Responsible Freedom Respects Boundaries

Freedom that does not respect boundaries is IRRESPONSIBLE. That is why when you cross boundaries then laws, justice, and authority enter the picture.

Freedom that doesn't respect boundaries is not only irresponsible, it is self-absorbed. That type of attitude says, "I can do anything I want, because I can!"

Responsible Freedom Respects Boundaries

Freedom and Valuing Others

Valuing others, is like love, at least the way we define love. Our definition of love is

Pursuing the best for others; patiently, kindly, sacrificially, and unconditionally.

When you value others, you set boundaries, create consequences for crossing them AND allow them the freedom to cross them. They are free to cross the boundaries and free to experience the consequences when they cross the boundaries.

For example...

  • - Is your child free to not clean their room? Yes, they are free to obey or disobey. But if a clean room is a house rule, that is a boundary, hopefully with consequences.
  • - Is your friend free to curse at you? Yes. You may not like it but it is their issue. But you are free to associate with them or not.
  • - Is a person free to rob you? Yes, it is their choice to be evil or not. But you may protect yourself, your property and seek justice.
  • - Is an employee free to disobey his supervisor? Yes. His boss may not like it, and may initiate consequences also.

Do you think those statements condone bad behavior? Some people misinterpret the principles and think so. But, that does not condone bad behavior! It is just reality. When you ignore reality, you fuel your actions with opinion, subjectivity, and, too often, selfishness.

Freedom and Government

My guess is all government philosophies, even democracy, succumb to fearing the freedom of the people. That fear ultimately drives how invasive they are with the population.

The more a philosophy encourages self-governance, rather than individual rights, the less invasive it is. Especially, if self-governance incorporates values such as those set out in great documents like the Bible and the Constitution of the United States.

A legitimate, role of government is to protect the people. That role works against the people, though, when government leaders focus on the “countless” terrible things out there that will hurt the government and/or the people.

When that fear grows, the ruling elite create laws that choose what is “best” for the people. Most often the creation of the law is driven by the belief that the people aren't intelligent enough to know what is right and good.

Then regulations multiply which remove individual freedom. If there is a benefit from the control, the people will more easily tolerate it. If not, they eventually fight it.

And, of course, those who are irresponsible with their freedom, cry for more freedom for themselves, which encroaches on the freedom for others. That creates freedom for some to the detriment of others. Then those in power create more regulations and expand the government to enforce the laws.

Even if a person isn't crying for their own irresponsible freedom, anyone who violates the law practices creates the same problem. Those practicing irresponsible freedom, like criminals and terrorists are often a small segment of the population. But those practitioners impact the remainder of the population. Their irresponsible freedom ends up limiting the freedom of everyone else. Consider the extreme minority of terrorists that impact the freedom of legitimate airline passengers as they are subjected to lines, scans and searches at airports.

Freedom and Individual Rights

Government protection works against the people when government leaders focus on individual rights rather than self-governance. By the way, I am for individual rights, but self-governance is required to prevent individual rights from becoming irresponsible freedom. The more individual rights are promoted, the more control is required to protect any one individual from losing his unique way of living.

So, freedom that is responsible pays attention to boundaries, but irresponsible freedom doesn't value others, it is self-absorbed only thinking about "ME."

Share with Your Friends