Who could argue against Freedom? It is such a beautiful concept and every one wants more of it.
That's usually where the problem starts to show itself.
People have discussed this in various contexts, mostly economic and social stuff.
I like to make some remarks about what it means in societies where a certain or several religions are being devoutly practiced to various degrees.
Consider Iran, always a religious country since thousands of years ago. In the pre-Islamic revolutionary times, I hear that, people were relatively free. A large fraction of people were practicing religion. A quite considerable fraction were not. The society especially in Tehran, was quite similar to European cities.
The Revolution was mostly about democracy and social justice, and political independence from west. As far as you can study the currents of the day and the slogans and speeches, no body was crying loud about the signs of religious depravity. Well there were some but it wasn't the main theme of the revolution.
So the question is, What was the opinion of Iranians about how much Islamic they want their society to be ?
well, we don't know, we know that a significant fraction of people truly did not like the overt exhibition of un-islamic behavior. Now how significant I do not know, but it definitely was and still is significant.
Here a question of freedom naturally arises. The question is to achieve a semi-ideal situation what needs to be done ?
We have two groups inside the society. One group is obviously bothered by a woman walking around in her mini-skirt, the other group is obviously bothered by having to wear the islamic hejab all the time. One group is bothered by having bars and night clubs, the other group wouldn't mind having a couple of them around.
I am talking about genuine grievances. I can understand that a religious person would see a rising tide of anti-religious behavior as an assault on his way of life.
I can also understand that imposing religious life style on a person who doesn't believe in it, would most certainly cause undue discomfort.
Obviously we can't solve this problem by totally ignoring one group to the advantage of another. It's unjust, all members of a humane society are entitled to pursue their own way of life, as long as it does not cause harm and injury to another.
Each group uses Freedom as an argument in its righteousness. Sure, you would say, the person who doesn't believe that a certain behavior is wrong, and that behavior is not harming himself or herself or any one else, should be free to engage in that behavior. On the other hands, the other group claims to be offended and harmed by the behavior of the former group.
So what needs to be done ?
I have thought about this conundrum. The best solution I can think of, is to bring the two group together, and make them understand that both have to give up something.
The religious side can no longer ignore the basic humane freedoms. The non-religuous side can not ignore that certain behaviors would irritate the religious. Both have to give up some of what they want.
How much they should give up can only be resolved if the two groups, sit together and discuss, and negotiate.
A social contract would surely emerge, It could be something pretty innocuous that would not offend and inflame the average tendencies of either group, and allow each one to have a modicum of basic freedoms to which their believes is considered rational, normal and acceptable by vast majority of reasonable people.
The most important thing is that people's reasonable sensitivities should be respected to within rational and reasonable norms and extents. People's beliefs and feelings should never be exploited to amass power, authority and/or wealth.
Freedom is precious, but so is justice. We can find a balance. We have to. for the sake of the future generations.