yearning for freedom and a burning desire for fairness ~ a dangerous
Many years ago now, a dear friend said to me, “You have a strong desire to express your freedom,” and I didn’t know what he meant. I’m still not entirely sure now.
In the West we have more personal freedoms than most of us know what to do with or often are even aware of. Many people do not use their vote, citing the fact that it makes no difference who they vote for. It seems pointless to even bother. To me, this insults those people who campaigned and died to get universal suffrage. Women especially seem to take for granted the rights they have now that women didn’t have even when I was growing up in the seventies. In fact, many women are rejecting the advances that have been made. I hear of teenage girls who are deliberately choosing not to work at school, despite intelligence, because the perceived wisdom is that boys do not fancy clever girls. I rarely read women’s magazines (haven’t bought one in twenty years) but when I do, often in desperate boredom at the hospital, I am horrified by the level of even the glossies. No wonder many men despise women if the magazines they read are representative
of today’s women.
When I was at school, I wanted to do either metalwork or woodwork; girls had to do either needlework or cookery. In the end, I did rural science; it was the only gender neutral practical subject available. But girls today have no bars in terms of subjects and yet so many choose things that lock them back into stereotypes. How many boys choose Childcare, I wonder? Not many. I would have given a lot to be allowed to choose a subject that was deemed a boy’s one, and yet, now girls can, they don’t.
In a society where freedom of choice and freedom of expression are supposedly at the heart of it, why then do most people choose the easy option and most people say nothing at all?
The fact is that freedom is not truly free, it costs. It doesn’t always cost US but it costs society. The individual has responsibilities that come with their freedom: you have the vote but you need to use it, for example, to make it worth having.
If you are reading this then you are one of the lucky ones. You are
literate, you have access to a computer, you live in a country where the internet is unrestricted by government. In all probability you also have enough to eat and other benefits. Billions do not. Does the freedom of the nations that enjoy these things also endow a responsibility to aid those nations who do not? I believe it does. It is not fair that purely by accident of birth one person should have opportunities another does not. When you also consider that the luxury we live in may well have come at a high cost for people we do not personally know, does it make you wonder if your personal freedoms have come at a cost someone else is paying?
There is an old fashioned concept many have forgotten about in our Me! Me! Me! culture. Duty. We have a duty to others, even others we will never meet, because if we are to raise ourselves beyond the purely selfish aims, we must seek to ensure fairness and equality to all. Most people feel some sense of duty towards family members and friends, but why not begin to extend this to mankind as a whole?
As the Native Americans say, “We are all related.”