Restrictions of Freedom

“What would It mean to be free…to have your country and men willing and able to do as they so choose? To be able to live as one desires, without hassles or woes? What Is freedom, If It doesn’t mean free” (Rae, 2005, n. p. ). Jamie Rae’s poem holds a similar paradoxical claim as with the late Army Specialist Noah Pierce, “Freedom isn’t Free”. Both question the value of freedom as something with monetary or emotional price which they believe should not be the case. During the early years of our lives, we associate freedom with democracy and free will.

A country is free if it practices democracy, and a person is free if he decides in accordance to his “free will. ” Serving the Army for two years had obviously opened Pierce’s eyes into the horrible truth of gaining the freedom of one’s country in exchange for the lives of thousands. He seemed to condemn the idea of freedom as “free,” for it caused the lives of innocent people, and at the same time, it placed the “freedom fighters” or soldiers at risk of emotional and psychological trauma. Hence, it just defines freedom as a state and condition of “being free” which requires thousands of lives.

Upon researching about the life of Noah Pierce from online news articles and learning of his Iraqi war experiences through his poems, the idea of agreeing with the carved words on Pierce’s car is quite understandable. Freedom is not free because it takes a country’s downfall for another country to acquire its freedom. If analyzed thoroughly, the freedom of another is the prison of one. There are always restrictions when it comes to obtaining the freedom of one’s country. Bertrand Russell once stated that, “War does not determine who is right, but only who is left” (cited in Jones et al.

, 2002, p. 3). It is terrifying to realize that war does not result in freedom but rather in a much worse human and global condition. The result might physically point out which country is free, but at the same time, it poses threat to humanity. War illuminates the discriminative notion of “survival of the fittest” and therefore, retracts the idea of freedom. In Ashley Gilbertson’s article in “The Virginia Quarterly Review,” he reported the last activities of Noah Pierce in his pickup truck: “With his knife he carved FREEDOM ISN’T FREE in the pickup’s dashboard.

He took his photo IDs from his wallet and stabbed his face out of each one. He punched the rearview mirror, smashing the glass” (Gilbertson, 2008, n. p. ). Rage and self-loathing are evident prior to his suicide that he even took time to slash his face on photo and punch it on the mirror. He also left a suicide note claiming, “I am not a good person, I have done bad things. I have taken lives, now it’s time to take mine” (Gilbertson, 2008, n. p. ). Noah Pierce is the perfect epitome of a victim of war’s misleading promise of freedom. Freedom is absolutely not free.

It is more expensive and pricey than the most luxurious object in this material world. It involves risking of one’s life and virtues which seem to be of less importance nowadays. What is so important about freedom anyway when its absoluteness is not even fathomable? No matter how free we go about in life, there will always be restrictions. These restrictions are the consequences which are about to arise once we take advantage of our so-called “freedom. ” Noah Pierce was free. He was free to enlist himself in the Army and free to murder people without being punished.

However, his freedom eventually led him to taking his own life. He experienced freedom on his side but not on the eyes of the Iraqi people that he had seen and killed.


Gilbertson, A. (2008). The life and lonely death of Noah Pierce. The Virginia Quarterly Review. Retrieved November 17 2008 from http://www. vqronline. org/articles/2008/fall/gibertson-noah-pierce/. Jones, A. , Kovacich, G. L, & Luzwick, P. G. (2002). Global Information Warfare: How Businesses, Governments, and Others Achieve Objectives and Attain Competitive Advantages. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. Rae, J. (2005). The Descent into Madness. Lulu. com.