Freedom And Its Friends

May 22, 2024 by

By Rollin Grams, Bible and Mission.


I believe in freedom.’

‘Do you mean freedom of speech?’

‘That and everything.’

‘I don’t.  How could you allow hate speech?’

‘I don’t like it, but who am I to shut someone else up?  And if I do, then someone else might just as well shut me up.  That trail quickly leads to tyranny: the person with power gets to say what hate speech is and shut everyone he wants down.’

‘Bah!  There is virtue and vice, good and evil, right and wrong.  It is not about power but about the good controlling the bad.’

‘And what is bad, in your view?’

‘People who oppose the right of mothers to kill their unborn children, for instance, and people who pray near the clinics that take their lives.  They must be silenced!’

‘Do you hate them?’

‘Of course, I do!’

‘So, you define prayer as hate speech, and you take away the freedom to pray.  You oppose hate speech unless it is your own.’

‘Very clever.  But I have you in a trap, too.  Your freedom allows people who don’t believe in freedom to take away your freedom.  You always have to fight for freedom against those who will take it away.  First, you take away their freedom to oppose your freedom, and once you win, you give them the freedom to take yours again.  That is quite the merry-go-round you are on!’

‘Perhaps we are both wrong.’


‘Perhaps freedom is not a standalone virtue, not an absolute.’

‘Now you are talking.’

‘Oh, I’m not contradicting my love of freedom, only recognizing that it needs some friends, so to speak.’


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