The Responsibility of Freedom

Rather than delving into the allegories of Plato, the existential discussions of moral responsibility, or the thoughts of John Dewey to attempt to argue that true freedom cannot be separated from responsibility, I will accept that premise as a given and instead examine some possible responsibilities our great nation should consider as we celebrate our great freedoms this week. Freedom does not mean I can do whatever I want; freedom means I have been given the ability, and responsibility, to do what is good and right. This holds for nations as well, and as the world becomes more globalized, nations will feel the tug-of-war between acting in the interests of the people in the nation and acting in the interests of all people across the world.

All of us know people who have worked hard to earn their wealth and then bequeathed that wealth to others who do not have to work so hard, if much at all, to keep it. If these heirs appear to complain about their difficulties, appear to be uninterested in helping others, and appear to act morally superior, many of us would prefer that the wealth be taken from these heirs and given to others who will actually use it better in service to others. I believe much of the world views the American people to be like the heirs above, and I suspect their view is largely justified for most of us. We proselytize our freedoms, but we accept little responsibility by way of using our freedoms for the good of others.

We want to pay less for stuff. One way to drive prices down on stuff is to pay very little to the people who make the stuff. It is possible to find people who will accept such low pay, often because no other opportunity for pay exists there. We are free to pay these low wages, but is this responsible? Should we not instead use our freedom to offer pay that will allow people to live free of suffering? Several movements, such as Fair Trade, grew in response to these questions.

We want to be able to offer pay to get anything we want. One thing some people want to offer pay for is sex. It is possible to find people who will accept pay for sex, sometimes because they have been coerced into this arrangement. We are free to offer to pay a person to have sex with us, but is this responsible? Should we not instead value the sexual act more highly than an economic transaction, and should we not value a person more than simply a conduit for sex?

Made for Freedom aims to provide dignified employment at living wage rates for marginalized women and for survivors of sex trafficking. We strive to grow our business to responsibly foster freedom for people everywhere. As we approach Independence Day as a company this year, we celebrate that we do live in a nation that promotes freedom, and we accept the responsibility to do what is good and right with that freedom.

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