generate power. I have no clue as to the safeness, or danger of the operation; wasn't the point I was making. My story was centered around how my sister-in-law was saving plastic bags to bring back to Michigan to recycle and how I was amused with her wanting me to take some home with me. Instead of the amusement I thought the story would generate, his interpretation of the story was centered on freedom. He liked the burning instead of the recycling; that's freedom!
Now the discussion is freedom. The holy rallying cry of the conservative movement. I've heard the same from every conservative that I've talked to where that subject has been brought up.
According to my friends, burning, polluting, destroying the environment is all about freedom. No big deal there's mercury in the fish you eat, it's a good thing. It's the free market at work. Blowing the tops off mountains and poisoning the water and air in the surrounding areas, no problem. Oil spills in the gulf? The free market will clean that up. Carrying guns is freedom no matter how many are killed. Fossil fuels are awesome. Who wants some pussy electric car? Factory farming is great, we can feed the masses cheaply. Blowing cigarette smoke in my face; hey, they have the right to do what they want.
There's no moral to this story, in fact it is only a story of incomprehension. Mine, theirs; yours?
There's only one thought that you need to remember, if you are a progressive, and you are talking freedom with a conservative, they have a totally different definition of that word. There definition is simple; one can do whatever they want regardless of the harm it may cause. It is a very simple thought, they disregard any consequences that may happen because of their exercise of freedom.
The average conservative must be unable to see the future that their freedom would create. It is either a cognitive disability, or the influence of religion; or more than likely, both.
Also posted at "The Cranky Atheist."