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Where does 'Freedom' Rank as a Liberal Core Value?


Renegade
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Core values are your internal scorecard for judging whether one choice is better or worse than another. For example, consider the question: is it better to earn more money for the family or spend more time with the family? Your answer will depend on your own personal core values, probably shaped by whether or not you suffered from privation as a child. My depression-era grandparents wouldn't have chosen work. Many folks I know today would choose family time.

 

Liberals, as a group, have core values. Protect the environment. Take care of the weak and unfortunate. Equality under the law. Treat people of all backgrounds, races, and beliefs equally. Avoid wars of aggression. I'm sure there are many more. Even conservatives hold many of these values, but perhaps they have others they feel are more important.

 

Sometimes we do have to make trade-offs. Do you spend finite resources on environmental protection or economic progress for the poor? Individuals liberals will vary in the weights the apply to each core value and there's nothing wrong with that.

 

I suspect that just about everyone would put 'freedom' on their list of core values, but where does it rank? How important is freedom to you? How do you even define freedom?

 

If there's one thing I'm an extremist about, it's freedom.

 

I grew up in a very patriotic family where I was often reminded how lucky I was to live in a 'free country'. Always the curious one, I asked my parents (in other words, I'm sure) "How can you tell? What would be different if we were in a country that wasn't free?" Given that most of my family could count their out of state trips on one hand, that question pretty much stumped them. The best answer I got was that "We can travel without papers. If you were in the Soviet Union, you couldn't do that." When I asked about drivers' licenses, insurance, vehicle registration, and passports...the subject got changed.

 

Today, I can do a little better at explaining what freedom means to me. Put simply, I want to make my own choices. I don't want the government, the church, corporations, or my neighbor to coerce me. If they want to present a case to sway my opinion, I'm OK with that.

 

Why would I want to make my own choices? Couldn't others, perhaps a panel of very competent, experienced, and intelligent PhD's, make better decisions for me? My fear is that they would make the best decisions...for them. Their decisions would reflect their own personal definitions of 'better' instead of my definition. They might decide that I should paint my house blue because studies show it will improve my productivity, even if I can't stand blue. The experts might want me to eat broccoli and carrots every day and forego fried chicken and alcohol. The experts might even want me to join a religion, depending on where and when these experts are consulted.

 

So, I don't trust the experts (or anyone else) to make my decisions, even though I know my decisions have consequences and I won't always be happy with those consequences. That fried chicken may cause me to have a heart attack someday. That doesn't mean that I want to give up my ability to choose. I feel the same way when I'm deciding what car to drive, what politician to vote for, what color to paint my house, whether to wear a seatbelt, or how much to save for retirement.

 

In the beginning, I said that we're all willing to surrender some freedom in return for security. For example, we agree to be coerced into using drivers' licenses because most of us believe that makes driving safer. In this case, my safety is increased when you are coerced (and vice versa).

 

But, what about seatbelts? I haven't seen any data that says you are kept safer when I wear a seatbelt. Maybe it keeps your insurance cost lower? Is that a good justification for infringing on freedom? Our medical insurance would probably be cheaper if we were all forced to give up fried chicken. Should such a law be possible in a 'free' country? Maybe if we all painted our houses blue, national productivity would increase and we could afford to spend more on solar panels and healthcare?

 

Is there no limit on what the majority can do? Theoretically, the Constitution (especially the Bill of Rights) puts limits on what the majority can do to our freedom, but in practice the results are mixed. Somehow, we (the majority) keep finding new ways to chip away at our (minority) rights. Some say the Constitution should be applied exactly as written and exactly as intended on the day it was written. Others say we shouldn't be bound by restrictions from hundreds of years ago. They believe the Constitution is merely a guide and needs to be interpreted in light of the current situation.

 

Personally, I'm an 'originalist'. I believe the Constitution is the highest law of the land and should be applied as written and as intended. That’s not to say that I believe the Constitution is perfect. It means that we should follow the Constitution as it’s written until we can amend it. If the Constitution, as written, doesn't work today, then amend it. There's a process for that. It's been done many times. Yes, it's hard. It's supposed to be hard.

 

The irony is that, if the majority doesn't support this point of view, then there's no restriction on the majority's power. It’s incredibly difficult to convince a majority of the people that the majority shouldn’t be able to do whatever the majority wants.

How much of your freedom are you willing to surrender to the majority? Where does freedom rank on your list of core values?

 

 

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Great question with a thoughtful beginning of a discussion.

 

Trying to describe what life is like living in a place without freedom is important to understand what freedom is and how it impacts us.

 

You describe a few examples where an exchange between freedom and regulation is important. For example, if I obey the laws of the road, I have freedom of traveling to where I want to go; if I ignore the laws of the road, I might lose my right to drive a car,due to regulations. If I infringe too much, I might cause accidents destroying my car and impeding my freedom to go where I want to go. Going further I could die in an accident losing all choice and all freedom to act.

 

With the list of regulations, we can agree or disagree on individual regulations as to whether they provide for more or less freedom. There must be an underlying structure for freedom. Freedom must be an agreement between the government and the people. If the government declares it can arrest anyone it wants at any time for any reason, then a citizen cannot have assurance of not being imprisoned regardless of how he acts. Under this situation, most citizens (I suspect) may opt for an attempt to appease the government to try to make sure they are not thrown in jail simply because some politician doesn't like them for whatever unknown reason. The government may arrest people, perhaps for murder, or other crime, but when they do, the government must make an open and fair attempt to determine guilt. Thus the arrested person gets to know the charges against him. He gets a lawyer. He gets his day in court to defend himself against the accusations. There is a time limit under which the government must act to press the charges and have the trial. You should not be arrested and given a trial in 10 years. Without this agreement there is no freedom.

 

In the United States the constitution provides this agreement. It appeared to be honored until bush and the GOP controlled congress and GOP controlled supreme court ruled against it. They passed the Pat Act in which it says that the government can make an accusation of anyone being an enemy combatant. Once accused you are not allowed to see any charges against you. You are not allowed a trial. You are subject to indefinite detention. You can be shipped to other countries for extraordinary rendition (torture). I have heard that it is illegal for the media to report on your (or anyone's) detention.

 

I have heard of one person escaping this situation. He was a lawyer from either Washington state or Oregon. He was accused because his fingerprints were similar to a person from the middle east who was on the terrorists list. He was not from the middle east and being a lawyer he knew the ways of the law. He was able to get out because he was a lawyer.

 

My question is how many people have become incarcerated because of this law that we don't know about?

 

How can anyone claim the US is a free nation when the agreement is null and void?

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The limits to X's freedom are when they impinge on Y's freedom: When government regulates pollution standards, it's just like saying that you can't take a dump on your neighbor's living room floor.

 

If defense is necessary for a free society, and I'm sure it is, then the government should encourage some level of physical fitness and drug-free health. Obese stoned soldiers are useless.

 

Similarly, the government should encourage STEM teaching and research, and the learning of foreign languages.

 

We allow the government to do things for the common good. What those things are depends on the time in which they're needed. Roads and defense were and still are necessary to the common good. So was mail delivery. One could argue that internet access is like that today, but the private sector has done an adequate job of delivering that. One could argue that universal health care is a common good; and the private sector has not done as well as necessary there.

 

Any time government does something for the common good, it takes something from everyone, i.e. some freedom (as expressed by money). I'm ok with that, if the thing provided is important and the need isn't properly meet by the private sector.

 

I expect the right, and especially the religious right, to try to squash government involvement and investment in research. That would be a very grave error. It would give the future to China and Russia.

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There are as many types of freedom as tyranny.

 

Stephen Hawking, paralyzed and with his body wasting away, roams through astrophysical realms of of the mind. He freely traverses worlds, solar systems, galaxies and universes, using his giant intellect and imagination. With his mind alone, he delves into the mysteries of black holes and supernovas No one could guess, just by looking at him. It is unheard of for someone with Hawking's variety of ALS to live past 70. He beat the odds.

 

But Hawking is a singular case. For almost all the rest of us, more mundane considerations determine the degree of our freedom. For the vast majority, the more economic equality, the more freedom. In egalitarian nations, like those that practice Democratic Socialism, the greatest number of people experience the greatest freedom. The Danes and Dutch, for instance, are among the happiest people on Earth, as determined by surveys.

 

When wealth becomes concentrated at the top, a few people enjoy a lopsided amount of freedom and the rest become limited in their choices. The super rich today enjoy enormous freedom the rest can only dream about. They are free to own homes, all over the world and are welcomed everywhere they spend their money. They are often free to commit crimes and get away with it because their is a double system of justice. They are free from taxes while the rest make up the shorfall. And they are free from insecurity about health care, old age or support systems. And on top of all these freedoms, they are also free to hoard huge fortunes in foreign banks not only illegally avoiding taxes but tying up fallow wealth that could otherwise do good in the world.

 

When the wealth is spread more evenly, as it was in the US during the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, freedom takes a giant step forward. Once relative equality is achieved, ordinary people can enjoy all the freedoms conferred by prosperity. And the rich are still left with more than enough to continue in the lifestyles to which they are accustomed.

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Core values are your internal scorecard for judging whether one choice is better or worse than another. For example, consider the question: is it better to earn more money for the family or spend more time with the family? Your answer will depend on your own personal core values, probably shaped by whether or not you suffered from privation as a child. My depression-era grandparents wouldn't have chosen work. Many folks I know today would choose family time.

 

Liberals, as a group, have core values. Protect the environment. Take care of the weak and unfortunate. Equality under the law. Treat people of all backgrounds, races, and beliefs equally. Avoid wars of aggression. I'm sure there are many more. Even conservatives hold many of these values, but perhaps they have others they feel are more important.

 

Sometimes we do have to make trade-offs. Do you spend finite resources on environmental protection or economic progress for the poor? Individuals liberals will vary in the weights the apply to each core value and there's nothing wrong with that.

 

I suspect that just about everyone would put 'freedom' on their list of core values, but where does it rank? How important is freedom to you? How do you even define freedom?

 

If there's one thing I'm an extremist about, it's freedom.

 

I grew up in a very patriotic family where I was often reminded how lucky I was to live in a 'free country'. Always the curious one, I asked my parents (in other words, I'm sure) "How can you tell? What would be different if we were in a country that wasn't free?" Given that most of my family could count their out of state trips on one hand, that question pretty much stumped them. The best answer I got was that "We can travel without papers. If you were in the Soviet Union, you couldn't do that." When I asked about drivers' licenses, insurance, vehicle registration, and passports...the subject got changed.

 

Today, I can do a little better at explaining what freedom means to me. Put simply, I want to make my own choices. I don't want the government, the church, corporations, or my neighbor to coerce me. If they want to present a case to sway my opinion, I'm OK with that.

 

Why would I want to make my own choices? Couldn't others, perhaps a panel of very competent, experienced, and intelligent PhD's, make better decisions for me? My fear is that they would make the best decisions...for them. Their decisions would reflect their own personal definitions of 'better' instead of my definition. They might decide that I should paint my house blue because studies show it will improve my productivity, even if I can't stand blue. The experts might want me to eat broccoli and carrots every day and forego fried chicken and alcohol. The experts might even want me to join a religion, depending on where and when these experts are consulted.

 

So, I don't trust the experts (or anyone else) to make my decisions, even though I know my decisions have consequences and I won't always be happy with those consequences. That fried chicken may cause me to have a heart attack someday. That doesn't mean that I want to give up my ability to choose. I feel the same way when I'm deciding what car to drive, what politician to vote for, what color to paint my house, whether to wear a seatbelt, or how much to save for retirement.

 

In the beginning, I said that we're all willing to surrender some freedom in return for security. For example, we agree to be coerced into using drivers' licenses because most of us believe that makes driving safer. In this case, my safety is increased when you are coerced (and vice versa).

 

But, what about seatbelts? I haven't seen any data that says you are kept safer when I wear a seatbelt. Maybe it keeps your insurance cost lower? Is that a good justification for infringing on freedom? Our medical insurance would probably be cheaper if we were all forced to give up fried chicken. Should such a law be possible in a 'free' country? Maybe if we all painted our houses blue, national productivity would increase and we could afford to spend more on solar panels and healthcare?

 

Is there no limit on what the majority can do? Theoretically, the Constitution (especially the Bill of Rights) puts limits on what the majority can do to our freedom, but in practice the results are mixed. Somehow, we (the majority) keep finding new ways to chip away at our (minority) rights. Some say the Constitution should be applied exactly as written and exactly as intended on the day it was written. Others say we shouldn't be bound by restrictions from hundreds of years ago. They believe the Constitution is merely a guide and needs to be interpreted in light of the current situation.

 

Personally, I'm an 'originalist'. I believe the Constitution is the highest law of the land and should be applied as written and as intended. That’s not to say that I believe the Constitution is perfect. It means that we should follow the Constitution as it’s written until we can amend it. If the Constitution, as written, doesn't work today, then amend it. There's a process for that. It's been done many times. Yes, it's hard. It's supposed to be hard.

 

The irony is that, if the majority doesn't support this point of view, then there's no restriction on the majority's power. It’s incredibly difficult to convince a majority of the people that the majority shouldn’t be able to do whatever the majority wants.

How much of your freedom are you willing to surrender to the majority? Where does freedom rank on your list of core values?

 

 

 

From the standpoint of being a liberal individual freedom is the core value. Other liberal ideas like equality, tolerance, pluralism, and limited government uphold individual freedom. Unless an individual is harming others or doing something suicidal then the state and others in society should leave them alone. Some people will argue the New York City ban on sugary sodas above 16 ounces is an example of the " left liberal nanny state " while some who identify as liberals support the ban in the name of public health over profit. I'm a liberal who thinks the ban is wrong and supports public education about healthy eating. I don't smoke marijuana or anything else. And I'm willing to consider the negative health impact of smoking pot but I think it should be legal. However I would argue freedom is more than the absence of constraint. It is also the ability to choose. We have to ask ourselves what social barriers exists that limit choice. Subtle or blatant discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and sexual orientation prevent certain individuals from choosing jobs, consuming goods, and services. Think about blacks who experience subtle job bias when applying for a job. Women who do the same work as men are paid less and not considered for top management jobs. It's ironic that we legalized same sex marriage but have not formally amended all Federal Civil Rights Laws to protect LGBT people employment, housing and public accommodations. Think about how choices are limited in each case. Moreover the lack of living wage jobs, declining social mobility, and living standards deprive individuals of choices. It is increasingly difficult or impossible for working people meet their needs, obtain their wants, manage their time, or set their own priorities because they're caught up in a futile struggle to earn a living on less money. And I absolutely agree that the surveillance state that has emerged in response to 9/11 undermines individual freedom. I think both the state and private power in the form of great wealth and large corporations can undermine individual freedom. I appreciate you raising the issue Renegade and hope liberals will remember that individual freedom is the basis for our tradition and politics.

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I think if you were a highway patrol officer who saw the outcomes of auto accidents and victims who did not wear seat belts just a few times, you would definitely wonder why their use was not mandated / thankfully they are. Safety issues to me do not diminish someones freedom in anyway. I really have to disagree with that message. And yes, there are statistics to back it up big time!

 

On the other hand, this post does ask a lot of valid questions regarding freedoms to choose other things that do not include basic known safety issues. Basic freedoms do come with a price however. If you drive a car you must follow traffic rules, that makes sense because we all want to stay safe. Car insurance falls into this category. A drivers licence is a privilege not a right. I wonder why we do not treat gun ownership the same way --- it only makes sense.

 

Everyone should be afforded a decent public education, we are all taxed to pay for this and it makes sense because informed citizens have a better chance to contribute to the society as a whole in numerous ways.

Should all be required to serve in the armed forces, or some other public institution say a conservation corp, or some other state sponsored corp that benefits the society as a whole? Maybe, as a reward they might then be given free higher education to a four year university or some type of skilled trade school as long as they qualify?

 

If we had full employment people would have more freedom to choose how much time to spend raising a family, wages would necessarily increase in such an economy - the market force where Workers Unions in the past actually made a lot of sense and spilled over to all employment can be illustrated in U.S. history.

 

Regarding the constitution, it was written in a completely different world and as such did not encompass all the changes over time this country has gone through. There was nothing like full employment when it was written, in fact along with slavery of black american's many whites lived horrible lives and did not realize a lot of the basic freedoms that most of us seem to disregard today. The freedom for all people of a certain age to vote for a representative government is critical to amending things that were left out of the original contract.

 

Should corporations be allowed to form monopolies, should we be ruled by Oligarchy's? Or is there a point when the government should step in? What about the environment, should you be free to pollute as long as you own the land, even though we know it pollutes those down stream, not to mention the air we all breath?

 

If you develop a drug should that drug be shown to be both safe and effective before it is sold to the unknowing public? On and on these things go.

 

I look at freedom sort of like FDR might, the freedom of speech and expression, and the freedom to worship as well as the freedom from want and from fear. I also value what Margret Meade stated, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

 

Freedom means you can be somebody baby, it means you can change your own outcome and perform miracles for others someday! It also means you can find your own niche your own expression of love in life. Sometimes the biggest tax on the freedoms afforded the general public is inequality.

 

Peace!

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I think if you were a highway patrol officer who saw the outcomes of auto accidents and victims who did not wear seat belts just a few times, you would definitely wonder why their use was not mandated / thankfully they are. Safety issues to me do not diminish someones freedom in anyway. I really have to disagree with that message. And yes, there are statistics to back it up big time!

 

On the other hand, this post does ask a lot of valid questions regarding freedoms to choose other things that do not include basic known safety issues. Basic freedoms do come with a price however. If you drive a car you must follow traffic rules, that makes sense because we all want to stay safe. Car insurance falls into this category. A drivers licence is a privilege not a right. I wonder why we do not treat gun ownership the same way --- it only makes sense.

 

Everyone should be afforded a decent public education, we are all taxed to pay for this and it makes sense because informed citizens have a better chance to contribute to the society as a whole in numerous ways.

Should all be required to serve in the armed forces, or some other public institution say a conservation corp, or some other state sponsored corp that benefits the society as a whole? Maybe, as a reward they might then be given free higher education to a four year university or some type of skilled trade school as long as they qualify?

 

If we had full employment people would have more freedom to choose how much time to spend raising a family, wages would necessarily increase in such an economy - the market force where Workers Unions in the past actually made a lot of sense and spilled over to all employment can be illustrated in U.S. history.

 

Regarding the constitution, it was written in a completely different world and as such did not encompass all the changes over time this country has gone through. There was nothing like full employment when it was written, in fact along with slavery of black american's many whites lived horrible lives and did not realize a lot of the basic freedoms that most of us seem to disregard today. The freedom for all people of a certain age to vote for a representative government is critical to amending things that were left out of the original contract.

 

Should corporations be allowed to form monopolies, should we be ruled by Oligarchy's? Or is there a point when the government should step in? What about the environment, should you be free to pollute as long as you own the land, even though we know it pollutes those down stream, not to mention the air we all breath?

 

If you develop a drug should that drug be shown to be both safe and effective before it is sold to the unknowing public? On and on these things go.

 

I look at freedom sort of like FDR might, the freedom of speech and expression, and the freedom to worship as well as the freedom from want and from fear. I also value what Margret Meade stated, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

 

Freedom means you can be somebody baby, it means you can change your own outcome and perform miracles for others someday! It also means you can find your own niche your own expression of love in life. Sometimes the biggest tax on the freedoms afforded the general public is inequality.

 

Peace!

 

​Old Barn the truth of what you write is only matched by the poetic prose style in which you write. Thanks for giving us something to think hard about.

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​Old Barn the truth of what you write is only matched by the poetic prose style in which you write. Thanks for giving us something to think hard about.

thank you very much KBvoice! That is a truly generous thing to say and to me it means a lot! The best things in life are actually free but that sentiment might seem for some impossible to see. In the larger light we collectively are what we sow.

Just read a piece about the Mosul damn in Iraq, where after ISIS took command all the workers that constantly worked to reset the soluble firmament underneath it fled. The damn itself was built to withstand big bombs, the U.S. actually bombed it once. It required constant reinforcement because it was built on land that was not stable holding back much force from the Tigris. Only later on do people sometimes see the true impact of doing vastly more harm than good.

 

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/02/a-bigger-problem-than-isis

 

The only good thing about what I do is that I'm a very average American citizen. I am very average for whatever that is worth.

 

Peace!

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The limits to X's freedom are when they impinge on Y's freedom: When government regulates pollution standards, it's just like saying that you can't take a dump on your neighbor's living room floor.

 

So, how does my decision not to wear a seat belt impinge on your freedom? If I want to drink 44 oz Big Gulps, how is that like taking a dump in your living room? If I wanted to marry 6 women, what business is it of yours?

 

If defense is necessary for a free society, and I'm sure it is, then the government should encourage some level of physical fitness and drug-free health. Obese stoned soldiers are useless.

 

American soldiers voluntarily accept physical fitness as a condition of employment. But, what about the general populace? Does the government have the right to coerce (not "encourage") the physical fitness of its citizens?

 

 

Similarly, the government should encourage STEM teaching and research, and the learning of foreign languages.

 

We allow the government to do things for the common good. What those things are depends on the time in which they're needed. Roads and defense were and still are necessary to the common good. So was mail delivery. One could argue that internet access is like that today, but the private sector has done an adequate job of delivering that. One could argue that universal health care is a common good; and the private sector has not done as well as necessary there.

 

Any time government does something for the common good, it takes something from everyone, i.e. some freedom (as expressed by money). I'm ok with that, if the thing provided is important and the need isn't properly meet by the private sector.

 

I expect the right, and especially the religious right, to try to squash government involvement and investment in research. That would be a very grave error. It would give the future to China and Russia.

 

That's a very good point about all government spending representing a small loss of freedom (as expressed by money). Very well put. We voluntarily trade our freedom, through time spent at work, for money. When other people take some of that money, they're taking our freedom.

 

Would you place any limits on what the majority can take from the minority? Remembering that elections can be won by people who don't agree with your spending priorities, wouldn't you want to restrict the power of our elected officials?

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When wealth becomes concentrated at the top, a few people enjoy a lopsided amount of freedom and the rest become limited in their choices.

 

In general, I agree with this. My only nit is that you assume a fixed amount of wealth that never changes...a zero-sum game in which I can never make a dollar without taking it from someone else. I don't believe that. If someone brings talent, creativity, or effort that exceeds what was in play before, then we are all made richer for it. It is possible to increase the size of the pie. It is possible to become 'rich' without impoverishing someone else.

 

I suppose there's a cost, even when the wealth is accumulated fairly. Even when no one was harmed in the process, we're missing an opportunity to apply that wealth for the betterment of all? Is that a fair way to paraphrase?

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Moreover the lack of living wage jobs, declining social mobility, and living standards deprive individuals of choices. It is increasingly difficult or impossible for working people meet their needs, obtain their wants, manage their time, or set their own priorities because they're caught up in a futile struggle to earn a living on less money.

 

I agree with just about everything you said. But, it's no fun talking about what we agree on. So, this part that I quoted above is something that I probably wouldn't have thought of in my own definition of freedom.

 

If you were dropped in what we now call Virginia, back a thousand years ago, would you have been free? You'd have lived a very harsh life with no money, no 'living wage job', no social mobility, and no opportunity to pursue your wants. But, I submit, you'd have been free. Do you disagree? Can you only be free when supported by a community?

 

Suppose 100 of us lived in a village with no modern technology, cut off from the outside world. Are we free? If we learn that another village 1000 miles away has cell phones and hospitals, does that diminish our freedom?

 

I think freedom does not guarantee or require any minimum standard of living. We may choose to create that as a good policy, but for me, that isn't tied to freedom.

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So, how does my decision not to wear a seat belt impinge on your freedom? If I want to drink 44 oz Big Gulps, how is that like taking a dump in your living room? If I wanted to marry 6 women, what business is it of yours?

I didn't comment on these issues, but if you want me to, here goes:

1. Driving isn't a right. (Free movement is, but you can travel by bus, train, plane or on foot.) Government regulates driving for safety, e.g. by forbidding drunk driving. In an accident, a person who has hit their head has no more control, and may be unconscious. A person who is belted in, if not too badly injured, will still be able to pull the car to the side, get out, maybe render aide to others. It's a safety issue, and the government can regulate it because it isn't a right. I'm for it.

2. No government regulated your right to drink any amount of Big Gulps. You can buy any number you want and drink them. They regulated the size of the cup that can be sold. Anyway, it's a stupid rule. I'm against it in the grounds of stupidity (not on the grounds of freedom).

3. Marrying multiple partners is a regulatory nightmare in a society that has welfare. If you have 6 wives with 3 children each, and can't work (or die) and if too many people do that, it places an inordinate burden on the social welfare system. While the prohibition against plural marriage came originally from of religion, it has practical value in a society that takes care of its poorest. I'm for it.

 

American soldiers voluntarily accept physical fitness as a condition of employment. But, what about the general populace? Does the government have the right to coerce (not "encourage") the physical fitness of its citizens?

 

For the general public, no.

 

In public schools, school boards set the curriculum and can (in fact should) insist on gym class. The state or federal government can withhold matching funds to schools that don't have a minimum number of gym class hours.

 

This is not exactly coersion, but certainly it's government getting involved in our lives. In this case, I'm for it.

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More generally, we don't live alone on Mars, we live in a complicated society, with many risks and benefits.

 

Societies must regulate for the common good, and that always takes some freedom away from the members of that society.

 

The second amendment is a good example. The right to bear arms is absolute, but it doesn't say which arms. I think that in a society such as ours, it should not be anyone's right to manufacture and own a nuclear weapon. Then move down from there: we shouldn't be allowed to own guided missiles, anthrax, chemical weapons, bombs, and grenades. I'd also ban private ownership of large magazine automatic weapons.

 

The framers wrote the second amendment for the weapons they knew in the society in which they lived. If they had lived in a society in which an angry racist could walk into a community center with an automatic weapon and kill 40 people in minutes, they'd have phrased it differently. Why? Because they weren't stupid.

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I agree with just about everything you said. But, it's no fun talking about what we agree on. So, this part that I quoted above is something that I probably wouldn't have thought of in my own definition of freedom.

 

If you were dropped in what we now call Virginia, back a thousand years ago, would you have been free? You'd have lived a very harsh life with no money, no 'living wage job', no social mobility, and no opportunity to pursue your wants. But, I submit, you'd have been free. Do you disagree? Can you only be free when supported by a community?

 

Suppose 100 of us lived in a village with no modern technology, cut off from the outside world. Are we free? If we learn that another village 1000 miles away has cell phones and hospitals, does that diminish our freedom?

 

I think freedom does not guarantee or require any minimum standard of living. We may choose to create that as a good policy, but for me, that isn't tied to freedom.

 

I agree a person dropped in Virginia a thousand years ago could be free. Judging by our modern standards it's a less desirable life and the kind of freedom is different from ours now. However it might have been fine for a person at that time.

 

As for your second example the two villages are separate whether one is more or less free in quantitative or qualitative terms doesn't matter. They have nothing to do with each other. The problem comes when people in the less developed village become envious of those other villagers with cell phones and hospitals and start a war. The same is true if those villagers with cell phones and hospitals decide to colonize the less developed villagers to exploit their labor or impose their ways on them. In either case freedom in some way is jeopardized.

 

The problem for people living together in one society is how power is used by some with means and authority to harm and impose upon others. If a few powerful people can arrange the socioeconomic structure so that some people have affordable healthcare and quality education while the many do not how are the many equally free ? How do they enjoy " like liberty " ? A sick or maimed person unable to access care is prevented from making a wide range of choices. A less or poorly educated person is often limited in thought, expression, and opportunity. They will lack choice - freedom. Government can be a vehicle for changing this situation through it ability to make laws or provide services creating conditions for the equal right to choose for more people.

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I often thought of freedom as being equal to how wild animals live. No laws, kill or be killed, survival of the fittest.

Although this is the only natural "law of the land" we NEED a large government to control every aspect of our lives to keep us from resorting to total anarchy and chaos. How would we redistribute the money from the wealthy elite to help the poor if this was not the case?

 

Freedom is a good thing for individuals which we all are. We need government to prevent us from harming each other and to create social, economic, and political conditions that allow each person to control themselves and follow his/her own goals. However the power of government must be limited not arbitrary as well to prevent tyranny. While I support wealth redistribution to help the poor and disadvantaged it should not undermine individual liberty. Too much or too little hurts individuals in the name of community which illiberal.

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I didn't comment on these issues, but if you want me to, here goes:

1. Driving isn't a right. (Free movement is, but you can travel by bus, train, plane or on foot.) Government regulates driving for safety, e.g. by forbidding drunk driving. In an accident, a person who has hit their head has no more control, and may be unconscious. A person who is belted in, if not too badly injured, will still be able to pull the car to the side, get out, maybe render aide to others. It's a safety issue, and the government can regulate it because it isn't a right. I'm for it.

2. No government regulated your right to drink any amount of Big Gulps. You can buy any number you want and drink them. They regulated the size of the cup that can be sold. Anyway, it's a stupid rule. I'm against it in the grounds of stupidity (not on the grounds of freedom).

3. Marrying multiple partners is a regulatory nightmare in a society that has welfare. If you have 6 wives with 3 children each, and can't work (or die) and if too many people do that, it places an inordinate burden on the social welfare system. While the prohibition against plural marriage came originally from of religion, it has practical value in a society that takes care of its poorest. I'm for it.

 

For the general public, no.

 

In public schools, school boards set the curriculum and can (in fact should) insist on gym class. The state or federal government can withhold matching funds to schools that don't have a minimum number of gym class hours.

 

This is not exactly coersion, but certainly it's government getting involved in our lives. In this case, I'm for it.

 

I would debate any of these, but that would be going down a rabbit hole. So, I just want to talk about the sentence I emphasized above. This is an example of the trade-offs we make between our values. You're in favor of restrictions on marriage because they make welfare administration easier. You don't see much value in group marriage, so you casually render it illegal to save some money. Marriage restriction isn't some casual inconvenience. It has a profound effect on the way people live their lives. I have no personal interest in a group marriage, but I don't like the idea that the government can dictate such things.

 

Some could argue that prohibitions on sodomy and premarital sex have "practical value" in preventing the spread of disease and teen pregnancy. Would you support those laws? Personally, I don't believe we should be picking and choosing when freedom is important and when it's not. I think freedom is always important and should only be restricted as a last resort. "Practical value" is not sufficient.

 

If government can control something as basic to human freedom as marriage, just to help government operate more efficiently, then what can't they do? Surely marriage is as much a basic human right as free speech and privacy.

 

 

More generally, we don't live alone on Mars, we live in a complicated society, with many risks and benefits.

 

Societies must regulate for the common good, and that always takes some freedom away from the members of that society.

 

The second amendment is a good example. The right to bear arms is absolute, but it doesn't say which arms. I think that in a society such as ours, it should not be anyone's right to manufacture and own a nuclear weapon. Then move down from there: we shouldn't be allowed to own guided missiles, anthrax, chemical weapons, bombs, and grenades. I'd also ban private ownership of large magazine automatic weapons.

 

The framers wrote the second amendment for the weapons they knew in the society in which they lived. If they had lived in a society in which an angry racist could walk into a community center with an automatic weapon and kill 40 people in minutes, they'd have phrased it differently. Why? Because they weren't stupid.

 

Neither are we stupid. So let's write it the way it should be written. Let's amend the Constitution to take into account current technology. Until we do, the law is the law. We shouldn't have 5 of 9 changing the law as they see fit. If the Constitution doesn't mean what it says, then it has no meaning at all. Without the Constitution, our freedom has no protection.

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The only way to control a civilized society full of diversity is to regulate their lives for the purpose of effecting positive safety and order.

 

As far as the Constitution goes, this was written SO LONG AGO it virtually has no meaning in today's advanced society.

 

To hear words like these from a liberal makes me fear for the future of this nation. "Today's advanced society" is driven by the same primitive forces of greed, discrimination, and lust for power that drove the world of 1700's. Technology has changed...people haven't.

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I agree a person dropped in Virginia a thousand years ago could be free. Judging by our modern standards it's a less desirable life and the kind of freedom is different from ours now. However it might have been fine for a person at that time.

 

As for your second example the two villages are separate whether one is more or less free in quantitative or qualitative terms doesn't matter. They have nothing to do with each other. The problem comes when people in the less developed village become envious of those other villagers with cell phones and hospitals and start a war. The same is true if those villagers with cell phones and hospitals decide to colonize the less developed villagers to exploit their labor or impose their ways on them. In either case freedom in some way is jeopardized.

 

The problem for people living together in one society is how power is used by some with means and authority to harm and impose upon others. If a few powerful people can arrange the socioeconomic structure so that some people have affordable healthcare and quality education while the many do not how are the many equally free ? How do they enjoy " like liberty " ? A sick or maimed person unable to access care is prevented from making a wide range of choices. A less or poorly educated person is often limited in thought, expression, and opportunity. They will lack choice - freedom. Government can be a vehicle for changing this situation through it ability to make laws or provide services creating conditions for the equal right to choose for more people.

 

If I wanted to smoke marijuana and someone says "No! You can't do that.", then my freedom has been restricted.

If I approach someone else and say "Give me medical care." and they refuse to do what I command, that is not a restriction on my freedom.

 

Would you agree with that?

 

Medical care isn't some community watering hole, replenished by rain from the heavens, that we all drink from. It's the precious labor of other citizens who may or may not choose to do your bidding...because they are also free.

 

Certainly, we may choose to require medical workers to treat people who can't pay. When we do that, we are placing our other values (compassion, perhaps) ahead of freedom. That's a perfectly understandable and defensible choice to make. We all have different priorities for our values. Freedom isn't equally important to all people. However, I think it's important that people understand the trade-offs we're making. The more we try to satisfy our other values, the less freedom remains. Compared to the world I was born into, the difference is amazing.

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We as a society have to but freedom last to protect the good of the people.

 

To hear words like these from a liberal makes me fear for the future of this nation. "Today's advanced society" is driven by the same primitive forces of greed, discrimination, and lust for power that drove the world of 1700's. Technology has changed...people haven't.

 

After wading through all the bullshit, GreenMachine was part of a group of far Right Wing moles, here in the LO Rm. Aside from their fictional stories of irresponsibility and decadence, they carried the Left Wing agenda to ridiculous extremes like as above.

 

No true Liberal is in favor of putting "freedom last". Those are the words of a mocking, far right, imposter.

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After wading through all the bullshit, GreenMachine was part of a group of far Right Wing moles, here in the LO Rm. Aside from their fictional stories of irresponsibility and decadence, they carried the Left Wing agenda to ridiculous extremes like as above.

 

No true Liberal is in favor of putting "freedom last". Those are the words of a mocking, far right, imposter.

 

I should have known. I'm sorry I responded to it.

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You're in favor of restrictions on marriage because they make welfare administration easier. You don't see much value in group marriage, so you casually render it illegal to save some money.

That was only one hastily thrown out objection. Don't take that to be the only one.

 

All the justifications for same sex marriage that involve partner rights wouldn't hold here. Same sex couples wanted to make end of life medical decisions; with plural marriage you'll have plural disputes there. Husbands #3 and #5 want no heroic measures to preserve the life of wife #2 in a vegetative state ... but wife #1 and husbands #1,2, and 4 don't agree, but also don't agree with each other about what life preserving measures should be taken. Lawsuit, court, acrimony, destruction of family ... but lawyers make lotsa moolah. ;)

 

Inheritance without a will, to the surviving spouse, makes sense; with plural marriage, the surviving spouses and children with different needs will cause a legal nightmare. Should they all inherit the same? Wife #1 has MS, but the child of wife #2 has an expensive chronic disease: who gets dead daddy's money?

 

People can cohabit and have sex any way they want to. Marriage implies legal recognition and legal protections. Legalizing same sex marriage was easy with respect to legal protection: same sex couples just get what opposite sex couples already had. We don't even know what legal protections should be offered in plural marriage. What will divorce mean? Who will be required to pay alimony and child support? Why should co-husband #3 be required to pay child support for co-husband #2's child with co-wife #4, if they didn't even ever have sex or even like being in the same room? (Because plural marriage means grade-school intrigue within the family. Don't believe it? Ever watch Jerry Springer? Stupid people can't even handle binary relationships. Plural relationships offer too much freedom for the 60% of society that are dumb as wood blocks.)

 

Government doesn't have to account for every aspect of human life. If it did, that itself would limit freedom.

 

Neither are we stupid. So let's write it the way it should be written. Let's amend the Constitution to take into account current technology. Until we do, the law is the law. We shouldn't have 5 of 9 changing the law as they see fit. If the Constitution doesn't mean what it says, then it has no meaning at all. Without the Constitution, our freedom has no protection.

That would be a useless endeavor, because technology and science increase exponentially and law changes at less than even human speed. If you manage to change the constitution to account for technology, even if you plan technology for the foreseeable future, those amendments will be overtaken by events within a decade. We're down the rabbit hole: technology is uncontrollable.

 

Better to only tweak as necessary, but interpret according to conditions. SCOTUS is slow, but much faster than the amendment process, and if you try to make amendments for technology they'll be obsolete before they're even close to being passed.

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After wading through all the bullshit, GreenMachine was part of a group of far Right Wing moles, here in the LO Rm. Aside from their fictional stories of irresponsibility and decadence, they carried the Left Wing agenda to ridiculous extremes like as above.

There's Bludog, standing up for truth, justice, and the American way! ;)

 

Seriously, though, thanks for spotting this and taking action. Trolls are unpleasant.

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If I wanted to smoke marijuana and someone says "No! You can't do that.", then my freedom has been restricted.

If I approach someone else and say "Give me medical care." and they refuse to do what I command, that is not a restriction on my freedom.

 

Would you agree with that?

 

Medical care isn't some community watering hole, replenished by rain from the heavens, that we all drink from. It's the precious labor of other citizens who may or may not choose to do your bidding...because they are also free.

 

Certainly, we may choose to require medical workers to treat people who can't pay. When we do that, we are placing our other values (compassion, perhaps) ahead of freedom. That's a perfectly understandable and defensible choice to make. We all have different priorities for our values. Freedom isn't equally important to all people. However, I think it's important that people understand the trade-offs we're making. The more we try to satisfy our other values, the less freedom remains. Compared to the world I was born into, the difference is amazing.

 

Let's be clear for the sake of debate.

 

Not just anyone can prevent you from smoking marijuana. Only the government has legal authority to do that. We want individuals to be free from that kind of constraint. Secondly, when it comes to healthcare where not talking about individuals being required to pay directly for others care or healthcare providers arbitrarily denying anyone care for whatever reason impinging on individual freedom. The problem relates to the uninsured in the healthcare marketplace. If they are debilitated or disabled because they lack coverage to pay for care they could otherwise get is individual freedom inhibited ? I would say such people are deprived of choices they would have if only they could pay for needed medical care. Furthermore we can't leave them to the market or charity alone. Government has a part to play by providing insurance coverage as a public good that gives individuals choices they wouldn't have any other way. ​

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That was only one hastily thrown out objection. Don't take that to be the only one.

 

All the justifications for same sex marriage that involve partner rights wouldn't hold here. Same sex couples wanted to make end of life medical decisions; with plural marriage you'll have plural disputes there. Husbands #3 and #5 want no heroic measures to preserve the life of wife #2 in a vegetative state ... but wife #1 and husbands #1,2, and 4 don't agree, but also don't agree with each other about what life preserving measures should be taken. Lawsuit, court, acrimony, destruction of family ... but lawyers make lotsa moolah. ;)

 

Inheritance without a will, to the surviving spouse, makes sense; with plural marriage, the surviving spouses and children with different needs will cause a legal nightmare. Should they all inherit the same? Wife #1 has MS, but the child of wife #2 has an expensive chronic disease: who gets dead daddy's money?

 

People can cohabit and have sex any way they want to. Marriage implies legal recognition and legal protections. Legalizing same sex marriage was easy with respect to legal protection: same sex couples just get what opposite sex couples already had. We don't even know what legal protections should be offered in plural marriage. What will divorce mean? Who will be required to pay alimony and child support? Why should co-husband #3 be required to pay child support for co-husband #2's child with co-wife #4, if they didn't even ever have sex or even like being in the same room? (Because plural marriage means grade-school intrigue within the family. Don't believe it? Ever watch Jerry Springer? Stupid people can't even handle binary relationships. Plural relationships offer too much freedom for the 60% of society that are dumb as wood blocks.)

 

The issues you raise (end of life decisions, inheritance without a will) would be no more difficult for multiple spouses than they are currently for unmarried people with multiple children. Courts deal with this daily. Yes, it might employ a few more lawyers, but nothing severe. I suspect the vast majority of us would stick with the monogamous model. The answer to the child support issue is easily solved. Is the child yours biologically? Did you adopt it?

 

I suspect that our bias against multi-person marriages stems from our religious history.

 

Stupid people deserve freedom too. Don't fall into that trap. Otherwise, the smartest guy in the world should be telling all the rest of us what to do.

 

 

Government doesn't have to account for every aspect of human life. If it did, that itself would limit freedom.

 

That would be a useless endeavor, because technology and science increase exponentially and law changes at less than even human speed. If you manage to change the constitution to account for technology, even if you plan technology for the foreseeable future, those amendments will be overtaken by events within a decade. We're down the rabbit hole: technology is uncontrollable.

 

Better to only tweak as necessary, but interpret according to conditions. SCOTUS is slow, but much faster than the amendment process, and if you try to make amendments for technology they'll be obsolete before they're even close to being passed.

 

I did not mean that the Constitution should accommodate every technological detail. Only society-affecting advances need to be addressed: cloning, the internet, advanced weaponry. Please don't take that to imply that the Constitution should be amended every time Apple releases an new phone.

 

Sometimes, it's society that changes instead of technology (abortion for example) but the same principle applies. In the early years, they amended the Constitution regularly. They HAD TO because they actually lived by the Constitution. When the Constitution was an obstacle, they fixed it. Today, we just put the Constitution in a drawer and do whatever we want. That's a small exaggeration, but that's the direction we're headed. Do you think we would have got something like the Citizens United ruling if our government truly followed the Constitution? Shouldn't a change that drastic call for consideration as an amendment?

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