05 July 2009

Tyranny, freedom, and priorities

There used to be a saying in certain circles that "the personal is political", but this is exactly wrong. The personal is personal, and that's what makes it so important. The personal must be shielded from the grubby interference of the political.

The government that forbids you to have an abortion when you want to (or forces you to have one when you don't want to, as in China), or dictates what you can and cannot do sexually with another consenting adult, or restricts what you can smoke or ingest in your own private space where no one else is affected, is a thousand times more evil and oppressive than the government which merely puts onerous restrictions on economic activity, as bad as those are. The very idea that any authority should try to interfere with the actions of adult humans in such profoundly personal realms is an unspeakable outrage. If you do not have the absolute freedom to make such decisions about your own body -- your very self -- then you have no meaningful freedom at all.

(This is not to say that property rights are not important, only that personal freedom is qualitatively different -- there is a profound difference between "that which I own" and "that which is I".)

Note too that personal freedom, as the term suggests, can inhere only in a person -- an individual -- not in a group or a community or a political unit of whatever size. Conservatives sometimes affect to attach great importance to whether laws limiting, say, abortion or drug use are imposed by local or by national government. Rubbish. That makes no difference at all. A law restricting my personal freedom is just as outrageous whether it comes from the federal government or from the city council. It's none of their damn business either way.

Nor do I care at all whether such laws are supported by majority vote. The laws against interracial marriage had majority support back in the 1960s when the Supreme Court struck them down. Striking them down was nevertheless a solid victory for freedom. Making personal freedom dependent on the approval of 51% of the population reduces rights to the level of fads.

This is the main reason why I identify with the left -- because the left has a better track record on most personal-freedom issues. It's unfortunate, because the right does have some worthwhile ideas in other areas. But until they drop the whole totalitarian panoply of abortion restrictions and gay-bashing and the rest of the theo-cratic "social issues" from their agenda, it's war, and those other matters will have to wait. It's a question of priorities.


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I see what you mean here as to how you feel.As far as law's and such on thing's that the right impose on us... and in Texas they wrote the book, the only thing here is most of it is on the book's but basically ignored in many cases. Which I know is dumb... and what is law enforcement if they dont even enforce alot of stuff that is supposed to be enforced? I guess they call it busy with other issue's. But having lived around these thing's most of my life has only made folk's like me kind of rebellious and kind of an attitude where we dont really give a rat's ass about most of it... and do what we want anyway's... it's hard to explain... but folk's here that have been here for long have a certain attitude that is somewhat unique compared to other state's I have been. I mean alot of Texas folk's also have this attitude that they just outright defy any authoritive talk... and do what the hell they want anyway's... you tell them..."It's the Law" and it seem's like they have this attitude of "SO". It's almost pointless to make any of these restriction's to begin with because many are going to do what they want anyway's if that makes sense.Even in this town.... you can actually have 5 or even 10 class C misdemeanor warrant's for ticket's and related... they wont even take folk's to jail on it... and if the cop was dumb enough to, the jail wont even take them, which encourages folk's to not care... because they know nothing is going to be enforced hardly to begin with... unless they just want your ass. Our North Dallas Tollway system is outraged because so far this year....of the 20% that pay cash at the toll booth's (80% is electronic... they photo you plates and send a bill)but of that 20%... $9 million dollar's havent been paid by those folk's, they just outright run the toll, when they get sent letter's to show in court and pay fines... they just dont show or pay.... one lady they photographed had over 500 times she done it, and despite the notices in the mail, and being threatened with warrant's...she still wouldnt show or attempt to pay, and it's sad.... because folk's like me... alway's pay. I just feel like I should.... because we depend on that money for road improvement's too.

Later Guy........

05 July, 2009 08:49  

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