Saturday, May 19, 2007

Three Views of Freedom

For your consideration:

The Great Swamp of Life, hundreds of miles across going each way. It is deep and deadly full of quicksand and deadly critters. There are thousands of miles of safe roads which criss-cross the swamp and lead to most places that are worth going to and there are also a couple of railroads but a lot of it is just guck.

Some brave souls think that the only proper way to travel is to go cross-country through the quicksand and other deadly stuff. These people can go as they wish but the terrain makes it very difficult to get anywhere and many never come back. Everyone has to do it from time to time, but a handful of souls seem to think it is the only true way to get anywhere.

Others like the railroads because you can't go wrong on them, and they go is where they must go. They have no choice. The railroads only lead to a couple of places.

Others pretty much stick to the roads because you can get anywhere you have to go and do so with reasonable safety and speed, and if you really need to, you can cut cross-country but that is not a preferred option as people often get lost in the swamp and never return.

Life is like that swamp and there are three different ways to look at freedom.

The anarchistic view of freedom is that there should be no laws or regulations but people should do what they want and consequences be damned. These are the people who reject any roads. Their path leads to drug addiction, incurable STDs, ignorance and poverty. Many who follow this way of freedom, like those who heedlessly wander into the swamp, never find their way back to the way of life.

The deterministic view of freedom really doesn't believe in freedom, but believes we are set on a path by some combination of nature and nurture and we are unable to deviate from it. Like those who prefer only the train tracks you can go only where you are lead. Their idea of freedom is being able to do what you are programmed to do. People must be free to follow any sexual inclination they have because they have no choice but to do it. If a man kills another it is not his fault because he only did as he was programmed to do, and the problem lies with the system that programmed him. This is view of much of the left. They view freedom as a single train track that goes where it goes and freedom is being allowed to travel on it as you are naturally inclined to do. Free Will does not truly exist to these people so there is no such thing as good and evil on a personal level, but only at a societal level where people are programmed to behave a certain way.

The third view of freedom believes that choices can and should be made and that one should, in the vast majority of cases, stick to the law. These are those who follow the roads that can take you anywhere you want or need to go. Law is not so much a damper on freedom as it is a method of making freedom flow smoothly. People have free will and should be able to choose their path, and take responsibility for the consequences of that choice. While circumstances may occasionally force us to take to the swamp, possibly to blaze a new road, by and large we stick to the proven path.

Those who claim to believe in freedom and also determination believe a contradiction. They believe a person should be free, for example to make sexual decisions, but that is a false decision to them, because the decision is all ready made by the natural desires of your body and mind. Though they speak of "personal choice" they really don't believe you have any choice because you are who you are and you are what you are. Their idea of freedom is surrendering to your own bodily instincts. Others who believe that we cannot resist sin take the other route and make it impossible to be tempted (by wrapping their women in bundles of clothing and making it impossible to see a woman) because again they don't believe freedom is possible.

I strongly believe that I have free will and I decide what I am going to do. If a beautiful woman walks by scantily clad, my nature is to gawk and fantasize, but I can and do choose to put my mind in anther direction. I am my body's master, it is not my master. I am free to choose my own path, and because I am moral I choose the moral path. I am responsible for what I do and if I intentionally harm another, it is I and not my upbringing who is responsible. Without choice there is no freedom and without law and/or morality, freedom becomes anarchy.

Sorry about the ramble but this has been on my mind today.


Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Free will means precisely that: the ability to CHOOSE one's destiny be it right, or be it wrong -- and then, moreover, the FREEDOM to be RESPONSIBLE and ANSWERABLE for whatever choices one makes.


11:44 PM  
Blogger The Mother Jug-a-Rum said...

Speaking of roads Shoprat, I'll be driving up to your neck of the woods at the end of June. Traverse City to be exact, possibly Detroit too. I've got to help my Mother-in-Law fix her house up. Any chance of meeting?

1:59 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

contact me through the link called "My Stuff" and I'll see what we can do.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Well thought out post on your views!

5:06 PM  

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