But our freedom today is greatly constrained - and by our own government. The founders of our republic were aware of this possibility. "The natural progress of things," Thomas Jefferson said, " is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." As Jefferson was well aware, it is the normal business of government to restrict freedom. In fact, that is its only function. The government literally cannot lift its finger without constraining your freedom, either through legislation or taxation.
This constraint of your freedom is usually accomplished in the name of social welfare, also known as the greater good or the collective. Modern government goons are not informed enough to have ever heard of the early 19th Century Socialist Auguste Comte, who wrote, "There is a moral and political obligation of the individual to sacrifice his own interests for the sake of a greater social good," but they have been inculcated with that nonsensical sentiment. The fact that it makes no sense does not deter - or even occur to - those who would constrain your freedom.
Compte's "greater social good" would obviously be best served, as it always has been, by freedom - the freedom to help your fellow man by conceiving inventions that improve the quality of everyone's lives, the freedom to create wealth that expands the freedom and opportunities of all members of the society, and the freedom to fail and thus to advance the knowledge of all mankind.
But Compte's "sacrificing one's own interests" is a euphemism for constraining one's freedom, and in the process of constraining individual freedom, you must necessarily constrain everyone else's freedom. Without the freedom to cerate wealth and knowledge, there can be no freedom to consume them. The quality of freedom cannot be constrained for one without constraining it for all.
The method most often used by government to constrain your freedom is the classic book club bait-and-switch maneuver. The government baits their freedom trap with "free stuff," and once you've accepted the free stuff, you're stuck with a monthly book and a monthly bill, neither of which you want. For example, by allowing the government, under the banner of "free stuff," to inject their inevitable incompetence and corruption into our medical care, we have enabled government death panels for seniors, government prohibition of life saving drugs, and government abortion-based population control for the poor.
From the Roosevelts' FDA to Johnson's Medicare and Medicaid, we have authorized the government to mismanage the most critical segment of our lives - our very health. Further, we have empowered them to obfuscate their unimaginable inefficiencies by demanding further restrictions on our freedoms in the name of "efficiency." The question of "controlling government health care costs" should be moot. The Constitution does not authorize the government to make any expenditures at all of taxpayer monies in that area.
But we ourselves, despite Constitutional restrictions, authorized the theft of our freedom - in order to "get something for nothing." The quality of freedom can be constrained only by the free.
The government's justification for constraining your freedom is that they're doing it for your own good. But anyone who's read George Orwell's 1984 knows that Big Brotherism is a lie designed to redistribute your freedom to those who delude themselves that they are informed and intelligent enough to decide what's best for you. Remember what Margaret Thatcher said, "To be free is better than to be unfree - always. Any politician who suggests the opposite should be treated as suspect." Even former arch-liberal George McGovern, shortly before his death in 2012, had come to realize that "The nature of freedom of choice is that some people will misuse their responsibility and hurt themselves in the process. We should do our best to educate them, but without diminishing choice for everyone else."
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Freedom is one thing. You have it all or you are not free." Freedom is an absolute, like emptiness. The bucket is either empty or there's something in it. You can not be more free or less free. You can only be free or not free. And f there is any constraint on your freedom, you are not free. The quality of freedom is not constrained. Freedom is one thing. Either you have it all or you don't have it at all.