Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Olaudah Equiano bought his freedom for 40 pounds. This fact, stated in his biographical exerpt, made me think about the importance of money and the various aspects of freedom. Yes it is good he was able to buy his freedom, as it was his best shot at being his own man. On the other hand, the fact that liberty can be bought strikes me as questionable, and I wonder if this is a trend that my idealism helps me ignore. Does freedom always mean the same thing, no matter how it is gained?

Not to stretch too far, but I feel this connects somehow to the events in Egypt and other countries involved in political change because in class we discussed the construction of America and its values. Where do we find the balance between our ideals and the practicality of enforcing them?

Check out this article:


  1. In my mind freedom is freedom. Sometimes one may have to do anything within their power to obtain it. In Equiano's case this just happens to work for him. Unfortunately nowadays freedom is bent out of shape lets say. We think we have all these freedoms but there are too many rules and regulations out there that take things away.

    Egypt is a whole different ball of wax. I lived there for a year and they have way more disturbing issues to deal with. Not pretty the things I have seen there just overall. But thats a whole different ball game.

  2. Meanwhile, the largest chunk of the annual largess, about $1.3 billion, was given to Egypt's military and security forces.

    Now, I'm by no means an economist or a political scientist, but I do think it's interesting to consider how, contemporarily, freedom is oftentimes "secured" by increasing defense spending. How can we be truly free if we need such a large military presence? The "we" that I'm invoking is obviously nonspecific, but I think it can encapsulate us here as well as those in Egypt. Maybe not, though. You decide.

  3. I have been turning over the word "freedom" in my mind for about five minutes and still have hardly any idea what it encompasses. Some might say that being free entitles us to a strong defense system, to protect us. Those who are enslaved usually have very few rights, and guaranteed protection is usually not included. Of course, when the military force starts to try and prevent us from speaking our minds or protesting, we've lost a crucial bit of freedom, so who's to say it's the best thing to be spending our money on. People are paranoid, though, so I understand why we see so many dollars going to one thing that promises to go out and fight for us.

  4. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of 'freedom' is "the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action." So, sometimes a strong military force is a necessity in order to secure that freedom. I don't think needing that obscures from being free. Besides, I don't think we can be 'truly' free in society. Besides, American democracy is not 'true,' or direct, democracy. I agree with wbrenner that freedom is freedom, no matter what. I think Egypt is on its way to becoming a democratic nation, even if it may take a while.