Thursday, October 21, 2010

Freedom

As much as FLG hates to admit it, but Ned Resnikoff has an interesting post over at LOG. He writes:
Since I came out of the gate making such a big deal out of the left’s dearth of articulated first principles, I suppose I should probably suggest one or two. Freedom sounds like a good place to start. I have to admit, I’m a little alarmed by how much we’ve allowed the Tea Party to monopolize the language of liberty and tyranny, especially given the peculiar ways in which they’ve employed it.

But before we get there, we need a workable definition of liberty/freedom. I tend to think of it as an array of options or possibilities, with greater freedom meaning more options, and less freedom meaning fewer. Tyranny isn’t just negative freedom, but a particularly extreme and unjust limit put on one’s freedom.

FLG tried to address this over a year ago, when he wrote:
The ultimate goal of Marxism, in its purest, Platonic form, is Leisure. Leisure in this case means the ability to pursue one's goals free from constraints. Those constraints could be cultural, economic, or political. Which explains the animus with which the intellectuals mentioned in the essay hate the bourgeois virtues, capitalism, and the American political system.

The nexus of economic statism and cultural libertarianism is not some odd pairing derived from unique circumstances, but a direct product of the end goal of Marxism. Economic statism is the preferred policy because it offers the false hope of spreading the wealth in a way that liberates the entire population from economic constraints in pursuing their goals. This is particularly appealing to people like artists and intellectuals whose activities are not relatively highly valued by capitalism. Cultural libertarianism removes the societal and cultural boundaries that repress and constrain the intellectuals and artists.

Now, that's not quite fair because FLG is conflating Ned Resnikoff with Marxism, which isn't right. But the core belief, that the end goal should be to maximize choices, and particularly with a view to maximizing choices in the present, even if they reduce choices over the long-term, which the policies to maximize choices contingent on wealth distribution in the present tend to do. And moreover that the consequences of freedom are largely examined only in the material world. So poverty and violence are considered, but freedom that results in less tangible consequences, such as the self-degradation of the individual, and those related to the internal life of human beings, are never or only partially considered.

2 comments:

The Ancient said...

1) Sometimes when I read this stuff (his, not yours) I wonder how much Chomsky's anarcho-syndicalism has poisoned the pot.

2) Have you read this?

http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/keynes/1930/our-grandchildren.htm

FLG said...

I've never seen that. Very, very fascinating.

Also, I'm always astonished by the great content over at marxists.org.

 
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