An essay on freedom

by Lorenzo Piccoli


Freedom is a powerful political concept and the basis for, well, for everything else essentially. I guess this is the reason why most of the parties I know are called something with freedom in it (in Italy: People of Freedom Party, Left Ecology and Freedom, Future and Freedom, and so on; and it is the same in Germany, France, and many other European countries). Still, this is something I do not understand. Why are we so politically obsessed with freedom?

There is an obvious problem with freedom that makes it so hard to grasp. We do not know otherwise. I was born and raised completely free. My generation had the privilege of living in a continent that is completely free. Freedom was like as the air we breathe, or the water we drink: it is something we always took for granted. Obviously, it should not be. If we were to live in Russia or in Colombia, we probably would think otherwise. But in Italy, as in the rest of Europe, freedom is there, there is no need to fight to get it. Therefore, political appeals to freedom, here and now, look very weak to me.

Is it, really? Even if we managed to be free, that does not mean that we can now give up. Freedom must be defended at every cost, and I agree we that. But again, this is not enough to explain why we (or the parties) are so obsessed with the concept of freedom specifically. Why not peace, for example? Or justice? Or equality?

This is something puzzling to me. Maybe you can have a thought about it too and the next time we see each other in person we will have something to talk about.

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