Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Liberal slavery and the 'substantive freedom' fallacy

Kiwi Pundit has picked up the baton with Richard with whom I have had various disagreements on the question of freedom both thick and thin, most recently here and here. As I've said before, Richard's criticisms of libertarianism are more in the nature of caricature than they are analysis, so it surprises me that KP calls them "excellent." But there you go.

Kiwi Pundit says in passing that my 'pure version' of libertarianism is 'unsound,' and that liberals like him are more practical: unlike libertarians, liberals he says are "willing to give up some of our liberty in order to make a better society" (as if giving up a little liberty would do that). But he makes some interesting points nonetheless in response to Richard, particularly on the relationship between slavery and so-called substantive freedom.

Under Richard's notion of 'substantive freedom,' says KP, "If a slave-owner were to offer significant benefits to his slaves such as healthcare, education for your kids,... a luxurious villa with a jacuzzi and 32 inch flat screen TV, then you are free, despite the fact you have to go out every day and pick cotton or face serious punishment."

You can see with that example why socialists like the concept of 'substantive freedom' since it demolishes the idea of real freedom in favour of a little slavery (or a lot, depending on your view). As such it is what Ayn Rand called an anti-concept, a "term designed to replace or obliterate some legitimate concept."

You can see too from his example that when liberals say they are "willing to give up some of [their] liberty in order to make a better society" that they are really saying is that a little slavery is what makes a better society. Now that's pretty unsound, I would say. Basically it means the liberals are just arguing with the socialists as to the degree of slavery necessary to make the 'better society.'

But I digress. Read KP's whole thing here.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

And of course socialists like Kiwi Pundit wax lyrical about "a little slavery being good for you" because they want to be the ones with the whip and not the chains.

If Kiwi Pundit wants to be a slave he can surrender his own bloody freedom. If he comes to my house and tries to enslave me he's going to go down in a malestrom of bullets.

7/19/2005 09:38:00 am  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

Rather dead than slave.

7/19/2005 12:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Ruth said...

Kearney is not a socialist. Libertarianism will fail because no one understands it and they don't want freedom, they want to be safe. If illuminati like Kearney don't 'get' it what hope do you have for the rest? This is why I stopped donating to the party. I get more value from a new Chanel lipstick.

7/19/2005 03:17:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

"Kearney is not a socialist." Erm, I quoted him saying he's a liberal. Confusion?

"If illuminati like Kearney don't 'get' it what hope do you have for the rest?"

No one ever said it was easy. :-/

"I get more value from a new Chanel lipstick."

I'd better hold off on the Rottweiler jokes. :-P

7/19/2005 03:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Ruth said...

Winefield said he was a socialist. And I'm still waiting to hear about disclosure of risk, and how you deal with it - or maybe that is in the too hard basket. Not all regulation is bad you know.

7/19/2005 05:04:00 pm  
Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

Ruth, I'm sorry I mischaracterised this statist. Would "arsehole" be more appropriate?

7/20/2005 03:18:00 am  
Blogger Richard said...

That "example" you repeat is precisely not an example of substantive freedom, as I explained in my response to Nigel. Neither of you appear to understand what you are trying to criticize.

7/28/2005 11:14:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Richard said, "Neither of you appear to understand what you are trying to criticize."

Now there's irony for you.

7/29/2005 10:09:00 am  
Blogger Richard said...

"As I've said before, Richard's criticisms of libertarianism are more in the nature of caricature than they are analysis, so it surprises me that KP calls them "excellent." But there you go."

The problem is precisely that "saying" it was all you did. You've never managed anything approaching a coherent rational argument. So it's no surprise that others aren't convinced by your ungrounded assertions.

This is demonstrated again by your response to my previous comment. You haven't argued that substantive freedom actually commits one to anything like what the example claims. But nor have you retracted your misleading and downright ignorant remarks. You don't seem interested in getting at the truth at all. All you do is make snide dismissive remarks, as if that actually contributed something to the debate.

7/29/2005 01:28:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Richard, arguments both coherent and rational have been tendered, but as they apparently haven't fit your pre-conceived pigeonholes you've chosen to disregard them rather than adress them. Your loss.

7/29/2005 04:10:00 pm  

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