"No one can be free unless he is independent...
In reality, he who is served is limited in his independence..."
by:
Maria Montessori
(1870-1952)
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I suppose it depends on how service is defined. I am a firm advocate of most of Montessori's teaching philosophies.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Freedom is not necessarily independence. Can someone serve God? Is God then not free?
     -- Ben, Orem, UT     
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    A freeman who runs a business is limited in his freedom when he is dependant on those that serve him in the business of running his company and he must oversee these workers. Being free means being responsible and being responsible limits one's independence in that he owes both himself and those who work for him responsible action. And of course any man who has a family owes to them responsible action. The quote makes perfect sense.
     -- Anon     
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    Ben, of course God is absolutely free and it is only men who put limitations on God. His power is unlimited in the sense he can be a totally free individual and responsible to those who serve Him at the same time. Mankind has only begun to understand His power and first and foremost is that there is no limit to it.
     -- Anon     
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    Does a career of collecting welfare count as being served? Because those people are not only parasites, they are prisoners of their own laziness. (Which is not to say that some aren't in genuine need, but the system is obviously a gravy train for far too many.)
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Anon(1): By your definition, no one would ever be free... Anon(2): So glad you know so much about that which is beyond human comprehension... J: You are such a warm and caring individual (not!)
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA, US     
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    Actually socialist/liberal anonymous I do a great deal to support my community and I put 20 kids through school every year in S. America. I just don't believe in a free ride for lazy assed liberal sycophants. What do you do?
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    We are born free but obviously dependent. Is not the goal to become self-reliant and independent? Clearly, we are interdependent but free to choose and act, thus we can also be independent and interdependent. You can dance alone or with someone else, but you still get to pick your moves. ;-) My children went to Montessori school when they were young -- great educational philosophy, and. yes, designed to empower children to be independent, not programmed for statism and perpetual indentured servitude. (PS, this quote is about people, not God -- we can never be free and independent from the Sun, air and water...)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    No one can be free unless they have a liberal attitude: Mike and Archer, please let me educate you on the true definition of a Liberal regardless of pre and post 20th century definitions (before classical liberalism there was liberalism – ethics is ethics). First, let’s do away with your immediate mistake of trying to classify Liberalism into what ever category your agenda desires – liberalism is liberals liberalism and not to be confused with socialism or conservatism – if anyone co-opted liberalism it was libertarians. From the early references to Liberalism, and Mises attempt to reinvent the wheel (laissez-faire liberalism), to today’s understanding (by intellectuals), the core definition of liberalism remains the same. Many of the liberal ideals are similar to libertarians but for one major difference; social program services. Liberals believe in limited government; the peoples right for freedom and happiness; freedom without recourse to believe in anything you wish, whether it be an almighty being, a God, or none at all; to have the right of assembly and the free representation of workers through unions (thought many union organization have been corrupted through greed and power; Many of the libertarian ideals have gotten us into this present mess such as free-trade, the deregulation of industry and the banking system (laissez-faire economics). In actual fact the republicans and the conservatives (on the right) have done as much for the liberal cause’s as the democratic party – the liberals won the twentieth century and yet only had a total of 19 years in power. With regard to Obama being called a “social, lefty Liberal” – well, that’s really laughable. Lets look at some of his socialist or liberal/lefty achievements: Military? Extended us in Iraq and wants to build up Afghanistan. Justice? Defends DOMA but won't prosecute war crimes. FOIA? Won't release the torture photos that he promised to. Transparency? Secret meetings until the deals were cut THEN released the White House visitor log. Civil Rights? Defended DOMA and DODT. Bank Bailout? Fought to keep pay control and accountability OUT of TARP II. Stimulus? Heavily invested in tax cuts and half the size total that the economists said it needed to be. Health care? Killed single payer and in its place proposed a corporate welfare bill. None of these things a true liberal would sign; they are the workings of a corporatist. I am Liberal and proud of it – there are a number of topics within the Liberal ideology that I disagree with, but not with its core principles. To quote Joe Conason: "If your workplace is safe; if your children go to school rather than being forced into labor; if you are paid a living wage, including overtime; if you enjoy a 40-hour week and you are allowed to join a union to protect your rights -- you can thank liberals. If your food is not poisoned and your water is drinkable -- you can thank liberals. If your parents are eligible for Medicare and Social Security, so they can grow old in dignity without bankrupting your family -- you can thank liberals. If our rivers are getting cleaner and our air isn't black with pollution; if our wilderness is protected and our countryside is still green -- you can thank liberals. If people of all races can share the same public facilities; if everyone has the right to vote; if couples fall in love and marry regardless of race; if we have finally begun to transcend a segregated society -- you can thank liberals." And, we would all be mad not to believe in Liberty. It’s amazing that the conservative agenda has in many cases supported the liberal agenda more so than the Democrats – just look at the Bush administration that expanded the cabinet for the first time in 16 years and how the republicans expanded both the education and Medicare programs while enacting a progressive campaign reform bill – if liberals did this the nation would be in outrage. Day in day out we see in the corporate media, paid for by its very wealthy owners, how Liberals are to blame for Americas woes and financial ruin. A true, liberal, conservative (though I have trouble with conservatism as in many cases it’s define as “no change” “the status quo” Half way into the 19th century Liberalism was defined (Webster’s dictionary): One who advocates greater freedom from restraint; as a free heart; open and candid; munificent; not selfish, narrow or contracted; someone who embraces other interests than his own; embracing literature and science; depended more on the exertions of the mind rather than the playing fields. A liberal education is generally arts and science based - a long way from the present system of providing cannon fodder. And at the end of the 19th century liberalism was define (Webster’s 1898 addition): One who favors greater freedom in political or religious matters, an opponent of the establish systems; a reformer. Someone that considers all arguments without being either dogmatic or rigid of opinion (flexibility is the key here). And I love this one: A spirit that goes out of self, and finds its enjoyment in consulting the feelings and happiness of others. In other words a liberal is someone who believes in free opinion, equality, liberty, freedom, and someone who is generous and believes in the positive rewards of the arts and science. Archer, you call this classical liberalism, well, to a point you are correct, but what you sadly leave out of the equation is that these classical liberal traits are still the main core of what liberalism is today. Then came the 20th century, and liberalism is still those qualities expressed above. For example Webster’s 9th collegiate addition defines liberalism as based on the ideals of the individual; free, generous and open handed, and of fair mind; one who is open-minded or not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional, or established forms of ways. The Oxford English Dictionary Second Addition 1989 definition: Again the use of the FREE preempts most definitions; freedom, freeman, free speech, free from restraint, free will, free(ly) permitted, free not literal, free from narrow prejudice, free from bigotry, and open to the reception of new ideas. Liberal is often used to provide that designation of free thinking and tolerance such as Liberal Catholics and Liberal Christian’s normally applied to religious groups such as Unitarians and Universalists. Favorable to constitutional changes and legal or administration reforms tending in the direction of freedom or democracy. In actual fact, when you use the word Liberal hyphenated before any other adjective it usually preempts a tolerance and freedom of opinion. Lastly, Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1996 (Random House edition). Favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affaires – well that’s a good start. Advocating measures of progressive political reform. Favorable to or in accord with the concepts of maximum individual freedom and civil liberties; freedom of action with matters of personal belief and expression (wow! aren’t these also a libertarian directive?). Free from prejudice and bigotry; open-minded and tolerant; Free and not bound by traditional or conventional ideas. Well I think you get the idea – the definition of Liberalism, regardless of your highly confined opinions is clearly the same as it was when the term was first coined. Alas, Americans have become atomized through the right-wing conservative media who has nothing better to do than to find anything critical that does not fit their own (corporate) agenda. Lastly on this subject, a Liberal is someone pertaining to or befitting a freeman. For the last 150 years Liberalism has not change its definition. In actual fact the 1996 definition is closer to the 1893 definition than the later definitions. The key for you to understand this is to go back even further to how the word Liberal came about. Liberal late 14th c., from old French meaning “benefiting free men from the Latin word liber meaning “free”. So, even from its very birth the definition of Liberal has not change one bit. There are 3 to 4 million Americans leaving every year (typically wealthy), new immigrants are mostly poor. Unfortunately, if to many Liberals leave this sinking ship it may never be able to be resurrected. The great America achievements you are both so eagerly ready to criticize are the very ones that the world thinks so highly of. If there are three words that epitomizes a liberal mind they would be “FREEDOM”, “EQUALITY” and “COMPASSION”.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    E Archer, very well said!!!
     -- Anon     
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    Robert, thanks. I've been asking you what you meant by liberal for months. Both Archer and I have repeatedly pointed out the difference between the applied definition of liberalism today from the founders understanding and use. Applied government / media / school / etc. driven definitions differ greatly from your dictionary examples. To the founders, liberalism was a laissez-faire applied philosophy. You are absolutely correct in most of your above comment. The single most glaring exception is your references to government's involvement in religious endeavors. Med . . . and other statist theocracy doctrines (historically, by subject matter, substantively, and in all ways belong to the church or religion in general) are simply systemic extensions of a tyranny that is antagonistic to natural law, such then being diametrically opposed to freedom, equality and compassion. There is nothing compassionate or liberal (original definition) about government entitlements. At the core of today's governmental liberal entitlements are control of slaves and the complete destruction of liberty, freedom, rights, self reliance, law, justice, order and dignity.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike, today's government is not Liberal so how can you say "At the core of today's government liberal entitlements" Today's government is just an extension of the Bush government. The entitlements as you put it, are not entitlements they are service provided for paying into the system all their working life. The problem is that many libertarians don't know the difference between entitlements and a return on service's paid. Employers and employees both pay into a system for when they are unemployed so do the Medicare and Social Security. The destruction of our liberty is most definitely not through the Liberal philosophy but through the corporate and military industrial complex - we spend 60% of our tax dollars on the pentagon and yet I don't hear a word from anyone on this blog how outrageous this is. We spend billions bailing out corporate losses - NOW, this is what I call entitlements and social welfare for the rich and yet you all moan about providing healthcare to all Americans and helping those who have lost their income because their jobs have been shipped abroad. Honestly, you lot make laugh - talk about projectionism... Archer, where the hell do you get this crap about being born free - we are not born free - its called the vir%*$@ lottery. We are mostly born into servitude and misery - the main cause of death for children under four is abuse (mostly in family settings) - you tell those children Ah, but you are born free.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Most problems historically have been resolved by liberals. "Liberalism: A Guide to the Past, Present, and Future in American Politics," 1963, pp 41-42 Milton Viorst
     -- RBESRQ     
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    I feel sorry for some guys I know who cannot cook and must rely on restaurant meals three times a day. Being independent and self sufficient I have no problem being waited on occasionally.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Welfare as we knew it ceased under Bill Clinton, does anyone really know what the hell it is. As we know Bob Dole's parents were on welfae after WWII. Is it just a trick word to get guys like J Carlton riled up. There is always room for reform but usually need for compassion also. When we put people out of business we must attend to the resulting problem as with the Native Americans for example or as in when we kicked the slaves off of the plantation "welfare system"..
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Welfare as we knew it changed in spite of Bill Clinton and the first chance they got the dems changed it back.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    The term liberal was bastardized by progressives calling themselves that. This redefined the term "liberal" in the eye of the public. Now they are calling themselves progressives again because most of the public have forgotten what a progressive is.
     -- waren, olathe     
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    She's right. Dependence is the corollary of service, and a dependent person is not free.
     -- Nicolas Martin, Indianapolis     
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    Ben, freedom was not equated to independence but rather, referenced as indispensable elements or innate attributes of a greater and more holistic existence. The degree or cumulative effect of freedom can be measured by the quantitative / qualitative presence of independence - and vise versa. The focus or definition of "service" changes the understanding of the statement. Of course God is independent and free - no matter corporeal man's activities, that can not be altered. Your analysis may be addressed by 1 Cor 3:9, 10: "For we are labourers together with God: According to the grace of God which is given unto me". Being from Orem, Utah, you will probably recognize: "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." Willing service to the family of Man is an example and form of freedom and independence. The focus of the quote was to those that receive service (entitlements, a dole, etc.) when capable of doing otherwise - such willing recipients of said service are neither free or independent.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    I doubt God is any more free than we are. Is he free from the consequences of his creations? Rulers are not free, they must defend against usurpers constantly. Possessed by his possessions, he cannot move from his throne. The quest for power binds all. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Very simply, is the 'service' one is performing of one's own free will? The difference between service and servitude is subtle -- the work being performed is the same. That difference is what separates the sovereign from the subject.

    RBE, that is all well and good, but once again you miss the very premise of personal responsibility. Also, having rejected religious communities, you insist that the government provide charitable services as an obligation -- just like the church of olden days. And for the same reasons you reject the church's claims, your compulsory social services are just the god-less version of the same oppression.

    I agree that we should be charitable with the poor and powerless, I consider that a personal responsibility, not the duty of someone paid with my own money. But legislating central planning is the primary cause of social ills -- unnatural and contrived and at the point of a gun ultimately. You are giving the good reasons for the theft, but it does not change the fact that it is theft and such actions have consequences -- perhaps not what you may think, but the pickpocket only sees pockets, and as a result misses everything else.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Free and Independence are both titles in the book of life and have no reality in the world with live.
     -- Robert, Somewhere in the USA     
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