A Reflective Christian

All for God’s Kingdom

“Freedom to” and “Freedom from”

One of the distinctions that must be made when we discuss freedom is the type of freedom we are referring to. In our current world, when we refer to freedom, we refer more to the individual freedom of unhindered choice to fulfill what we want.

But another type of freedom may give liberty for one group, but it will cause the lack of liberty of another group. When the government allows it citizens the right free speech, it takes away a hindrance for individuals to speak their mind, but by the government restricting itself. Two things to observe with that:

1) This restriction is actually the exercise of freedom on the part of the governmental leaders. It is a voluntary restraint, which is freedom.

2) But this itself does not guarantee freedom for an individual to speak as one wishes. There may be other groups that exert control in such a way (whether directly or indirectly) so as to take away such a freedom.

What recourse would the government have in that situation in order to ensure the individual’s freedom to speak as they wish in public? They would have to take away another entity’s (whether it be an individual or a group of individuals) freedom to do something that would somehow restrict the freedom (whether directly or indirectly) of the individual to speak as they want to in public.

What this entails is that for the government to ensure freedom to do something requires the restriction of freedom upon other entities more than just the voluntary restriction of itself. But then, the government is no longer only voltunarily restricting itself, it is also restricting others (without their own choice in the matter). To not do that would be anarchy. Viewing it in a different manner, for a person to have freedom to do something, it requires the taking away of other’s freedom to do something. Guaranteed individual freedom to something requires many “freedom from’s“.

All freedom to do something (or what might also be called rights) then is always had by either the voltunary or involuntary restriction of other individual’s freedoms. This is not to say that all freedoms are valued equally. The freedom to happiness is to be valued over the freedom to kill. But, rights entail by their very nature required restrictions. And if all the people are not motivated to voluntary restrict themselves, in accordance to personal freedom, then it requires the involuntary restriction through force and the taking away of particular freedoms.


October 21, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized |


  1. “motivated to voluntarily restrict themselves”. This is morality which comes from the bible (the word of GOD). A must for society to exist. We need government only to punish those who break the law. The bigger the govt. The smaller our freedom.

    Comment by paperhater | June 6, 2010

  2. I have a solution, take away everyone’s freedom, that way no one will offended. problem solved. Wait, the government already tried that with the patriot act.

    Comment by nemo235 | July 19, 2010

  3. The patriot act is well needed in our ever increasing violent society. It is too easy for terrorist to organize and share information which is detrimental to our society. We have every right to use espionage to tract down these lawless criminals and see them punished for not only acts of terrorisim but for support of any kind. You only need privasy if you are commiting illegal or immoral acts. I trust any one wiretapping to use confidentiallity for personal issues. If your hidding something STOP doing it and go to church and ask for forgiviness and accept Jesus as the only way to heaven.

    Comment by papperhater | September 13, 2010

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