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Freedom: Definition, Meaning and Threats Essay

The existence of freedom in the world has been one of the most controversial topics in the world. This controversy arises due to the multidimensional and widely differing perspectives on defining freedom (Juillard 327). As such, it becomes crucial to discuss it with the aim to conceptualize its definition, the supportive factors, and the aspects that pose threats to freedom. In this light, it is every crucial to consider some of these perspectives in order to understand the meaning of freedom in a broad sense. In this case, therefore, this paper will explore some of the thoughts expressed by scholars in order to conceptualize and make a compromise as far as the meaning of freedom is concerned.

Definitions of Freedom

According to the earlier statement made in the introductory part, it was evident that the perspectives of defining freedom are diverse. In this case, freedom is the idea of being fully active, alive, and attaining complete independence of social, political, and financial strings of attachment (Spence para. 2). In that regard, therefore, it is clear that freedom is basically unattainable from that perspective. This impossibility is found in the difficulty of becoming completely free from social and political cords. Understandably, individual interests are embedded and intertwined with other people’s status and authorities (Sacks 137). As such, absolute freedom cannot happen in such a mutual world.

Whereas Spence views freedom as an absolute sense of independence, Martin Luther King Junior painted a different picture of freedom in the minds of people. In his response to the criticisms concerning the Birmingham jail activities, he viewed freedom as the absence of injustice. This implies that he considered freedom as an equivalence of fairness to all people in USA. In fact, he stated that the prevalence of injustice in a single part of USA meant lack of freedom in the entire country.

In order to obtain and restore freedom to the people of Birmingham, Martin believed that the collection of facts and direct action of a campaign was necessary as well as urgent. At this point in time, Martin was conducting notable campaigns against the racial discrimination against the black Americans. Indeed, racial discrimination took root to an extent that black people could not serve in certain hotels reserved for the white people. His believe that racial discrimination was a retrogressive undertaking as far as freedom was concerned indicated that freedom is the presence of justice.

Another perspective of viewing freedom is related to the ability and willingness to think liberally. Raymo discusses the human believes towards truths. As such, he indicated that everyone believes he or she is the guardian of absolute truth while the rest are wrong. He stated that people are so convinced about their truth that they can easily engage in suicide bombing to eliminate their counterparts (Raymo 2). In addition, he observes that some individuals are convinced that God is on their side and against the other humans. As such, Raymo rejected the use of conventions as the truths that guide the world without liberal thinking.

As a result, he suggests indirectly that freedom is found in the ability to think rationally. A free man must be capable of making decisions without the influence of conventions. In case a liberal person has to use conventions, he or she must have personalized reasons to make the decision. As such, the author purports that actual freedom can be experienced if humans think freely and adopt an individualized approach to issues.

In a different perspective, Lickerman viewed freedom as something that can be denied or granted by certain people in the society. In this regard, he indicated that people are entitled to freedom of speech, press, and religion among others. In this perspective, it can be implied that freedom exists only when people are allowed to access their needs.

This means that authorities are the givers of freedom since they can deny them. As he proceeds, however, he argues that the freedoms do not exist in absolute sense. He based this argument on the fact that people are not allowed to say anything. He gave a very good example that was related to the threats of national security. A person cannot just wake up and say he is going to detonate a bomb in a plane (Lickerman 1).

This would attract attention from security machinery since it contravenes national safety. The author, therefore, views freedom from a very unique and complicated perspective. The uniqueness is found in the fact that freedom is a shared attribute in the society. The complicated part arises from the understanding that freedom cannot exist if it contravenes the welfare of others. He, therefore, implies that freedom is not absolutely open. Instead, freedom is subject to certain reasonable limits which are ironically determined by fellow humans who are equally capable of denying it.

Misconceptions about Freedom

Human beings believe that a person enjoys freedom if he or she feels free in the environment and situations experienced in their lives. In regard to the perspectives that freedom is embodied in the idea of feeling free, people have always disregarded the actual freedom. As such, Spence argues that our general perception of freedom is very far from the actual reality. Factually, the author argues that human beings are not free and they have never experienced freedom as a result of this misperception. In this light, it is evident that the existence of freedom does not revolve around the feeling that somebody is free in his or her own harnesses.

It takes more that the simple feeling to become free in actual sense. As such, for a person to experience freedom, he or she must be active, alive, and aware of the feeble nature of humans. This implies that such a situation would lead to pure freedom which is basically complete terror. Evidently, the status of purely free world cannot exist owing to the fact that people must pay a price to get a certain benefit. In consistency with this fact, Spence argues that humans are forced to forego their opinions in order to earn social acceptance.

Equally, they sacrifice their liberal understanding of morals in order to avoid rejection. As such, it appears that humans are ready to give up their freedom in order to earn comfort. However, the comfort is equated to freedom since it puts people in the condition that is easy to harness. One of the good examples that showed this condition is the human’s efforts to propagate the slavery. Understandably, every person knew that slavery was a wrong undertaking because it capitalizes on denying basic human rights.

However, instead of abolishing slavery, people were tempted to enslave other in order to comply with the world order. As such, it appears that pure freedom cannot happen because humans are tied to social, financial, and political needs that make it difficult to enjoy complete independence. It is, therefore, valid to argue that human beings are not free and they have never enjoyed freedom. Instead, they misconceive freedom as a feeling rather than an actual sense of independence.

Threats and Supporters of Freedom

In accordance with the authors, freedom is threatened by various factors in human life. First, human beings are identified as the main enemies of freedom. They limit freedom through discrimination, propagation of oppression, and refusal to think liberally. The interesting part about this argument is embedded in the fact that a person can limit their own freedom. As such, a person who fails to think liberally and considers absolute conventions does not freedom. When such a person decided to think liberally, he can be termed as a free human being.

On the other hand, human beings are conceptualized as the supporters of freedom. This implies that humans are both threats and supporters of their own freedom. Indeed, different people have risen against the oppression caused by government and capitalistic companies. For example, Martin Luther King Junior was at the forefront to fight against racial discrimination. Liberal minds have also been identified as crucial promoters of freedom. In this light, liberal minds are capable of respecting other people’s thoughts. They do not consider themselves are the only guardians of truth.


It is evident that there are various diverse definitions and perspectives of viewing freedom. It can be viewed from the perspective of liberal mindedness, lack of injustice, and the willingness to let people express themselves without unreasonable limits. In addition, it was indicated that freedom is wrongly equated to feeling free rather than being active and alive.

Works Cited

Juillard, P. “Freedom of Establishment, Freedom of Capital Movements, and Freedom of Investment.” ICSID Review10.6 (2000): 322-39. Print.

Lickerman, Alex. “The True Meaning of Freedom.” Happiness in the World 5.2 (2012): 1-2. Print.

Raymo, Chet. “The Gray Areas Save the World.” The Boston Globe 9.3 (2001): 1-3. Print.

Sacks, David. “Freedom To, Freedom From, Freedom of Urban Life and Political Participation in Early Modern England.” Citizenship Studies 5.2: 135-50. Print.

Spence, Gerry. “Easy in the Harness the Tyranny of Freedom.” Boehning. 2010. Web.

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1. IvyPanda. "Freedom: Definition, Meaning and Threats." July 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/freedom-definition-meaning-and-threats/.


IvyPanda. "Freedom: Definition, Meaning and Threats." July 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/freedom-definition-meaning-and-threats/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Freedom: Definition, Meaning and Threats." July 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/freedom-definition-meaning-and-threats/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Freedom: Definition, Meaning and Threats'. 1 July.

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