On January 6, we experienced what happens when freedom becomes too free. How is that even possible though, that such a benevolent value, and one embodying the civil philosophy of an entire nation, could produce actions so reprehensible? To answer that, you have to go back to 2020, a time of fun, in spite of the consequence.
More than the practice of massive populations burning meat and invading coastal regions for a 24hr period, Old Glory stands as the empirical symbol of each American man or woman’s personal manifest destiny. Fun is the byproduct of the flag and what it represents; freedom. And nothing bore a greater witness to that singular liberty than Americans celebrating July 4th of 2020 in the middle of a global pandemic that required disciplined social distancing and protective mask wearing.
It was a shift in the use of freedom and one marked by a laser focus on individual goals and desires. Americans were bold in their assessment of what they wanted, and damn the country and what it needed as a whole.
As such, cooperation became a casualty of this swing from the benign nature of freedom. Other faces of the virtue have also died recently. Truth had been an early loss. Very early.
Think of the ease in how some have become willfully ignorant of any recognition of fact or evidence. We ask ourselves, how does truth become arguable? It’s happened because of freedom affording liberty to express opposingand sometimes long-forbidden viewpoints. And freedom doesn’t discriminate against ridiculousness or shun delusion.
Today, it’s easy to not only consider a divergent perspective but also outright validate a lie, especially if there’s profit in it. And even worst still, today’s free speech promotes the endorsement and appreciation of the liar to the masses.
It’s supposed to be benign; and until now, even the thought of it was. Freedom was a “left” thing. It operated under the umbrella of a liberal society. You felt good when it came to mind because freedom meant liberation. Somebody or something somewhere was being given, or was reaffirming, or was affirming for the very first time their God-given right to do this, that or the other. Now some have changed the tint of it simply by how they utilize it.
Americans still shun the science of mask-wearing, declaring their independence to forgo such life-saving protocol while others embrace fantastic theories concerning the virus or deny its existence outright.
It could even be argued it was freedom that prevented government from telling the American people what it needed to do-with enforcement like other less democratic countries-to protect, not only themselves but the Union as well, rather than providing a slipshod suggestion.
And others, after months of rallying with and plotting on behalf of the former president, all while denying the simple truth, stormed the capitol in the name of patriotism, resulting in the deaths of six, all to overturn a fair election and disenfranchise the votes of millions.
And now during an impeachment trial, as the fright from that day and the memory of the sound of gunshots ebb, freedom is giving many the stomach to ignore what happened, all for political gain. While this and all of it could be argued, we wouldn’t be where we are today if truth still held sway.
Some have forgotten the most important thing about freedom; That with it comes a responsibility to uphold the truth. But to uphold it, you first have to recognize it and that’s where we’re not faring well.
While we acknowledge the fact more than 30,573 lies or falsehoods were told to the American people routinely over the last four plus years, we overlook another simple truth; that people did not have to believe any of them.
This acceptance of something other than fact is rooted in man’s laziness because truth always takes some effort to digest. It can also require sacrifice and compromise. On the other hand, you don’t have to do anything for bullshit; it comes ready-made to fit, is just what you want to hear and will go down smooth as silk.
Many times, there’s a monetary draw to bullshit; an economic blackjack to beat the masses into a frenzy around the lie that somebody or something is taking something from them and getting a little bit more than they are.
Some would see it as poetic justice that the primary ideal of our grand experiment is the main component currently tearing us apart. It is ironically karmic that white men calling themselves patriots, are the ones who stormed the Capitol, with murder and insurrection on their minds.
Consider that more than the arc of the moral universe swinging back and forth perpetually, we’re bound by a circle of freedom-360° worth-where our responsible choices dictate the level of morality existing currently in our world. With it comes a constant battle for truth and that’s what we’re struggling in at the moment.
Remember I said freedom was leftist; not any more, not solely. Freedom is now rounding a right turn. Rather than liberating though, now freedom will be used to incarcerate, to separate and alienate. We’ve already seen it begin. How we shed this ill use of the virtue is the problem going forward.
Many see that such liberty is now for them, the full circle of freedom. And they won’t be willing to relinquish their newfound authority so readily or easily.