People in this country like to talk a lot about freedom and how happy they are to have it.
For the life of me I don't know what they're talking about. None of us are truly free.
You want to be free? Here's what you do.
Find a tract of land with fertile soil, good natural resources like trees, clean water and edible wild animals, then make sure there isn't another human being around for about 200 to 500 square miles.
Good luck with that one.
If you manage to jump that first hurdle, then you need to study up and get some exercise, because you're going to have to build your own house, grow your own food, make your own clothes and heal your own wounds.
That's pretty much the kind of freedom that brought our country's forefathers to this place far from overcrowded, over-regulated Europe. And to a large degree they found it.
That's the freedom that was what they were talking about back then. Or at least some of them were talking about that. Others just wanted freedom from British taxes.
However, most of us live in a society, and in a society individuals must sacrifice a certain amount of freedom in order to reap the benefits of that society.
Thus, you are not free to do whatever you want on your own property, as so many opponents of zoning would like to think. What you do affects your neighbors, thus your freedom is limited.
The same concept applies to all laws in general. If you live in a society, you are never really free. However, you can be mostly free.
And so far we have been mostly free, freer than several other countries in this world. But I've noticed a strange delusion among some Americans that we are the only free country in the world. This is not true.
We are, however, a little over indulgent and overly concerned with our personal freedom. There are a lot of people who think they're precious freedoms are being violated every time they are asked to simply be considerate of their fellow members of society.
But on the other end of the spectrum we have that segment of society that seems bent on forcing their moral strictures on others, to infringe on people's freedom by make illegal buying beer on Sunday and same-sex marriage. At the same time this same crowd seems convinced that their own religious freedoms are being threatened because little school children are no longer forced to participate in class prayer. They can still pray on their own if they want, by the way.
Here's a side note on the gay marriage issue. Now that the United Church of Christ has approved gay marriage, does Georgia's amendment making such unions legally null and void violate the church's freedom of religion?
See, all these freedoms tend to run into each other in a "free" society. So we can all either learn to choose our freedoms or start pricing land in the Australian outback.
Ed Brock covers public safety and municipal governments for the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .