Friday, February 22, 2013

Freedom Is When You Break the Law

motorcycle highway 395
And then, there's the freedom myth.

How many times have you heard a motorcycle rider describe riding as a feeling of freedom?  How much freedom is there in riding a motorcycle?

But freedom is not something you get from something else.  It's something that's found within us.  When freedom is given to you, you're simply dependent.  It's like saying you are "wealthy" because someone gave you money.  But what happens when that money runs out, and that someone refuses to give you more?  Were you ever wealthy at all?

By the same token, what if government passed a new law that took away another piece of your freedom?  Were ever really free in the first place?

But what if you decided to break that law and did it anyways?  Well, now you're free!

Who is more free, the person running wild in an open field, or the person taking a sledgehammer to a prison wall?

It's the person who takes control of his own freedom who is free.  You are not free when someone else controls your freedom.

I myself have described riding a motorcycle as a feeling of freedom.  But technically, it isn't really freedom at all.  It's a perceived freedom.  I have to hold a special drivers license to ride a motorcycle.  I have to wear helmet.  I can't have loud pipes.

There's actually more freedom in driving a car.

But what if I didn't have that special license, decided not to wear a helmet, and removed the baffles from my exhaust, and rode my motorcycle anyway?  Now I'm free.

Most of us will be apprehended by the police if we did that.  But that's only because most of us don't have the resolve nor the resources to keep them away.  But if we did?  What if we had the smarts, the money, and the determination to break every law for the rest of our lives and never get caught?  Doesn't that make us free?

Maybe you would argue that breaking every law for the rest of our lives will burden us with having to run and hide from police.  But aren't we already burdened for the rest of our lives having to stifle our desires by threat of the police?

If you chose to remain a law abiding citizen for the rest of your life, then aren't you really just another sheep in the flock who will forever be forgotten?

It's always the rebels and the revolutionaries who are remembered.  And it's always they who get to enjoy the freedom.

So, how much freedom is there in riding a motorcycle?


  1. Freedom is an interesting concept isn't it? 5,000 people and 5,000 definitions, just like asking why do you ride?

    From the moment we are born we don’t have freedom because of rules set by parents, society, and those laws you speak of. Most of the restrictions on our freedom are placed there for “our own protection,” or so we’re told. Yet we, some of us, yearn for that elusive idea of Freedom.

    As you and Sash untie yourselves from the ‘norm’ of societies’ expectations it would appear to be total freedom. But, while your direction and mode of travel, and many choices will seem to be a taste of freedom there will still be restrictions that can’t be overcome. Gas, food, lodging, maintenance, tires all require money and money limits freedom, no matter where it comes from. However, it would also appear that y’all will be as near to freedom as is possible in the world today without breaking the law.

    Ride safely my friends and I root for you never to have to come back to societies’ limitations or expectations.

    1. Well if anything, moving out of my apartment and going homeless makes me closer to myself. Often I wondered how free am I if I go out for a motorcycle ride but have to turn around to get back home? It's like we're a yo-yo on a string, venturing outward, but constantly getting pulled back to someone's hand. Freedom is something you can get closer to, but remains elusive like you said.

  2. To me the open road defines freedom. Being on 2 wheels is just my preferred method.

  3. Steve:

    we are the lucky ones. We have money to buy nearly anything we want. We have access to durable goods, helmets, tires, bikes . We are allowed to travel, we can choose where we live

    Imagine you lived in Russia, China or Cuba, or you were born to a poor family in India. You could only dream of a big meal, you cannot easily leave your country for vacation.

    It would be nice if we weren't mandated to have to wear safety equipment and buy mufflers that would ruin our hearing but it's a small price to pay for many other choices. Such as your choice to be homeless for 6 months.

    You can still be "FREE" , but only if no one is watching

    Riding the Wet Coast

  4. Freedom is being able to appricate what you have. Freedom is being able to put aside "wants." Freedom is the ability to indulge.

    Freedom is free, it requires us to work for it, to define it...freedom is a moving target.

    Freedom is platitudes.

  5. Freedom is just another word for nuthi ' left to lose. Courtesy of Kris.

    Freedom truly is what one makes of it.

    Two guys may be locked up inside a prison cell, somewhere in a Latin American country. One may be as free as a bird.

    Lots of examples, but we are as free as we choose to be. Excuses aside.

  6. I think you have achieved Freedom... when you achieve that Philosophical/Spiritual "Place" where you choose, from the Options available to you... That which YOU want... irrespective of the consequences.

    There are always options and costs. There is a consequence to every choice. Freedom does not eliminate those costs. As they Say, Freedom is not Free. It is a place that your spirit lives. Do you walk in the rain or stay dry? Do you work a job to subsist fat and morose? or... pursue your art and starve in glorious spiritual Glory? Pay your taxes... or go to prison or on the run? Do you hand your wallet to the thief or your fist? Do you follow your dreams even if your wife/husband detests them and leaves you in their simple minded selfishness? or do you bury those dreams while your soul dies... but your 'relationship' survives?...

    The person who Lives in FREEDOM... is the one who doesn't compromise their beliefs, their dreams or their life... for the mere sake of safety, peace, and security. They may die sooner... but they Dies in Freedom and taste a Sweet life that most never will.

    To say that because there are costs, that you have no Freedom, or reduced Freedom is wrong. Anything of Great Value can only be built at great cost. What determines if you live in Freedom is who is making your choices. You? or are you surrendering them to someone else? are you allowing yourself to be led, for someone Else's benefit?

    Who is making the decisions in your life and why. THAT is what determines your Freedom.

    1. Brian, I think your first sentence says more concisely what I was trying to say. And I agree that freedom comes with a cost.

      When we talk of "freedom", what we're really talking about is consequence. Freedom doesn't actually exist. But consequence does. So it doesn't matter if we're Americans or North Koreans. We all have the ability to do whatever we please. It's just a question of how long you can get away with it.

  7. Well, I broke the law on my bike 2 weeks ago. A Colorado state trooper pulled me over for doing 70 in a 45 thru Golden. Wonder of wonders, he gave me a warning. In related news, posted speed limits are too low.

    1. I break the law everyday, I just cannot stay within whatever speed limit is posted. The way I see it is every speed sign is at least 25 miles to slow for whatever road they are posted. I was stopped by a cop in Alaska doing 85mph (according to him but I think I was going faster) in a 55mph zone and he let me go with a warning only, I couldn't believe it.

  8. Freedom, is there really freedom anywhere? life is full of rules and restrictions, you have to make your own freedom by choosing to live the best way you can with what you have.


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)