Wednesday, June 27, 2007


19 years ago, I gave my youngest daughter the name "Liberty" in part because I always liked the nickname "Libby" and in part because I truly believe that people should be free to do what they want -- as long as they don't actively harm others through their actions. The famous example of the limits of freedom of speech being that it doesn't give one the right to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater when there's no fire. Freedom of speech also doesn't give one the right to tell harmful lies about another.

The Federalist publishes a "Patriot Post" newsletter, which has the strong purpose of promoting freedom in America. It promotes the view that things are good which lead to freedom, and things are bad which seek to take away our freedoms.

The current popular consideration (it seems to me) is that freedom should consist of "freedoms from" such things as hunger, poverty, war, illness and various other unpleasantnesses of one kind or another. Freedom from being reminded that others have deep religious beliefs seem to be one of the "freedoms" that the ACLU is promoting, in their aggressive actions against the Boy Scouts of America and others who dare to include religious displays or actions as part of their daily lives.

My view is that the better definition of freedom is the "freedom to" do things, not the "freedom from" things. Otherwise a "freedom from" mentality sets in and you have the modern-day liberal, nanny-state, wanting freedom from a host of things that make up reality.

Here are some quotes from the Federalist today that got me thinking on this subject:
"By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes is his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion." ---Lord Acton

"But to manipulate men, to propel them toward goals which you---the social reformers---see, but they may not, is to deny their human essence, to treat them as objects without wills of their own, and therefore to degrade them." ---Isaiah Berlin

My view, which is the view of a typical Scientologist is that life is a game, and that games consist of freedoms, barriers, and purposes. Without freedoms to do things, it's difficult to play a good game in life.

Enabling people to do things like study, get off drugs, run a successful business -- these are the things that Scientologists do that make a better life for everyone involved.

What's your view on freedom?

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