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Freedom of Thought

I have been spending some time recently thinking about what freedom means to me as an individual and I have I narrowed it down to the ‘freedoms’ listed below.







I live in a country just recently liberated from a life where these freedoms were not permitted. I remember what not having them meant to people, as a whole. and what it felt like to me, as an individual.

Any parent, partner, boss  or government that in any way tries to control your right to these very basic freedoms is trying to control your growth as a person and limit how you are able to function as a human being with the ‘god-given’ right to free will.

These freedoms have been limited in our dark past, but one would imagine that in the 21rst century they would be a given.


Our access to these freedoms has waxed and waned throughout our recorded history. I think each of us has the injustices of the inquisition and similar atrocities ingrained into our psyche. Yet here we are again, at a time in history when our freedom is being denied yet again.

My country, so hard-won, so very recently is now passing laws that directly limit my freedoms as listed above and reverts us, as a people, to the state we were in less than 20 years ago. These actions and proposed laws protect the unethical by hiding their behaviour and actions from the people.

BUT, South Africa is not alone in this. Are similar laws not in force in China and the USA ? Is the media and what the people see not controlled by the government in these (and other) countries?

Is a ‘news blackout’ or control of what people can access on the internet not the beginning of an inquisition of a different sort ? When policies of control are being created based on the assumption that you are a ‘conspiracy theorists’ because you are limited in your access to media (i’e perhaps the brainwashing propaganda spurting forth from our televisions, radios and newspapers does not control your thoughts, actions, choices and  information). When being free to think and criticise what you do not agree with makes you a threat to the powers that are trying to control you, is that not reminiscent of how any dictatorship begins...

Last night I watched the movie ‘Good night and Good Luck’, I did not know about that era in American history and was astounded that this was only 50 years ago in a time when television had just began. What was obvious was that the power-hungry were just beginning to realise the potential of the vehicle for mass control. What was also obvious is that there were a few brave, honourable and ethical people that would stand up for the truth and our freedoms. I do not believe that is the case today. Where are our heroes now ?

I leave you with an excerpt from a show Edward MUrrow did on McCarthy and what his behaviour meant to our freedoms. These words were true then but are even more true now , I think you can insert many names intead of McCarthy and still read the same message.

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men not from men who feared

to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment,



This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by

deserting it at home.


The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it and rather successfully. Cassius was right. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."


Good night, and good luck.

Source for above quote :

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