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What does freedom mean to me?
The United States is a nation founded on freedom. But what exactly is freedom? What does it mean? To me, the most important thing to understand in order to grasp the concept of freedom is this: Every law is enforced by men with guns. Every time you pass a law, you understand that men with guns will enforce that law. Sometimes, lethal force will be used to enforce that law.
Consider the case of Eric Garner. The law that Garner was breaking was not collecting taxes on the cigarettes he was selling. This was a minor infraction at worst that may have cost New York City a few dollars at most, but the end result was that a man made in the image of God is now dead. Yes, there are other issues involved in the Garner case, but we should not forget that the thing that brought out the police was something very small.
This is why we should be very careful in the laws we pass. The basic rule should be this: Actually harming someone (harming their person or damaging his property) would be prohibited by law. Other than that, you are pretty much free do live as you want without interference from (or endorsement by) the civil magistrate.
This, of course, does leave a wide area where government can and should intervene: Banning murder, rape, assault, theft, and vandalism come to mind. But this also applies to environmental regulation, because dumping pollutants into the air or water does harm people and damage their property. The question, then, is how much environmental regulation to have, not whether to have any at all.
Freedom means a government that has as little to do with us as possible, a strong criminal justice system, and a court system to mediate disputes. Freedom means adhering to the rule of law. Freedom means that the government that governs least governs best.