Freedom and Security

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Freedom does not necessarily equate with happiness, but freedom is to a large extent a requirement for a happy life. The same goes for security. Security and freedom for all are the achievements of democracy. Freedom and security are also the prerequisites for democracy.

It is like the dilemma of the chicken and the egg: which came first? The truth is that freedom, security and democracy helped each other develop; it was a long process. We cannot live, let alone survive, in a society with complete freedom. With complete freedom, we would deprive each other of our safety and thereby a large part of our freedom. Neither can we live in complete safety. Such a scenario does not exist, and would not contain much freedom anyway. In order to live rich and fulfilling lives, we must have both freedom and security.

One person's freedom extends to where another person's freedom begins. In a democracy, we are in a constant process of weighing individual and collective freedoms against each other. Circumstances are changing all the time and so is our legislation and regulation of our behaviour towards each other. Who has the freedom to do what and when has not been determined once and for all; it has to be adjusted all the time. The same goes for security.

In order to establish and maintain a democracy, it is necessary for us to accept this dilemma, and for us to be willing to remember it when discussing concrete political issues.

It would be even better if we also remembered that people's needs for freedom and security vary, and the best of all would be if we were capable of respecting these needs.


Next chapter: Freedom with Responsibility