Its been while since I've posted, so I'm going to cut right to the chase (after this bit of nonsense).
Freedom is the strength to resist. (Yes, this is simplified to the max.)
Oppression can be from any source: governments, corporations, shiny advertising, etc. Anything that would cause you to do something that you otherwise would not.
But the irony of it is that unless you plan to live as a hermit, with no contact with anyone else you're going to need help to make yourself strong and keep yourself that way.
Those choosing to living on their own will mostly likely hit the Hobbesian wall of having this lives cut nasty, brutish, and short.
So, what is strength?
Strength is not just physical power. Really living in a modern western democratic society, I'd say that physical and military strength (see also gun rights) is probably the least important factor in the resilience of a democratic citizen.
Education, health, and wealth are the three most important factors in ensuring that citizens are as free as they can be.
All else being equal no one can deny that:
One who is healthy is stronger than one who is ill.
One who is educated is less likely to be duped than one who is not.
One who has financial stability is more willing to resist than one who has nothing.
This is why strong citizens demand that these three things be provided to them by the government.
This is why these are the first things that strong governments take away from their people.
If I am educated, then I can recognize that which threatens me.
If I am healthy, then I can oppose any force that threatens me.
If I am financially stable, then I have the time and resources to make my opposition meaningful.
"Freedom from government" is the largest and most successful ruse that has ever been pulled on a democratic society. It takes the fears and realities of 250 years ago and applies them to today, convincing people that the very things that are good for them are poisonous.
In colonial America, the biggest threat to freedom were foreign and domestic governments, who through the power of armies and navies could come and seize your lands and enslave you to their will. Today, domestic democratic government is the tool of citizens to enable their freedom. It does seek to enslave its populations as it once did because it doesn't make sense. Such a system is far too expensive to maintain, and doesn't generate anywhere near the wealth and power that would be necessary to maintain themselves.
The freest democratic countries in the world are those that have universal healthy care, inexpensive and excellent educational programs, and low disparities between rich and poor. This figure is even more apparent when you take away net financial growth figures, that artificially keep countries such as the USA higher on the chart than their status actually warrants. (http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/15/world-s-best-countries-categories-metrics-and-methodology.html)
Freedom means having the strength to demand that the government provide the means to strengthen citizens against them. It means demanding that the government direct its power to prevent powerful interests from manipulating and poisoning us with lead infested toys, false and misleading advertisements, under priced goods made by slave labour and so on.
Freedom is using government, and the fastest way to lose it is to be 'liberated' from it.