Memorial Day And The Meaning Of Freedom

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jeff Deist via the MisesEconomicBlog,

Memorial Day provides the political class countless opportunities to ruin an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable holiday weekend.  Like clockwork, local congressmen, mayors, city council members, et al. materialize at parades, picnics, and churches to give speeches about “freedom.”


But what does freedom really mean?

Just as we should repudiate Junk English in economics, we should demand precision when it comes to the language of political posturing! In other words, we should insist that politicians use defined terms (I’m not holding my breath).

In essence, freedom is the absence of state coercion. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.

Dr. Ron Paul explains this coercive reality behind those invoking freedom while advocating state action:

Few Americans understand that all government action is inherently coercive. If nothing else, government action requires taxes. If taxes were freely paid, they wouldn’t be called taxes, they’d be called donations. If we intend to use the word freedom in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom for this group or that, ask yourself whether he is advocating more government action or less.

Taking this definition a step further, Hans-Hermann Hoppe describes a free society as the absence of aggression against one’s body and property:

A society is free, if every person is recognized as the exclusive owner of his own (scarce) physical body, if everyone is free to appropriate or “homestead” previously un-owned things as private property, if everyone is free to use his body and his homesteaded goods to produce whatever he wants to produce (without thereby damaging the physical integrity of other peoples’ property), and if everyone is free to contract with others regarding their respective properties in any way deemed mutually beneficial. Any interference with this constitutes an act of aggression, and a society is un-free to the extent of such aggressions.

In The Ethics of Liberty, Murray Rothbard similarly defined freedom as the “absence of invasion by another man of any man’s person or property” (italics in original).

This encapsulates the critical libertarian concept of negative liberty, as opposed to the view of positive liberty in the form of mastery over one’s person and surroundings generally favored by “progressives.”

This definition of freedom is fundamental.  It means free people should be able to use their minds, bodies, and talents to advance their well-being (whether material, intellectual, or spiritual) as they see fit.  It does not mean they can demand freedom from material want, or scarcity, or illness, or unhappiness, or unpleasantness generally.  It does not mean anyone owes them housing, medical care, food, or a “living wage.” It means, in sum, the freedom to be left alone.  And this is precisely what the political class of all stripes cannot abide.

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kill switch's picture

Freedom in Amerika??? You must be jesting....

Dr. Destructo's picture

Fraedom isn't free

No there's a hefty fuhkin fae

And if you don't throw in your buck'o five who will?

But seriously I'll have you know that 'Murica is the #1 exporter of "freedom" in the world. Just imagine if all that "freedom" we export came down on U.S. citizens? We invade so that we keep aggression over there instead of experiencing it here.


Raymond K Hessel's picture

I define freedom as permission from the authority to act without consequences.  Such as "The seat belt sign is off.  You're free to move around the cabin until such time as the captain turns the seat belt sign back on."  That's freedom.

Liberty is a characteristic of being a human being.  We do not owe allegiance or obedience.  These are coerced upon us in exchange for safety and enumerated freedoms.  To live in liberty is to live the life of an outlaw (someone who rejects protection from the law, not a criminal).  Mountain men.  Bikers.  etc

I know it's a subtle difference but that's how we lost our liberty.  A little bit over a long period of time.  We barely noticed it.  

OC Sure's picture



"Man is free, we say, who exists for his own sake and not for another"

- Aristotle


mt paul's picture

man is only as free

as that which he can

walk away from ..

duo's picture

They hate us for our freedoms, so if O takes away all of our freedoms, will they love us then?

FEDbuster's picture

Tempted to "cut and paste" the whole article, but it is a little long.  Well worth the read on Memorial Day (for all that have died at the hands of tyrants)

What I Have Learned From the Twentieth Century, by Mike Vanderboegh

With thanks to Schoolmasters Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Mao Tse-Tung and Pol Pot

From the Liberty Pole
June, 1999
by Mike Vanderboegh

As an amateur historian of this sad century whose time is almost up, I would like to reflect upon six lessons I have learned in my studies. Folks who wish to live free and prosperous in the next century would do well to understand the failures of the past.

LESSON NO. 1: If a bureaucrat, or a soldier sent by a bureaucrat, comes to knock down your door and take you someplace you do not want to go because of who you are or what you think -- kill him. If you can, kill the politician who sent him. You will likely die anyway, and you will be saving someone else the same fate. For it is a universal truth that the intended victims always far outnumber the tyrant's executioners. Any nation which practices this lesson will quickly run out of executioners and tyrants, or they will run out of it.

   For more check out the other 5 lessons:

Raymond K Hessel's picture

Maybe the Tylers could be persuaded to post it....

Falling Down's picture

Sipsey is one of my favorite blogs.

Falconsixone's picture

When the $ fails and the warriors are out of a job the world will see what slaughter is and may wish the american thugs were still around with some sense of decent authority. Communism works alright, just ask stalin and mao. The leaders/owners/ceo's that think they're above it (or will be below it) will see what it really means. I hope tv is still working for corporate bludgeon tuesday, royals roast friday, government gutting saturday and moreskin monday.

All Risk No Reward's picture

O is a punk front man that will be gone in a couple years.

The "power of money" that is "gravely to be regarded" will "persist."

Read Eisenhower's Fairwell Speech.

Then read Smedley Butler's War is a Racket.

TheRideNeverEnds's picture

I thought we did that to defend Israel.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Unfortunaly, the freedom most people want is the freedom from consequences of their actions. From people who make poor choices in life like not graduating high school or having a bunch of kids before they can support them, and expecting others to provide them with free shit, to bankers wanting a bailout when their schemes and fruad collapse.

The Wizard's picture

Freedom's just another word, for nothin' left to lose. Since freedom is represented by the absence of cost, where does it truly exist? War and most all governments are built on theft of labor, fear and illusions. The less fear one has, the more freedom they possess. The truth will set us free, just ask Bobby McGee.

AnAnonymous's picture

As freedom is the absence of state coercion, it means that societies that lived without a State were free.

The Indians were free. Who could have thought that when they had to endure freedom being taught by 'americans'?

And since their state less societies were free, it also means that the north american continent was free.

'Americans' introducing freedom in a free continent? By pushing forward a state based society?
How comes?

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


'Americans' introducing freedom in a free continent? By pushing forward a state based society?
How comes?

Because the nature of US citizenism is eternal, since 1776, July, 4th.

Am I right or amirite?

nmewn's picture

Don't bother him with the details, he still thinks the Armenians had an unfair advantage when they invaded because their SUV's spooked the indians horses ;-)

AnAnonymous's picture

'Americans' making up things as they go.

Funny how there is no discontinuity between an 'american' elite and its base. They all display the same behaviour.

The homogenous level reached by 'american' societies is daunting. Does not mean 'americans' do not call for even more homogeneity, they want more of it.

NidStyles's picture

You didn't know? That is how Fascism works. First it encapsulates the youth. Then it inundates them into not caring about anything except for aggressive physcial activites, plus Merican Tradition and some good ole' rifle shooting. Once they are motivated create a target for them and let them lose until the population is within a more reasonable level and steal all of the new technology that spurred up at the end of the war. Of course the war will be blamed on some proxy and be invaded likely on some odd pretense or terrorist attack thanks to pesting other nations to no end. 

If that fails, then just try to see if you can build an empire with it instead. Hope someone else doesn't get that idea, like Putin because then you might have to actually work for your empire. At first you have to catch up with who the real threat in the world is, and what would Russia gain from the US being weakened in a long war with Iraq? I can't imagine what must be going those people's heads that put Obama in this position. Either they are completely incompetent, or they are playing some higher level political chess

NidStyles's picture

The guy is funny, I will give him that. 

AnAnonymous's picture

Wrong once again.

The 'american' nature is eternal.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Wrong once again.

The 'american' nature is eternal.

You are a harsh grader, Professor AnAnon. Don't I even get partial credit for getting the date correct?

Dr. Destructo's picture

'Americans' introducing freedom in a free continent? By pushing forward a state based society?
How comes?

*Raises hand* OOH OOH I KNOW THIS ONE!

It's because oligarchs had dreams of hegemony then as we do now and freedom only applies to the oligarchs fucking us over? 

Chupacabra-322's picture

Freedom in Amerika, simple:

Illegal Wire tapping of Americans
Illegal wars of Aggresion
Criminal CIA / State Dept. arming, funding & training of terror organizations
Criminal CIA drug running & $ laundering through the TBTFBanksters
Criminal Obamacare
Ukraine over throw of Soverign countries
False Flags of 911, Sandy Hook, Boston Bombimg
Criminal IRS attack of political dissent

Yen Cross's picture

   As the peasants "self immolate" In Viet Nam AnAnonaclown? You reek of of Roadside Chinism hypocritism ...

AnAnonymous's picture

'Americans' and their passion for the group.

Indian societies were state less societies (one remembers that 'americans' depicted that absence of state as an evidence of Indians belonging to an inferior race) therefore by the definition given by this article (the 'american' propagandist author insists that precise vocabulary must be used), indian societies were free. No state, no state coercion.

The land of the free, so 'americans' say...

AnAnonymous's picture

It takes an 'american' to introduce Vietnam with no fear.

The mecca of 'americanism' on Earth, the US, occupied Vietnam. France, another nation run by 'american' principles, also occupied Vietnam.

This provides tons of examples of 'american' behaviours.

It takes an 'american' to think that self immolation of peasants can match the 'american' achievements during those two periods of occupation.

Fantasy appeals as always as much to 'americans'.

hangemhigh77's picture

If any of these treasonous politicians show their face do the right thing and FUCKING LYNCH THEM!!!

Soul Glow's picture

I'd rather let them live and kick dirt in their face when their House of Cards crumbles.

Soul Glow's picture

Freedom in America is an oxymoron.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

'Merica:  Where we have the false choice of a two-party system, the Two Card Monte.

We're #1!  We're #1!  We're #1! 

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
End up like a dog that's been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A., born in the U.S.A.

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A., born in the U.S.A.

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man said "son if it was up to me"
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said "son, don't you understand"

I had a brother at Khe Sahn
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone

He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.

Emergency Ward's picture

The Boss joined the celebrity pro-war Obama team.....

nmewn's picture

lol...yeah...but he made his millions.

Its like, its ok cuz, like, he made millions this way but not that way. And besides, he's not a razzzist teabagger babbling about "yellow man"...and and and like...shut up or sumpin ;-)

user2011's picture

Many decades ago,  US means/stands for freedom.   It is no longer true.   

Today, 46 millions of US citizens are strugging with basic survival. ( food stamps )

Cities are bankrupted, while our fed is loaning money to countries thousands of miles away.  We are paying mercenaries to fight other people's war.  

Our federal government spent billions or dollars to spy on the citizens of this country, while watching students struggle with schools and the loans going to schools.    

For all the servicemen who sacraficed their lives for the independance and the freedom of people,  I think they are turning in their graves now.   The government now is becoming an enemy of the people. 

Reaper's picture

Give me freedom from their control, their pontificating, their America is chosen by God or destiny nonsense, and their corrupt courts. How many who died, wanted this government, they enabled? How many who died wanted to die for the result of Obama as our imperial President? They died to take our freedom and give to our present leaders?

Soul Glow's picture

Freedon costs a buck o'nine.

Falconsixone's picture

When did the military industrial complex/zionists  change memorial day in to veterans day 2.0? It didn't used to be about those that where used and abused until dead by the master war makers. It was about "Your deceased friends and relitives". Remember that?

huggy_in_london's picture

Freedom costs a buck o'five....


I never tire of that classic

Son of Captain Nemo's picture



Freedom and democracy for everyone in this abundant land of opportunity for those that weren't born a "white European descendent" -especially in 1864.

And just an additional footnote to your's in our history that we were never taught in our public school education.  From the man who sits proudly in a chair made of white marble in our Nation's Capital who ordered a similar massacre two years earlier during westward expansion that deprived the "indigenous ones" of food and land and committed mass murder on a scale unequalled in the anals of public execution at that time. 

The crimes they committed?...  Defending themselves and their land attempting to find food for their families!


Whoever down arrowed you can only come from one of three places!


headhunt's picture

Governments, kings, rulers, gods, conquerors, tribes, gangs, call them what you will, have all conducted atrocities since the beginning of the human race. Some more recently than others but we all are descendants from this lineage. No one walks this earth without this blood on their ancestral hands.

Cabreado's picture

"This definition of freedom is fundamental."

Watch out... there is Entitlement coming from both directions, a very different flavor at the top and bottom, but Entitlement it is.

The emphasis must be on Control.

The concept of "freedom" is incomprehensible to those pathologically driven to Control.

And that naturally is where the greatest threat to the framework and foundation exists.

Cathartes Aura's picture

"The emphasis must be on Control."

couldn't agree more.

as to Dr. Paul's words,

If we intend to use the word freedom in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom for this group or that, ask yourself whether he is advocating more government action or less.

not sure how he squares those fine thoughts with his keeping the volley-ball in motion for years, a politician on behalf of his Party, now volley'd to his dear Son to carry on the Party tradition. . .

Constitutional Amendments proposed to remove female body sovereignty?  smells like "advocating for MORE government action" to me.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe says,

A society is free, if every person is recognized as the exclusive owner of his own (scarce) physical body,


works for me.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Treason in action on the floor of the Senate folks!  

Listen very carefully at the recommendations being made from the Senator from Arizona after the unlawful visit with contributions that he made on behalf of a government that was unelected...

Where oh where are the American people outside the U.S. Capitol seeing ever more crimes being blatantly committed in their names????


nah's picture

when 8 billion people decide a great society is not a free lunch program that goes back 8 billion years


we will be free

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Patriotism is an insidious disease....And yes, I am a veteran - a combat medic with the 1st and 25th Infantry Divisions in Vietnam.  And yes, "dying for your country" is a ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha [stop it, you're killing me!] - fucking JOKE!!!!!!!  Now this comes with a disclaimer - applies only to bullshit wars [Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.], not those where the enemy is in YOUR neighborhood...

janus's picture

i will only say that it's high-time the principal were inverted: no more Americans dying for amorica; amorica should now die to save Americans -- the simple necessity of sacrifice will always live, and its basic demand is death.

yes, janus WILL ask what his country can do for him (actually, it's more of a demand), and, uncle sam, it is a simple and absolute request.  we're all asking that you die, amorica...just expire already.  look at it this way, uncle sam, your death will initiate the biggest global soree this world has ever seen.  janus will bring the matches...see y'all there.

two thousand Zero-Zero/

party's over/

we're outta time,

janus (he's ready to roll)

jack stephan's picture

I don't know we're you lowlifes are at, but one of the ranges I frequent guys are handing out Obama targets. The funny part is that it's the same photo zh uses. The indifferent duh smoking photo. Guys are getting comical, and well yes ....pretty heated.

Oh and bitxhes