Why Do You Want To Be Free?

Freedom means being free to do whatever one chooses to do. If you do not have something to do, you really do not need freedom.

By something to do, I mean something worth doing, something productive, something that will be of value to yourself, or to others if you choose exchange what you do for something of value from them.

This assumes you know what is of value to a human being, and what is not. It assumes you already have the moral values of an independent individualist.

I like the way Ayn Rand put it:

"This is the difference between my morality and hedonism. The standard is not: "that is good which gives me pleasure, just because it gives me pleasure" (which is the standard of the dipsomaniac or the sex-chaser)—but "that is good which is the expression of my moral values, and that gives me pleasure." Since the proper moral code is based on man's nature and his survival, and since joy is the expression of his survival, this form of happiness can have no contradiction in it, it is both "short range" and "long range" (as all of man's life has to be), and it leads to the furtherance of his life, not to his destruction." [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "13-Notes While Writing: 1947-1952."]

Please notice, when what an individual does is determined by his moral values, "it leads to the furtherance of his life, not to his destruction." To live by one's values means to make all of one's choices according to those values, according to principles defining what is appropriate to a rational volitional being—it means making all of one's choices by means of reason.

Ayn Rand describes the consequences of the opposite course as well:

"His emotions are not his enemies, they are his means of enjoying life. But they are not his guide; the guide is his mind. This relationship cannot be reversed, however. If a man takes his emotions as the cause and his mind as their passive effect, if he is guided by his emotions and uses his mind only to rationalize or justify them somehow—then he is acting immorally, he is condemning himself to misery, failure, defeat, and he will achieve nothing but destruction—his own and that of others." ["Playboy's interview with Ayn Rand," pamphlet, page 6.]

This is exactly what most people think freedom is—freedom to indulge any whim, passion, or desire without regard to the consequences of their actions or the slightest concern for where those desires or passions come from, or whether they agree with the requirements of their rational volitional, that is, "moral" nature. What such people truly want is not freedom, but to be "free" from responsibility for their choices.

True freedom belongs only to those who want to do, and what they want to do is to achieve the highest possible ideal of life, satisfied with nothing less than their own independent moral perfection.

If that is not the kind of freedom you want, the Free Indidivual has nothing to offer you.