I see and hear a lot of misperceptions about what freedom is. For example, many think that consumer choice is freedom, but this goes without recognizing that those choices come at a price that is mostly unseen. Really, it seems that that most people don't at all understand what freedom really is. The Creed of Freedom defines it perfectly:
INTRINSIC NATURE OF RIGHTS
I believe that only individuals have rights, not the collective group; that these rights are intrinsic to each individual, not granted by the state; for if the state has the power to grant them, it also has the power to deny them, and that is incompatible with personal liberty.
I believe that a just government derives its power solely from the governed. Therefore, the state must never presume to do anything beyond what individual citizens also have the right to do. Otherwise, the state is a power unto itself and becomes the master instead of the servant of society.
SUPREMACY OF THE INDIVIDUAL
I believe that one of the greatest threats to freedom is to allow any group, no matter its numeric superiority, to deny the rights of the minority; and that one of the primary functions of just government is to protect each individual from the greed and passion of the majority.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE
I believe that desirable social and economic objectives are better achieved by voluntary action than by coercion of law. I believe that social tranquility and brotherhood are better achieved by tolerance, persuasion, and the power of good example than by coercion of law. I believe that those in need are better served by charity, which is the giving of one's own money, than by welfare, which is the giving of other people's money through coercion of law.
EQUALITY UNDER LAW
I believe that all citizens should be equal under law, regardless of their national origin, race, religion, gender, education, economic status, life style, or political opinion. Likewise, no class should be given preferential treatment, regardless of the merit or popularity of its cause. To favor one class over another is not equality under law.
PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
I believe that the proper role of government is negative, not positive; defensive, not aggressive. It is to protect, not to provide; for if the state is granted the power to provide for some, it must also be able to take from others, and once that power is granted, there are those who will seek it for their advantage. It always leads to legalized plunder and loss of freedom. If government is powerful enough to give us everything we want, it is also powerful enough to take from us everything we have. Therefore, the proper function of government is to protect the lives, liberty, and property of its citizens; nothing more. That government is best which governs least.