Sunday, October 14, 2012


Questions Concerning 
The Nature of Liberty

"Extremism in defense of Liberty is no vice."

"Moderation in war is imbecilic."


Do the collectivist mentality and the nanny state foster policies favoring a maximal amount of freedom for the individual?

If you believe they do, please explain how and why?

Are determined hostility, unrestrained rudeness, unswerving disputatiousness, relentless rebelliousness and unchecked intractability necessary components of a free society? If so, why?

Where is the value in being determined always to talk, but never to listen? Does such a determination serve the interests of liberty or oppression? In which of those two categories does One-Way Rudeness properly belong?

In what ways could policies consisting of nothing but denigration, vilification and condemnation be constructive?


What is the difference between liberty and license?

Could it in any way be possible to use deception, subterfuge, mendacity –– and even sabotage –– to institute a reign of truth?

Does she look friendly and welcoming, or formidable and challenging to you?


[NOTE: Mocking, denouncing, or questioning the motives of the questioner, while derisively dismissing the questions, themselves, as unworthy of response would be considered a tactic –– not an answer.]


~ FreeThinke

55 comments:


  1. When the federal government infests every last corner of society, confiscates all of our rights and throws them all in a pile to be doled back out depending on the outcome of national referendums, this is how we end up.

    We're a barrel of scorpions in a rocking ship, continually agitated and stinging one another.

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  2. Love this post you have up today, FT!

    Right now, I have to respond to only one question because I must make a groceries run:

    Are determined hostility, unrestrained rudeness, unswerving disputatiousness, relentless rebelliousness and unchecked intractability necessary components of a free society? If so, why?

    I don't see these as necessary, but I do see them as inevitable if freedom of expression is allowed.

    All human beings as individuals have inherent personalities. I would go so far as to say that we are naturally contentious and rebellious. Call those qualities whatever you like: human nature, original sin, whatever.

    It is primarily the parents' task to see to it that their children learn to speak and behave in an appropriate manner -- according to my particular worldview, to practice the Golden Rule, to observe the Ten Commandments, and to study the guidelines given in the Sermon on the Mount. I emphasize that Jesus Himself did advocate righteous anger albeit rarely and in a measured manner.

    I used to say that schools and churches should also be an important part of children's upbringing, but, sadly, I no longer believe that most schools and most churches are fit to do so.

    ------------

    Very quickly, here is my definition of liberty: My liberty ends where your nose begins. Notice that I said "nose," not "sensitivities."

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  3. Would you like me to respond?

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  4. Oh, don't be coy, Jez. Go ahead and answer the questions, if you wish, but please remember this warning:

    "Mocking, denouncing, or questioning the motives of the questioner, while derisively dismissing the questions, themselves, as unworthy of response would be considered a tactic –– not an answer."

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  5. "We're a barrel of scorpions in a rocking ship, continually agitated and stinging one another."

    Do mean we have reverted to type, Kurt, or have actually become worse creatures than our forebears?

    Remember Franklin was highly skeptical of our being able to sustain what he and his colleagues had fashioned for our benefit.

    And Thomas Paine said "He he would enjoy the benefits of freedom must endure the fatigue of maintaining it"-- or words very much to that effect.

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  6. What you describe, Kurt, is the, I think extremely foolish, push towards Direct Democracy.

    When I was a child, I thought simple, ironclad adherence to the will of the majority would be the best way to go, UNTIL someone told m about those two wolves and a lamb deciding what was to be eaten for dinner. ;-)

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  7. Given mankind and its obvious shortcomings I'm reminded of the words in a Joplin song.... Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.

    Or so it seems at times...

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  8. Not being coy, FT. I want to comply if you don't want my comments; it's your blog. I'll put some thought into your questions then.

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  9. Do the collectivist mentality and the nanny state foster policies favoring a maximal amount of freedom for the individual?

    ----------
    No, politics is the constant tug between the collective and the individual.
    Allowing the balance to go to either extreme or even wanting it to is asinine.

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  10. Are determined hostility, unrestrained rudeness, unswerving disputatiousness, relentless rebelliousness and unchecked intractability necessary components of a free society? If so, why?
    ----------
    I suppose they are necessary for this "free society" which seems so desirable to many.
    However the culture needs norms to achieve some cohesiveness and good order.

    Myself, in political "discussion" I firmly believe the right has allowed itself to be consumed by the fringe and takes it tone from the likes of Breitbart, Limbaugh, Savage, Coulter and the like.
    The best strategy in the face of that is to return humiliation, disdain and insult. No conversation is possible.

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  11. Disagreement is a good thing. Impugning the motives of those with whom you disagree, is NOT.

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  12. ...because there motives are something that YOU have NOT "tasted".

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  13. Too often the libertarian philosophy lapses into a belief that the individual should be free to scratch any itch, no matter how temporal.

    There is often little thought to the long term of collective needs.

    I don't say individual needs should be trampled and I'm going to be one of the last to give up the need for individual expression but when libertarianism sinks into the disease of Rand its time to blow it up and start over. Look to its history before Rand and Rothbard and try to fashion something that honors individualism but doesn't make a fetish of it.

    I'm sure the same criticism accrues to the left.

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  14. Sadly it seems few have taken the time to actually read and contemplate Rand beyond her fiction or perhaps what somebody said about her.

    Rand was not a conservative nor did she advocate libertarian views. Essentially because libertarianism , taken to its logical full expression is, anarchy.

    Individual rights bears great individual responsibility. Therein lies the rub.

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  15. Duck,
    However the culture needs norms to achieve some cohesiveness and good order.

    The problem comes when one tries to define the word "order."

    By King George III's definition of the word, the colonists were out of order and were to be brought back into line.

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  16. Yes, AOW, the back and forth will be inevitable.

    We need some sense of extremes and a method to avoid them.

    Worshiping "freedom" as a fetish and living in the 18th century has only limited value.

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  17. Duck,
    Blame certain right wingers all you wish.

    But the fact remains that some of that screeching comes from the fact that the Left has been screeching before the right wingers started screeching.

    Or maybe it's been that opposing sides have been screeching at each other since time immemorial.

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  18. Do the collectivist mentality and the nanny state foster policies favoring a maximal amount of freedom for the individual?

    Depends on the definition of "freedom."

    Certainly, with Mr. AOW getting a monthly income from SSDI and eligible for Medicare coverage, we have the freedom to do more things that we like to do: go out to dinner, buy books, buy clothes, keep the house temperature reasonable, eat better food, etc.

    But we worry that, somehow, that income will be reduced or cut off. So, we still don't toss money around. And we manage to save some money every month. To a certain extent, we now have freedom from worry.

    Of course, I didn't quit working the moment that the SSDI and Medicare kicked in.

    A complete Nanny State would prescribe and proscribe every aspect of our lives. America isn't there. Yet.

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  19. The right believes in a "line" that cannot be crossed by the government... the Left draws no lines. The "extremists" come from the Left. Compromising with Leftists is like compromising with brain eating zombies. They'll settle for nothing less than eating your brains.

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  20. Joe,
    The right believes in a "line" that cannot be crossed by the government... the Left draws no lines.

    I can't argue with that statement!

    Everything in Leftism is geared toward "the greater good," whatever that means.

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  21. Union Members FORCED to support Elizabeth Warren or be FINED?


    Well, I'll be ?/>!!!*&^%#$@!()?!!!~!()&%?!!!!*^"!!@!

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  22. It's ALL for tye "greater good"' FT. And it pays to be "greater"...

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  23. The right believes in a "line" that cannot be crossed by the government... the Left draws no lines.

    -------
    The utterings of a complete moron.

    As I said, when you get these insane generalities yelled from the Libertarian sandbox you treat them with disdain and insult.

    Enough of this fringe right crap.

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  24. AOW, earsay constitutes truth in the fringe right world?

    Just stop, you're smarter than this.

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  25. "Do the collectivist mentality and the nanny state foster policies favoring a maximal amount of freedom for the individual?"

    It often doesn't, but I'd say it can do, and I would cite our 19th century Liberal governments as an example. Acts were passed to regulate working hours, abolish slavery, ban children from working in mines, enforce urban sanitation, expand the provision of education. These acts broadened the gamut of choices and opportunities available to huge masses of people.

    "Are determined hostility, unrestrained rudeness, unswerving disputatiousness, relentless rebelliousness and unchecked intractability necessary components of a free society?"

    Hostility is seldom useful, but one who is disputatious in the original Latin sense is merely fond of argument; this trait should be highly prized. Freedom is a bit of an illusion if you don't know your options: options are illuminated by dispute.

    "In what ways could policies consisting of nothing but denigration, vilification and condemnation be constructive?"

    They are constructive only when applied against to a doctrine of unambiguous evil.

    "What is the difference between liberty and license?"

    This is the interesting question, and I don't know the answer. That's not true: I do know it, but I have wrestled fruitlessly with how best to articulate it. What I really don't know is how to go about proscribing license without injuring liberty.

    "Could it in any way be possible to use deception, subterfuge, mendacity –– and even sabotage –– to institute a reign of truth?"

    No, you've got to keep that one hand tied behind your back, otherwise even if you win, you've effectively conceded. But that's if you want a reign of truth... that sounds a bit grander than most politicians are aiming for.
    All eg. Tony Blair wanted was permission to prosecute the Gulf War. He thought it was Just, and maybe it was, but he won support on the basis of spurious tactical claims. As a politician, is it better to lie in order to ensure support for your Just Cause, or tell the truth about it and risk having your hands tied by democracy?

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  26. Duck,
    Trust me. I'm not being foolish with my comments here.

    As a conservative, I've had to come to terms with some of the ugly sides that conservatives have.

    I'm a realist, you know.

    As a Leftist, you need to come to terms with certain matters about the -ism to which you adhere.

    The Left lobbied very hard for freedom of expression and pretty much won on that. Now, the Left wants limits -- but only for certain points of views, namely, the points of view that don't jibe with those of the Left.

    -------------

    Theory is one thing, the reality on the ground another.

    In fact, theory vs. reality also applies to education -- as I'm going to be posting this week in "An Interesting Meeting," which has two parts going up on two separate days.

    ------------

    Also, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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  27. One more thing about the Nanny State....When the food police start up with their nonsense, that makes me want to eat an entire package of Oreos out of spite and defiance.

    I want the government out of my kitchen. Nutrition labels should be the limit for the food police

    --------------

    I do recall when the Nanny State first slapped me in the face....When wearing a seatbelt in the car became mandatory. I hate seatbelts! They impinge upon my carotid artery. Really. I'm that short of stature.

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  28. lol!

    What lines that government dare not transgress do Progressives draw?

    I notice that you failed to cite any.

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  29. Of course an International Socialist movement would allow no one to "escape" from their "sphere" of control... and of course, we all know what they feel about "National" socialist's like Stalin....

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  30. Joe,
    Maybe Duck will return to this thread and tell us about those Leftist lines?

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  31. I won't be holding my breath... ;)

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  32. Thanks to all for making honest, thoughtful comments most of which mad a lot of sense to me.

    Jez, believe it or not, I agree with or at the very least respect most of your thoughts. It's possible I've misjudged you as being primarily combative and coldly intractable in the past.

    You and I got off to a poor start, because I felt you attributed motives to much of what I've said that I don't hold. I can understand, however, how you and many other more modern men and women might think ill of me because of my penchant for colorful and incisive overstatement.

    I believe the Founding Fathers, as we call them, were true libertarians, but the vulgar excesses of the modern era have so blurred the distinction between liberty and license we no longer seem have a functioning moral compass to guide us, and no linger know where to draw the line.

    The disappearance of once-agreed-upon standards of right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate behavior, good taste and bad taste has done incalculable harm.

    I've never understood how it could have been, but when I was a very small boy, I somehow KNEW INSTINCTIVELY what was acceptable to the adults in my world, and what would likely be frowned upon -- or worse -- earn me a thrashing.

    Since extreme permissiveness became the order of the day, children no longer feel there are any boundaries or constraints. As a result too many simply go wild.

    The pseudo-ethos of the 1960's ushered in The Culture of Incessant Critique and Complaint (i.e. Critical Theory developed by The Frankfurt School) which turned everything upside down.

    Suddenly "students" were encouraged to Challenge, Question, Criticize, Condemn and refuse to COOPERATE with all representatives of Authority and Tradition, going even so far as to commit acts of theft, vandalism and mayhem with an air of militant self-righteousness that all-but destroyed the concepts of restraint and self-control as virtuous.

    I am just old enough to have witnessed this sudden, startling transformation firsthand. I was appalled by it then, and have remained disturbed, disoriented and angered by it ever since.

    Whatever its INTENTIONS may or may not have been, I cannot help but see the effect on society as entirely deleterious.

    ~ FreeThinke

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  33. Les said,

    "Individual rights bear great individual responsibility."

    And there, ladies and gentleman is keystone or linchpin of this entire argument.

    I've often observed that life, itself, is a paradox -- or rather and endless SERIES of paradoxes.

    We can't have freedom without DISCIPLINE, but to work properly it must be SELF-DISCIPLINE fostered from infancy and throughout the formative years.

    The inroads made by the incursions of Cultural Marxism into our value system have all but done way with the idea that we must be RESPONSIBLE for our OWN behavior and that we have implicit DUTIES towards others which MUST be exercised sedulously in order to avoid falling backwards towards CHAOS and BARBARISM.

    Understanding that one has a DUTY to others is what it means to be an adult.

    The Cultural Marxists (for want of a better term! Use "modernists," instead, if you like it better)) have craftily arranged the prolongation of childhood well into middle age and beyond. The result is what we see all around us -- an infantile society with degraded tastes, values and amibtions.

    ~ FT

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  34. " ... I firmly believe the right has allowed itself to be consumed by the fringe and takes it tone from the likes of Breitbart, Limbaugh, Savage, Coulter and the like.

    The best strategy in the face of that is to return humiliation, disdain and insult. No conversation is possible."


    I don't know ho old you may be, Ducky, but I think it's safe to assume you are past the first blush of youth. I suspect you are probably "fiftyish."

    If so you have forgotten -- or chosen to ignore that these abrasive, derisive elements you dislike and disdain arose as a long delayed, and absolutely necessary reaction to the complete dominance the "Marxist-socialist-liberal-progressive" ethos had enjoyed unopposed over all major organs and avenues of communication for several decades.

    The mindset you favor had had an unfair advantage for so long most of you regarded it as normal, right and well-deserved.

    Those who have successfully challenged this dominance and made some headway in neutralizing the death grip it had on power have infuriated your kind, and given you what-you-think-of-as a good reason to behave badly in return.

    I regard it as a great pity that the likes of Rush, Ann, Hannity, and poor dead Andrew had good reason to emerge as a force to be reckoned with. It never would have happened but for the wretched excessive of the left who committed too vast an overreach while drunk on power they vainly regarded as unassailable.

    You forgot one of the elemental laws of Physics which apples also to human Psychology:

    To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

    ~ FT

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  35. @Freethinker -- We can't have freedom without DISCIPLINE

    -----
    Nonsense.

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  36. If so you have forgotten -- or chosen to ignore that these abrasive, derisive elements you dislike and disdain arose as a long delayed, and absolutely necessary reaction to the complete dominance the "Marxist-socialist-liberal-progressive" ethos had enjoyed unopposed over all major organs and avenues of communication for several decades.

    -----------

    You've got the age right, Freethinker.
    Which made me an impressionable youth when all that crazy stuff hit in the sixties.

    Coltrane started playing modal, the French New Wave was in the theaters, pop and minimalism in painting. They hadn't quite said goodbye to the beats:
    "The wheel of the quivering meat conception
    Turns in the void expelling human beings..."

    Eliot Carter and John Cage were over at Harvard.

    It was happening and I knew that my teachers had lied through their teeth. For a while it was absolute Jackson until the money machine got control. It was your precious "free market"(LMFAO) that reduced everything to the least common denominator.

    Didn't last too long but it sure felt good.

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  37. Yes indeed, one of the unrepentant "children of Marx and Coca-cola".

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  38. FT,
    I agree with what you have said about the vulgar excesses of the modern era.

    Often, as I watch such displays, I think, "Unruly children!"

    I try to avoid unruly children. I don't invite them over to my house -- that's for sure.

    In my view, the 60s wrought incredible damage. So many people are all about "Me, me, me, and to hell with you!" Life isn't much pleasure when we don't do something for someone else.

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  39. ...and tracks like a duck...

    ...then it must BE a DUCK!

    Harvard... indeed.

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  40. "Smugness" and "I Know better than you do" raised to "high art".

    The aristocracy was always wary of experiencing hubris. Evidently hubris is no longer a concern to the Left.

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  41. erratum- "exhibiting" for "experiencing", above.

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  42. Loved one of the comments, "what do you think of Cecil Taylor?"

    Unit Structures is a great recording. It only made sense in a post industrial world for the music to become more complex. At least it seems so to me.

    As for "unruly children", AOW. When children got enough money to monopolize the culture it was a death knell. Literature replaced by "graphic novels" and the like. They can hardly sit still for Satie, let alone Carter.

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  43. Poor Ducky suffers from steatopygia of the mind.

    Go figure that one out.

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  44. I one knew a high-toned non-starter,
    A mental and spiritual farter,
    He'd walk down the street
    In dirty bare feet
    Whistling tunes by Elliot Carter!


    ~ FreeThinke

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  45. No one attempted to answer my question about the Statue of Liberty.

    Does she look friendly and welcoming, or formidable and challenging to you?

    ~ FT

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  46. At the moment, she appears quite disinterested...

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  47. Does she look friendly and welcoming, or formidable and challenging to you?
    -----
    Do a little work with the base photo in Lightroom and you can make it look any way you like.

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  48. The Statue of Liberty's gender
    'Snot clear. I fear "she"'s a pretender.
    Hordes of kids -- and the press --
    Have been up in her dress,
    And found nothing to goose or surrender.


    ~ FT (1986)

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  49. "All are free to dance and enjoy themselves..but freedom to choose an ideology, since ideology always reflects economic coercion, everywhere proves to be freedom to choose what is always the same."

    --- Theodor W. Adorno

    Well, not entirely but this election demonstrates the point well enough.

    My suggestion, learn to dance and have fun.

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  50. There once was a Jew named Adorno
    Whose colleagues, promoted much porno,
    To make young people drool,
    Then reject every rule,
    Leaving Capitalist countries forlorno!


    ~ FT

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  51. "My suggestion, learn to dance and have fun."

    Why the hell else do you think I write limericks, Ducks?

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IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE FOLLOWING, YOU DON'T BELONG HERE, SO KINDLY GET OUT AND STAY OUT.

We welcome Conversation
But without Vituperation.
If your aim is Vilification ––
Other forms of Denigration ––
Unfounded Accusation --
Determined Obfuscation ––
Alienation with Self-Justification ––
We WILL use COMMENT ERADICATION.


IN ADDITION

Gratuitous Displays of Extraneous Knowledge Offered Not To Shed Light Or Enhance the Discussion, But For The Primary Purpose Of Giving An Impression Of Superiority are obnoxiously SELF-AGGRANDIZING, and therefore, Subject to Removal at the Discretion of the Censor-in-Residence.