Freedom is a complicated concept that is constantly being evoked by nearly all groups in America to defend their positions I don’t think my redefinition will not solve all of this disagreement, but i do think that it will make understanding when freedom is being used as least somewhat correctly. My working definition is as follows freedom is when everyone has the same access to rights and opportunities as everyone else in society and that curtailing any of those rights and opportunities in the name of freedom is not at all true freedom. Society is not a perfect and rational actor and we can be collectively blind to how history repeats itself when we are experiencing history. Also we need to be aware of the misuse of freedom where some in the past and even today will use the word to deny others access to things based on their desire to be seperated from those that they consider undesirables. That is why it is important to adopt this usage of the word because freedom ought not be used to defend the oppression of minorities or the rights of others in the interest of one’s own comfort.
We must recognize that our values as a society are not static and unchanging we are constantly drifting towards new attitudes and viewpoints when it comes to the freedoms we give out to the general populace. I want to demonstrate this point with the fact that “ in 2001, Americans opposed same-sex marriage by a margin of 57% to 35%. Since then, support for same-sex marriage has steadily grown. And today, support for same-sex marriage is at its highest point since Pew Research Center began polling on this issue. Based on polling in 2017, a majority of Americans (62%) support same-sex marriage, while 32% oppose it.” So did some intrinsic value in Americans change when it came to freedom or were gay people incorporated into the larger group that is now afforded the same freedom to decide their life partner. Consider the right that they won was ultimately the right to be treated like everyone else in the general public in the sense they could now choose their own partners the only thing that was changed was the opinion of people ultimately they didn’t desire some special privilege they wanted to be treated with the same dignity given to every other human being. The value of freedom hasn’t changed in this instance only who is allowed to participate in said freedom, so we should be cognizant of the fact that the value hasn’t changed only the application of said freedom.
Next we have to be aware of the arguments that are used against allowing the cloak of freedom to spread, when freedom is used as their justification to assert and defend their position in stopping the spread of rights. I would like to point to a historical example when Governor George Wallace one of the most popular champions of segregation gave his inaugural address to becoming the governor of alabama he said “ …today we sound the drum for freedom as have our generations of forebears before us done, time and time again through history. Let us rise to the call of freedom-loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the tyranny that clanks its chains upon the South. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny … and I say … segregation today … segregation tomorrow … segregation forever.” What an interesting line of defense for segregation they in their view aren’t taking someone else’s freedom, they are defending their freedom to be seperated from those they don’t consider to be equal to them, and the act of rebelling is their defense of their freedom. Again i don’t think that this definition of freedom makes sense due to the fact that people are denying others the rights that they themselves enjoy. This strikes me as an inconsistent position rights for me, but none for thee, seems to be how they would have defined freedom.
So there would be those who argue that we are in full acceptance of these values that this new definition that I’m arguing for isn’t needed. But i still think that the rule of treating all groups with the same rights isn’t accepted i would point to the recent supreme court case Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission where a cake shop was asked to bake a cake for a gay wedding. Here was the justification from the baker and his reasoning for denying this service quote “In 2012 he told a same-sex couple that he would not create a cake for their wedding celebration because of his religious opposition to same-sex marriages — marriages that Colorado did not then recognize — but that he would sell them other baked goods, e.g., birthday cakes. “ now having read that statement. We can apply my definition of freedom to it and replace the group in question to any other, so let us imagine this statement with interracial marriage instead of same-sex, there would have been no defense in the name of someone’s freedom of religion, there would be calls of hypocrisy once again someone would invoke the same definition that George Wallace used in the 60’s. The fact that freedom will be used to oppress others is when freedom has been misused and it has been used to destroy itself.