Reasons For Freedom

December 2018: I read this essay and added commentary for Editor's Break 122 of the EVC podcast.

Throughout my life, I have observed, pondered, and concluded on many different things; things like what types of food I prefer, how I handle my finances, to the ideas of politics, philosophy and religion that I will subscribe to. In all cases, I hope to be not so certain as to reject truth when it contradicts my ideas and my ways of doing things.

For many instances, accepting new or additional truth is easy, such as learning to perform a task at work more efficiently or adopting a better medical procedure. But for other instances, accepting new or additional truth is difficult, especially if it seems to or does contradict our deeply held habits or beliefs.

I believe it is human nature to want to hold on to that which is familiar, even if it is false, so long as it isn't harmful. Some would prefer to hold tight to those falsehoods that they have, despite how much greater the new truth is. It's often inconvenient to accept new truth because of the change it could wrought in your life or the lives of those around you.

But for the seeker of truth, nothing could be more constant and certain than the faith that there is truth out there and that it can be found. This is the great motivator in the scientific studies. To believe that you can ascertain truth and build upon the world's knowledge and more often than not improve mankind's lot in life, is one of the most righteous of beliefs and has been more often a blessing to mankind than a curse.

Truth is everywhere and everything, and I believe that one will get closer to omniscience, that is closer to God, by seeking it and accepting it when it has been determined certain, even when it surpasses or even contradicts our own beliefs. This is true in science, philosophy, politics, and of course, religion.

No longer are the mythological Greek and Roman gods worshipped, no longer is it believed that communism or socialism are plausible forms of government, and no longer is the theory that the universe has existed in its present size since eternity accepted by the scientific community. In each instance, some times through great heart-ache and pain, and some times through vigorous debate, new truth superseded old truth and society has been the benefactor.

To be an honest seeker of truth, one must constantly re-evaluate his own ways and ideas and correct them when they prove to be wrong. But can everybody do this? I don't believe the can because not everybody is free. Those that are, the question isn't ability but rather desire. I believe those are the two great forces that will not only reinforce each other, but lead to improving oneself. If a man is free to explore and to question than he will be free to seek after truth.

The most obvious barrier to this type of freedom is of course government. Coercion, or the threat of force, is the game of government and the more intrusive and bigger the government, the less freedom one has to explore, to question, and to act, or in other words, the less freedom society has to seek after truth.

This is one of the reasons that I support limited government and have faith in the free and voluntary market.


Unknown said…
Good comments. I think the hardest part of being a good politician is making room for being wrong or believing there is a better way to do things. Problem is that most Americans would rather vote for someone who is predictable even if that means sticking to outdated policies and ways of getting things done. Politicians that seek truth and adapt to better solutions to problems are mocked as being indecisive and unpredictable.
Todd said…
I concur. I must say that living outside of the US, one gains a greater appreciation for the freedoms that are inherit with the daily lives that we lead.
One doesn't think about the freedom to go the store and purchase what you want, the freedom to ride a bus and feel safe, the freedom to travel where ever you want without be stopped and checked, the freedom to enjoy a process that while it might seem mundane, is the same for everyone, the freedom to share your religion with anyone, and to be able to meet without fear.
It is often those small freedoms that we overlook that truly are the basic elements to our society. In a sense, these small things are the mortar that holds a free society together. One thinks of the larger freedoms, and truly they are what make smaller ones available, but still, the smaller ones is what makes life in a free country unlike anything else.