Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Thurs Nov 18th: Freedom

Do you feel free? What does it mean to you at a personal and global level? This was the question we debated in November's Thinking Tank. (All statements in italics are verbatim contributions, statements in bold had majority support)

The most agreed upon statement was
  • There are enough examples of very unfree countries & peoples.
So we did agree that there were undesirable restrictions on freedom 
  • Not everyone who should be free is!
  • Freedom is unequally distributed
and some desirable restrictions?
  • I wouldn't like my kids to have total freedom
  • Not everybody can be trusted - political leaders prove this again and again 
The unfree

Restrictions on freedom are concentrated into certain groups or areas
  • Poor and/or uneducated people are by definition not free at all though this was qualified by another participant: You can be poor yet free or unfree.
  • Europe is too free though this was also challenged How can anywhere be too free? and There are different types of not being free: in africa or south america you can have a dictator or totalitary  system but in europe we don't have freedom of thinking anymore: media controls a lot!
  • in some countries in particular, people live under oppression and do not have any freedoms
Downsides of freedom
Achieving a freer world is not necessarily quick or easy. We cannot assume those without freedom (as we perceive it) will jump at it

  • The first time I let my chickens out of their cage they ran back into it. They were afraid of freedom. But now they run straight to the cage door in the morning so I can let them out. Freedom may not be immediately easy but we can learn to appreciate it
Choice and responsibility were key themes
  • Too many options and too many choices are the downside of more freedom
  • more responsibility and uncertainty
  • Freedom is also a bit of a responsibility. It is easier to stay on the railtrack than have every possible future to choose from!
And the answer?
  • Freedom needs to be sustained by values
  • Everybody who is committed to a common set of rules can be trusted with freedom
  • Freedom is not freedom to do all as you please !!
We considered how a freeer world would look
  • More countries would be ruled by a set of laws freely choosen by their people, ensuring more freedom
  • Leaders everywhere respect human rights, the freedom of speech
  • We feel free to take a stand and make even a small difference
  • We respect others, society, the rules, liberty doesn't mean to do anything you want
  • First teach what it is I am sure in some countries people would do worse if they were more free

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