Letter to the Editor
Today we have groups opposing each other over the Confederate Flag and statues. Before it was the Ten Commandment, the names of a sports teams and team mascots. Who knows what will be next; the colors of the rainbow because it offends the people who are color blind? One group wants the “freedom to” display or say something, and the other wants the “freedom from” seeing or hearing something. Both call it freedom because the words “to” and “from” change the meaning of freedom such that “Freedom to” and “Freedom from” are mutually exclusive and are constantly at war with each other. “Freedom to” is what it says, and requires a mutual respect and tolerance of others and their ideas, actions and property; whereas, “freedom from” is the antithesis of “freedom to,” and it seeks to restrain and to control others and their actions, speech, ideas, thinking and use of property.
Most laws are “freedom from” because they restrict or control others from doing some action, or requiring them to do something from which others benefit. Those in authority who make the laws or those who want to benefit from laws, support “freedom from,” and those that are selectively or universally restricted or confined by laws support “freedom to”. Like a pendulum swinging back and forth, in a democracy there needs to be a balance between “freedom from” and “freedom to” as it swings in one direction and then back the other way. As long as the majority stayed in the middle, the swinging back and forth remains in the control of those in the middle.
Terry O’Neill, Lake Geneva resident, former alderperson and city activist