Apr.04, 2014 | UPDATED Apr.06,2016 | US MADNESS

Mississipi State: They Took Away Our Slaves, But They Will Never Take Our Freedom (to deprive it to whoever we want to)

Freedom is a lofty word but the concept it represents can quite easily be manipulated to fit into any point in a wide spectrum of ideas and intentions, sometimes to even signify the opposite, its retraction. The reasons are mainly twofold.

 

Firstly, freedom is kind of a zero-sum game. One cannot have absolute, unlimited freedom since by definition that would mean that he would be free to deny others theirs. Secondly, as a theoretical concept untethered to a reference system (context), freedom is a blank slate, intrinsically meaningless and pliable to any shape. It is the reference system that gives freedom its specific valence, its relative value as something to fight for, against or compromise on. 

 

Most egregious example of the distorting effect of context is "religious freedom", whereby based on arbitrarily set rules of inclusion and exclusion, the kind of freedom that it promotes is one that is reserved exclusively for those abiding to these rules on the expense of those who don't. This is because in "religion freedom" religion is the dominant concept and freedom the subordinate. Of course a more just and considerate approach would be the opposite, but as in all such cases, the zealots who espouse and promote this concept, are only using freedom as an amplifier for the institutionalization of religion.

 

Case in point, Mississippi. Not satisfied with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was enacted in 2014 to allow businesses and individuals to deny services to anyone they considered to offend their beliefs, Governor Phil Bryant has just signed the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, ensuring that no individual or business will be penalized for acting according to "sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions", in case the previous bill wasn't clear enough. Similar legislation that basically legitimize discrimination against the LGBT community is being considered or adopted in several other conservative states, last gasps against an equal rights society ushered by the Supreme Court's decision on gay marriage.