Are You Free?

In the United States political world, there has been a lot of talk about being free lately. From owning guns to wearing masks to availability of abortions, one person’s freedom is another’s oppression.

A number of freedoms, or rights, are explicitly mentioned in the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. In particular, the first and second amendments, freedom of speech and the right to bear arms, respectively, are the most famous. Are efforts to keep protests safe limiting freedom of speech? Are all efforts at gun control an infringement of the Second Amendment?

In addition, there is also a fierce debate going on regarding voting rights, and both sides of the political divide feel that they are defending democracy. One side wants increased voting access to previously under-served communities; the other thinks that is an invitation to fraud.

At the heart of many of the ongoing arguments is that people, regardless of their political affiliation or socioeconomic standing, feel their freedoms slipping away.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where we discuss the questions ‘Freedom or security?’ and ‘Is technology neutral?’


Not to mention the vanishing of privacy in the age of social media. Similarly, our personal information is becoming more available to corporations. Credit card companies, for example, know more about us than many of us realize. Cell phones allow us to be tracked wherever we go.

On a personal level, how do you feel about freedom? Are you free? Do you feel free? Are your freedoms threatened, and what can be done to strengthen them?

Related questions: Freedom or security? What are you doing to make the world a better place? Personal rights or convenience? How can we encourage debate?

Democracy Or Tyranny?

Democracy or tyranny?

Democracy Or Tyranny?

Personal Rights Or Public Safety?

There are several issues that can be viewed through the framework of choosing personal rights or public safety. One is wearing a mask, another is gun control. Some consider abortion to be yet another.

Do you value one over the other?

Share why if you wish.

Personal Rights Or Public Safety?

Personal Rights Or Convenience?

Using a smart phone is definitely convenient. But it also means you are carrying a tracker with you everywhere you go. Which is more important to you, your personal rights (like privacy) or your convenience?

Share why if you wish.

Personal Rights Or Convenience?

How Can We Be Safe?

Safety is at the heart of a number of today’s most pressing issues. We all want to feel safe, but what does that really mean? Is it even possible to be safe from everything?

There are several different threats facing us, and fear of those threats drive our behavior, from how we speak, to who we vote for, to how we want our taxes allocated.

Some people feel they are not safe on an individual, personal level. For example, someone might be afraid of crime, so they advocate for a larger, more powerful police force to protect them. Alternately, others may fear the police, so they urge law enforcement reform.

Some people fear getting sick, or transmitting the virus to others, so they stay at home, or wear a mask when they go out in order to be safe.

Some threats are more nebulous. Climate change threatens our entire species, but that danger isn’t concrete. How can we safeguard the world from this danger?

Safety is harder to pin down as the threats get more abstract. How to we stay safe from losing our way of life, whether it be from other countries, degrading social or political norms, or zealots or terrorists? Or our own tyrannical government?

What is the best way to ensure that we are all secure and able to prosper? Is it through force, like a powerful military or law enforcement? Is it through a social safety net to protect the weakest or most disadvantaged? A strong set of laws, with a punitive penal system? An armed populace? Collective action, including protests?

How can we be safe?

Related questions:  How do you know who to trust? Where does authority come from? What is the greatest problem facing humanity? What direct experience do you have with law enforcement?