Upper East Eagle Valley, from Krag Peak (2700 m.). Eagle Cap is the
peak in the center of the distant ridgeline . . . This is just a rough
overview shot of what is one of the spectacular alpine valleys
of the Wallowas. Eagle Cap Wilderness
On the road in the Northwest of America.


Freedom, it seems to me, is always a question of balance
between freedom to, on the one hand, and freedom from,
on the other.

I might feel that I should be free to mine for gold upstream
from your homestead. You, in contrast, may feel equally
strongly the right to be free from the cyanide from my leech
ponds getting into your drinking water.

Clearly, the task of the rule of law is protect both freedoms,
carefully weighing the pros and cons in each case in an
ongoing way. Balance between the two freedoms is not a
fixed state, but more akin to keeping a bike upright as the
rider shifts his or her weight, now to the left, now to the right
with the direction of the fall.

Notice, too, that freedom so balanced is always ethical freedom.
That is, it is freedom that is necessarily mindful of the myriad
potential negative consequences of actions undertaken by free
agents as they reverberate throughout the wider community, or
the human-plus-natural-environment, as a whole.

Camp Lost & Found,
Eagle Cap Wilderness,
Oregon, VIII.17.2008

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Photograph by Cliff Crego © 2008 picture-poems.com
(created: VIII.28.2008)