Freedom: K Keeper and Key

Who is the keeper of your freedom? These quotes by Ayn Rand are key in my view –

‘Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual)’.

 ‘Do not be misled . . . by an old collectivist trick which goes like this: there is no absolute freedom anyway, since you are not free to murder; society limits your freedom when it does not permit you to kill; therefore, society holds the right to limit your freedom in any manner it sees fit; therefore, drop the delusion of freedom—freedom is whatever society decides it is. It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill—but the inalienable individual right of another man to live. This is not a “compromise” between two rights—but a line of division that preserves both rights untouched. The division is not derived from an edict of society—but from your own  inalienable individual right. The definition of this limit is not set arbitrarily by society—but is implicit in the definition of your own right. Within the sphere of your own rights, your freedom is absolute’.

Kgakgamotso (Jane is her second name) our housekeeper for the last 36 years in Johannesburg is here with us in Plettenberg Bay. She & I flew down on Tuesday and we fly back on Saturday.

Her Tswana name means ‘Amazing’. She was given her name soon after she was born. At birth she was silent for several hours. Her mother thought she had died but when she cried several hours later, her mother thought this was Amazing 🙂

All Tswanans have second names which is part of their culture.

I was keen to have knowledge of her siblings names and meanings –

Otsile (James) means ‘I am here’

Kedisaletse (Rachel) – everyone is dead, I am here to look after them

Goitsimang (Lynett) – Nobody knows

Kerileng (Gladys) – what can I say?

Motialepula (Lettie) – came with the rain

Monnawapula (Matthew) – man with the rain

Thuso (Daniel) – help

Oupa – brother

James W: I do not know what freedom is. I’m learning about what freedom is not

36 Comments on Freedom K

  1. Part of me wants to not mention this and not make a fuss, but we’ve done too much of that. I’m amazed you’re quoting Ayn Rand which goes to show you can find good quotes from complicated sources. She was the favorite of the most conservative of the conservative such as Barry Goldwater when I was a teenager. I read her books, but hardly remember them other than an individualism at the expense of those who can’t make it without help (like my husband who was raised in a housing project and ended up with a Ph.D. in astrophysics because his single mom got help from social services when he was young and he got scholarships to go to a good college). I remember the racist and elitist politics of those who found Rand an inspiration. She would not believe in caring for the poor or providing education for all. I glanced through comments and found others are wondering about this.

    On the other hand, the quotes you chose are good standing on their own. I love hearing about Kgakgamotso and her family. I hope she enjoyed her first flight.

    I can no longer count on my government to be the keeper of anyone’s freedom, including mine. I’m privileged because I’m Caucasian and have an education and good health insurance. I’m privileged because I’m no one’s target our mandatory primary health insurance is provided by the government and Trump wants to strip funding for it. Many are not protected, including accomplished people who have dark skin or a name that doesn’t sound “American.” What is an American name anyway?

    • Ayn Rand certainly invites controversy. Now that I think about it perhaps she was advocating that people – the poor, the disadvantaged, the helpless – were to NOT rely on govt’s who promised them the earth. That they were responsible for themselves – yes, it is true that govts provide some essentials as you say … and kudos to those initiatives. Which as you say they strip –

      Maybe I’ll read my battered copy again –

      And yes, I know that many in high positions have advocated reading her for the most dubious of reasons ..

      Thanks Elaine.

  2. Soo true we are free. Yet we must remember our freedoms are not running haywire w no implications. Parameters are good and so is freedom. Lol. Well written. 🙌
    Lisa.

  3. I liked this post by the way you began with a question, who is the keeper of your freedom – certainly me at the same time society has given me certain boundaries – with the current scenario in india – the political rights is getting into individual rights in a very subtle way – the way politicians are trying to use religion, culture in getting the votes is disgusting … I am only praying for peace to prevail and tolerance to be the word for our country which has diversity of different kinds of people living together.

    I found interesting to read about Tswanans culture having a second name- I truly appreciate how you managed to get the whole family name with the meanings. I liked your image of the key too.. thanks for sharing and giving me content to reflect upon.

    • Sometimes politics is subtle, sometimes not so subtle .. we’ve got our elections next month and what is going on is very disturbing. Using divide and rule in a barbaric way. I don’t know Genevive, any more .. I wish I was an ostrich with my head in the sand. No, not really, but –

      Have a good week and thank you for coming by, always so appreciated 🙂

  4. Susan ~ Your promotion of Ayn Rand is confusing.

    Are you aware Rand was enamored of William Edward Hickman, the convicted killer, who kidnapped, murdered, then dismembered his compliant twelve year old victim, Marion Parker ~ unbeknownst to her desperate family, who Hickman continued to torment and play with as they tried to comply with his demands?

    Or that when Marion’s father arrived to make the exchange and saw his daughter seated and unmoving in the seat next to Hickman, he only discovered the horrible truth when Hickman took the money then pushed Marion’s stuffed upper torso and head (with eyes wired open for effect) out of his automobile and onto the street?

    The pages of Rand’s journals were apparently filled with thoughts on Hickman (with no mention of his victims), calling him “a brilliant, unusual, exceptional boy”. It’s as if he became a sort of muse for her, in that one of her fictional characters (Danny Renahan, an improved, less monstrous, more purposeful version of Hickman) was “suggested” to her by Hickman, saying “It is more exact to say that the model is not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me.”

    The following excerpt is from Michael Prescott’s article “Romancing the Stone-Cold Killer: Ayn Rand and William Hickman” elaborates:

    “In her journal circa 1928 Rand quoted the statement, “What is good for me is right,” a credo attributed to a prominent figure of the day, William Edward Hickman. Her response was enthusiastic. “The best and strongest expression of a real man’s psychology I have heard,” she exulted. (Quoted in Ryan, citing Journals of Ayn Rand, pp. 21-22.)

    At the time, she was planning a novel that was to be titled The Little Street, the projected hero of which was named Danny Renahan. According to Rand scholar Chris Matthew Sciabarra, she deliberately modeled Renahan – intended to be her first sketch of her ideal man – after this same William Edward Hickman. Renahan, she enthuses in another journal entry, “is born with a wonderful, free, light consciousness — [resulting from] the absolute lack of social instinct or herd feeling. He does not understand, because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people … Other people do not exist for him and he does not understand why they should.” (Journals, pp. 27, 21-22; emphasis hers.):

    http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/romancing-the-stone-cold.html

    I also wonder if you’re aware of the significant and *active* role Ayn Rand played during the McCarthy era’s “Red Scare” during the 1940’s and 50’s in Hollywood, which resulted in the blacklisting (and in some cases, imprisonment) of actors, directors, screenwriters, musicians and others accused of being communists, communist sympathizers, or socialists, who, among other things supported things like stronger unions and better working conditions among workers:

    “Rand and her associates helped design a “film regime” that dissected other post-war movies like William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives and George Cukor’s Keeper of the Flame. These McCarthy-era film critics sought to root out “ideological termites” in the industry; they were especially distrustful of movies that elevated what Rand called, with contempt, “the little man.” One of the films identified as particularly pernicious to the “rock” of Americanism was Frank Capra’s classic It’s a Wonderful Life . . .”:

    http://www.openculture.com/2014/12/ayn-rand-helped-the-fbi-identify-its-a-wonderful-life-as-communist-propaganda.html

    There’s also the fact that the capitalist hero in Rand’s novel, “Atlas Shrugged” violently rapes the female character. Someone I barely knew (an older male) tried to get me to read the book when I was still a young woman. I read a little and instinctively knew it wasn’t for me. Probably because, and unlike Rand, I relate to and identify with “the little man” she expressed contempt for.

    Hoping you were unaware and will rethink this.

    • I hope the link comes out clearly LB. No, Rand did NOT admire Hickman, she was 23 years old starting out on her literary career and was wondering how society could have bred such a creature. There is no way at all that she had any admiration for him. Her concern was (according to the link below) how it came to be that such an evil person came to be. https://aynrand.no/blogg/did-ayn-rand-admire-killer-william-hickman/

      I didn’t know that she was actively involved in the McCarthy era. I’ll check those links out.

      Re her contempt for the little man – I would have thought she was referring to the little men who control society and have no sympathy or regard for their fellow man who works for his/her living and does an honest job. This comes out very clearly in her novels.

      I haven’t read any of her manifestos.

      Yes, there is that rape scene …

      I am not promoting Ayn Rand – the few selected quotes speak well in my view to freedom as we know or do not know it ..

      • Susan ~ The link you provided in defense of Ayn Rand only confirms what I’ve read and linked to, as well as her lack of understanding and empathy for anyone except the man who kidnapped and chopped up an innocent little girl and played sadistic mind-games with her family.

        Nor does anything in the link deny (or somehow undo) the reality of the words Rand used to describe Hickman (all of her words) or their context. Her words of condemnation don’t negate or erase her praise. Rand managed to find something admirable in the sociopathic *thinking* that allowed Hickman to commit such a crime. This matters because it speaks to what it is *Rand* values and how she thinks and arrives at those values.

        It can be compared to someone admiring the “brilliance” of Charles Manson, so much so, they decide to base one their book’s fictional *heroes* (albeit in less monstrous form), as suggested by him.

        I’ve worked with mentally ill young men who ended up in prison for murder and have felt a genuine sense of compassion for both them and their victims. But that doesn’t mean I admired the sickness that allowed them to murder.

        • I can’t agree LB – they were notes she made to use in her novel – I had a quick look at a further link in the one I provided, the one DEBUNKING the view that she admired him. I’m on that side. She was inter alia looking at society that contributed to this ghastly killer. No more no less apart from tracking the story and making notes. There is no way she admired the sickness of any murderer – as she has stated no one has the right to take another’s life.

          • I understand, Susan. Thanks for replying.

            I think we can agree that each of considered the same things and arrived at two very different conclusions.

  5. Good question, Susan. Who is the keeper of my freedom? My first thought was that the answer is in some way, for me, connected to the different parables Jesus used to describe the deeper mystery that is the kingdom of heaven. In an insane world where endless war, violence and oppression for profit and power have become culturally normalized, I think it’s about my search for what’s good and beautiful and true, and for what it is that unites us all through love and gives life meaning. It’s about how to be in this world but not of the world.

    In the small but beautiful book, “The Kingdom Within: The Inner Meaning of Jesus’ Sayings”, Jungian author and analyst, John A. Sanford refers to this inner kingdom as being “. . . like a great treasure lying hidden in the field of our soul waiting to be discovered. Someone who finds this inner treasure and recognizes its value, will happily give up all other goals and ambitions in order to make it real in his or her life.” p.26

    And yet, the author goes on to speak of the paradoxical nature of this inner kingdom, saying ” . . . the paradox is that the kingdom is both that which we find within ourselves as an inner treasure and also that which is searching to find us . . .” p.27

    Different religious, philosophical, and spiritual traditions throughout history have used different words to describe similar ideas and ways of being. I recognize and honor common truths and those who have taught and teach, and *sometimes* practice them.

    • Was it Rumi who said, what you are searching for is also searching you –

      Many of us search for what is good and beautiful and true and are very aware of the normalisation of a sick society and the danger of this. I may have already used a quote of the dangers of adapting to a sick society or it is still coming up. As I write, I am preparing for my return to Johannesburg so time is a bit short right now …

      Thank you for coming by LB – have a good weekend.

  6. Those names! Wow, they are beautiful and interesting. I really appreciate how they have great personal meaning.
    That’s something that’s missing in my culture. I really admire that custom.

  7. One of the gifts of this series of yours is that you’ve made me want to study Ayn Rand more deeply now, and I thank you for that.

    I love the story about Kgakgamotso’s name and that of her siblings. I think it would be lovely if we all carried names that were so pure, so immediate to how we showed up in the world, marking our entrance.

    James W’s word are profound, and I think speak for me as well.

    • Maybe read her novels Deborah, ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘The Fountainhead’. I remember Atlas Shrugged being 1064 pages in very tight and close type. Don’t ask my why I remember such a thing but I do. I was challenged on many levels but they were very good stories and even though written more than 50 years ago, have contemporary relevance in my view –

  8. I love Deborah’s comment on your post. Your post did make me open my eyes about Freedom and people’s rights especially since I just signed a survey requesting that guns NOT be sold to the public especially without background checks. Then what IS freedom?

    I too enjoyed learning the meaning of Kgakgamotso’s (Jane’s) name. Since some of my family came from Wales, my name is Welsh for ‘white or pure.’ I wonder if all names have a special meaning to them. Thanks for your great post! <3

    • Good on you Gwynn for signing the survey! The meaning of your name is lovely – and apt!I want to look up the meaning of my name which I understand is ‘Shoshana’ from ancient times.

  9. Who is the keeper of my freedom? Definitely my anxious and fearful ego! Because even in the midst of much pain and suffering in my life by changing the way I look at the problem, by using a different lens or simply turning it around and away from my ego, I feel all sorts of other feelings, including freedom.

    It was great to read the meaning of Kgakgamotso’s (Jane’s) name and her siblings too. I do hope your time together is going well. Oh, I would love to known by another name. Hmm, perhaps that’s what some of us are actually doing on social media! Love and light, Deborah (aka @liberatedsheep!)

    • Turning the lens around is such a great metaphor Deborah thank you, like re-framing the question – ha! I ‘see’ ‘framing’ comes into the metaphor ..

      All’s going well thank you – the Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve yesterday, Birds of Eden today and our last walk on the beach just a little while ago. Kgakagamotso has had a lovely time. Also showed her where Davey & Jüte were married and where they met – so this was rather special 🙂

      Love and Light to you too and have a lovely weekend, Susan

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