Monday, May 10, 2010

Thoughts on freedom

This will be one of several posts I hope to make on the subject of freedom. Given its importance in our political world today, it is certainly worth serious consideration. And I will note that my viewpoints may be contradictory at times or somewhat disjointed. These posts are meant to serve as a method for fleshing out the ideas on the subject. Perhaps, once I have done that, I will write up the more fully fleshed out idea in its entirety.

Freedom from responsibility for the actions taken by the individual leads to the further abdication of freedom for the individual in all other respects.

Or, put another way, responsibility for one's actions are an important freedom. When abdicating that responsibility, one abdicates their own freedom. The freedom to do what you want when you want comes with ability to enjoy, or suffer, the results of those actions. If you are only willing to enjoy the good results and slough off those that are unfavorable, then you are not free. It means that you will choose not to do certain things for fear of suffering negative consequences. Or worse, you will choose to assign the blame for those actions undertaken by you to others and, in the end, those others will then soon make the choices for you.

At the risk of offering a political example, I submit that the housing and foreclosure crisis is but a step in this direction. Many people who could not otherwise afford the homes they bought subsequently found themselves in default and foreclosure when the economy turned sour. However, instead of taking responsibility for making the poor choice to purchase homes they knew they could not realistically afford under the premise that they could simply borrow forever on equity (that somehow was not vulnerable to the normal ups and downs of economic principles), they blamed the mortgage lenders or the government for "encouraging" them to make such poor choices. Clearly it was not their fault and therefore they were entitled to government assistance to absolve them of the morass they later found themselves in.

This is not to argue that the government and mortgage may not share some blame, but this does not absolve the individuals of the choices they made. But the tendency to deflect blame for their actions is the next step in reducing the freedoms that they/we all once enjoyed.

No comments:

Post a Comment