Much has been written and said about freedom but still, even in the most developed societies, people do not have that much freedom. And yet, if we think about it and skip all the speculative questions of “morality” and “religion”, we will then have a very simple, coherent and clear concept — “freedom of the body”.

What is actually the “freedom of the body”? Let’s start with the most simple — our feet. Although it is not often mentioned but every person from birth must have the freedom of movement throughout his country and around the world.

To move freely throughout your country an accessible environment to everyone should be present. That is, there must be: modern walkways, bicycle paths, comfortable public transport, roads of good quality for car owners. It also includes access ramps, tactile tiles and lifts for people with disabilities. All this is quite successfully realized in developed countries but in the developing it is completely ignored. A couple of examples of the “accessible environment” for the resident of Moscow on the way from home to the store:

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A high-quality sidewalk which separates the space and gives a privilege to pedestrians over drivers

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A wide passage for a large flow of people without any obstacles on the way

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Priority of the pedestrians, comfortable sidewalks and a good zebra crossing

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Wide and high-quality pavements, which do not create any obstacles for the pedestrians

Further reading on this matter: accessible and clean city for the blind and pedestrians, high-quality roads and courtyards.

The next item on the freedom of movement is the ability to travel around the world. This is a direct task of the diplomacy to allow their citizens to travel to the largest number of countries possible without spending time and money on visas, proving that you are a usual tourist and not a terrorist. Based on the passports ranking, some countries completely do not understand this.

As a positive example: Latvia (147 visa-free countries), Estonia and Lithuania (both 146), all three are former members of the Soviet Union which rank 11 and 12 in the ranking. Other former socialist countries are ranked not that far: Czech Republic (7), Poland (9) and Bulgaria (14). South Korea is a remarkable example ranking third with 155 countries. All developed Western countries are at the top of the index. Those who had gone their own “special” way — Russia (103 countries), Belarus (67 countries) and North Korea (40 countries) are ranked 39, 59 and 83 respectively. These two analogues are very important as almost all of the mentioned countries had the same opportunities for development and some have been much richer than its neighbors (Russia, for example). As we can see from the list there is an enormous difference in the policies of the countries.

The freedom of movement also includes the ability to leave your country without any consequences and paperwork, however, some countries do not even have that.

From freedom of movement let’s continue to the freedom of the whole body. It is meant by this that a person from the birth is the master of his own body and has the right to use it as he wants. Yes, a lot of actions of others we would not repeat and we just simply cannot understand that behavior, but who are we to forbid others from using their property in the way they want it? Ownership of your body implies freedom in such “controversial” issues as: abortion, prostitution, drugs, homosexuality, sex change, euthanasia and many others.

Let’s take a look at these topics in more detail and start with abortions. To have or not to have an abortion is a personal choice of the individual. A woman can have an abortion, can give birth and give the child up for adoption, can keep the child, but the choice is always hers. The logic which the opponents of abortion follow is not quite clear. There is a certain term determined by the nature during which a human is completely formed and then is born and this is what we call a “life” and “to live”. Everything that happens before birth are just speculations on matters of morality, religion and judgment of other people’s choices, but definitely not life as we understand it.

This topic also includes the issue of artificial insemination, surrogate motherhood and so on. If an adult agrees to this — no one has the right to reproach or judge that person.

Homosexuality and other issues with regards to sexuality (sex change, etc.) are, once again, a personal choice. Why would anyone judge or prohibit it — this is beyond my comprehension.

Regarding prostitution, with which the French government is so anxious to fight by introducing penalties to the clients, during the local protests of prostitutes, it is very difficult to comment on this issue. This profession has existed for thousands of years and it is expected that humanity should mature enough to understand that it is unwise to fight the instincts but so far to most countries for some reason this is “unacceptable”. I do not see any difference between a prostitute and a plumber — the physical presence of both is purchased and used at home. All human occupations are the physical use of one by others in order to achieve certain goals. “Buying sex is humiliating” sounds like “working as a cleaner is humiliating” or “working in the office is humiliating and unworthily”. The notion of what is “worthy” and “unworthy” decides the individual, rather than a politician in an expensive suit and a well-fed face, gaining himself electoral points using populist laws.

The ban of drugs is such a weird restriction as the prostitution ban. What is the logic behind this? Let’s assume: the prohibition of harmful drugs that are harmful to health, are addictive and negatively affect the society because of that. OK, sounds logical. Why then such harmful drugs like alcohol and tobacco are allowed? This is what follows from the table which can be openly seen on Wikipedia. On the same Wikipedia (here and here) alcohol and tobacco are not less harmful than other types of drugs. The hypocrisy of politicians and of all those who advocate the war on drugs is seen right away, though it has long been clear that this war is unsuccessful and even the UN commission called for the legalization of drugs in the whole world instead of fighting with them. Instead of helping addicts, countries prefer to invest a lot of money on senseless wars.

It is also not quite clear on what basis the substances are chosen to be banned. There is a large number of chemicals that should not be eaten (colognes, glue, household chemicals) but they are not prohibited, even though they are also harmful to the body. Drugs cause harm to the individual in the first place. And banning self-harm is strange. One can also criminalize banging the table with the fist, boxing and other sports, even suicide. Conduct trials with the corpse, fine relatives and send the body to serve an annual penalty in prison. In this case the number of suicides will definitely decrease!

Talking about suicide it should be added that since the birth a person has full authority over his own body. And that means that the moment of his death should be in his control as well, if he should wish that. This is euthanasia. The ban of euthanasia does not prevent people from committing suicide because of different life circumstances.

Having examined the freedom of the body let’s move to the head. It includes: freedom of thought, protests, freedom of speech and press. Freedom of speech we have partly discussed before: a person is free to speak, think and write what he considers right even if others think it is wrong. This also includes the freedom of choice of a language that a person speaks, his religion or a lack of it, his beliefs. Also, a person is free to do what he thinks is necessary: study any issues in science and biology without any oppression or judgment from the public. Also, a citizen is not obliged to carry military service simply because the state has their own paranoid vision of the world and their own plans regarding the citizen.

The primary goal of the government is to respect these basic freedoms of its citizens. At this moment the opposite is true. As was already mentioned, some countries cannot even cope with such basic concepts as freedom of movement and an accessible environment. Other states are still struggling with the air by prohibiting prostitution, drugs, abortions, homosexuality, euthanasia and more. By banning, they leave a layer of people unprotected and give permission to the population to contempt, discriminate and even act violently against these citizens.

All of the abovementioned problems are centuries-old issues which are practically non-resolvable. Homosexuals will be born, there will be a demand for prostitution, people will make abortions and so on. Another thing is that you can protect all these people by stopping the persecution: abortions will be performed by professional doctors along with the care for the patient; homosexuals will not undergo different persecutions and physical violence; drug addicts will not commit crimes and buy cheap substitutes that are extremely harmful, knowing that they can get help and they will not be send to jail as criminals; people will not be forced to commit suicide in public places because of the ban of euthanasia; prostitutes will not be a powerless class which will be in any way arrested.

There are a lot of real problems which should be addressed. Such as: slave trade, murder, violence, terrorism. Fighting with the human essence — sexual desire, addiction, abortions, homosexuality, the need to express opinions and more is completely useless. By stopping wasting resources on fighting and using them for help we can achieve much more.

And, to be honest, in the light of the recent Panama Papers — who are the politicians and the governments to talk about morality and decide what to allow their citizens and what to ban? Especially when clearly harmful decisions which destroy the economy are being taken, but for some reason such decisions are not considered “immoral” but drug addiction and prostitution is, while at the same time the country and every citizen becomes poorer by every day. The economic damage is much more dangerous and immoral. Some examples of political impotence: Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea and other countries, eager to join this club or which are already members of it.

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Stefan Vanli

Editor

EN_Moscow-Russia

Moscow

Russia