How do we get this freedom? What does freedom entail? How can freedom be attained? What kind of society is necessary to promote and protect freedom?
Of Particular interest to me is this: Take a child raised in a ghetto, a slum. Is he free in any meaningful sense? Sure, if he is incredibly talented and very lucky he may transcend his environment, overcome his struggles. But what are the odds?
Raised in a broken family, taught crime from an early age, living in a society where only drug dealers have the money to eat, where violence is an everyday norm, jobs are practically non-existent, and your home is a run down slum, can you really be free? Can you blame someone from such a place for being angry and desperate, uneducated and severely limited in opportunities?
My heart goes out to those who are forced to live in such awful conditions. And unless and until we recognize the systemic problems that have created these ghettos, we cannot hope to help the situation. It will simply not do to treat people coming from these areas as capable of "pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps," and overcoming their environment.
I recently discovered a blog called Ghetto America that largely takes a look at images of these urban slums. It is worth looking into it.
This sight reminded me of Elvis' song, "In the Ghetto," which I post here:
The 17th century Philosopher Baruch Spinoza declared that "The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free." But how difficult must it be for those raised in these dire circumstances to be allowed to understand enough to be truly free.