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Freedom is a complex concept that has little to do with beer and fireworks, and more to do with a form of political evolution few people understand. People like Elon Musk invoking the concept to harm others when he reopened factories despite Covid-19 shutdown orders, and Donald Trump creating a caveman’s rendering of the holiday complete with a display of force, don’t help. That’s how children think about freedom, and it’s reminiscent of the movie Team America.

On the other side of the political spectrum we have Elizabeth Warren, and her plans to obligate us to pay for other parents’ child care with no assurances that those parents are ready to be good parents, or will have ecologically sustainable small families. Does being part of this country really mean we have to sign up for that obligation, irrespective of what it will do to our future? Is the government going to act as a sort of meta-parent going forward, despite the fact that it’s usually horrible at doing so?

There is a better way to think about freedom, and to take the action necessary to actually achieve it. First, we can realize that true change comes by thinking ahead, focusing on the way we plan families. Second, we can make sure future children have the freedom to equal opportunies in life by accounting for the conditions in which they are born, and designing small family policies that also urge prospective parents to redistribute resources in very particular ways. Third, we can make sure future children will have freedom from others, and from social threats like the climate crisis and Covid-19, that is only possible in smaller democracies where each voice is heard and matters, and communities are surrounded by a restored, safe and natural environment.

We pursue this fredom it by decentralizing corporate and governmental concentrations of power and distributing them equitably into future generations. And because we are talking about literally building legitimate democractic communities through the people who will actually comprise them, we may do so by all means effective.

Let’s take action to truly become free people, and make this holiday mean something.

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