Independence Day

Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull
As we approach July 4th, and prepare to blow up millions of dollars in cheap Chinese explosives, we should remember that freedom is a lot like fireworks. Be reckless and irresponsible and there is a good chance you could get hurt or damage property. Heck, just existing in a world where people have the freedom to have fireworks means you take on a certain amount of risk even if you don't use them yourself. 

Freedom is dangerous. There is no way around it. The more freedom you have, the more danger you encounter. 

So often we are tempted to restrict freedom in order to feel safe. And at times, it's easy to see why so many people may want to do that. Whether it is some form of social safety net, or some rule you want others to follow, the intent is to reduce the inherent danger of being free. 

The lesson we so often miss, in my opinion, is that the danger that comes with freedom, is the natural force that offers us the opportunity to condition ourselves and our society to improve. Notice that it involves choice, which is to say danger. If you choose poorly as an individual or your society chooses poorly you will end up in a bad place. If you, or your society seeks to mitigate that risk, you likely lose the chance to improve by an identical measure. It's like lifting weights, the weights of responsibility.

It's not so different than how nature shapes an animal over time. The difference is, we humans can and should be contemplating the outcomes of actions. Freedom is a burdensome responsibility that requires strong willed people to do the right thing, or we all suffer for it in the long run.

A few good quotes:

"Why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up..."
Thomas Wayne to  a young Bruce Wayne, 2005's Batman Begins   

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.

1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT

“It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated.”
Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince 

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."
George Washington

Wading In, won't be a political podcast, or a political website, this is as close I'll get. But we increasingly seem to live in an age where censorship and mob rule or the threat of censorship of mob rule are omnipresent, especially online. It's getting out of hand if you ask me, reporters getting beat up in the streets of Portland, even men like Richard Dawkins being shouted down from stages at once great universities. People pigeon holing people based on one or two ideas, and public and private discussion slowly becoming nothing more bad faith arguments, circular logic, and confirmation bias. 

You don't need to look far to find examples that could have come from books like 1984, Brave New World, or Fahrenheit 451, and I could on and on with quotes from movies and books and religion etc... The point is, we all seem to know what freedom is, but so often refuse to live like we do. So this 4th of July, while you blow stuff up, have a stiff drink and reflect a little on your life, be good to your neighbors, and love your kids. 

One last Quote

"With great power, comes great responsibility"
Ben Parker to Peter Parker aka Spider-Man

Happy Independence Day

Like I was gonna let this heavy post go without a pop-culture aliens reference...

...or two...