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Posted on Thursday, March 12 at 13:10 by QBC

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What is freedom? What do all of our beliefs really mean? What does democracy, justice, equality, privacy, security and liberty truly stand for? Are they indeed still beliefs or just sound bites and catch phrases?

Before really looking into that, we need to look at ourselves first. As an individual a person can be many things. At times we as individuals are smart, clever, we reason, question, analyze and decide on things from our own personal knowledge, experience and beliefs. We, for the most part, as individuals are kind, compassionate and trusting. We hope for a better world not only for ourselves but for all those who call our world home. We strive for greatness. We want our lives to be better than those who came before and better still for those we leave behind when we’re gone.

This however is only one side of the coin. On the other side we desire to not be individuals. We quite easily slip into groups, both large and small, for a multitude of reasons. We transform from the individual, hunter-gatherer so to speak, to basically a herd animal. We like having others around to share the load, help protect one another with the idea of “for the betterment of all.” This is indeed the reason, in many respects; the above mentioned beliefs came into being. We as the herd desire these things.

We however are a three sided coin. Unfortunately, in the herd, we loose many of the qualities of the individual. We quite often don’t think for ourselves. We follow the herd in so many aspects of our lives and this seems to increase as time and events go by. The herd is easily spooked and frightened and looks to one another for security. When frightened we often tend to transform yet again, from the herd animal to the predatory pack animal. The only difference between us and the other predatory animals we share this world with is that we almost exclusively kill and “feed” off ourselves. We become irrational, narrow minded and attack anything or anyone we perceive in the most minute way to be a threat to the rest of the herd. This, however, is not news to any of us. We’ve all seen this from our earliest beginnings in the school yard to all across the world stage in individual nations and indeed between them.

Do we still believe in freedom and everything that it requires and entails? Have we lost sight of the basic requirements of freedom? Democracy, justice, privacy, equality, security and liberty for everyone. As individuals we see and reason what it is we desire freedom to be and, for the most part, we want this for everyone. As a member of the herd, or even worse, the pack, we follow along and maintain the status quo as dictated by others. As dictated by others, is this still freedom then? Far too often now we are told by our governments and even religions that we must not question and follow as it is required to preserve our way of life, our freedom. We are told not to question and follow blindly because they know what’s best for us, according to them. We as a species have made it to this level of development because of that one trait that we all have, the need to question. I am of the opinion that this is the one aspect of us that makes the existence of freedom possible. Increasingly we are told we are not allowed to do the very thing we have to do to maintain our rights and freedoms, question.

There is one requirement of freedom, that I see, that seems to have taken the forefront to the detriment of the others, security. More often then not other aspects of freedom are suspended in the attempt to maintain the security of the herd. When ever there is a perceived threat to our security in the last couple decades, we quite willingly seem to forgo the other aspects of freedom as it is so often said now, “It’s a small price to pay for our security and way of life.” The problem with that is when does that stop? When will we have given up so much of our rights and freedoms that really, we don’t have any left? For the sake of the security of the herd, will the true idea of freedom be lost?

When George Orwell wrote his most famous of books “1984“, in 1949. Most people thought of it as nothing more then science fiction. When you look at what he saw was in store for us and what we actually have now, I think it’s clear that he was only a few years off. The loss of freedoms in his book is almost a mirror of what we have today. How often is the average person in North America under surveillance every day? With the very instrument you are using to read this, most people are being watched in some way. With the webcams most of us have, we are projecting images of our most private spaces into cyber space. Almost every store you go into, you are on camera. There are traffic cams watching you as you drive. Hundreds of satellites are taking images every single day. We have online messaging where our thoughts and comments are sent again out into cyber space. We watch television shows where the entire theme is “caught on camera”. Can anyone truly say that one aspect of freedom, privacy, is for the most part not lost? We justify all these cameras and surveillance because we tell ourselves we need it for our security. We need them to protect our rights, freedoms and way of life. Then, we are told not to question the manner in which our governments, “Big Brother”, achieve this.

I have to say that if we continue on the path we are on now. If we continue to allow those in power to erode and nibble away at freedom, those who come after us will live in a very different world then the one we do. They will not understand, if they are even allowed to know about them, the freedoms we claim to believe in and are supposedly defending at all costs. We need to question those who tell us they’re acting in our best interests. We need to stop blindly giving away the freedoms that those who came before fought and died to create. A line has to be drawn in the sand where we say no more. No more will my rights and freedoms be taken away under the guise of security. Will enough of us draw that line before it‘s too late?

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