Sunday, February 19, 2012

Is liberty a sphere or a spectrum?

Is the landscape of liberty a sphere or a spectrum?

A lot of people seem to operate on the assumption that it is a sphere- that you can only go so far toward liberty before you find yourself heading back toward slavery- without ever having changed direction. You can only travel so far north before you have to stand still to avoid going south. If they are right, then there is an optimal amount of liberty and anything beyond that is worse than pointless.

On the other hand if the landscape of liberty is a spectrum, there might become a point where you reach the end of the line and there is simply no more liberty to be gained by trying to reach farther, but the pursuit wouldn't be harmful other than wasting your time.

Wouldn't it be great to explore far enough into those unknown reaches that the answer becomes obvious?



  1. One can only wish...
    Anarchy looks better every day.

  2. Liberty is a means, not an end in itself. Most moderns gave theirs up a long time ago. When we allow ourselves to become enslaved by our own disordered passions, the rest follows easily and silently.

  3. Sorry, but I just read this. The end, from a purely natural point of view, is living a virtuous life. This is a deep subject, to be sure, but merely being free means nothing, in se. Its true value is only realized when we use the freedom to obtain that which is truly good in itself. I am "free" -- i.e., I possess the ability -- to blow my brains out. Is that a good use of my freedom, or ability? No, it is the complete opposite.

  4. What is your idea of virtue?

    I have always said "freedom" is neutral, good or bad depending on what it is you want to do. Liberty is the freedom to do what you have a right to do.

    Now, I can't really judge whether someone wanting to kill themselves is good or bad. In some cases it might be the best use of your freedom; in other cases it might be a very bad use. Do I think it would be a good use? Probably not.