Define 'freedom' and you get a number of different answers all suitable for a college philosophy course. So with a term so tough to define - how do we know if we are experiencing it? The simple answer, of course, is making an analogue to love - but then, we are truly free to love?
A simple and straightforward definition as I see freedom is this: freedom is the ability to choose B instead of A. Let me rephrase that as - that is the freedom we have though it may be so much more. Choosing B over A, without fear, and condemnation - though curiously, our selection of A or B is - at least in political elections, done anonymously, behind a closed curtain. Its as if to say that while we are free to choose B, its best we do it anonymously. So are we free?
Democracy is precisely the choice between A and B, and many will criticize this with saying that - particularly when concerning elections - that two options are hardly options. Democracy without freedom is the choice of A or B, where a choice in B has dire consequences. Freedom without democracy is not conceivable - at least by me.
Full freedom is A, B or whatever else you want - in which the whatever will largely and often be ignored as it encompasses a category too large and varied for it to ever form a possible chance at majority - a C. So unless you want to waste your choice - its A or B. But you are free to pick - behind a curtain though where others won't see.
The more interesting thought is the C that rallies together to form a larger C. That C, though, must still operate under the rules and guidelines set forth by A and B, or risk being undemocratic. Paradoxically this excludes a C whose sole definition is to undermine and overturn the democratic process. Those Cs cannot participate. that form of C is largely suppressed - and perhaps rightly so because if they acquired any power they would remove A and B, and there would only be C. So we cannot allow the freedom to be C - its a dangerous freedom. Even if its behind a curtain.
Which leads me to conclude that while we are free, we are only free to the point where we cannot destroy our own freedom.
And if you don't want to call that freedom, you can at least call it organized.