Freedom means putting the right kind of people in prison

July 23, 2018 § 29 Comments

To say that Bob has the freedom to do X is to say that Bob has the authority to do X.

To say that Bob has the authority to do X is to say that anyone who acts in a way contrary to Bob doing X may be punished or face consequences for that interference.

To say that anyone who acts in a way contrary to X may be punished or face consequences is to constrain people through authoritative discrimination: to classify people along some attribute or behavior and discriminate against them based on that attribute or behavior.

So freedom means constraining classes of people through authoritative discrimination.

§ 29 Responses to Freedom means putting the right kind of people in prison

  • LarryDickson says:

    Silly. I have the freedom to buy the last Size 17 shirt on the closeout rack, so therefore if Joe gets in ahead of me and takes the last one, I have the authority to send Joe to jail.

    No matter how much you squirm around, Zippy, your crusade on behalf of authoritarianism just does not get off the ground. Authoritarianism is not something worth waging a crusade over.

  • Zippy says:

    LarryDickson:

    Are you actually suggesting that if you dispute with Joe over buying a particular shirt, there is no authority involved in discriminating between you and resolving the dispute?

  • Zippy says:

    Sometimes-fatal Black Friday stampedes are a direct consequence of liberalism’s intrinsic sociopathy, so I find it rather ironic to have them raised as some sort of counterexample.

  • Marissa says:

    We are all authoritarians.

  • Zippy says:

    Right Marissa: my “crusade” is merely to get folks to fully recognize the fact that everyone is in fact authoritarian: that denying this just creates social pathology. Liberals denying their own authoritarianism is like human beings denying that they breathe oxygen.

  • KevinD says:

    LarryDickson:

    If Joe got the shirt first then no, you do not have the freedom to get that shirt. If you try, then Joe can indeed have you sent to jail.

  • LarryDickson says:

    Reducing the authority vs freedom problem to a tautology does not solve any problems. The simplicity of me vs Joe and the shirt is, as the responses have indicated, simply turned into a legalistic morass. Apply that seriously to all facets of life, and you will never get off step zero, because you will be too busy calling lawyers and filing appeals to ever complete anything.

    The solution is to subject both authority and freedom to God’s law. In almost all cases, this leads to a simple resolution – Joe got there first, taking the shirt away would be assault and theft (5th and 7th commandments), so I lose, EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY OVERARCHING HUMAN AUTHORITY (Wild West).

    When human authority purports to override God’s law, that authority vanishes and it is legally a free-for-all. THAT DOES NOT MEAN I HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO EVERYTHING (that would be a return to the authoritarian logic), but usually means a huge gap opens up where neither authority nor freedom applies. In that gap, the overriding principle is now charity: I may not do things that will make the situation even worse. (Example: the behavior of Pope Pius XII and the German bishops during the time when German legal authority was exterminating the Jews.)

    It can be disputed whether the USA founding fathers were doing right in rebelling against the illegitimate monarch, George III (don’t forget that the Jacobites were, and are, in the right as to who the king was). But it is not valid to assert a universal principle that nobody may resist an authority that has gone wrong through violating God’s law. If the “Generals’ Plot” had succeeded and overthrown Hitler, the generals would have been justified and deserving of praise.

  • Wood says:

    I have the freedom to buy…

    Also sounds like a bratty libertarian argument. I have the “freedom” – while shopping during the hours the store permits customers to shop, choosing among the merchandise the store permits customers to chose among, using forms of payment the store allows customers to choose among – to buy from that dang store whatever I wanna buy.

  • Zippy says:

    LarryDickson:

    In almost all cases, this leads to a simple resolution – Joe got there first, taking the shirt away would be assault and theft (5th and 7th commandments), so I lose, EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY OVERARCHING HUMAN AUTHORITY (Wild West).

    So Joe has the authority to take the shirt, not you: we discriminate between the two of you and he wins. Any higher or less proximate authorities should back Joe, not you, in any dispute.

    And this situation exemplifies the absence of authority how, exactly?

  • LarryDickson says:

    In the Wild West, there is no higher human authority, but the solution still works, because God’s law still works. Your approach presumes the existence of these suffocating “higher authorities” all over the place, when in fact, most of what we do in ordinary life does not even reference an authority. And when authority goes wrong (e.g. the CPS child-snatchers, or the Nazi Jew-snatchers) the neighbors (if they are good neighbors like the people of Afghanistan or the White Rose of Germany) instinctively gather and act in such a way as to frustrate the higher authority.

    Therefore, in the presence of God’s law, the higher human authority does not matter. If the higher human authority is for God’s law, or if it is against God’s law, or if it is simply not there, the right action is to comply with God’s law.

  • Zippy says:

    It fascinates me that recognition of Joe’s authority is seen as an absence of authority, even as that authority discriminates and restricts the field of licit choice.

  • Zippy says:

    LarryDickson:

    … the presence of God’s law, the higher human authority does not matter.

    Watch as liberal political philosophy makes politics disappear, governing while pretending not to govern.

    Yes, in the literal complete absence of politics there are no politics, by definition. A man living alone in the wilderness or on a distant planet does not come into contact with politics (at least not directly).

    But liberalism is a political philosophy. Governance – the just exercise of discriminating authority in concrete authoritative choices – is what it is all about. And it assures us that freedom – that is, the exercise of discriminating authority, as demonstrated in the OP – is its guiding principle of politics.

  • LarryDickson says:

    These are word games, Zippy. There is an absence of HIGHER HUMAN authority. Joe’s so-called authority is simply Joe’s freedom, which is on the same level as mine. Freedom operates in a territory, because otherwise it would be continually clashing with other people’s freedom. The most basic territory is what is right next to my body (i.e. the shirt, when Joe is ahead of me in line).

    You seem in love with words like “discriminate” and “restrict” (as well as “sociopath”), but it is just that my freedom reaches a maximum, and everyone else’s a minimum, in my territory. Nobody but a rapist thinks he has freedom in someone else’s personal space. Everybody understands this (except legalists like Zippy), even small children, who when they feel uncertain will move into the territory of their mother (i.e. retreat to a position close to her). Ultimate authority here? God’s law (5th and 7th commandments) which imposes a recognition of territory.

  • Zippy says:

    LarryDickson:

    Joe’s so-called authority is simply Joe’s freedom, which is on the same level as mine.

    No it isn’t. It discriminates between you and treats the two of you unequally. He gets the shirt and you don’t.

    “Word games” is just an abusive epithet: a way of avoiding the central issue, which is that your proposed absence-of-authority scenario is in fact saturated with authority.

  • djz242013 says:

    Therefore, in the presence of God’s law, the higher human authority does not matter. If the higher human authority is for God’s law, or if it is against God’s law, or if it is simply not there, the right action is to comply with God’s law.

    This ignores the innumerable situations where God’s law is silent. Is there an 11th commandment about littering, or speed limits?

    If authority (as Zippy defined it) is the moral capacity to oblige a subject to choose this thing rather than that, then “higher human authority” cannot in principle have the authority to oblige a subject to choose some immoral act (contra God’s law), because “the moral capacity to oblige a subject to choose an immoral act” does not make sense.

    The vibe I get from Larry is that he does not think that any human has any moral capacity to oblige any other human to do anything. It seems like he thinks only God can oblige us to do things. But this is ridiculous to me because of the natural authority of fathers.

  • T. Morris says:

    “God’s law” is whatever I decide it is in any given instance. Especially if and when I decide the positive law conflicts with God’s law. If I can get a bunch of people to agree with me on the matter, so much more the better.

  • This really helps clarify things for me. There seems to be two levels here, namely the authority that establishes some specific set of “freedoms” or authorities in its subjects eliminating the possibility of all other configurations but also authorized subject restricts others as well through his authority.

  • A.B. Prosper says:

    Let me put in the way I was taught.

    First, In order to be truly free men must live righteous lives.

    Part of living a righteous life means obedience to Rightful Authority

    With Authority comes Responsibilities and benefits

    The chain of command is roughly this

    God has authority over all creation

    A Righteous Church has some authority over men given by God

    A Righteous Ruler has other authorities over men, whether these are granted by God in some cases is contested.

    A Righteous Boss has limited authority over his workers.

    A Righteous Father has authority over his Wife and Children

    A Righteous Mother has authority over her Children as well but so long as he is in the Right, she must yield to her husband

  • T. Morris says:

    A. B. Prosper:

    I could successfully refute each line of your post point-by-point, were that my intention. It isn’t. It isn’t my intention because I think I see in your post sincere attachment to the principles of God’s Law. However, I think I might have some relevant anecdotal refutation you might be interested in:

    Recently one of my (married) daughters complained to me privately that she was/is subject to her husband’s rule in spite of the fact that she occasionally considers his rulings on a given matter “stupid,” and therefore detrimental to the long-term health of the family. I more or less answered her complaint with the concern that I considered her complaint, if further indulged, much more hazardous to the stability of her family than her vision of her husband’s incontinence in any case. Whether his rulings are “righteous” or not, I advised her, is something of a subjective matter; whether his rulings are immoral or not is a bit easier to nail down.

    To obey your husband isn’t predicated on the matter of whether or not you think he is a ‘righteous husband.’ If it were, the command would be almost completely without warrant.

  • Zippy says:

    T. Morris:

    Catholics at least might want to make note of John Wyclif[*]’s theory of Dominion. Basically what it boils down to is the idea that an unrighteous or sinful man loses his authority: therefore, for example, confessions heard by an unworthy priest are invalid, consecrations pronounced by a sinful priest are ineffectual, etc. That this ultimately led to rejection of authority in general and the sacraments in particular is no accident.

    [*] John Wyclif, whose political patron was the rebellious John of Gaunt, whose secretary was none other than the logocentric-Islam-savvy Geoffrey Chaucer, is sometimes referred to as “the Morning Star of the Reformation” for his popularization of the anti-authoritarian heresy of sola scriptura.

  • Scott W. says:

    “Basically what it boils down to is the idea that an unrighteous or sinful man loses his authority”

    Yep. Throw in the idea of the elect vs. the reprobate and you’ve got the modern SJW.

  • Assistant Pig Keeper says:

    *the antiauthoritarian heresy of Sola scriptura”.

    This is the evil root of liberal lie.

  • T. Morris says:

    Zippy:

    My very first introduction to Wiclif many moons ago included the ‘Morning Star of the Reformation’ mantra. I bought into it, hook, line and sinker! I have, with God’s grace, worked my way loose from it, one bite at a time. I’m grateful for sites like yours, which have helped me immensely in the arduous process.

  • Wood says:

    I’m grateful for sites like yours, which have helped me immensely in the arduous process.

    I second that T. Morris!

  • “So freedom means constraining classes of people through authoritative discrimination.”

    Technically this is true of politically secured freedom. Freedom can be non-zero-sum as long as everyone agrees on what the right course of action is (as in the case of Larry not taking Joe’s shirt because he regards such an act as morally wrong). Of course this falls apart when Larry gets the shirt first and Joe decides he still wants it.

  • […] is a theory or understanding of the just exercise of authority.  It is specifically commitment to political freedom and, concomitantly, to equality before the […]

  • […] or anyone that you love, from utter destruction. Conservation of the things you love requires the unapologetic exercise of authority. Exercise of authority under liberalism is always sociopathic, carried out via unprincipled […]

  • TomD says:

    Interesting quote I found (people were of course flipping out about it):

    We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

    From here.

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