How you explain the concept of liberty to anyone? Do we need to explain this term in today's world where we believe that humans have progressed so much that we all understand and respect individual rights, do we do that really? If we look around, I am sure we will find many occasions where the term liberty or freedom is used to curb human rights rather than to protect them. It is also true that many societies, like the USA, have shown tremendous progress towards creating an atmosphere where individual rights are respected considerably, but the basic concept of liberty is still very hard for many to get a complete grasp of it. I agree that it is a difficult concept to grasp, it sounds very easy, but the real meaning of liberty is not that easy to fathom, especially if you are not exposed to real benefits of it. I value individual freedom more than anything else and that is why the concept of liberty is so dear to me.
Liberty is a basic tenet of any progressive society, human mind and efforts flourish when they have freedom to think and express their thoughts. I got attracted towards the concept of liberty when I realized the importance of having an ability to express my thoughts and live life on my own terms. Feeling of having an individual freedom brought radical change in my life and thinking, and I try my best to practice that within my own family. I sincerely believe that if we all create the environment of liberty within our homes, our society will automatically have individual liberty. The problem is, we all or most of us believe that our ideas, values, belief system, religion or political ideology is the best and others should also follow it, and if they don't follow then at least they should not criticize it. Without the freedom to criticize there can't be a freedom to express, criticism is one of the essential processes through which every idea and concept should go to prove its mantle.
Actually, the basic concept of liberty is very simple, if you care and value your own individual rights, then you should equally care and value other's individual rights also. Unless others rights are not protected, there is no guarantee that you rights will remain protected. I and my wife are poles apart as far as our religious and social views are concerned, but her freedom to practice the religion of her choice is equally important in out home as much as my freedom of not to practice or even criticize any religion. If you can't imagine these things living side by side in harmony then you will find very difficult to understand the concept of liberty. This concept has nothing to do with tolerance, that is another, separate virtue where we tolerate something even though we don't agree, it is not necessary that for us to encourage or protect those views which we tolerate. For liberty, you not only tolerate, but go one step further we protect rights of people with whom either you don't agree or even strongly disagree. As a person who values liberty, I not only stand for not only my own rights but also for others whose ideas and views might hurt my feelings or challenge my views or offend me. Others right to express their ideas is as absolute and important as mine, no more, no less.
I wish that among this growing atmosphere of political polarization and racial and religious divide, people understand the importance of protecting individual rights. I would like to end the post with a very famous quote by Voltaire which is shared widely, but hardly practised in real life, "I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to death your right to say it," if we all understand the real meaning of these words and try to practise it in real life, this world will be a more beautiful place for each one of us.
Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.
[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]