Freedom

The Ad Council is running a banner ad (on Dilbert, I don’t know where else) about freedom. Clicking it takes you to the Ad Council Issues – Freedom page. I thought that was pretty damn cool, until I reread the first few paragraphs. Here they are with some emphasis added:

Freedom is an important part of our everyday lives. Freedom is the foundation of America. Freedom allows us to practice our faith, read books that appeal to us, and speak out when we feel there is an injustice. Freedom is a privilege that makes our country unique. And, whether we realize it or not, our lives would be very different if we weren’t granted freedom in America so long ago.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th and the current war on terrorism, remembering the freedoms upon which the country was founded, and cherishing freedom is more important today, than ever.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (see below) granted America many of the freedoms that make our country so extraordinary. These are the freedoms that are at risk, and that we are fighting to protect, with the war on terrorism.

Kudos to the Ad Council for supporting freedom, but I have to disagree with what they believe about it. Freedom is not a “privilege”, or “granted”. Freedom is an inherent moral value of an individual. The entire purpose of the Bill of Rights is not to guarantee that the government will continue to grant us those rights, but to set rigid guidelines against government infringing on those rights we inherently have. How can you believe we were granted freedom “long ago” without elevating the founding fathers to the role of kings? And that’s a role that they repeatedly and explicitly denied!
I know some people see this as picking nits, but on a metaphysical issue like freedom, if you don’t have the underlying philosophy right, what do you have?

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