I've had 'The best things in life are free' rammed down my throat by cheesy idealists all my life, and I've believed it up until recently.
I define 'free' as something that comes without cost. I think that is a fair enough definition.
I think the said 'cheesy idealists' mean to imply that shit like air is free, and even I have to admit air is pretty fuckin good, I mean I use it on a daily basis, so I'll give them that much. Air kicks ass.
I'd consider that the only exception though. Everything else that is free is probably bad for you. I'll give some examples:
Mainstream media/free tv news. I don't know what its like in the rest of the world, but here in Australia the news segments are basically poorly written and full of sensationalism. They hype up stories about nothing to the extreme, so that you feel compelled to watch, and then sit there and soak up the advertising during the breaks. The advertising revenue pays the journos, and the machine feeds itself, making more crappy poorly researched articles with keywords as 'affecting ordinary australians' and 'convicted child molester' or whatever public heartstring is relevant at the time.
The free magazines you get when you take the train: here in Sydney we have MX, which I read twice. Basically MX portrays itself as a news magazine, but its just a few articles cut and pasted off the internet and printed amongst a swaggering of advertisements. Again, its only the most controversial articles that make it, and 90% of the time there is no truth, research or fact checking involved.
Reading MX will actually make you stupider. Fact.
Public drinking fountains? People piss in those. I'd rather drink from my four dollar bottle than get some kind of UTI in my mouth thanks.
Actually there is very little out there that is truly free come to think of it. Linux operating system is free, but requires such an investment of time and inconvenience (I have been using linux for 4 years. My current machine is Linux, and if the wireless drops out it requires rebooting, the screen settings refuse to remember and I get dropped to 600*800 each time despite me manually changing the config file, I have to run KDE desktop due to a mysterious black screen issue on gnome desktop... tons of issues.) so thus warrants it to not be free.
Oh, and I'm moving off Linux back to Mac next week. I think I'll be a happier person because of it.