Liberty is priceless and yet very dangerous in the hands of armatures. Maturity does not come with age but with responsibility. The higher the levels of responsibility a man can accept the more mature he is. Liberty bestows serious responsibility on its recipients contrary to the understanding of many today who have abused it. When a child is under the protection of his parents he yearns for liberty from what he calls undue influences from them. When a man comes of age, gets married, have children and begin to pay school fees among other demands from his children and wife he yearns for those days when he was under his parents. Liberty is a cake you cannot eat and have for with every inch of liberty we enjoy comes a dose of responsibility and accountability.
We have watched films on slave trade and saw how it is possible for a human being to be put in bondage by another human being. Give it to those Hollywood guys for how they made some of us cry watching the depicted scenes of segregation, dehumanization, torture and every other imaginable ill treatment meted on some human beings by other human beings. Those films are so real you will believe that the characters actually lived in those slavery days. The truth is that even the script writers never lived in those days; the scripts are fragments of history gathered from diverse sources and a lot of fiction.
Those who actually experienced slavery or any form of bondage felt human again after the abolition and the liberty that followed. Liberty is a priceless gift only to those who experienced slavery (bondage) and not to those who watched it in movies. The gift of liberty is taken for granted as a right by those it was handed to but for those who worked or fought for liberty, it is a priceless treasure. What then is liberty?
Liberty is total freedom. Liberty is the privilege to live as human without undue encumbrance, limitations or restrictions by anyone, government or institutions in our daily choices and coexistence. National liberty is total freedom as allowed by the law governing our human coexistence in a particular nation but which may not be applicable in other nations. For instance, liberty allows same sex marriage in some locations for instance while in other places it remains a taboo; an abomination.
Liberty does not absolve man or its recipients of responsibility and accountability. A young lady who feels she is at liberty to do whatever she likes with her body cannot even if she wants to, absolve herself of responsibilities like pregnancies, HIV/AIDS, STDs and premature death resulting from her exercise of liberty.
America is a conglomeration of states that were initially under the bondage of slavery or colonialism. The statue of liberty to them is a reminder of the labours of their forefathers for the liberty they now enjoy. Can we continue to celebrate the gift of liberty and not also analyze its other edge called responsibility? As a two-edged sword, liberty restores our humanness and our ability to make choices but it also holds us responsible and accountable for those choices. Every American citizen who currently enjoys liberty must take time out to balance the gains of liberty and losses attached to the abuse of liberty.
Abuse is inevitable whenever we lack a thorough understanding of the purpose of anything. A chair is made for sitting but a toddler will turn his chair upside down and push it around as a toy car. This brings to mind some of our African nations who got their independence from colonial masters and after many years they do not have a clue what to do with it. After many years of liberty, either they are still depending on the same former colonial masters for virtually everything or they are busy plundering their people. The older they get in their liberty, the more impoverished and worse off they make their citizens.
South Africa is among the young independent African countries but because they coexist with their former colonial masters, they have a better nation than the older independent nations whose leaders have perfected means of deceitfully enriching themselves by enslaving and impoverishing their people. These nations are free from their colonial masters but in bondage of the ruling class who are unable to appreciate the responsibility and accountability of liberty.
Let me conclude by saying that liberty is a two-edged sword; it can make or mar anyone and any nation. For an enduring liberty, we must not ignore the responsibility and accountability edge. Liberty must not be used for a cloak of wickedness, maliciousness, irresponsible acts, inhumane choices, immorality and all manner of vices that are inimical to free and peaceful coexistence.