Friday, November 13, 2015

Freedom Vs. Safety

   Freedom. Sounds wonderful doesn't it? A word that holds such promise, that beckons to you and envelops you with assurance that it can do no wrong. The question is, how much freedom? And at what cost, to an individual or society as a whole? Now, I'm sure you're saying, "What's wrong with you, freedom is great! You wouldn't be able to write this blog without freedom!" I totally agree with you, freedom is a marvelous thing. The question then is not the reduction of freedom, but the expansion.

    I have this "argument" with my husband every so often. His position is that freedom should be extended to everything. Borders? Who needs 'em? Laws? Who needs 'em? He is, in fact, all for the idea of anarchy (or possibly tyranny with him as the tyrant, but that is not the point of this post). My position, is that people value their safety above their freedom. The safety of themselves, and their families, to have a safer community, is worth sacrificing a little freedom.If given a choice between having more laws that will protect them, or less laws that mean more freedom, but less safety, people will prefer safety first.

    Another example, but one that has nothing to do with bodily harm, is the freedom of ideas. We have a law about intellectual property, the laws of patents. My husband's opinion is that ideas should be free for everyone, that there should be no restrictions in place to prevent the sharing of ideas. My side however (and most people who he shared this idea with) is that patents is a good thing, because then there would be no motivation for people to come up with ideas if they can't profit off them, it's for their own safety and security.

     A perfect illustration for both sides of this debate is Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. Both were geniuses ahead of their time. However, Edison went ahead and patented the ideas (some of which were actually Tesla's) and became wealthy, while Tesla never patented any, and died in poverty.
So, my question: Which do you value more? And at what cost?