Freedom By Example

To be free is to live free.

I was commiserating with a couple of my more vocal friends recently over the censorship being imposed by corporate media, especially social media. We were observing that all our online speech is being controlled by people who believe both that "words are violence" and "silence is violence".

Well. That's certainly one way of making sure you never have to listen to anyone you disagree with!

But in fact, the benefits and strengths of free speech can best be modeled, not explained. Explaining freedom is like explaining a joke: if you have to explain it, it's not funny any more.

A person who is free is a person who lives free. In the software development field, we say "the best documentation is a working example". Show me your code, and I will learn twice as much, twice as fast, as reading a description of your code. That's very much what freedom is like. Freedom is by example.

I think the same applies with all of life, not just free speech. The best way to combat the forces denying you freedom is to live free in your own person. When you are free, you walk with a more determined, confident step. Your back is straighter. You have greater curiosity and open-mindedness about subjects you don't know. You take a more intelligent attitude towards life because you care about the meaning of things. You laugh more easily at jokes (especially those at your expense), and show a more ready smile. You treat others with more respect, and have more compassion for your fellow man.

Words are one thing, but it's only when you live by them every day that you fully enjoy the benefits. And it's only when you model freedom that you truly make an impression on those who are not free.

Actions are what speak.

Image Credit: "Freedom !" by PotironLight is marked with CC BY-NC 2.0.


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