Freedom Is The Key To Prosperity And Power

Personal freedom is the key to empowering the individual against stifling institutions and ideologies, and is the key in explaining the West's progress relative to the rest of the world.

Freedom Is The Key To Prosperity And Power

Have you ever deeply thought and questioned why Western countries (and the likes of them) are politically and financially strong, scientifically and technologically advanced, and socially and ethically progressive, while the rest of the world’s countries, which beneficially use the Western achievements, cannot become like the Western countries in all aspects?

An answer to the above question would be “full freedom in all aspects of personal life”, such as freedom of thought; freedom of choice; freedom of decision; freedom of information; freedom of lifestyle; freedom of pursuit of knowledge or happiness; freedom of faith; and freedom of expression against the undemocratic governmental rules, regulations or controls that impinge on personal freedoms, against abuse by parents, older siblings, other relatives, teachers, professionals or religious leaders, or against the brainwashing speeches or tactics of clergies, politicians or any other authoritative persons. And one of the most important freedoms is freedom from ideologies, such as religions that control free thought for political or personal expediencies of religious leaders and that cause divisiveness, death and destruction.

In the West, the Renaissance, which took place from the 14th century to the 17th century, gave birth to the Western arts (paintings and sculptures), architecture, literature, poetry, dramas, humanism, secularism, and free, logical, scientific, or technological thoughts with an encouragement to question the role of religion in life. The demise of the Renaissance was caused by religion--the Catholic church, which censored artists and writers, stifling creativity, and further by the Council of Trent and its Roman Inquisition, which made humanism and other views against the Catholic church punishable by death. 

Here is the edict: “Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God which conflicts with Church dogma must be burned without pity.” – Pope Innocent III (Sounds familiar? The blasphemy law of Pakistan also has a death punishment, which would even apply to anyone who just quotes the Quranic verses or Sahih Hadiths that put Islam in a negative light). 

However, the demise of the Renaissance paved the way for the Age of Enlightenment that re-opened doors to free thinking and objective observations of natural phenomena, resulting in scientific discoveries, industrial inventions, scientific discoveries, freedom and democracy, secularism and ethics, and constitutions and laws. The American and French Revolutions were based on the Enlightenment ideals. In the world, America is the only country that was founded on civic values--freedom and democracy, separation of religion and state, and freedom of expression.

Historically, religion also played a role in stifling scientific thoughts by silencing or imprisoning certain scientists, such as Hasan Ibn Al-Haytham, a 10th /11th century’s scientific pioneer of physical optics who was kept under house arrest for almost 10 years; or Galileo Galilei, a 17th century’s physicist and astronomer, who was imprisoned after he had said that the Earth revolved around the Sun. This was against the Catholic Church belief that the Sun revolved around the Earth, which is a geocentric belief that is found also in Judaism, Islam, and other religions, but it contradicts the heliocentric evidence obtained from the exploration of our solar system. Even today, many leaders of the medieval/ancient religions vociferously oppose the scientifically proven theory of evolution by the 19th century’s naturalist/geologist, Charles Darwin of Britain. 

Strangely, in Pakistan, a religious prejudice is found to be a basis for the disrespect to Pakistan’s only physics Nobel laureate, Dr. Abdus Salam who belonged to Pakistan’s Ahmadi community, which was officially declared “non-Muslim”, but considers itself Muslim. Similarly, due to their Islamically-influenced prejudice or hatred toward non-Muslims, most Muslims seem to lack respect for Western scientists, discoverers, mathematicians or inventors who have or had a Christian or Jewish background, even though these Muslims happily use the Western natural or social sciences, math, art, technologies or products to help save their life, improve the quality of their life, or modernize their living standards or lifestyles while they keep their mindset intact, which is based on the religion that is found to contradict the modern natural or social sciences. or modern moralities or ethics developed or updated by modern Western countries. 

Thanks to the freedom awarded to their citizens, Western countries have for over two centuries progressed expeditiously and exponentially in all aspects of life while becoming politically and financially strong, scientifically and technologically advanced, and socially and ethically progressive. The Western countries also share their hard-earned sciences, math, technologies, engineering knowledge, ethics, and arts with the rest of the world’s countries, while providing ways including international aid, for example, through the USAID, to help these countries develop. 

With their full freedom and great use of all their innate and immense potentials and natural abilities, the citizens and immigrants of the Western countries are prosperous and progressive, and they are thriving in every aspect of their lives while having or supporting non-governmental agencies to help under-privileged or poor people globally with education, health, finances, justice, social or environmental issues, or human rights matters for sake of humanity.

For countries that want to be rich and powerful, politically strong and effective, and scientifically and technologically advanced, the key, as alluded above, is for them to award full personal freedom of all kinds to their citizens. Once the people of a country are free to think and choose in every aspect of their life, explore or educate themselves on nature and humanity and art, and make all kinds of discoveries that benefit themselves and the country, and that make them prosperous too, governmental and non-governmental institutions would be stronger and more stable and the country would be politically more powerful on the global stage, and genuinely supported by its people who are free and prosperous in their lives, as they would have no personal complaints against their government. Full personal freedom awarded to every citizen may also help create harmony and peace in society as satisfied free people seem to be content and happy. 

Now, for a person to become prosperous, the same is true. They should personally be fully free in all life’s aspects, have a purpose and ethics in life, hold faith in themselves, and use their innate potential and their natural abilities, while responsibly utilizing both natural and human-made resources.

Personal freedom is free of monetary cost and free of physical effort because freedom is just a mindset that needs to be evolutionary, not fixed. Just let yourself and others be fully free while thinking fully free without any influence from thought-controlling ideologies or instructions. Therefore, one needs to just bring a change to the mindset so as to be fully free for one's own sake and also for sake of others in every aspect of life---to help (not harm) oneself or others to accomplish what is needed or desired.

The author is a Pakistani American based in California and is the founder of a medical devices research and development company.