Practical Freedom

By, "practical freedom," I mean identifying what it is you want to do and achieving the conditions in which you are free do it. Freedom means being able to do whatever you choose to do without the interference of any other individuals or human agencies, including government. If you are able to do whatever you choose, you are free.

[NOTE: I call this practical freedom to differentiate it from what I call "ideal" freedom which is what most people think they want and work for. Ideal freedom is freedom one, "just has," because they live in an ideal "free" society. There is nothing wrong with the ideal, as a way of imagining what freedom could be, but as a goal or aspiration, it is not possible. Real freedom can be realized by anyone in their lifetime, that is why it is practical. Ideal freedom has never and will likely never be realized, anywhere.]

The importance of determining exactly what you want to do cannot be overemphasized. It is very easy to get sidetracked into thinking freedom means being someplace where everyone is free to do what they choose, but there is no such place in the world. Every country in the world has some oppressive government restrictions and resource limitations.

The issue is not a country's government or laws or economic state, but whether you are able to do whatever you choose to do in that country. If there is a country that outlaws gambling and pornography, for example, but there are no legal restrictions on setting up and running the kind of business you would like, if you have no interest in gambling or pornography, those laws are no restriction on your freedom at all. If you are able to run the business you choose and live your life as you choose, you are free no matter how oppressive the government is in other areas or what economic limitations there are.

[NOTE: There is a very bad idea some freedom-loving individuals have that falls into the class of ideas originating in collectivism: "If everyone isn't free, none of us are free." It is the equivalent of "if everyone is not well we are all sick," and it is just as absurd. You do not have to free the world, or your country, or even your own community to be free yourself.]

The Free Today

If you know only those who accept the limits imposed on them by the various oppressive governments they live under, it may surprise you to know, there are millions of people in this world who are completely free, who live there lives as they choose. No one tells them what to do, or not to do, and they do whatever they choose whenever they choose, without getting anyone's permission or approval.

I tell you this, because one of the greatest barriers to achieving total freedom and independence is the belief that in the present world freedom is impossible. If it were impossible, no one would be free, but the millions that are free prove this is not true.

You actually know many of these free individuals, or at least about them. It probably does not occur to you that they are free, but being able to do whatever one chooses whenever they choose to is exactly what freedom is.

Most multimillionaires, for example, are totally free. Some millionaires and billionaires you've heard of, but most you will never know exist. Do you suppose millionaires worry about a TSA pat down, or other harassments when traveling to various countries in the world on their private jets?

In, "The Privileged," article, I pointed out, "there are 46.8 million millionaires in the world. Of those millionaires, 18.6 million live in the United States."

In addition to the very rich, according to the UN there are more than 200 million people living outside their own country. Many, of course, are employees of companies with foreign contracts, but many more simply live where they can be most free. They are expatriates, or simply, "expats."

There are literally millions of people in the world who have already established their own freedom.

Paths To Freedom

Money is one path to freedom, and perhaps the most important one. In truth, only independent individualists truly want freedom and an independent individualist is always a creator and producer. Money should always be one path available to the independent individualist. [See the articles: "Money," and, "Making Money."]

An independent individualist will be a producer, but part of establishing one's freedom is ensuring one keeps the wealth one produces, which means both preserving and growing it. That is exactly what the Investing and Saving article following the Money article will be about—how to gain, keep, and grow your money.

Money is not the only route to one's personal freedom, and subsequent articles will discuss other methods with examples of those who have used them to make themselves free.

What's Essential

Whatever freedom means to you, and whatever path you must take to achieve your freedom, there are going to be many interesting attractions tempting you away from your main pursuit. They are not usually bad things in themselves, but they will divert your energy and resources away from your objective.

It is natural, for example, to be interested in the politics of one's own city, or state, or country and to some extent; the freedom seeking individualist must be aware of those aspects of the political terrain if it will affect his own pursuit of freedom. Politics is very alluring to some, however, and it is easy to get caught up in the political itself, perhaps even being convinced that political action is a means to one's own personal freedom. It isn't, and never can be.