If people are free, they must be able to voluntarily choose to do most of things that they do.
The human condition imposes all sorts of limitations on our freedom. No one is free to give up breathing, or consuming water. In fact, we are basically condemned to toil to live as we have many needs to survive.
Some leftist said that people are born free but everywhere in chains. If you think about it, you are not born free for at the moment of birth you need everything and are not able to provide yourself anything. You need food and water every few hours, shelter from the elements constantly, love, nurturing, stimulation.
It is more hones to say that people are born in chains (to their needs) and the challenge of life is to make themselves free.
Over time the amount of toil a man had to do to subsist has gone down due to technological progress and accumulation of “capital” which make people more productive. A man with an acre of land and his bare hands has to work longer each day to eat than a man with an acre of land, a horse and a plow. A man with the full modern set of farming tools could probably feed himself with half a days work or work all day and sell the surplus.
There is a totally different type of limitation on freedom. That is the actions of other people who seek to impose their will on you. That limitation on freedom can be reduced or increased depending on the type of society in which you live.
You want to live under a government that, if your worse enemy in the world was in charge if it, you would not be too terribly inconvenienced.
Think of the Constitutional framework of the United States in about 1900. Some asshole high in the government has a bug up his ass and wants to throw you [ unjustly ] in jail. There are few federal crimes and no federal police, but suppose this asshole is owed favors by various state authorities he sends federal money to.
He gets a state district attorney to convene a grand jury, presents evidence and indicts you. Guess what, you are entitled to a trial by jury of your peers. Twelve ordinary people from your neighborhood stand between you and the awesome power and money of the State.
They don’t teach it any more in colleges, but when the USA was half slave and half free, northern juries refused to vote to return escaped slaves to their owners. Jury nullification, it was called.
The right to trial by jury is a major firewall against the power of the state and connected people.
And honestly, the fact that powerful people always control the levers of power shows the wisdom of truncating the levers of power into tiny toothpicks.
That is American Exceptionalism. In stead of the powerful directing the lives of everyone not powerful it trusts ordinary people to direct their own lives .
The entire Constitution is designed to limit the awful power of the state which has a monopoly on the use of force. The Constitution is designed to limit the sphere of action determined by force and expand the sphere of action directed by agreement. reason and individual judgement.
In the early days, the Internet was an active medium. The experience of exploring the world wide web was called “surfing the Internet”. The Internet was analogous to a huge sea, with waves and currents and winds, but the user navigated among these forces directing his experience as his interests required.
When you opened your web browser you might be presented with a few things, “best of the web” or “top sites” but very shortly you were off on a voyage directed by you. With use over time you accumulated places you wanted to revisit and they referred you to other places of similar interest.
Contrast the passive media: Television, newspapers, radio. You could choose on a very large grandular level what station to watch or newspaper to read, but beyond that you turned over your experience to the producers of that content.
Early in the Internet powerful people realized how power was slipping from their hands by self directed media. There were attempts to make the Internet experience similar to the passive media. Microsoft put active desktop on every windows laptop. Active desktop would feed Internet items (selected by Microsoft) to your personal computer for you to passively enjoy. Cel phones had “feeds”of one sort or another built in, often not removable. Again you could consume media information that more powerful, richer people selected for you. Neither met with much success.
However, Facebook and Twitter are fairly successful Since one obviously cannot curate from the firehouse of information put up each second on these platforms, the user sees only a minuscule portion of the communications sent out. That minuscule portion is decided by people more powerful and richer than you.
These new one way media became supremely popular. I do not know why but I could try some guesses. Still, they are new iterations of passive media and as such are instruments of control instead of liberating.