I often ponder such questions when it comes to American life. Our constitution outlines our freedoms and rights as citizens. But freedom does have limits when it encroaches on the rights of others. I may have the right to bear arms ( own and carry a weapon) but not in some private locations. I have the right and freedom to associate with whomever I want but not an organization that will infringe on people's rights. We are even free to say anything to anyone except cause a panic where people get hurt like yelling "Fire" in a crowded room.
Pope Benedict 16th once wrote on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 2005; "Love is not dependence but a gift that makes us live. The freedom of a human being is the freedom of a limited being, and therefore is itself limited.” He suggests that to be truly free and without limit, we must choose to do what is right despite our freedom to do what is wrong.
A free society is often society in bondage to evil. Instead of an authoritarian government lording over the people, a society thrives when people resist the temptation to exert their freedom no matter what the damage to themselves, society, or humanity in general. A great sign of societal decay and decline is when they take their freedom to the point that it infringes on others but also when it makes the self subservient to its own whims. When a person's passions take over, they lose their freedom to live, love, and act to uplift society.
Some examples in the united states would be Gun rights, abortion, and LGBT+. and environmental degradation. With the downfall of Roe V Wade which put abortion in the hands of different states, people argue about whether we have a right to end the life of the fetus in the mother's womb. The LGBT+ movement now includes the right to change one's gender to what the person believes is their true gender. The 2nd amendment gives the right to bear arms but the many school shootings and other murders have people on edge. The environment is also being abused through the dumping of toxic chemicals and the excessive burning of fossil fuels.
Even with laws on the books, some people will take their personal freedoms and ignore those laws to the detriment of society and themselves. So the question is where do rights begin and freedom ends? Who is truly free? Who is in bondage? Are we to be held responsible for others' actions? Who is accountable for the excesses of life? Does my body, my choice apply only to abortion? What about vaccine mandates? What about the use of illicit drugs? What about gender reassignment surgery and the use of hormone blockers on children?
The great moral and ethical decline in the USA makes me question if we are truly free or are we in bondage to our rights and passions? What do you think?