What would you guess the definition of the word “freedom” was at the time of America’s founding? What do you think the meaning of freedom is today?
Let’s consult the “American Dictionary of the English Language,” aka Webster’s Dictionary 1828. After all, it was the source of definitions de rigueur. The noun had about eight different meanings, but for our purposes, let’s use the first definition:
Freedom- “A state of exemption from the power or control of another; liberty; exemption from slavery, servitude or confinement. freedom is personal, civil, political, and religious.”
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language circa 1973 gave a simpler definition as its first entry:
Freedom- “The condition of being free of restraints.”
A modern definition of freedom goes like this from the renowned Oxford English Dictionary:
Freedom- “the state of being able to do what you want, without anything stopping you.”
Frankly, I don’t view “freedom” as being without any restraints. In my worldview, we are always accountable first, to the Creator for our one and only life, then to our neighbor (anyone near you). There is always a chain of authority. No one in this life has a dance card with only his/her name on it. As far as I can tell, we are free to do what is right. If we just go ahead and do whatever we want, we run into trouble somehow, someway, with someone.
If our children are led to believe that they are accountable to no one at some point in life, they will have a purposeless existence. American generations in the past were taught proper respect for authority, property, and people. This is why we leave no soldier behind. It’s why we have (regardless of what you hear these days) a faithful citizenry. It’s why we have city ordinances to maintain your property and pick up your trash. It’s why the ancient wisdom to “treat others the way you want to be treated” is still quoted today.
However, in today’s world, whoever controls the language controls the culture. Seems like we are losing our freedom to speak with dignity and respect about any topic using words from the dictionary that are common to all. Someone somewhere is deciding for us what we can and cannot say. Something that We the People need to address if we wish to remain a free people.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸