Freedom is just another word for ?

At Neustar we used Skype for instant messaging as well as video conferencing. For the most part I ignored the mottos people posted on their profiles, but at one point I asked a young Chinese woman about her choice of an unattributed “Give me liberty or give me death.” She was surprised at being questioned, and said she’d chosen it years ago, that some celebrity had said it. When I suggested the speaker was Patrick Henry, an early American revolutionary, she nodded, “interesting” though with no look of recognition. When I pressed her as to why she’d chosen these words she said it sounded cool. A young Chinese man had “’Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.’ –Benjamin Franklin” I asked why he’d chosen this, and we initially exchanged notes resolving his questioning why I wanted to know – he wondered if perhaps he’d misunderstood the quote, then clarified that freedom is not free. He should fight for it or lose it. When I pressed what fighting for freedom would mean he said you shouldn’t let anyone one else speak for you, that you should speak for yourself.

I have no motto on Skype, but on Slashdot I have “Wir sind geboren, um frei zu sein. –Rio Reiser” Sometimes I find myself wondering just what I mean by this.

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