Open Thread: What’s Your Freedom Story?

Open discussion: What does freedom mean to you?

Some cultures have these built in to their history: diasporas enslaved and then freed, through faith or strength or miracles. Some people have these built into their lives: they have fled war, disaster, genocide, and poverty. And some people are born into freedom, and have never thought about it.

There is an ongoing call for submissions on The Good Life on Freedom. You can write a longer post, or simply add to the comments. Some people’s answer to this call on freedom is one of anarchy—no security, no justice system, only freedom—but naturally, the strongest are the most free, and this solution isn’t very free for the very old, for children, for caregivers, for people with disabilities. This view of freedom represents a threat to most political progressives. Yet, the opposite end of the spectrum from anarchy is not necessarily a democratic republic.

In The Handmaid’s Tale, one of the “aunts” in the “re-education center” where the narrator is sent tells her, “There are two kinds of freedom: freedom to and freedom from. This is freedom from.” This Orwellian doublespeak erases “security” from the language.

Where should the balance be struck between freedom and security? Does your vision of greater freedom for yourself represent less freedom for others?


Photo credit:  peretzp/Flickr

About Justin Cascio

Justin Cascio is a writer, trans man, and biome. His most recent publication is a short memoir, "Heartbreak and Detox," available on Kindle.
You can follow him on Twitter, Google, and Facebook.


  1. Freedom to me is being able to walk outside my house or my workplace and not having to worry about my ex-abuser or my husband’s ex-friend stalking us….Freedom is cutting toxic people out of your life for good….Freedom is the confidence to say that someone or something is bothering me without the fear of negative consequences…

  2. David Byron says:

    In considering the balance between these two ideals I tend to think of the definition used by the two paramedics in their testimony about the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I found a copy of it here

    Our little encampment began to blossom. Someone stole a water delivery truck and brought it up to us. Let’s hear it for looting! A mile or so down the freeway, an army truck lost a couple of pallets of C-rations on a tight turn. We ferried the food back to our camp in shopping carts. Now secure with the two necessities, food and water; cooperation, community, and creativity flowered. We organized a clean up and hung garbage bags from the rebar poles. We made beds from wood pallets and cardboard. We designated a storm drain as the bathroom and the kids built an elaborate enclosure for privacy out of plastic, broken umbrellas, and other scraps. We even organized a food recycling system where individuals could swap out parts of C-rations (applesauce for babies and candies for kids!).

    This was a process we saw repeatedly in the aftermath of Katrina. When individuals had to fight to find food or water, it meant looking out for yourself only. You had to do whatever it took to find water for your kids or food for your parents. When these basic needs were met, people began to look out for each other, working together and constructing a community.

    So the answer is that society needs to provide for the basic necessities for all it’s citizens. Once that is done you have the capacity to pursue other freedoms. Without it you have nothing but lawlessness and every man for himself.

    • The survival mode of only looking out for yourself is the basis on which we can build the rest of our civilization. Only after we’ve taken care of basic needs is cooperation and civilization possible.

  3. John Anderson says:

    I don’t know if it counts as a freedom story. When I was younger, you couldn’t listen to disco/dance. If you didn’t listen to rock/metal, you were one of them and you didn’t want to be one of them. I don’t know if it was the confidence borne of kick boxing/weight lifting, but in my 20s, I started listening to whatever songs I liked including Karma Chameleon, which you couldn’t listen to or you were the other them and that was considered worse.


Speak Your Mind