What is American Freedom?
As I talk to more people, the task of uniting their experiences into similar troughs becomes more complex. The story we've heard from a good many people is that they imagine the fullest realization of freedom as being left to their own devices, not being restricted in movement or action. Yesterday though, a woman named Tamesha through that path off, saying her family and community just do their best to keep to themselves but her highest realization of freedom is a freedom from want. As we talk to more people, I expect there to be more conversation that begins to diverge. Right now it's still pretty easy to characterize people along two basic rows: freedom 'from' and freedom 'to.' From the group of people we've talked to so far, it seems like those who have a relatively high baseline of resources define freedom as the ability to do more things. People who have less, and a deeper insecurity about what they have, seek freedom from instability.
At first, I was trying to think of this distinction through the perspective of Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech. This frame wants freedom 'to' to mean freedom of worship and speech, and freedom 'from' to mean freedom from want and fear. Only one side of that works for the observations I talked about a bit above. It seems like freedom 'from' still works but freedom 'to' is a position that feels a bit like a second step after having a basic freedom from insecurity relieved. Maybe the relationship is a bit more like Maslow's pyramid, and freedom is a step-ladder. This is only one part but it'll be fun to see how things shake out as we talk to tons more people