Rights & Freedoms: Reaching for greater freedoms, personal respect and recognition.

Elana Hernon
6 min readJun 17, 2020
Image by DWilliams from Pixabay.com

I was thinking about freedom and it occurred to me that I defined it by rights. It was an immediate visceral reaction. “It is my right! I have rights!” But the moment we define freedom by rights we have effectively limited the scope of what is free. We hold fiercely to our ‘rights’. We all do. But if we think of freedom in this manner as a group of rights, is not a right or a privilege an “allowment”? If I am being granted something, a privilege, then there is someone doing the granting and as such I am no longer free if someone needs to tell me. We would only be free at the behest of someone or something else, or within conditions they have determined.

The whole idea of freedom for me, seemed to a bit like trying to define God. If you define it, you have effectively said what God is not. So God then would need to be ‘beyond the name’ as it is said in Taoist writings. Nameless. Not because it can’t be known, but that it is by its nature beyond definition. Or, said in another way, that by defining it we are beginning from a place of limitations. It’s a rainbow. It is to be experienced.

Natural Rights & Legal Rights

Quoted from Wikipedia

In Wikipedia a little quote says: Quote

L. A. Hart argued that if there are any rights at all, there must be the right to liberty, for all the others would depend upon this. T. H. Green argued that “if there are such things as rights at all, then, there must be a right to life and liberty, or, to put it more properly to free life.”[10]

(Bolded section mine)

It further went on to say:

John Locke emphasized “life, liberty and property” as primary. However, despite Locke’s influential defense of the right of revolution, Thomas Jefferson substituted pursuit of happiness” in place of “property” in the United States Declaration of Independence

(The bolded words are mine).

I looked at the US Declaration of Independence because it is so well known. I think it very interesting that John Locke talked about property as a right and that it was taken out of the US Declaration of Independence. It interesting because…

Elana Hernon

But your heart, that gives me your story. I hear your story when you speak, how you move, your choices. But you also listen this way. That is our humanity.