Tag Archives: Liberty

What’s a lover of liberty supposed to do?

In my last blog I asked what would be the result if the 2016 presidential election came down to a choice between killing or not killing the baby? And I said I thought, if and when it were to happen, that our country would choose not to kill the baby, and that Ben Carson would be elected president.

What now, I would ask, would be the result if the presidential election came down to a choice between unfettered gun ownership on the one hand, and a path to citizenship for the illegals on the other, the one the darling of the Republicans and the other of the Democrats? In particular what should, what could one do if one is a Libertarian and holds both positions?

Sheldon Richman describes the dilemma, and asks this question.

Gun Control and Immigration
Restrictions are Enemies of Liberty

by Sheldon Richman

What’s a liberty lover to do? Democrats want the government to restrict the right of self-defense, even if it means considering the confiscation of guns. Republicans want the government to control who may come to the country, even if it means compelling employers to clear job applicants through a national database.

Let that sink in. Two of the most important aspects of liberty are self-defense and the search for a better life. One political party would have the state dictate the terms of the first; the other would have the government dictate the terms of the second.

I ask again: what’s a liberty lover to do?

Yes, Roger, “Freedom is a Funny Thing.”

In an op ed piece in today’s NYTimes, The Ottoman Swede, Roger Cohen says this about freedom:

“Freedom is a funny thing. Life without it is misery. But a glance at the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia or now Iraq is a sufficient reminder that distinct peoples forcefully gathered into a dictatorial state will react in the first instance to liberty by trying to get free of each other rather than trying to imagine a liberal democracy.”

Of course Cohen is thinking of any one of the innumerable instances of “distinct peoples forcefully gathered into a dictatorial state,” Chechnyans and Russians, Serbs and Kosovars, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Iraki Sunnis and Shia. But in each of these instances the member pairs are not comparable. There is a real disconnect between them. The new found liberty, although welcomed by the one, represents for the other the loss of its previously dominant political power.

So in the case of each one of these pairs it’s not so much their trying to get free of one another as the one trying to fully realize the newly acquired freedom and the other trying to retain its favored and dominant position.

Are there recent instances of the situation that Cohen describes? That is, two groups formerly under one dictatorial power and then, being free of that power, trying to get free of one another? Perhaps Cyprus? Perhaps Lebanon? Although in each of these instances the freedom obtained through independence was not freedom from a dictatorial power, but from the liberal democracies, England and France.

Perhaps the case of present day Belgium is a better example, although here also we are without the preceding “dictatorial power” in full. In Belgium the efforts of the Flamands to free themselves of the Wallons seems like a reasonable goal, certainly not one that will lead to widespread pain and suffering as in all the above instances.

But Cohen is right, that “freedom is a funny thing.” Too bad that our president never realized just how “funny” it was. There is “freedom to” and “freedom from.” The latter usually preceding the former. In the Middle East the tribes are so taken up with “freedom from” that they have not yet considered what they might and could do with “freedom to.”