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On liberty

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) writes | more than 5 years ago

User Journal 13

Comments from my last journal entry indicate I need to strongly define my definitions for the "self-evident rights" found in the Declaration of Independence. It appears I have different definitions than is common for America, though any Roman Catholic Scholar will find my definitions somewhat mirror those in Summa Theologicae by St. Thomas Aquinas.Comments from my last journal entry indicate I need to strongly define my definitions for the "self-evident rights" found in the Declaration of Independence. It appears I have different definitions than is common for America, though any Roman Catholic Scholar will find my definitions somewhat mirror those in Summa Theologicae by St. Thomas Aquinas.

Liberty to me is much harder to define than the Right to Life, mainly because I'm not at all sure that a life I see as slavery, isn't really one of liberty. Many choose the harder path to salvation. However, we are all human, and as humans, we have certain needs and wants in common. Abraham Maslow defined a hierarchy of needs and wants in the human animal. I'm not so sure I agree with everything he wrote, but if you move sex from Physiological level to Safety level, I'm pretty close.

All rights are really duty to higher governmental, economic, and parental units, and Liberty is the same. Liberty means that we are living in a society that provides enough support for us to provide the Physiological needs for ourselves, and work towards Safety level wants, and maybe most important, to do so in such a way that the time taken up in pursuit of Physiological needs + Safety leaves resources in our lives for pursuit of the higher wants. If all of your time is taken up pursuing Physiological needs then you'll never have time for Safety needs. If all of your time is taken up pursuing Physiological and Safety needs, then you'll have no time for the higher joys of being human, and it is those joys that we term the profits of liberty.

13 comments

liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26810459)

Liberty means that we are living in a society that provides enough support for us to provide the Physiological needs for ourselves,...

You've defined Liberty as indirect Socialism ("society needing to provide us enough support so that we can provide for our own needs", which is just one level of indirection away from "society needing to provide for our own needs").

It's the classic dueling "equality of outcomes" by the Left vs. "equality of opportunities" by the Right, in the context of which should govt. (or society) properly be tasked with. But this is "the role of govt.", not "liberty". Liberty isn't about ensuring your needs are met, at whatever level(s). Liberty is about ensuring that you can go about it however you want. Or even not at all, if you so choose! The notion of some minimal social safety net is worthwhile IMO (in fact, I'm in one right now), but don't confuse that with liberty.

Liberty is not about the responsibilities society has to you, it's about what it cannot do to you! Liberty is like a vacuum -- you have it when there's nothing there, not when there's something there.

Re:liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812367)

You've defined Liberty as indirect Socialism ("society needing to provide us enough support so that we can provide for our own needs", which is just one level of indirection away from "society needing to provide for our own needs").
 
Based, of course, on the idea that if you're spending 18 hours a day being a subsistence farmer, then you have no choices at all, no "liberties". What society gives us towards liberty is the time to have liberty. It is in fact the only thing society can give us.
 
  It's the classic dueling "equality of outcomes" by the Left vs. "equality of opportunities" by the Right, in the context of which should govt. (or society) properly be tasked with.
 
And what I'm pointing out is that this is a fake duality- without certain basic outcomes that are common to everybody, there can not be *any* opportunities for *anybody*. Those opportunities are only there if the individual has the time to take advantage of the opportunity, and if that individual is spending all of his time providing his own physiological needs, then he might as well not have ANY opportunity at all.
 
  But this is "the role of govt.", not "liberty". Liberty isn't about ensuring your needs are met, at whatever level(s). Liberty is about ensuring that you can go about it however you want.
 
And if you don't have those basic needs, you can't go about it however you want- you have to spend all of your time procuring those basic needs.
 
  Or even not at all, if you so choose! The notion of some minimal social safety net is worthwhile IMO (in fact, I'm in one right now), but don't confuse that with liberty.
 
Without that minimal safety net (and it doesn't have to be provided by government- for me the Knights of Columbus have proved to be an excellent mutual aid safety net), would you have any opportunities?
 
  Liberty is not about the responsibilities society has to you, it's about what it cannot do to you! Liberty is like a vacuum -- you have it when there's nothing there, not when there's something there.
 
Yes. But if your needs are not being met- there's something there. ONLY after your physiological and safety needs have been removed, can you have nothing there.

Re:liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26824947)

Why are you introducing a character working 18 hours a day? Even still, if there's no one telling him how he must meet his ends, then he has liberty. The hypothetical lack of opportunity to pursue any of the activities higher on the pyramid *feels* like a lack of liberty, but it is not. Any more than a black sweater ceases to be a black sweater when the lights go out and you can't see it anymore.

Re:liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827617)

Why are you introducing a character working 18 hours a day?
 
Because that's the default human condition for an Agricultural Society with NO safety net- subsistence farming.
 
  Even still, if there's no one telling him how he must meet his ends, then he has liberty.
 
Without corporate and personal welfare, that's the default human condition for meeting ends- you're right there's no one telling him how to meet his ends, but then again, there's nobody giving him any alternate opportunities either.
 
  The hypothetical lack of opportunity to pursue any of the activities higher on the pyramid *feels* like a lack of liberty, but it is not.
 
If there are no other opportunities, then what good is liberty?
 
  Any more than a black sweater ceases to be a black sweater when the lights go out and you can't see it anymore.
 
It's more like a black sweater that has been lit on fire (totalitarian agriculture societies introduce private property to discourage hunting and gathering), after the fire has gone out. You can claim it's still there, but it's become utterly useless to anybody.

Re:liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26837601)

...- you're right there's no one telling him how to meet his ends, but then again, there's nobody giving him any alternate opportunities either.

Since when does life owe you anything? I don't understand the focus on looking towards other people or entities to take care of you. Not only are the American people crooked and irresponsible, they're also immature.

If I serve you in any way it's because the Lord moves me to do so in that instance. But otherwise I and others are not here to service your needs.

If there are no other opportunities, then what good is liberty?

I don't think there actually can be "no opportunities" in a land where there is liberty. Because liberty includes freedom of travel, you always have the opportunity to move somewhere where there's more opportunities. Even in a theoretical town with only one line of work available, you always have the opportunity to, say, mooch off a friend for a while, or eat out of a dumpster, or starve yourself to death. The point is, the only way there can possibly be "no other opportunities" but one line of work, is where you're prevented from escaping and forced to work. I.e. where you conspicuously don't have liberty.

Re:liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26843317)

Since when does life owe you anything?
 
Since some White Guy with a gun came in and took away hunting rights and built the Dalles Dam to destroy our fishing rights.
 
  I don't understand the focus on looking towards other people or entities to take care of you.
 
Well, I'm fine with that too- nobody asked for civilization or property rights, the main things preventing me from taking care of myself.
 
  Not only are the American people crooked and irresponsible, they're also immature.
 
Well, for that matter, it goes far beyond America- and has been happening since Cain killed Abel so that he could plow up the wilderness to plant grain.
 
  If I serve you in any way it's because the Lord moves me to do so in that instance. But otherwise I and others are not here to service your needs.
 
In that case, stop asking for what the Lord gave to EVERYBODY: the Garden of Eden, and the right to hunt and gather. If it wasn't for private property, you'd have those rights, and could take care of yourself without messing with central banks, money, civilization, or anything else.
 
  I don't think there actually can be "no opportunities" in a land where there is liberty.
 
True. But there can be "no opportunities" in a land where there is no liberty- if you don't have the freedom to travel (because you either can't afford it, or because totalitarian agriculture has denied you that right) then somebody better provide you with the wherewithal to live.
 
  Even in a theoretical town with only one line of work available, you always have the opportunity to, say, mooch off a friend for a while, or eat out of a dumpster, or starve yourself to death.
 
Are you seriously considering suicide to be a viable opportunity? I don't. I've got minimum standards of decency.
 
  The point is, the only way there can possibly be "no other opportunities" but one line of work, is where you're prevented from escaping and forced to work. I.e. where you conspicuously don't have liberty.
 
Agreed. And once private property rights have been established all over the world- you can't escape, there is no liberty. And since that is the case- since there are no lands left where a man can live free to hunt and gather without being threatened by the agricultural totalitarians- liberty moves to a new standard. That new standard is civilization- and it is the duty of a civilization to provide the basic needs for it's residence- the needs that it has denied them the right to gain for themselves.

Re:liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852539)

You seem to be temporarily stuck in the mindset that really all that liberty essentially equals is the right to roam, and consume some cache of unclaimed resources at your leisure. That sounds like the Garden, not post-Fall earth. See Genesis 3 [biblegateway.com] -- For screwing up, women were awarded things like pain in childbirth, and men got a life-time sentence of hard labor working the land:

17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
              "Cursed is the ground because of you;
              through painful toil you will eat of it
              all the days of your life.

  18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
              and you will eat the plants of the field.

  19 By the sweat of your brow
              you will eat your food
              until you return to the ground,
              since from it you were taken;
              for dust you are
              and to dust you will return."

Banished to a life of working the land for one's survival, dividing it up into owned parcels is a logical and one way to do it. Besides, we're not living so restricted as you enjoy painting -- I don't have to survive off of whatever I can grow or gather on my own property, we have trade. Because you're for one extreme (socialism), you seem to want to paint what we have now as another extreme, to try to justify yours. But our current system is not. There is still land for sale. There are so many public thoroughfares and spaces that you definitely can move about freely. Even private property affords public egress rights in certain cases. The other part of the problem is that we have too many people. We can't just live like the Native Americans and hunt bison as they pass by, we'd run out in a heartbeat. We have no choice but to grow and raise our food, like we were cursed to do. The notion of private property rights doesn't conflict with this, because we have capitalism, which entices people to try to produce more than they need, to trade with others to get things that they don't or can't produce for themselves. Thru the compelling force of self-interest we end up cooperating, and I get to eat even tho I don't grow anything edible.

Re:liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875345)

You seem to be temporarily stuck in the mindset that really all that liberty essentially equals is the right to roam, and consume some cache of unclaimed resources at your leisure.
 
NO. That's life, not liberty. LIFE alone requires that.
 
  That sounds like the Garden, not post-Fall earth.
 
It is the Garden. There is no reason why we can't have the Garden- several thousand human beings live in the Garden today, though Cain and the Snake are quickly approaching totality in killing them off, there are a few left.
 
  For screwing up, women were awarded things like pain in childbirth, and men got a life-time sentence of hard labor working the land.
 
Yes, for those humans who are outside of the garden today, that's definitely the punishment.
 
  Banished to a life of working the land for one's survival, dividing it up into owned parcels is a logical and one way to do it.
 
Yes, but how was the banishment accomplished?
 
  Besides, we're not living so restricted as you enjoy painting -- I don't have to survive off of whatever I can grow or gather on my own property, we have trade.
 
And trade impoverishes us still further- by placing us in debt.
 
  Because you're for one extreme (socialism), you seem to want to paint what we have now as another extreme, to try to justify yours
 
Well, I'm for an extreme, but it's not socialism. Socialism and capitalism are the same extreme from my point of view- centralized totalitarianism.
 
  But our current system is not. There is still land for sale.
 
If it's for sale, then that means you need to pay a price for it.
 
  There are so many public thoroughfares and spaces that you definitely can move about freely.
 
Not without paying taxes for them there aren't- in fact Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and California will be closing many of those public throughfares this summer.
 
  Even private property affords public egress rights in certain cases.
 
I haven't heard of this- can you give me more information on that?
 
  The other part of the problem is that we have too many people. We can't just live like the Native Americans and hunt bison as they pass by, we'd run out in a heartbeat. We have no choice but to grow and raise our food, like we were cursed to do.
 
Not entirely true- the Native Americans in my section of the world used to end up with far more food than they needed- so much that destroying wealth became a festival to celebrate births, deaths, weddings, funerals, and a way to shame one's enemies. I have a suspicion that with a combination of modern science in food preservation, a more modern form of hunting and gathering could work.
 
  The notion of private property rights doesn't conflict with this, because we have capitalism, which entices people to try to produce more than they need, to trade with others to get things that they don't or can't produce for themselves.
 
Actually, the end result though is that people produce *only what they need* for trade with others to get the things they can't produce for themselves. They don't over-produce, and they don't cooperate.
 
  Thru the compelling force of self-interest we end up cooperating, and I get to eat even tho I don't grow anything edible.
 
If we cooperated and used the modern food preservation techniques we have, AND cultivated native plants/animals then traded for what we wanted instead of raising only the foods we like, then even urban areas would produce more food and energy than their population could consume. I'm convinced of this- just from the transformation my own garden has had from planting *ONLY* native plants instead of more common vegetables and fruits.
 
In a way, it's a return to the Garden of Eden. Because even if I *stop* tending my garden or get to a point where I can't afford to keep up the slow transformation, letting it go wild at this point will result in an ever-increasing production of food; as the non-native plants die out from drought, and the native plants take over.

Re:liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26882057)

Sorry, you've gone completely off the deep end here -- in most of this I don't know what you're saying, and the rest I just completely disagree with.

Re:liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886365)

Ok, I'll try to make both more clear a bit:

1. Liberty, to me, is the freedom of having free time to do what I can, after I've done what I must. Thus, unless I can *first* provide everything necessary for my LIFE, I can't have any liberty. The right to roam and consume caches of unclaimed resources- well, that's just life, it's something we all must do. Reading poetry, listening to music, watching sci-fi shows- that's liberty.

2. Daniel Quinn is an ex-Catholic anthropologist who came up with the theory that the entire book of Genesis is pre-agricultural myth; and should be interpreted in that light. Specifically the story of Cain and Abel and the Expulsion from the Garden- these were people living in hunter-gatherer societies that were FORCED to live in agricultural societies. But that's not the only way- killing Abel (hunter-gatherers, or sheep herders) to give Cain more land (farming, to grow grain).

We can also choose a third way- to plant a new garden of Eden, using native plants to reduce resource usage while increasing yield. The process is called permaculture- because unlike normal farming, you don't have to reseed every year, you can just plant and harvest for several years in a row. Plant a nice amount of biodiversity, and you can practically harvest forever with no more investment.

Re:liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26900695)

Okay, #2 explained what you were talking about. Permaculture sounds like an interesting idea, but is prolly too associated with paganism, environmental extremism, and socialism to really take off. Certainly describing it in terms of recreating the Garden doesn't go over too well with people like me -- it sounds too "we don't need God, we can have heaven here on earth by our own hands".

Re:liberty is not "needs being met" (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902613)

Permaculture sounds like an interesting idea, but is prolly too associated with paganism, environmental extremism, and socialism to really take off.
 
Well, that's the sad part. In this country, you're probably right.
 
  Certainly describing it in terms of recreating the Garden doesn't go over too well with people like me -- it sounds too "we don't need God, we can have heaven here on earth by our own hands".
 
It's more "plant what God intended to be here and Trust Him that it will be enough for us", but yes, I can see how that would be disturbing to a worldview of reaping what you sow.
 
I'm a little bit pragmatic about it though- you won't find me planting any WHITE camas bulbs soon, even though that's a native plant that is very pretty (White Camas flowers indicate a small mutation that the natives called "Death's Head" Camas- unlike the blue flower that has an edible root, Death's Head Camas contains an alkaloid poison).

Manifest Destiny (1)

Mer_panacea (1381133) | more than 5 years ago | (#26841937)

>it is those joys that we term the profits of liberty.

Profound words..

In the past oftentimes war had become the big trigger to more liberated stage of human life. But we didn't have to worry about total elimination of humankind in even all out war. Time has changed and now we need to use only human wisdom in order to liberate human nature more and more, without experiencing a war.

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