An important thing to remember is that threat of punishment cannot strip you of your natural freedom.
You have the liberty to do whatever you want. But we've decided that certain things are not permissible for the sake of maintaining a functioning order. Choose to exercise the freedom to take away freedom, and you'll be punished for doing so. Yet you still have the option to do it in the first place. Such is the necessary risk we all take in having the gift of free-will.
There will always be consequences for your actions, but that doesn't mean your freedom is being taken away necessarily. Not yet.
We channel - we guide - our inherit freedom like "water". Everybody has their own amount of this liquidized freedom, and therefore we have by default the right to choose what we subject it to. There are benefits to channeling our freedom through the systems of society, enjoying the give-and-take of relationships that take on many different forms. Letting it roar like a river in pursuit of your happiness and eroding away obstacles, seeking the path of least resistance.
Freedom has the same quality. Be free my friends.
Of course, along with society comes the necessary evil of law and order. And there are also dangers. Traps. Sometimes you might run your freedom through the 9-to-5 machine; an engine that always needs fueling and cooling because it can't dare to stop running, lest civilization itself shuts-down. Leave your "water" in there for too long and it will evaporate before your eyes. Lubricant needs changing eventually. Let new blood in rather than circulating yourself through office cubicles forever.
Relationships are great, but one day you might find that your partner's water is more like oil. Always taking top-priority. Or they might freeze your water. Poison it. Turn off your faucet. Rather than a beautiful dance, it turns into a hierarchical fight for control.
Even your own father may be tyrannical, or your mother a cosseter, restricting your freedom into a shrinking container that will burst at the seams from the pressure... if you resist. Unfortunately there seems to be fewer and fewer people with the spirit to resist these days, and their freedom can be confined to a small box, forgotten about in the back of a dark closet. Wrapped in a package and sold to a business, a bank, a politician, or an ideology.
Don't sell your water. Freedom is priceless! Lend some of it, share some of it, but never let it be stolen. Be the arbiter.
Still some may say, "You're not allowed to do *this* because *that* will happen, so we're not really free anyway." This is a terrible mistake, for you're surrendering your natural-born freedom by making it dependent upon an additional, artificial limitation - an unnatural pre-requisite - when freedom should mean independent. By saying that, you're just convincing yourself of the lie that you cannot be free so long as 'x' is a consequence of 'y'. As if the presumed result that has not even occurred yet is literally, physically preventing you from doing the present action.
In other words: you're allowing the future to determine your present. This is no way to live.
That being said, what if the full sentence instead was, "You're not allowed to do what's right, because you'll be killed."
That's exactly what The White Rose faced in Nazi Germany, like the millions of other residents at the time. Very few of them made the brave decision that those kids and their professor did. To stand up for what's right in spite of death. Most aren't willing to pay that price, because they value life over freedom.
I believe living is worthless without freedom though. If you're not free, you're already dead.
Madison was more than likely referring to government specifically, but this applies to any authority,
and can even apply to those seeking power.
In most cases, a great deal of events have to happen before the price of freedom becomes "Your Life". So many times the danger can be seen from miles away. Yet you know the adage: give a man an inch and he'll take a mile. It's a slippery slope, especially considering nowadays we like to sacrifice inches of freedom for a little "safety" or inches of justice for a little "equality". It sets a bad precedent.
A word you're not allowed to say anymore, becomes a thought you're not allowed to have anymore, which turns into a belief you're not allowed to hold anymore, and a person you're not allowed to be anymore. The opposite is also true; take what's happening in Canada for example, with Bill C-16. Pronouns you must use, become thoughts you must think, from leaders you must obey, otherwise you're not the person you're told you must supposedly be... a "good citizen".
As humans we're very adaptive when it comes to our environment and making the necessary sacrifices. We're also very good at changing our environment to fit our needs, for better or for worse. However, we can build tolerance to the wrong things. As the Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, "Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society."
Our freedom is not something to sacrifice.
If you are not willing to give up your life for liberty, you'd do damn well to make sure it never gets to that point.
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