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Author Topic: What is freedom?  (Read 1299 times)
Hawker
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November 05, 2013, 11:18:25 PM
 #1

Have you seen any posts along these lines?

"Just as you can't be a little bit pregnant you can't be a little bit free so if I have to pay tax, I am not free."

"The difference between the state and slavery is that the state allows me to choose where to live.  I am really a slave if I have to obey other people's laws."

The logic baffles me.  It would be strange if someone said "Just as you can't be a little bit pregnant you can't be a little bit bald so if I have a few hairs missing I am bald."  There is a spectrum between bald and hairy.  

Likewise there is a spectrum between freedom and oppression.  If you have the right to vote, if you live in state with a working separation of legislative, executive and judicial functions and if you have the right to emigrate, I think you are free.  

Is this enough or is there more you would want before you could be called free?

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November 05, 2013, 11:44:57 PM
 #2

Nature is freedom.  Anarchy is natural.  Anarchy is freedom.

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November 06, 2013, 12:00:49 AM
 #3

I'd rather not define freedom. That way I'm free from the constraints of my definition. Cheesy
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November 06, 2013, 01:25:49 AM
 #4

Have you seen any posts along these lines?

"Just as you can't be a little bit pregnant you can't be a little bit free so if I have to pay tax, I am not free."

"The difference between the state and slavery is that the state allows me to choose where to live.  I am really a slave if I have to obey other people's laws."

The logic baffles me.  It would be strange if someone said "Just as you can't be a little bit pregnant you can't be a little bit bald so if I have a few hairs missing I am bald."  There is a spectrum between bald and hairy.  

Likewise there is a spectrum between freedom and oppression.  If you have the right to vote, if you live in state with a working separation of legislative, executive and judicial functions and if you have the right to emigrate, I think you are free.  

Is this enough or is there more you would want before you could be called free?

Well, those are the basis but I think it requires more than that, and if you have freedom to emigrate for escaping an oppressive society where people can fire you because you're gay or atheist that's a shitty regime, one must to be free without having to run away.

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November 06, 2013, 06:34:31 AM
 #5

Freedom is to practice ethics.

So, let's compare:

If you have the right to vote, if you live in state with a working separation of legislative, executive and judicial functions and if you have the right to emigrate, I think you are free. 

First, let's understand what rights are.  A right exists between two or more people who agree a specified behavior should be shared equally.  If I say, "Hawker, I want the right to free speech," I must then say, "I will also allow you free speech if you promise not to impede mine."  You say, "Okay that sounds reasonable," and thus, a right is born.  As more people recognize these rights we share and decide they, too, would like these rights, so these rights spread and become a societal norm; the majority, then, has power over the minority, who would say "I don't want the right to free speech"; since most of us like this right, we typically make up the majority and overrule what they want.

Now, let's take emigration, for example.  The state, in a hypothetical situation, has decided that nobody can emigrate or immigrate due to terrorist threats; all borders are regulated shut and everyone is on a temporary no-fly list, except for certain important members of the state.  Despite individuals agreeing that there is a right to emigrate, they had this right artificially removed by an external source of power.  The fundamental purpose of a right has been tarnished; we can no longer call this a right, though we commonly believed it to be before; we must now call this as it is properly identified, a privilege.  You had the privilege to emigrate, and it was taken away.  Ergo, if the state controls the borders, and can decide, without individual approval, to close those borders, you do not have the right to emigrate, you are privileged to.  This applies today to no-fly lists; if it's possible to have your right to flight taken away, you never had a right to flight to begin with, you had a privilege to use the airlines.  A right which can be taken away is a privilege.

With this distinction in mind, we can name many privileges which are egregiously referred to as rights; the privilege to free speech, until the state needs you silenced; the privilege to bear arms, until the state needs you disarmed; the privilege to emigrate, until the state needs you to stay put; the privilege to occupation, until the state needs you in the military.  We can go on and on, but the basic idea is there; if you can call these rights, I can call a swine handsome.

Anyway, because we cannot practice this philosophy on our own, we must succumb to the whims of whomever does have this freedom, i.e. the republic in the case of America, our politicians.  If they say, "Killing this nation's soldiers and civilians and stealing their oil is right", or in our case, if a single man in a suit says it's okay, then it is okay.  Do you object to murder?  Too bad; you have no privilege to practice ethics, and whether or not you believe killing is wrong, you will be paying for it.  Do you object to theft?  Too bad; you have no privilege to decide if you'll be stolen from or not.  Do you object to threats?  Too bad; you will be threatened if you fail to comply.  Because these decisions on ethics can only be made by the state, you are crippled to make decisions on what is right and what isn't.  You have no right to be a human being under these standards, as you are stripped of your right to be virtuous; you have only the privilege of being a citizen, and you are as vicious as the men who represent you.

So what is freedom?  Simply put, freedom is to have rights, including the right to grant them, or not.

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November 06, 2013, 08:31:05 AM
 #6

Freedom is to practice ethics.

So, let's compare:

If you have the right to vote, if you live in state with a working separation of legislative, executive and judicial functions and if you have the right to emigrate, I think you are free. 

First, let's understand what rights are.  A right exists between two or more people who agree a specified behavior should be shared equally.  If I say, "Hawker, I want the right to free speech," I must then say, "I will also allow you free speech if you promise not to impede mine."  You say, "Okay that sounds reasonable," and thus, a right is born.  As more people recognize these rights we share and decide they, too, would like these rights, so these rights spread and become a societal norm; the majority, then, has power over the minority, who would say "I don't want the right to free speech"; since most of us like this right, we typically make up the majority and overrule what they want.

Now, let's take emigration, for example.  The state, in a hypothetical situation, has decided that nobody can emigrate or immigrate due to terrorist threats; all borders are regulated shut and everyone is on a temporary no-fly list, except for certain important members of the state.  Despite individuals agreeing that there is a right to emigrate, they had this right artificially removed by an external source of power.  The fundamental purpose of a right has been tarnished; we can no longer call this a right, though we commonly believed it to be before; we must now call this as it is properly identified, a privilege.  You had the privilege to emigrate, and it was taken away.  Ergo, if the state controls the borders, and can decide, without individual approval, to close those borders, you do not have the right to emigrate, you are privileged to.  This applies today to no-fly lists; if it's possible to have your right to flight taken away, you never had a right to flight to begin with, you had a privilege to use the airlines.  A right which can be taken away is a privilege.

With this distinction in mind, we can name many privileges which are egregiously referred to as rights; the privilege to free speech, until the state needs you silenced; the privilege to bear arms, until the state needs you disarmed; the privilege to emigrate, until the state needs you to stay put; the privilege to occupation, until the state needs you in the military.  We can go on and on, but the basic idea is there; if you can call these rights, I can call a swine handsome.

Anyway, because we cannot practice this philosophy on our own, we must succumb to the whims of whomever does have this freedom, i.e. the republic in the case of America, our politicians.  If they say, "Killing this nation's soldiers and civilians and stealing their oil is right", or in our case, if a single man in a suit says it's okay, then it is okay.  Do you object to murder?  Too bad; you have no privilege to practice ethics, and whether or not you believe killing is wrong, you will be paying for it.  Do you object to theft?  Too bad; you have no privilege to decide if you'll be stolen from or not.  Do you object to threats?  Too bad; you will be threatened if you fail to comply.  Because these decisions on ethics can only be made by the state, you are crippled to make decisions on what is right and what isn't.  You have no right to be a human being under these standards, as you are stripped of your right to be virtuous; you have only the privilege of being a citizen, and you are as vicious as the men who represent you.

So what is freedom?  Simply put, freedom is to have rights, including the right to grant them, or not.

Mike, what you are describing is contractual rights which are a subset of a right defined as "a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something." 

Since social relationships outside of business are not based on contracts, you can never enjoy "freedom" as you have defined it in a way that cannot exist.

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hawkeye
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November 06, 2013, 12:00:14 PM
 #7

If you have the right to vote, if you live in state with a working separation of legislative, executive and judicial functions and if you have the right to emigrate, I think you are free.  

Well, that's nice that you think you are free but clearly your definition is entirely subjective. 

An objective definition of being free is that someone else can't tell you to do anything.  I think that's much closer to the objective, dictionary meaning. 

I'm sure people in socialist countries claimed they were free too. 
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November 06, 2013, 12:06:43 PM
 #8

If you have the right to vote, if you live in state with a working separation of legislative, executive and judicial functions and if you have the right to emigrate, I think you are free.  

Well, that's nice that you think you are free but clearly your definition is entirely subjective. 

An objective definition of being free is that someone else can't tell you to do anything.  I think that's much closer to the objective, dictionary meaning. 

I'm sure people in socialist countries claimed they were free too. 

Than no-one has ever been free?

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November 06, 2013, 12:36:23 PM
 #9

I would like to be free financially first of all. Not being subjected from my birth to taxes which support elite and politicians.


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April 23, 2014, 09:45:01 AM
 #10

I think freedom is comparative not absolute. I think it's obeying the laws and not violating other people's freedom first.

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April 23, 2014, 09:59:00 AM
 #11

I can do what I want.
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April 23, 2014, 10:34:45 AM
 #12

If I say, "I want the right to free speech," I must then say, "I will also allow you free speech if you promise not to impede mine."  You say, "Okay that sounds reasonable," and thus, a right is born.  As more people recognize these rights we share and decide they, too, would like these rights, so these rights spread and become a societal norm.

Simply put, freedom is to have rights, including the right to grant them, or not.

I agree with this definition of rights - you only have a right so long as you live in a society where you have a reasonable expectation of that right being upheld and defended.

I think the best, broadest definition of freedom is a measure of our ability to do things - this fits with Mikes definition (self-evidently the more rights you have, the more things you are able to do) but also extends it - I think that some-one with more money/power/skills than another person can be said to be more free than that person, because they are able to do more things. Thus the person who can afford to buy a car, the person with the right to vote in parliament/congress, the person with the skills to build a house, or write a software application, or paint a work of art, are all more free than those who do not.

Can anyone deny that the global elite with vast amounts of power and wealth have more real freedom than the rest of us?

I also think Hawker is correct - it is infantile to describe one person as "free" and another as "not free", freedom is a relative thing and some people are more or less free than others.
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April 23, 2014, 02:18:23 PM
 #13

"We wanna be free!
We wanna be free to do what we wanna do.
We wanna be free to ride. We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man!
 ... And we wanna get loaded."
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April 23, 2014, 03:05:02 PM
 #14

I think freedom is comparative not absolute
Agreed.

Freedom means different things to different people - freedom from, for eg, oppression. Or we might say a prisoner has his freedom rescinded. Freedom of choice - shall I have a cup of tea or coffee etc.

But mostly how the word is used today, even on forums likes this, freedom becomes an ideologically driven bullshit concept that makes little sense. It comes to denote a means by which man transcends the chain of cause and effect/empiricism which dictates the workings of everything else in the known universe (quantum mechanics (possibly partially) aside ?) - and confers on him a God like status that gives him the ability to act outside of time and space and to be unaffected by them.
   I say the term is used ideologically because it becomes a means by which inequalities are legitimated - if you find yourself at the bottom of the heap its no-one elses fault but your own buddy  Wink - don't you know that this is the land of the free/we live in a free country etc etc.

The way I've always understood freedom - the way in which I'v been able to add the term freedom to my lexicon in any meaningful way - is in the way that Engels described - "Freedom is the recognition of necessity"
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April 24, 2014, 09:47:16 AM
 #15

peace is freedom . if you don't have peace in your mind and life . then you are not getting freedom Smiley

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April 24, 2014, 10:04:05 AM
 #16

What is freedom!? Baby don`t hurt me, don`t hurt me, no more!  Cool Cool Cool
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April 24, 2014, 10:51:46 AM
 #17

Repeat after me: We are free )))

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April 24, 2014, 01:35:31 PM
 #18

Nature is freedom.  Anarchy is natural.  Anarchy is freedom.
Freedow is not free,We need to work hard. Grin
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April 24, 2014, 03:33:54 PM
 #19

If your freedom is not free, then you are not truly free.

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April 24, 2014, 06:41:05 PM
 #20

If your freedom is not free, then you are not truly free.
All people do want to be free. Or to say it differently, everybody wants freedom for themselves. Even tyrants want that. No tyrant in history has ever fought to enslave or oppress himself. It's in the wanting of freedom for others that we lack.

Freemen and tyrants are indistinguishable from each other in their love of personal liberty. The only way to tell them apart is to watch and see what they do to others.

The Northerners and Southerners before the Civil War were a perfect example of this. If you read nothing but the writings of both sides, you cannot tell them apart in their arguing for freedom. The only difference being that one wanted individuals to be free to eat the bread of their own labor, while the other wanted to be free to compel others to provide his bread for him.

The pro-choice crowd is another example. All their crying out for the freedom to choose sounds pretty fine and dandy until you look at it from the perspective of their unborn child.

The great freedom fighter Jesus Christ tried to teach us the true code of freedom, 'do to others as you would have them do to you' and 'love your neighbor as yourself'

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