Comments: Quote of the Day

What's this? A philosophy post? Mmmm.

In addition to "legislation" should be added "religion" as in: The ideal of liberty must be accepted as an overriding principle governing them. But the "ultimate ideal about which there must be no compromise for the sake of material advantages" in religion is not liberty, but deity and faith.

Curiously however, religion offers a promise of the unknown and uncertain in return for curtailment of freedom to enjoy tangible advantages in the immediate. (Islamism being only the most stark example of this bargain.) And yet it is still chosen willingly by a great many of us.

Posted by johngalt at June 8, 2010 4:15 PM

And he probably should have said something about using sunscreen, as in: "a good 45 SPF or better will preserve liberty from dermatological catastrophes if used regularly within ten minutes of outdoor exposure."

I think the key word in your comment is "willingly." A is indeed A but Hayek's distributed knowledge allows for the individual to make his own choice about whether the trade you describe is worthwhile. Are you perhaps "centralizing" philosophy?

Posted by jk at June 8, 2010 4:31 PM

Not sure what you mean by centralizing...

I'm trying to integrate the similarities between these two threats to liberty, and finding some differences. (Susceptibility to sunburn not withstanding.) Of course, one has to recognize religion as a threat to liberty before he can appreciate the comparison.

Posted by johngalt at June 8, 2010 7:54 PM

I just don't see it. I generally agree with your premise. I don't think even clergy would disagree with "religion offers a promise of the unknown and uncertain in return for curtailment of freedom to enjoy tangible advantages in the immediate." You could have taught Theology in my Catholic High School with that. "You boys in the back – not so much tangible advantages in the immediate!"

But I cannot join you in equating the voluntary constrictions of religion with the coerced constrictions of government.

If you'll indulge my flippancy one more time "learning a musical instrument offers a promise of the unknown and uncertain in return for curtailment of freedom to enjoy tangible advantages in the immediate." And yet I just purchased a mandolin. Should the Objectivists storm Mel Bay?

Posted by jk at June 9, 2010 10:41 AM

Religious constrictions are voluntary? Perhaps in the west but not, as I alluded, in Muslim lands. The effort to advance Sharia law is an attempt to make religion every bit as coercive as government.

I'll extend the integration to your post on Hoover, who thought using government to infringe on liberty "just this once" as you wrote, who led us down the primrose path from a benign outward-looking federal government as founded to the kleptocratic nanny state we see advancing all around us.

Liberty must be an ideal forming the basis of all permanent arrangements. A healthy and prosperous person must have complete freedom to eat, to work, to learn, to interact and to think as he pleases. Every new little infringement on this ideal accumulates toward those ultimate ends - totalitarian government or authoritarian religion (or both) - we see threatening humankind before our very eyes.

Posted by johngalt at June 9, 2010 3:11 PM
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