Claims for freedom by Black Lives Matter demonstrators and by MAGA supporters show that there can be clashing meanings of “freedom.” What factors are contributing to this tension? This essay explores the ways in which social and ethnic groups and society’s many institutions complicate the concept of freedom. It points to a basic lesson: Learning and compromises are necessary before we can agree on what it means to be free.
Nation and world
Life and death are individual matters, yet we need the support of organized groups to nurture us and extend our lives. This tension is stark in the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused deep changes in society, exacerbated racial and economic inequities, and led to widespread reflection on what value to give to life itself.