Too Much Liberty? Perspectives on Freedom and the American Dream

Too Much Liberty? Perspectives on Freedom and the American Dream

Too Much Liberty? Perspectives on Freedom and the American Dream

Too Much Liberty? Perspectives on Freedom and the American Dream

Synopsis

David Saari provides an extended essay on the nature of freedom in contemporary America, its historical roots, and its present-day manifestations. Drawing on the fields of history, law, politics, business, and philosophy, this wide-ranging study examines three facets of freedom--national freedom, freedom from the state, and freedom within the state--as they have developed in American law, politics, and society. Each of these facets is carefully defined and then applied to such contemporary issues as authority, property, equality, justice, and privacy.

Excerpt

The idea of freedom is a puzzle for mankind and has been ever since people could create words to express the complex set of thoughts and feelings encompassed by the words most commonly used -- freedom and liberty. It is with genuine humility that I offer a definition of liberty or freedom, knowing very well how many others have tried in the history of Western Civilization. But others were not stopped by the daunting task, so I see no reason why it should stop me from trying. This is a free country. And who knows? I may be closer to the truth about liberty or freedom than others were in their efforts. You can judge the success of that approximation to truth.

To help us think about freedom, I have constructed a framework that is based on common sense and practical experience in America and elsewhere in the past and present times. This practical approach is aimed at the widest audience possible. I have drawn on history, philosophy, law, politics, business and other fields. The definition of freedom offered is then applied to a range of significant problems in American society.

This completes the exercise except for a hope that I wish to share. The hope is that after reading this book and thinking about what I wrote, you will feel much better about asking and answering your own questions about liberty and freedom. My goal is to help you ask better questions, to continue the dialogue of freedom and liberty in your mind. It is there, in your thinking, feeling and action, that liberty thrives, changes and is reborn for every human being every day. The words written about liberty and freedom are like a mirror for reflection -- to help us see ourselves more truthfully. This book may offer to you a way to unify your thinking about freedom in all of its many dimensions, and then renew your interest and faith in your own ideas about liberty and freedom.

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