Freedom is a powerful word that can be used to define many different things. Some people may use it to describe their own personal freedom, while others may think it merely means their right to do as they please. However, it is more complicated than the word “freedom” implies.
The best way to understand the term is to understand that freedom is not just an unfettered ability to do as you wish. It is also a responsibility for the society we live in. We have to be able to exercise our freedom responsibly, otherwise it can lead to anarchy. Similarly, we have a responsibility to protect the rights of our fellow citizens.
For example, a person with limited freedom may not be able to participate in a demonstration. In contrast, a citizen who has freedom of speech can freely criticize his government. On the other hand, the concept of freedom has been a topic of controversy in the United States. Various opinions have been presented on how to define it and how to achieve it.
One of the most important concepts associated with freedom is the ability to choose. This concept, or liberty, is often accompanied by the notion of free will. This is a difficult concept to grasp, but it is a necessary condition for any true democracy. Unfortunately, the government can limit an individual’s choices by enacting laws that don’t apply equally to everyone.
Another important concept is freedom of association. This includes the right to join a club, political party, or peaceful assembly. This is often overlooked by governments that target the freedom of speech.
Other aspects of the freedom of association include the freedom of trade. Individuals are free to trade with one another as long as the exchange is voluntary and does not involve a violation of property or human rights. Also, a person can join an organization that safeguards and promotes the hard-won rights of its members.
A final important aspect of the freedom of association is the ability to share information. Whether we are discussing politics, religion, or just social interaction, we should be able to share the information we have. Whether that information is derived from the internet or from the local news paper, we should be able to access it.
If you want to test the concepts mentioned above, try this exercise. Divide your students into two groups of four or five. Give each group 10 minutes to create two frozen representations of their respective freedom. You can divide the class into three or four groups and assign a certain freedom to each group. Each group is to then present the two representations. Your students will then have 10 minutes to discuss which freedom was the most impressive.
You can also assign each group to find out which freedom is the most relevant. For example, you might assign freedom of association to the student who wants to join a club. Similarly, you might assign freedom of speech to the student who wants to speak publicly.