Thursday, July 17, 2008

Messy Freedoms

There is a bell-curve of acceptance of liberties. It is shaped like the cross-section of a sunny-side-up fried egg, with the yolk being those things that no sane person doubts: the right to not be raped, murdered, kidnapped, or stolen from.

The "egg white" is the liberties that are really the same, but with the understanding that government and its agents are also not allowed to be doing those same things to anyone while calling them "taxation", "arrest", "law enforcement", etc.

The "messy freedoms" I speak of are the ragged edge of the egg where the grease has spattered and bubbled: the freedom to trade sex for money, the freedom to own and carry a fully automatic gun as you walk around town, the freedom to destroy yourself with chemical abuse, the freedom to end your own life if you decide to. These things are just as important as the ones that the majority agrees on. Maybe even more so for the simple fact that while the timid may deny it, the rights are the same: the right to live your own life however you see fit as long as you do not harm another innocent person. "Harm" does not include offending someone's sensibilities, or violating their sense of morals, either.

Maybe you could call these things "fringe liberties". These are the things "polite society" tries to prohibit, control, or otherwise regulate, but in doing so, initiates force against those who choose to pursue happiness in those things. That is wrong, no matter how you slice it.