Talk:Four Freedoms

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The Four Freedoms That Define Gnu Free Software[edit]

We could/ should also disambiguatingly cross-reference "the four freedoms" of -- Pelavarre 13:14, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

People in the free software community often use "the four freedoms" in speech, but it doesn't seem to be used in Wikipedia articles to refer to The Free Software Definition. Have you seen it used that way in Wikipedia?
For now, it's mentioned in the See also section. --Gronky 13:20, 19 September 2007 (UTC)


I have mixed feelings about MPLX's edits. I believe that the Roosevelt speech is the usual reference of "Four Freedoms", not the foundation that uses the name. Since the previous article was mine, I'd appreciate if others weigh in. -- Jmabel | Talk 19:52, Nov 5, 2004 (UTC)

What do you have mixed feelings about? If you take a look at my interests on my User page you will note that the Four Freedoms is one of them. In years past I also played a personal role in helping to spread the message of the Four Freedoms.
There were some basic problems with the original since it did not say what the Four Freedoms were all about and so I added the actual text which was not there before.
I also made a correction. Originally the article listed "Freedom of Religion", but that is not one of the Four Freedoms, it should be freedom of worship and there is a big difference between the two.
Also it helps to know what Roosevelt meant by "freedom from want" because he went on to explain that and in the wake of Oxfam and all of the different campaigns to feed the world it is obvious that this freedom has never been achieved,
The same is true of "freedom from fear" because with all of the raging wars around the world and the big traffic in arms sales by many countries we are about as far removed from that ideal in 2004 as we possibly could be.
I then added details of the various awards given in the name of the Four Freedoms and its use in everything from the paintings to postage stamps and media and I added cross-references to all entries. MPLX/MH 01:53, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)

These four freedoms as such have no legal status in international or domestic law, so to say without attribution that "every person 'everywhere in the world' ought to enjoy" them is simply POV. I don't disagree with the POV, but its a POV.

I am more or less restoring my lead paragraph, and making some other minor edits.

I think this now quotes a text at greater length proportional to the article than is typical for Wikipedia; I'll leave that alone, but won't be surprised if someone else objects. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:23, Nov 6, 2004 (UTC)

Well of course its POV because everything in life is POV - nothing is neutral.
However, the only reason why the name "Four Freedoms" exists is because of the POV of Roosevelt which people people around the world came to share as their own POV. Hence Rockwell painted his pictures to interpret his own POV of Roosevelt's POV - because the painter's interpretation is not the same as the original. The original stresses "everywhere in the world" whereas the paintings are pure Americana.
The Awards get back to the "everywhere in the world" theme so that it is not just Americans who are being awarded. Ironically it can also be advocated that George Bush (who represents a different political party) has adopted this "everywhere in the world" theme. Roosevelt met with Churchill who also had a different POV from Roosevelt, but worked with him because he shared the need to defeat wartime enemies. But Churchill wanted to preserve the British Empire and Roosevelt wanted to give independence to the nations under Britain's control. However, the Republican Party often cite Churchill almost as one of their own. So what we have is more of a universal theme than a POV because so many people came to embrace it and this is why, if you listen carefully you can even hear George Bush repeating this same theme with his desire to "liberate the world" (so to speak). But if you ask many Republicans what they think of Roosevelt they will say some very harsh things in disagreement.
However it was the universal appeal of the Four Freedoms speech that caused its universal acceptance (yet it is only a tiny portion of the entire speech - most of which is time-dated and has no appeal.) That is why Roosevelt's wife was able to pick up the "everywhere in the world" theme as help to create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which became the backbone of the United Nations Organization which had been created out of the United Nations Fighting Forces (versus the Axis Forces of Germany, Italy and Japan.)
The Four Freedoms is like a popular song that starts out as POV of the song writer and singer - but which millions of other people come to embrace as their own POV relating to some part of their own lives.
By the way, have a look at the note I left for you on your Talk page regarding Romania.) MPLX/MH 15:15, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)


The Orwell material is fascinating, but what basis do you have for saying that it specifically relates to Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms"? That is, can you cite some authority (preferably Orwell himself) for this relationship, or is this conjecture? -- Jmabel | Talk 23:51, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)

Back in the 1980s I did some radio broadcasts about this same subject and the material was in those scripts which I do not have to hand at the moment. From memory I do recall coming across Eric Blair's comments about what he was doing at the BBC and the written material that he was producing for an overseas propaganda service and I do recall comments by others that the foundation for MiniTrue came from this source. The timetable of Blair's work is also a pointer. The Roosevelt speech was made in 1941, which was then incorporated into the Atlantic Charter with Churchill during the same War in which Blair was himself engaged in government propaganda at the BBC (not the domestic service.) With regards to the novel this seems to have flowed from this same period but I can't recall at this moment what other sources I had when I did my original script research for my own 1980s broadcasts. However, it is pretty obvious due to the time frame; the four freedoms = the four ministries; the subject matter of the four freedoms matching the four ministries with Orwell adding the sarcasm by reversing their meaning. Of the four freedoms it is also interesting that the first was accepted for what it was while the others were also twisted into something weird by Norman Rockwell whose paintings do not reflect the text at all. Furthermore, freedom from want flowed from the concept of international free trade which was set aside during the Cold War and downgraded into a Western trading concept while the USSR existed. With the fall of the Berlin Wall the original free trade plan came back on line. The last freedom is the most cynical of all and this must have really inspired Blair. While Eisenhower later warned about the "industrial-military complex" turning war into an institution and forgetting all about disarmament (the fourth freedom), today we are about as far removed from that ideal as ever and now the USA has even embarked upon preemptive wars. Blair's novel is very much up to date and the real enemy is truth itself. MPLX/MH 00:13, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
From my memory of CJEL, I think that the notion of Orwell basing his four ministries on the Four Freedoms is extremely dubious. In particular, the attribution of the freedom of worship to Miniluv appears to be speculation, or Original Research at best. Without a doubt, Orwell's experience broadcasting propaganda for the BBC inspired much of Minitru, but that doesn't have any implications for connecting 1984 and Roosevelt. Lacking any further reference, I'm tempted to gut the Orwell section entirely, or at least move it here until attribution is provided. Failing that, we should get rid of the assignment of ministries to freedoms. -Ben 04:11, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
It would seem that -Ben has some sort of POV agenda going here because I found similar and related comments over on the freedom of worship article by this same person. My interest started on these two articles when I discovered that for some strange reason someone had reworded Roosevelt's speech to say "freedom of religion" (instead of freedom of worship) and although a freedom of worship article existed, a link had been created to the freedom of religion article. Religion and worship do not necessarily mean the same things and Roosevelt was specific. He said "worship", not "religion". He delivered his speech in early 1941 as part of his State of the Union address - which was before the USA entered WWII. On the other hand Eric Blair (Orwell) lived in England which had declared war in 1939. While Ben acknowledges that Blair worked for the BBC under the Ministry of Information (the actual name of the British Government entity that managed the BBC external services for which Blair came to work), he/she is trying to undermine the impact of the "Four Freedoms" speech on at least two articles. Why? Now with regards to attribution, there is plenty of material available to show the connection between the inspiration for the four ministries and the four freedoms. I have many books by Orwell and about Blair/Orwell in my own collection which all show that he was influenced by contemporary events. It is not rocket science to reverse the contemporaneous four freedoms to come up with the four ministries any more than it is obvious that he fleshed out his Mini True from his experiences with the Ministry of Information / BBC. A little less political POV is called for and a little more academic study would be appreciated in responding to this topic. MPLX/MH 18:20, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
My reply is at Talk:Nineteen_Eighty-Four -Ben 21:51, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

It is not the least bit obvious to me that Ben is "trying to undermine the impact" as against MPLX trying to exaggerate it. MPLX: do you have an actual citation to demonstrate the relation between FDR's "Four Freedoms" and Orwell's Ministries, or are you just saying "he was influenced by contemporary events" and we should take your word for this connection? -- Jmabel | Talk 04:28, Jan 28, 2005 (UTC)

Jmabel - I have just responded to Ben on yet another Talk page on yet another but related subject and we have agreed to keep (his suggestion) all discussion on the one Talk:Nineteen_Eighty-Four page. So rather than keep this going here I would also like to do the same thing with this reply to you. It will save a lot of running around Wikipedia for the same thing. Thanks. MPLX/MH 18:14, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Moved this section here until attribution is provided. See Talk:Nineteen_Eighty-Four for dicussion. -Ben 17:43, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Parody of the Four Freedoms[edit]

In his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell created four mirror ministries of the Four Freedoms. George Orwell appears to have taken this 1941 speech and used it, along with his own experiences at the BBC, to create by reversal, the four key ministries of government in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Each is focused on an object in exquisite irony, utterly antithetical to its name so that the Ministry of Truth is concerned with lies, an idea that Orwell seems to have gained by his work at the BBC. The Ministry of Truth as a Ministry of Lies would also be a parody of the first of the four freedoms: "freedom of speech".

"The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war", wrote Orwell. A few years earlier, Roosevelt had described the fourth of his freedoms as being "freedom from fear". Reality said otherwise and so did Orwell in describing the "Ministry of Peace."

"... the Ministry of Love", wrote Orwell, was in reality concerned "with torture". The second of the four freedoms addressed the issue of religion. If "God is love" then the "Ministry of Love" could be interpreted as mocking that ideal as well.

Finally Orwell described the "Ministry of Plenty" as dealing in reality "with starvation". The third of Roosevelt's four freedoms addressed the issue of freedom from want. Orwell seems to have heard these words with a sarcastic mindset.

Text rewritten[edit]

I believe that the revised text meets Wikipedia's standards for self-evident and stand alone text that relates one topic to another. If the previous text relating to Orwell and the Four Freedoms was not perfectly clear, other editors were free to tidy it up, but deleting a valid point is destruction, not contribution. I have also added further reference to the fact that the BBC was under the control of the Ministry of Information at the time of Orwell's employment and I have further linked Roosevelt and Churchill to the Atlantic Alliance worship service which took board a ship off Newfoundland shortly after the Roosevelt delivered his speech. It is possible to find other sources stating these same facts in evidence, but the fact here is that these facts also stand on their own as being self-evident and they are completely within the scope of Wikipedia guidelines. MPLX/MH 18:26, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I disagree, but am not going to get into an edit war. I think other editors can follow the discussion on the Talk:Nineteen Eighty-Four page and do whatever they think appropriate. -Ben 18:41, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I have to take a break for a moment due to other matters, but before I go I wanted you to explain why your opinion: For you to write "I disagree" without explaining why you disagree is not informative or helpful. I would prefer a dialog and a mutual resolution of this matter rather than some sort of my way or no way approach. That is why I rewrote the text. Let's work together. In any event this discussion should continue in one place rather than two. MPLX/MH 18:50, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
For you to write "I disagree" without explaining why you disagree is not informative or helpful.
That's certainly fair. Real Life seems to be calling us both away, but I'll try to elaborate over the next week. -Ben 19:24, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

What is the point of the "hypocrisies" section? None of the "hypocrisies" cited seem to have anything to do with freedom from want, fear etc. Perhaps he should have, but Roosevelt didn't declare freedom from racial discrimination. The section seems merely editorial in nature. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:50, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Removed Parody Text[edit]

The following text has been removed until its sole advocate returns to Wikipedia. See discussion on Talk:Nineteen Eighty-Four/Archive Four Freedoms Parody Discussion:

Parody of the Four Freedoms[edit]

The novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell presents four ministries in which each one is utterly antithetical to its name. The Ministry of Truth is concerned with lies, an idea that Orwell seems to have gained by his work at the BBC which at the time of his employment was under the control of the Ministry of Information. Roosevelt spoke of "freedom of speech". Orwell wrote of propaganda.

His "Ministry of Peace" concerned itself with war, but Roosevelt spoke of the fourth freedom as being "freedom from fear" as a result of world disarmament.

Orwell's "Ministry of Love" was about torture, but Roosevelt who had met with Churchill to form the Atlantic Alliance, did so on a ship which celebrated a church service where they sang of God's love following Roosevelt's own claim to freedom of worship for a God of love.

Finally Orwell described his "Ministry of Plenty" as being concerned with starvation. The third of Roosevelt's four freedoms addressed the issue of freedom from want.

Orwellian Inaugural reference[edit]

Excerpted text:

Orwellian Inaugural reference

During the delivery of his Second Inaugural Address on January 20, 2005, President George W. Bush recited the following paragrah:

"By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear and make our society more prosperous and just and equal."

The reference to ... freedom from want and fear ... recalls the wording of the third and fourth of the original Four Freedoms outlined by President Roosevelt in 1941 during World War II, but before the United States had become a party to that international military conflict.

The fourth freedom was translated by President Roosevelt to mean a worldwide reduction in arms so that no nation would be in a position to commit an act of physical agresssion against any neighbor, anywhere in the world. In 2005 while President Bush was recalling the fourth freedom, the United States of America was engaged in a military conflict in Iraq which it had begun. It was George Orwell in his novel Nineteen Eighty Four who reverted the fourth freedom to mean the exact opposite of its original intended meaning.

OK, as apt and clever a comparison as this may be, it's basically saying, "And President Bush twisted Roosevelt's words, just like the evil government in the novel 1984, in support of his own military aggression." And I really couldn't find anything less NPOV. There is also the cheritable interpretation, which is that Bush was re-using Roosevelt's words to rhetorical effect, but wasn't referring either to the same thing that Roosevelt was, nor the opposite. Most contemporary Americans don't even know what Roosevelt was referring to in the first place. On first glance, I would assume Bush was referring to the freedom from fear of terrorism, violence in general, or attack from abroad.

I'm not sure this particular reference is worth mentioning by itself; I'm sure the Four Freedoms have been referred to in a million different political speeches. (Then again, it is the State of the Union, and we have to start somewhere.) If this passage is to be included, it needs to present multiple interpretations, both positive and negative. It would be nice if we could cite some sources for these interpretations, rather than dreaming them up ourselves. If anyone cares to plunk this text back in to the article, please tag it {{NPOV}}. Thanks! -- Beland 04:42, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I had to do a double-take on your comments because for a moment I assumed that a POV vandal had crashed in and added the text that you are quoting, only to discover that you are quoting yourself - because the text was never in the article!
The reference by President Bush to freedom from want and fear is a direct reference to a portion of the four freedoms. The only problem is that it is being misquoted! President Roosevelt said:

"The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor - anywhere in the world."

Notice what freedom from fear means: "... a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor - anywhere in the world." That is world disarmament. Now I'll be a monkey's uncle if you can convince me that at the time President Bush made his remarks that he was pushing for "... a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor - anywhere in the world." I thought that President Bush was pushing for more US military weapons at a time when the USA had launched a war of its own. Correct me if I am wrong, please. Thereforre it would certainly appear on the face of it to be a complete misuse of the term by President Bush in exactly the same way that George Orwell applied it when Orwell turned the four freedoms into the four ministries which represented the exact opposite of what the four freedoms were "translated into world terms" as meaning by President Roosevelt.
It seems to me that the only POV here is the part that caused me to do a double-take and that part was written by you and it never was in the article! What's the agenda here? MPLX/MH 16:54, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
It's true that Bush "was pushing for more US military weapons at a time when the USA had launched a war of its own." But it's also true that Roosevelt presided over an unprecedented and still unequalled increase in military spending, as well as the development of the first atomic bombs. Yet that fact was apparently not pertinent enough to appear in this article.
If those actions of FDR's are not notable, why then are GWB's? Isn't there some historical bias to your viewpoint, in which recent events are given unwarranted importance in the history of an idea?
In the context of the four freedoms, the development of nuclear weapons is particularly ironic, since the resulting logic of mutually assured destruction is nearly the direct opposite of a global 'freedom from fear.' -- 14:05, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Norman Rockwell[edit]

In my view these edits, which include a link to a site that seems, on the one hand, well-researched but, on the other hand, involved in selling the artist's work, border on linkspam. On the other hand, the Rockwell paintings are certainly relevant to the topic. I'd be interested in hearing other's views on this. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:36, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm proposing we merge the Rockwell painting article into this one. Thoughts? - AKeen 20:15, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
What "Rockwell painting article"? If we have an article on these particular Rockwell paintings then, yes, it should be merged, but I don't know what article you are talking about. - Jmabel | Talk 18:37, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
I merged the articles yesterday. Four Freedom Series, the article previously dedicated to the series (the one referred to above), now directs here. Each article had a merge tag for about a month, with no objections.- AKeen 18:46, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Looks good, but why is the Freedom from Want picture missing?

World disarmament??[edit]

I have removed the claim that "freedom from fear" is a call for world disarmament. In fact, in this very speech FDR called for "a swift and driving increase in our armament production." - Jmabel | Talk 00:07, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Nope, I take it back. Both are in the speech. Remarkable. The disarmament remark is covered later in the article, which is probably where it belongs, not in the lead. - Jmabel | Talk 00:10, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Right to dissent?[edit]

What is the basis for "(or right to dissent)"? I don't think it is in FDR's speech. While this is one view of freedom of speech, we should not go putting words in his mouth. Certainly there are speech issues unrelated to political dissent. - Jmabel | Talk 04:37, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Right to dissent is a sub-set of freedom of speech. If this were Wikisource, then the article would have F.D. Roosevelt's speech word for word. However, this article is intended to expound on the four freedoms.--Patchouli 05:48, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
No, it's not supposed to "expound" on them. It's supposed to be an accurate representation of what Roosevelt said. This is an encyclopedia article, not an essay. - Jmabel | Talk 03:32, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Two Freedoms, two Lies[edit]

The first two freedoms FDR listed are freedoms, as they are based on an absence of restraints. The second two are not freedoms at all. What they mean is "Security from", despite saying "Freedom from". Security and freedom are opposites. Freedom comes at the cost of security, and security comes at the cost of freedom. The way these so called "Four Freedoms" are written attempts to confuse this basic trade-off. Unfortunately it did a very good job of confusing it. (talk) 23:45, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

However, FDR specifically called them freedoms. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not an interpretive essay. Personal opinions aren't relevant. I'd also like to point out that "freedom from" is perfectly fine in front of all four freedoms. Not surprising, since Roosevelt's speeches were professionally written. --MissMeticulous (talk) 00:40, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Be that as it may, it is important to add a section to the page discussing the controversy surrounding such ideas as the freedom from want and the freedom from fear. Many people in fact fear the idea of these "freedoms" being provided by the government as they are socialistic and restrictive and are viewed as placing large amounts of power in the hands of government. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:38, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but this article is about Roosevelt's speech and its repercussions at the time -- it's not about general philosophical issues. AnonMoos (talk) 22:38, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

The Last Two Freedoms[edit]

The last two freedoms are consistent with the US Constitution. In the Preamble, the US Constitution says "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Clearly, the latter two freedoms draw their Constitutional force from the goal of promoting the "general Welfare." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:17, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

In any case, constitutionality would only be relevant if he was proposing specific laws to be enacted by Congress, rather stating broad general aspirations... AnonMoos (talk) 12:53, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

File:Save Freedom of Speech.png[edit]

Hi, I just listed File:Save Freedom of Speech.png used in this article at WP:PUI because someone changed the tagging to claim the image is in the public domain; I hope you'll join the discussion. Unfortunately, in order to not be deleted as a result of that if the result is "non-free", it will need a fair use rationale written for the articles it is used in; I'd do it myself but I'm not really familiar enough with the image to know what specifically the rationale is. Anomie 20:25, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Freedom from Want[edit]

Although the article is correct when it says "His inclusion of the latter two freedoms went beyond the traditional US Constitutional values protected by its First Amendment" one must remember that the preamble to the Constitution also says that the government is formed to "promote the general welfare." (talk) 19:47, 12 December 2010 (UTC) [User: Mike Sarles]

Until the 1930's, the federal government's role in promoting the general welfare was mostly considered to be confined to establishing a stable framework of laws, economic policies, and peaceful foreign relations within which trade and economic growth could flourish. The national government did take a hand in infrastructure projects or "internal improvements" (though even this involvement was sometimes controversial), but it did not have any role in day-to-day "relief" or ensuring individual living standards (and most "relief" tended to be quite local in nature). AnonMoos (talk) 23:25, 12 December 2010 (UTC)


"His turtle of the latter two freedoms went beyond the traditional US Constitutional values...."

Surely "turtle" is a typo of some sort?

I would suggest that an editor change this to, e.g., "his advocacy of...", "his inclusion of...", or the like — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:17, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Amount raised by touring the paintings in support of War Bonds in 1943[edit]

I've removed the sentence "The Four Freedoms Tour raised over $130,000,000 in war bond sales.[citation needed]" after trying to confirm the citation and discovering two sources that conflict.
Time Magazine's article "Gap Narrowed", May 24, 1943, v.41, issue 21, states the amount raised specifically by the Second War Loan Drive (which I believe, but can't confirm, is the drive that featured the paintings) as being $18,533,000,000. Although it seems to be a typo, two other sentences in the short article also refer to "billions" of dollars. However, this is an html transcript and not a scan of the original article. If anyone has access to an original copy of this article, scanned or on microform, you can check to see whether the html was accidentally mis-transcribed somehow.
The other source is Laura Claridge's book Norman Rockwell: A Life, published in 2001 by Random House. Page 313 states the income for the tour of the Four Freedoms paintings raised $133 million.
Since this is not a fact critical to understanding the overall topic of the article, I suggest leaving this sentence out until the amount of income, and which War Loan Drive featured the paintings, can be confirmed.--Laurelivy (talk) 18:09, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

Libertarian Propaganda[edit]

For those who haven't noticed, a large portion of this article has been written from the perspective of critics of the Four Freedoms, with many of the interpretations of Libertarian thinkers predominating. While there's nothing wrong with writing the critiques of Roosevelt (quite the contrary) these should be listed explicitly as critiques and not embedded in the background discussion of the concept. -- (talk) 01:00, 17 May 2017 (UTC)