Tagged: freedom

Libertarianism vs. Classical Liberalism for Beginners

A women’s basketball player, Brittney Griner, is convicted of a drug crime in Russia, and handed nearly the maximum sentence under Russian law. The U.S. federal government, at every level, expresses outrage and anger over the apparent political motives behind the trial and sentencing. Whatever the merits of that accusation, and whatever level of illegitimacy one may find in either the Russian regime...

How To Reason Like A Loser

I just read a very sober and balanced assessment of the conceivable outcomes in Ukraine, written by one Andrew Latham, a very sober professor of International Relations and member of a very sober-sounding Washington think tank calling itself “Defense Priorities.” For “Defense” in that name, read “Surrender”; for “Priorities,” read “Rationalizations.” For Professor Latham’s short essay is a wonderful object lesson in that...

On Libertarians

The problem with libertarians is that they believe that if everyone were left to live as he pleases, human life in general would improve. But when did men in general ever improve themselves through the unrestricted pursuit of what pleases them? Is pleasure happiness? Is comfort the good? Is greatness achieved through living without limits, without conflict…

What Independence Means: A Personal View

I once had more readers in any given week than Nietzsche and Kierkegaard had in their entire lives, combined. I lost all those readers by choice, or rather I should say by lack of any agreeable alternative. The thought of “keeping them” was revolting, given what I would have had to do to myself to achieve that end. I now write — as...

Our Freedom

We have cast off all the gods and their tyrannical ways, and hence all need of submission. Thus we define our freedom. And thus, having rejected the notion that there are gods, which is to say aspirations and ideals beyond our present limits, we happily submit to our own chains, rejecting all thought of anything beyond ourselves, which is to say beyond our...

Left and Right Today

The problem is not that “the left” is winning, or even, for that matter, that “the right” is winning. The problem is that left and right today are mere euphemisms for various iterations of radical populism, while populism itself is merely a euphemism for something else, something one is no longer permitted to say in polite company without being scoffed at for alarmism...

Free Will and Failure

You are obliged by the most basic necessities of nature to make choices. You should therefore make your choices with the greatest degree of attention, the widest range of understanding, and the most serious appreciation for the extent to which your freedom to choose in any given circumstance is a gift that will come only once. But there is one more element of...

Random Reflections on Freedom, Fear, and Fools

I love and cherish freedom — not the word, not a particular material advantage that I associate with some byproduct of freedom, but the thing itself. This is a testament to the power of imagination, and to love’s natural capacity for clinging to ideals; for I have never seen real freedom in my midst, let alone experienced it with any fullness in my...

The Progressive Presupposition

There is all the difference in the world between describing certain beliefs or assumptions as “intolerable” or “unacceptable” as a point of rhetorical emphasis, and describing them this way as a matter of practical governmental policy, i.e., between strongly disapproving of someone’s thoughts and actively engaging the coercive power of the state to criminalize and punish those thoughts. Unless, that is, one happens...

This Is Nothing Special

Most human beings throughout all of the known history of our species have lived in subjection, whether in literal slavery or in the somewhat more figurative but no less tangible enslavement of life lived at the end of tyrannical tethers. They have had to struggle their way through some sort of unnatural or partial existence in which the most fundamental choices Nature provides...