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The Constraints of Liberty

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posted on Jun, 3 2019 @ 02:54 PM
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Those who pooh-pooh liberty in favor of authoritarianism and statism have a crucial point. Without some sort of collective reign on our behavior society risks descending into barbarism, a Hobbesian “state of nature”, where might is right and self-preservation is the ruling principle. Therefor we need law, regulation, and coercion to help corral our own behavior.

Indeed, we know of recent examples where the breakdown of institutions correlates with a state of disorder. When the lights went out in New York in 1977, the darkness presented an opportunity to engage in looting and arson. When police and firefighters went on strike in Montreal, in 1969, the city was plagued with bank robberies, rioting and looting until the police were forced back to work.

The spike in crime and anarchy during these periods was the result of a small minority of opportunists. Despite these circumstances, the vast majority of the population abided by the law even if it was unenforced. In fact, people break the law quite regularly, even without knowing it. According to his book Three Felonies a Day, attorney Harvey Silverglate argues every American unknowingly commits at least one felony by dinner time every single day.

The belief that law, authority and regulation constrains our choices isn’t true. Man chooses what to do and how to do it by his own volition. The belief that unrestrained liberty leads to barbarism is also not true, for barbarism is not liberty. Liberty can only occur when man is his own restraint, where right conduct is a matter of conscience and personal choice, not law and fear of authority.

We should beware of the authoritarians for these reasons. Law and regulation does not constrain us; it merely gives the authorities more licence and power to punish and criminalize us. Law and regulation gives authoritarians the excuses they need to avoid responsibility, to avoid using their own conscience in favor of adopting the consciences of others. Authoritarianism, on these grounds, fosters the same principles of barbarism: might is right, the strong prevail, self-preservation is the ruling principle.

When those who pooh-pooh liberty express their fear of freedom we should remind them that – unlike them – many of us do not require the threat of imprisonment to justify acting morally. We do not need coercion and fear and paternalism to remind us how we should act or how we should treat others.




posted on Jun, 3 2019 @ 03:01 PM
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Might makes right even when the law is always right. Especially so. Laws don't have to be good or sensible or reasonable or fair. If it's the law, the debate is over. Might makes right.



posted on Jun, 3 2019 @ 03:14 PM
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originally posted by: BrianFlanders
Might makes right even when the law is always right. Especially so. Laws don't have to be good or sensible or reasonable or fair. If it's the law, the debate is over. Might makes right.


In that case, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao were all right because they had the might. What a poor outlook to have.

If that's the outlook you have, then if someone comes to power in this country who decides group A or group B needs to die or be put in concentration camps ... might makes right, and you won't bat an eye, not even if you happen to belong to that group. Am I correct in that line of thought? It also means that you wouldn't lift a finger to protect someone of that group because the law is right, and might makes right.



posted on Jun, 3 2019 @ 04:29 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko

originally posted by: BrianFlanders
Might makes right even when the law is always right. Especially so. Laws don't have to be good or sensible or reasonable or fair. If it's the law, the debate is over. Might makes right.


In that case, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao were all right because they had the might. What a poor outlook to have.


I don't think you read it right but I'm not in the mood to argue about it. Basically what I said was the same thing as history is written by the victors. If Germany had won the war they would have won the right to make the future. Fortunately they lost but they didn't lose because they were wrong. They lost because they were weaker. It could have been different. Reality doesn't care. And that is the true horror of living.
edit on 3-6-2019 by BrianFlanders because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 3 2019 @ 05:13 PM
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a reply to: TheSteppenwolf

The USA has the highest prison incarceration rate so by default is authoritarian.



posted on Jun, 3 2019 @ 05:29 PM
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originally posted by: BrianFlanders
Might makes right even when the law is always right. Especially so. Laws don't have to be good or sensible or reasonable or fair. If it's the law, the debate is over. Might makes right.


The Nazi's sent 6 million Jews to the gas chambers and killed about 40 million in war.

Stalin's purges, expulsions, forced displacements, labour camps and manufactured famines killed about 20 million.

There are many, many other instances all through history where might clearly has been shown to be downright evil.

Might makes right, as a guide to living, is psychopathic.
edit on 3/6/2019 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 3 2019 @ 05:33 PM
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DBL post
edit on 3-6-2019 by TheSteppenwolf because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 3 2019 @ 05:36 PM
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originally posted by: LDragonFire
a reply to: TheSteppenwolf

The USA has the highest prison incarceration rate so by default is authoritarian.


Authoritarianism means "favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom". So that's not necessarily true.



posted on Jun, 3 2019 @ 05:38 PM
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originally posted by: TheSteppenwolf

originally posted by: LDragonFire
a reply to: TheSteppenwolf

The USA has the highest prison incarceration rate so by default is authoritarian.


Authoritarianism means "favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom". So that's not necessarily true.


Incarceration is the opposite of personal freedom, so that point stands. The incarcerators in the situation are the authorities, enforcing their rules, so those points stand.

I would say that it is correct that America is authoritarian as evidenced by the incarceration rate being higher than any other country on the planet.

List of countries by incarceration rate From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

edit on 3/6/2019 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 3 2019 @ 06:06 PM
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originally posted by: chr0naut

originally posted by: TheSteppenwolf

originally posted by: LDragonFire
a reply to: TheSteppenwolf

The USA has the highest prison incarceration rate so by default is authoritarian.


Authoritarianism means "favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom". So that's not necessarily true.


Incarceration is the opposite of personal freedom, so that point stands. The incarcerators in the situation are the authorities, enforcing their rules, so those points stand.

I would say that it is correct that America is authoritarian as evidenced by the incarceration rate being higher than any other country on the planet.

List of countries by incarceration rate From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


it doesn't stand because authoritarianism is not the same as incarceration.

I would say that the united states constitution refutes your claim.

freedomhouse.org...
edit on 3-6-2019 by TheSteppenwolf because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 3 2019 @ 06:52 PM
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originally posted by: TheSteppenwolf

originally posted by: chr0naut

originally posted by: TheSteppenwolf

originally posted by: LDragonFire
a reply to: TheSteppenwolf

The USA has the highest prison incarceration rate so by default is authoritarian.


Authoritarianism means "favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom". So that's not necessarily true.


Incarceration is the opposite of personal freedom, so that point stands. The incarcerators in the situation are the authorities, enforcing their rules, so those points stand.

I would say that it is correct that America is authoritarian as evidenced by the incarceration rate being higher than any other country on the planet.

List of countries by incarceration rate From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


it doesn't stand because authoritarianism is not the same as incarceration.

I would say that the united states constitution refutes your claim.

freedomhouse.org...


That's like saying that being dead is different from having zero brain activity and zero metabolism.




posted on Jun, 4 2019 @ 06:27 AM
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originally posted by: chr0naut

originally posted by: TheSteppenwolf

originally posted by: LDragonFire
a reply to: TheSteppenwolf

The USA has the highest prison incarceration rate so by default is authoritarian.


Authoritarianism means "favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom". So that's not necessarily true.


Incarceration is the opposite of personal freedom, so that point stands. The incarcerators in the situation are the authorities, enforcing their rules, so those points stand.

I would say that it is correct that America is authoritarian as evidenced by the incarceration rate being higher than any other country on the planet.

List of countries by incarceration rate From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I tend to agree with you there.

OTOH, I suppose it would be a fair point to argue that more personal freedom provides more opportunities to do bad things. And generally, most of our laws are based upon things that do actual harm to others.

For example, it can be argued that more freedom makes rape or murder more likely because more people are more likely to do things that are going to lead them to the eventual outcome that they commit a crime serious enough to result in long-term incarceration.

Also, I suppose it can be argued that citizens of freer countries are more likely to report crimes committed against them because of the more individualistic culture. Therefore when a wrong is committed against a person in such a culture, they are more likely to be seriously upset about it.

So we kinda trust people to behave themselves. They're supposed to be their own guardians and pretty much only get the authorities involved when absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, people do not do well with that kind of freedom, I guess. I don't know what to really blame it on. I don't think it's freedom itself that is to blame so much as it is the idea that human nature isn't inherently criminal. That (if left to their own devices) people are inherently good.

The pessimist in me sees things the other way around. The human mind is primitive and barbaric in nature. Especially when it needs/wants. So if you just plop human beings down in an ocean of freedom and tell them to find their own way, some of them will take paths that you won't like. Especially when the path you want them to take gets harder every day and does not necessarily reward their effort.



posted on Jun, 4 2019 @ 05:21 PM
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a reply to: BrianFlanders

People do fine with the idea of personal liberty if they are raised with a strong moral foundation. Morals are where you learn to impose limits on yourself. They generally come with character traits like self-reliance, self-control, integrity, honesty, responsibility, etc. All of those are things that help an individual govern themselves in a way that lends toward respect of others, their property, and the general rules that govern society.

The rest relies on an over-arching cultural foundation so that most of the individuals in a society feel a part of the community.

Of course, these days we are multi-culti and immersed in subjectivity where all is your truth and morality, not any objective truth or morality. Essentially we're a fragmented lot of tribal identity groups with no strong foundation.




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