Saturday, September 05, 2009

Liberty- The Definition

"Liberty" is the freedom to exercise your rights.

Thomas Jefferson said the same thing: "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others."

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Freedom- the Definition

"Freedom" means doing what you want to do.

Freedom is morally neutral; it can be good or it can be bad- depending upon your desires. You have an obligation to not use your freedom to act upon your desires to harm the innocent, and also to accept the responsibility for your actions. You are accountable for everything you do.

Other people, consequences, responsibility, "laws", beliefs, reality, and many other things can limit your freedom. Freedom, liberty, and rights are not the same thing but are entangled.

Some people can be perfectly "free" in prison, while others couldn't be free in Utopia.

Once again, this is what I mean when I use the word "freedom" and it may vary somewhat from your meaning.

Rights- The Definition

A "right" is something you can do just because you exist. It is not dependent upon anyone's permission. Anything that you can do without violating the equal rights of another individual is your right to do, no matter how trivial or important.

Rights do not come from anyone, nor from government, nor from any document. A right can either be respected or it can be violated, but it can not be limited, regulated, licensed, rationed, or otherwise turned into a privilege. A privilege is the opposite of a right.

A right can not impose an obligation on another person to supply you with the means of exercising that right. (As pointed out in the comments.) I have a right to own and to carry weapons, but you have no obligation to give me a gun to carry, nor do I have a right to expect you to do so. My right is my responsibility.

Having a right doesn't mean there will be no consequences for exercising that right. There are always consequences and responsibilities for every action. Just because you have a right to do something does not mean it is the best thing to do right now. Think before you act, or even better, before you need to act.

See also: The nature of rights

What is "Kent McManigal"?

I'm not talking genus and species here, but politics.

If you read things I have written, you will notice I use different labels for myself at different times, and depending upon who I am writing for. My core beliefs and values do not change with the labels and don't normally change over time (unless it is toward even less recognition of coercion as a legitimate tool). I often feel labels are necessary, but I recognize the limits and the baggage they all have. A few of these labels even appear in the headline and introduction of this blog. I'll see if I can define myself in this post without using any labels at all. So, for informational purposes and future linkage, here is my explanation of my view (subject to revision, clarification, and addition as necessary):

Government is not necessary, and is evil. I am willing to work with those who still wish to "work within the system" using government (I will not join them in using government, though) as long as they are moving in my general direction of "greater individual freedom", even if just on one particular issue- any chair in a bar-fight, as they say- until we must part ways due to them reaching "enough freedom" (for themselves) and balking at going any further. Unless they try to stop me from continuing along my path, it can be an amicable parting.

I do not wish to control what others do as long as they harm no innocent person. If they wish to start a communist enclave, that is their business until they try to force someone to participate who does not wish to do so.


"Legal" is less than meaningless to me, as some of the worst acts are "legal" when committed by government employees, and some of the most innocuous are "illegal" when done against government wishes or without government permission.

I understand rights as existing equally in all people. Rights can either be respected or violated; nothing else. Government has no say in rights, but can wrongly restrict freedom and violate liberty. Liberty can be lost; rights can not.

There is never any legitimate reason to
initiate force (attack the innocent). I will not second-guess someone who has been attacked regarding how much force they feel was necessary to defend themselves. I don't condone revenge, although I can sometimes understand the desire to pursue it. I feel a person must make choices and then accept the consequences.

I think people should not initiate deception. Keep your word. If you are being deceived, then self-defensive deception is analogous to self-defensive violence and can be the proper thing to do. You have no obligation to be honest with a liar or anyone who is attempting to harm you or other innocents. Government and its employees only function by harming others, so don't feel bad about deceiving them in order to keep what is yours or to protect people from government coercion.

I don't obsess over politics or government. In fact, other than writing about them, I don't think about either one too much unless they get in my way. Mostly, I just live my life minding my own business.

I don't care where you were born; what color your skin is; what language you speak; or what god(s), if any, you worship. All I care about is that you do not attack me or any other innocent person, and that you are not stealing or defrauding anyone.

Now, apply any label you think fits.

Hope and change is still on the menu, but not at the Government Cafe

Hope and change is still on the menu, but not at the Government Cafe

I was reading an opinion in a newsletter to which I subscribe about the recent, and mostly forgotten, ex-governor Rod Blagojevich "dramedy". The author opined that the imposed “political death penalty", which bars the former governor from ever again holding a state office, might not go far enough for the offense of "so egregiously violating the public trust". The implication was that such an offense deserves a real death penalty. That seems rather radical, but is an enjoyable thought in the right direction.

Then this sentence took me by surprise by its fundamental wrongness:

"At a time like this, what could have a more corrosive effect on the social
fabric than a loss of faith in public officials?"

Is the author joking? "Social fabric" has but one enemy: coercion. Coercion has but one source: bad people. A large percentage of the worst (and most "effective") of the bad people are "public officials". The power associated with government attracts thugs like raw meat attracts yellow-jackets.

Answering the probably rhetorical question; allowing "public officials" to exist at all is the real corrosive threat to the "social fabric".

"At a time like this" a "loss of faith in public officials" is exactly what we need. Think of it as a return to reality; an end to a delusion. A healthy and positive change.