F is for Freedom
F = Freedom and Faith.
Freedom from the bondage of ignorance – spiritual emancipation
See also Faith
free·dom (frēʹdəm) noun
1. The condition of being free of restraints.
2. Liberty of the person from slavery, detention, or oppression.
3. a. Political independence. b. Possession of civil rights; immunity from the arbitrary exercise of authority.
4. Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition: freedom from want.
5. The capacity to exercise choice; free will: We have the freedom to do as we please all afternoon.
6. Ease or facility of movement: loose sports clothing, giving the wearer freedom.
7. Frankness or boldness; lack of modesty or reserve: the new freedom in movies and novels.
8. a. The right to unrestricted use; full access: was given the freedom of their research facilities. b. The right of enjoying all of the privileges of membership or citizenship: the freedom of the city.
[Middle English fredom, from Old English frēodōm : frēo, free. See free + -dōm, -dom.]
Synonyms: freedom, liberty, license. These nouns refer to the power to act, speak, or think without externally imposed restraints. Freedom is the most general term: “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free” (Abraham Lincoln). “The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty” (George Mason). Liberty is often used interchangeably with freedom; often, however, it especially stresses the power of free choice: liberty of opinion; liberty of worship; at liberty to choose whatever occupation she wishes; “liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases” (William Hazlitt). License sometimes denotes deliberate deviation from normally applicable rules or practices to achieve a desired effect, as in literature or art: poetic license. Frequently, though, it denotes undue freedom: “the intolerable license with which the newspapers break . . . the rules of decorum” (Edmund Burke).
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, political and social concepts referring to guarantees of freedom, justice, and equality that a state may make to its citizens. Civil rights is used to imply that the state has a role in ensuring all citizens equal protection under the law and equal opportunity to exercise the privileges of citizenship and otherwise to participate fully in national life, regardless of race, religion, sex, or other characteristics unrelated to the worth of the individual. Civil liberties is used to refer to guarantees of freedom of speech, press, or religion; due process of law; and other limitations on the power of the state to restrain or dictate the actions of individuals.
The concept that human beings have inalienable rights and liberties that cannot justly be violated was first expressed by the philosophers of ancient Greece. Socrates, for example, chose to die rather than renounce the right to speak his mind in the search for wisdom. Later the Stoic philosophers formulated the doctrine of the rights of the individual (see Stoicism). Traces of libertarian doctrine appear in the Bible and in the writings of Roman statesman Marcus Cicero and Greek essayist Plutarch (see Libertarianism). Such ideas, however, all but disappeared during medieval times.
As a result of the English, American, and French revolutions, libertarian ideals were embodied in the structure of national governments. In England the struggle between Parliament and the Stuart monarchs culminated in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The new king, William III, gave royal assent (1689) to the Declaration of Rights, which guaranteed constitutional government. The 17th century was marked also by the growth of individual freedom in England. In the common law courts, for example, the judges became more concerned for the rights of those accused of crime.
The events leading to the American and French revolutions inspired writings that laid the foundations for modern ideas of civil liberties by such authors as French philosophers Voltaire and Jean Jacques Rousseau, British reformer John Wilkes, British philosopher Jeremy Bentham, Anglo-American writer Thomas Paine, and American statesman Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in France and the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States formally established libertarian principles as a foundation of modern democracy.
Civil Rights in the United States
The civil rights and liberties of U.S. citizens are embodied in the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The 1st Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion as well as separation of church and state (see Speech, Freedom of; Press, Freedom of the; Religious Liberty). The 4th Amendment protects the privacy and security of the home and personal effects and prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The 5th through 8th amendments protect persons accused of crime. The 5th Amendment also contains the guarantee that no one shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Originally these amendments were binding only on the federal government, but decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States in the 20th century have held that the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment (1868) extends the Bill of Rights to actions by state and local governments.
Civil liberties have been most endangered during periods of national emergency. In the first half of the 20th century the rise of National Socialism in Germany, the spread of Communism, and the Great Depression of the 1930s combined to arouse concern for the internal security of the United States. In response, the federal legislative and executive powers to deal with disloyal acts were enlarged. In 1940 the Congress of the United States passed the Smith Act, which outlawed the advocacy of force and violence as a means of bringing about changes in government. In 1950 Congress adopted the Internal Security Act, which established a new federal agency for identifying and suppressing subversive persons and organizations. Congress virtually outlawed the Communist Party in 1954. These statutes were upheld by the Supreme Court, but eventually were limited in scope and fell into disuse during the 1960s.
The 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination was the most controversial constitutional protection during the 1950s and 1960s, when it was invoked by individuals accused of subversive activities and participation in organized crime. The court’s interpretation of the 4th Amendment has also generated controversy; its provisions protecting the security of the person and of dwellings have been cited in disallowing convictions based on evidence obtained by the police illegally. The court in the 1970s began to narrow its interpretation, a process that has continued into the 1990s as the public has come to favor crime-control measures over the rights of defendants.
The most critical civil rights issue in the United States has concerned the status of its black minority. After the Civil War (1861-1865) the former slaves’ status as free people entitled to the rights of citizenship was established by the 13th and 14th Amendments, ratified in 1865 and 1868, respectively. The 15th Amendment (1870) prohibited race, color, or previous condition of servitude as grounds for denying or abridging the rights of citizens to vote. In addition to these constitutional provisions, statutes were passed defining civil rights more particularly. The Supreme Court, however, held several of these unconstitutional.
Civil rights for blacks became a major national political issue in the 1950s. The first federal civil rights law since the Reconstruction period (1865-1877) was enacted in 1957. It called for the establishment of a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and authorized the U.S. attorney general to enforce voting rights. In 1964 a more sweeping civil rights bill outlawed racial discrimination in public accommodations and by employers, unions, and voting registrars. Congress passed a voting rights bill in 1965 that suspended the use of literacy or other voter-qualification tests, authorized appointment of federal voting examiners in areas not meeting certain voter-participation requirements, and provided for federal court suits to bar poll taxes, which were ended by a Supreme Court decision and the 24th Amendment (1964). See Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
Historic patterns of hiring and promotion may leave nonwhite minorities economically vulnerable. In 1986 the Supreme Court supported the limited use of affirmative action to help minority groups compensate for past job discrimination; in 1987 the court upheld the right of employers to extend preferential treatment to minorities and women in order to achieve a better balanced workforce. In several close rulings in 1989, however, the court’s conservative majority moved toward reversing this direction by making it more difficult for women and minorities to use the courts to remedy discrimination in hiring practices or on the job. In response, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which strengthened affirmative action. See Women’s Rights.
Other minority groups have also been deprived of their civil rights. In 1968 Congress enacted the Indian Civil Rights Act, and the federal courts have heard a number of suits designed to restore to Native American tribes rights to their ancestral lands. The elderly have also been deprived of their civil rights, especially in employment and to some degree in housing. Former prisoners and mental patients have suffered legal disabilities after their confinement ended, and resident aliens are sometimes denied equal employment opportunities. In 1996 the Supreme Court ruled that state and local governments cannot deny homosexuals civil rights protections. However, debate over several issues persists, including the rights of gay and lesbian families and the right of homosexuals to serve in the military (see Homosexuality).
Almost all nations deny civil rights to disfavored minorities within their borders. A major obstacle to international protection of human rights is the opposition of most countries to interference with their internal affairs. The administration of President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s introduced human rights as an element of foreign policy, increasing international awareness of the problem. During the administrations of presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, human rights issues have become increasingly intertwined with international trade and commercial treaties.
Liberty or Freedom, right of individuals to act as they choose. In this sense, it is frequently called individual liberty. The term is also employed in connection with the achievement of sovereignty by a people; when so used, it is called national liberty. The modern concept of liberty further connotes a generalized body of rights, such as the right to economic opportunity and education.
Liberty is defined in such codes as the right of individuals to act without restraint as long as their actions do not interfere with the equivalent rights of others. The nature and extent of the restraints to be imposed and the selection of the means of enforcing them have been important problems for philosophers and lawmakers throughout history.
In antiquity, liberty meant national freedom; slavery was considered a necessary institution of society. Liberty in medieval times related primarily to social groups seeking to wrest certain privileges from the sovereigns against whom they contended for power. As the Middle Ages came to an end, the Renaissance raised problems of intellectual freedom, challenging the established dogma of the Catholic church; later still the Reformation further promoted ideas of religious freedom and freedom of conscience (see Religious Liberty).
The American Revolution of 1776 joined the problems of achieving individual liberty with those of creating a new state. The Declaration of Independence issued by the American revolutionists reflected centuries of struggle for freedom in England. The second great charter of liberty to issue from the American Revolution was the Constitution of the United States.
The principal problem with respect to national liberty has arisen in connection with the struggles of small states and colonial areas to be free from foreign political or economic control and to achieve full sovereignty. Closely related to this problem has been that arising from the efforts of national or racial minorities to win political and cultural autonomy within a country. With respect to individual liberty in the modern era, the challenge has been one of preserving and extending civil rights and civil liberties, such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or entity. Depending on the religion, faith is belief in a single god or multiple gods or in the doctrines or teachings of the religion. Informal usage of faith can be quite broad, including trust or belief without proof, and “faith” is often used as a substitute for “hope”, “trust” or “belief”.
Some critics of faith have argued that faith is opposed to reason. In contrast, some advocates of faith argue that the proper domain of faith concerns questions which cannot be settled by evidence. This is exemplified by attitudes about the future, which (by definition) has not yet occurred. Logical reasoning may proceed from any set of assumptions, positive or negative. In this view, faith is simply a positive assumption.
There exists a wide spectrum of opinion with respect to the epistemological validity of faith. On one extreme is logical positivism, which denies the validity of any beliefs held by faith; on the other extreme is fideism, which holds that true belief can only arise from faith, because reason and physical evidence cannot lead to truth. Some foundationalists, such as St. Augustine of Hippo and Alvin Plantinga, hold that all of our beliefs rest ultimately on beliefs accepted by faith. Others, such as C.S. Lewis, hold that faith is merely the virtue by which we hold to our reasoned ideas, despite moods to the contrary.
William James believed that the varieties of religious experiences should be sought by psychologists, because they represent the closest thing to a microscope of the mind—that is, they show us in drastically enlarged form the normal processes of things. For a useful interpretation of human reality, to share faith experience he said that we must each make certain “over-beliefs” in things which, while they cannot be proven on the basis of experience, help us to live fuller and better lives.