Not Free

Get out of Jail Free Card

During the Cold War there was a list of countries and their level of freedom. It still exists but we pay less attention to it.  I recall three categories — very free, free, not free — and I remember ratings were based on politics, economics, and so on.

So too in man.

We are very freefree, and not free based on life areas — jobs … family … money. As with the world list much of this depends on definitions: what exactly is it to be free, anyway? I can be free in one area (family, say) but not in another (money). What’s weighted, no pun intended, more important than other areas, as well?

Most people seem to think of freedom as the ability — the right — to do what we want. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as we can do it. That’s not freedom, but license. Liberty, freedom, is being able to do what can and should be done*.

The Fat Guy is not physically free. He isn’t free to run a mile, or bear heavy burdens — let alone carry an injured child to a hospital. He can still do the what by knowing the why but he won’t be able to do it for very long. He isn’t free to do the thousand and three things an ordinary thin man can. He is extraordinary in all the unwelcome ways.

This slavery is largely self-imposed; I grant that. I know that better than you. But that’s a different question — an important one, and one to be discussed, but a different one. Right now all I want to say is, the Fat Guy is not free.

 

*Discipline, of which more another day, is an element of liberty, making it real in specific cases: doing the right thing in the best time, place, and way.

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