Freedom in the Americas
Do you know what freedom is?
Freedom is a feeling. It is the feeling you get when you know what you want, and you go straight for it. It is the strength that comes from within, knowing that you will follow through with your dreams.
In the context of politics, freedom is a state of constantly negotiated grey lines between the individual's mind, and the people who say "no." Freedom is not given by a 250 year old document. It is taken by people with freedom in their hearts.
I was born in the United States, which is the self-proclaimed "freest country on Earth." And if you read the bill of rights and believe that it is followed, maybe that would be true. Comparatively, the constitution here in Panama is literally authoritarian (i.e. all rights reserved for "the authority").
And yet, Panamanians are more free. Panamanians don't get taught John Locke, Kierkegaard, and Jefferson in school. They don't have a philosophical argument for freedom, nor a legal document "giving" it to them. They have it in their hearts. When the government makes a law, they mostly just ignore it, if it doesn't live up to their judgment.
By contrast, look at the US. The first amendment is in tatters, with the government listening in on all digital communications, and policing "misinformation." Churches and religious services have been shut down by the state, in the name of "safety."
The second amendment is mortally wounded, with more restrictions placed on self-defense every year.
The fourth amendment is gone. People let the government into their phones, and recently into their houses, without any objection, let alone defense.
I could go on, but the gist of it is that people are *asking* for less freedom. The people, or some of them anyway, are applauding the censors, the disarmers, and the regulators. They have no freedom in their hearts. They are waving a white flag in the day to day negotiations between freedom and state power.
So why do I live in Latin America? I believe that "the freest country on Earth" is not in North America, nor Western or Northern Europe. It is somewhere where people know what oppression looks like, and are willing to disobey. It is in Latin America, or Eastern Europe, or somewhere like that.
Do you really know what freedom is? Do you feel it in your heart? Only you can decide if you are free, and only you can make yourself free, or enslaved. A runaway slave is freer than a voluntary serf.