Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Perverted View of "Freedom"

The concept of "freedom" is not very well understood in America these days, which is a major reason that it is eroding. A good example of this--albeit a really outlandish one--appeared in the NJ Star-Ledger's "Readers Forum." Letter writer Donald Wood stated, in part:

So, unconstrained, freedom has justified slavery, secession, genocide, racism, foreign invasions. It has allowed the rich to exploit the poor and to dismantle unions. It has allowed the right to bear arms to be abused, making acceptable the deaths of 10,000 Americans from gun killings each year, along with $100 billion a year in additional taxes.

The whole thing can be read here, under the heading "A Living Document."

I left the following comments:

Memo to Donald Woods: Freedom, as understood by the Founders and as logic and morality dictate, is inextricably linked to justice. The two are not in conflict 
Freedom means unalienable individual rights. Individual rights are guarantees to freedom of action in a social context. Freedom from what? Freedom from forcible interference by other human beings, including people in their capacity as government officials. Freedom means leaving every individual free to think and act on his own judgment; to work, trade with others, set and pursue his own goals, establish personal or professional relationships with whom he pleases by mutual voluntary consent, make his own choices regarding healthcare, retirement planning, his children’s education, etc 
Justice means treating people as they deserve to be treated. A person who violates the rights of others—initiates force against them such as by stealing, shooting, raping, theft by fraud or extortion, holding others against their will, etc.—is punished by a proper government limited to protecting individual rights. A person who violates no one’s rights—commits no acts of force or fraud against anyone-- is to be left free 
Freedom permits no slavery, genocide, interference in voluntary professional associations, forcible exploitation of anyone by anyone, the use of a military for anything other than national self-defense, or murder. (As to racism, freedom doesn’t guarantee rationality, just that an irrational person can’t violate others’ rights. 
Freedom cannot be tempered by justice, because freedom embodies justice, and you can’t have one without the other! Freedom banishes force from human relationships, leaving only voluntary association. Freedom is the only basis for a benevolent society. That is why ObamaCare is unjust and immoral: It violates American’s unalienable rights to manage their own healthcare decisions, loots some to give “free” healthcare to others, and enslaves doctors, insurers, and other healthcare providers to the authoritarianism of government officials wielding predatory legal force; i.e., to legalized criminals. 
Donald Wood’s perverted concepts of freedom, justice, the purpose and relevance of our original constitution, and the achievement of the Founding Fathers is pushing America into a very time-worn and evil wardrobe; a totalitarian dictatorship.

Wood concluded with: "Modern America needs a modern constitution. Keeping the old one is like putting on the clothes you wore as a child." He said in the context of support for ObamaCare. At least he got this much right: ObamaCare doesn't fit with the "old" constitution.

1 comment:

Mike Kevitt said...

I've not yet read Wood's entire statement. In the part you quoted, the key word is, "unconstrained". It means he's referring to the flip side of altruism: sacrifice of others to self. That's what he means by unconstrained freedom. He would probably call it egoism. Sacrifice of self to others is what he would mean by, simply, freedom, or constrained freedom.

He reads the Founding Documents as meaning sacrifice of others to self, and advocates a "modern constitution" to reverse that. If the actual concept of egoism was objectively presented to him, I wouldn't grant the benefit of doubt and assume he'd accept it and change his tune. I'd deny the benefit of doubt and assume he'd arbitrarily reject it and keep pushing for a "modern constitution".

But, if anybody objectively presents it to him, thus, granting the benefit, fine, just in case. It's that person's time and effort. If he ends up being right, then shet ma mouth, I guess. I might even change my attitude toward people like Wood.