Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thoughts on Political Freedom

A friend of mine who spends a great deal of his time in old China has commented to me that the Chinese people seem to have a gap in their social experience. I explained that something happens when the mind is chained in a multi-generational sense. Children propagandized by dogmatic tyrants have had not only their capacity to think for themselves abrogated; they have had their capacity to make moral choices taken from them. Given fifty or sixty years, it creates a generation of people who need to re-learn morality and the quality of mercy.

The very foundation of capitalism is human freedom in its most classical, liberal tradition. And that frightens American progressives to their very core. Try to explain it and they will deny it with vitriol. Capitalism's incredible production of wealth is the economic side-effect that occurs when political freedom is present. It has been argued, and I agree, that both economic and political freedom are absolute prerequisites for moral behavior.

The moral case for capitalism is not taught in our schools, nor is it argued much in our culture. In fact it has been more or less universally accepted by the intellectual elites that systems such as communism and socialism are "morally superior" to capitalism, hence more "socially just", even though in practice such systems have led to the death and enslavement of millions, and to those unlucky enough not to die from them, they have led to the most horrible shrinking and wasting of the human soul.

The truth is that neither socialism nor communism nor any kind of religious fanaticism is compatible with morality at all. If all of one's actions are coerced by the state or religion, or both; if human activity is indoctrinated, legislated, regulated and ordained down to the last minute detail--particularly to the degree we see in other countries of the world --then how can it possibly be argued that one's actions are moral? 

Human behavior under such systems is not voluntarily chosen, but actively coerced. Morality has to be a matter of choice, not mandate. One cannot hold a person responsible for actions that are coerced or forced from him. Morality can only exist when freedom of action exists; and thus moral actions in any field of human endeavor require freedom.

Conduct may only be thought of as moral or immoral when it is freely chosen by the individual. It is only then that the moral significance of the action can be assessed. It is only when we are free to act that we can exercise moral judgement.

Which brings us to a capitalist political/economic system. Only in a free economic system within a free political system is it even possible to be moral, since benevolence toward others, compassion, charity, and generosity cannot exist without freedom. Benevolence, generosity, charity, and compassion that are mandated by the state, or by a religion (on pain of death or other consequence); or by any regulations on behavior; or by force--are meaningless insofar as individual morality is concerned.

The American left's utopian agenda has forgotten that human ambition and the drive to freedom is not as easily crushed or eradicated--as the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century discovered; and as the ones of the 21st will soon realize. 

The human spirit--a spirit which strives always to throw off the shackles hold it down; which constantly veers toward freedom and away from slavery--cannot ever be completely extinguished and will always rise from the ashes of the left's next failed utopian experiment.


Opus #6 said...

LL, this is one of your best pieces ever. Bravo.

I agree that the morality of capitalism is an oft-ignored argument. But it is the basis of my efforts in this struggle. I do not want to see the American Dream stolen from my children. In my teen years in Sweden, the Swedish children had their dreams stolen away. They told me that flat out. Just talking to them made my heart feel hollow and I could not WAIT to get back to America, the land of the free. I may or may not make a success of myself in America, but the opportunity is there. And that is precious and good and just.

As for our moral choices, we can choose to follow religions or lines of thought as Americans that may teach us higher moral values as we journey through life. But it is still a choice.

The grey life of socialism means everyone is so drained of property that nobody has anything left to give to the needy. And we are assured by the state that the needy are well provided for. And our anger at the state is so intense we demand that THEY pay for the needy and not we, who can no longer afford it. Wait, this sounds like the way American progressive socialists act now.

I pray we can get this country back on track where we each truly have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (property).

darlin said...

You have expressed some extremely interesting comments LL and I agree with what you're saying. Without freedom what do we have? Not a damn thing and nope, not even morality.

Azra S. said...

This was articulated very well and was quite interesting and enlightening... gave me something to think about.

Xmichra said...

I realy enjoyed this post, and came back today for a second read. I wish I could articulate my thoughts on this properly, and I may have to come back again to do so. I find myself with a lack of knowledge in this arena (politics) and would have to brush up on it before makeing an idea opinion. But this post has a lot to chew on, and for that, I thank you. Not much gets me interested in the ideals of politics. But this post has definately done that.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin