Liberty vs. Censorship

Another relaxing Saturday afternoon.  Jenny and Ruth are out sewing.  Little boys are taking their nap.  And I have a chance to stir things up again and capture some thoughts.

Let me start with a simple statement of liberty: 

I believe very strongly that grown adults should be given every opportunity to exercise their unrestricted freedom as long as it does not hinder another person’s equal right to freedom.

If your immediate reaction to this statement is “yeah, but we need to protect _X_ from _Y_”, then my response is ‘who is WE’ and how did ‘WE’ come to decide what X’s needs are or that Y is a threat to those needs?

Now, I don’t mean to sound like a moral relativist.  I believe in some very clear moral absolutes that govern the decisions I make each and every day.  What I take issue with is anyone imposing their moral absolutes on someone else, especially if they voice an opposition to your absolutes.  Forced / coerced obedience completely annihilates the moral high ground upon which the aggressor bases their justification.

For example, I believe that the Bible teaches us that God created all of the heavens and the earth, the sun and moon and stars, the animals and human beings in 6 x 24 hr days.  Many people don’t agree with me.  That’s fine with me.  But I am totally opposed to someone telling me that I can’t believe what I believe, nor can I teach others what I believe (as long as they are willing to listen freely).  On the flipside, I don’t feel I have a right to force anyone to buy into, or teach, my beliefs either.  If you want to believe you came from some slime that was struck by lightning a gagillion years ago, have at.

One point to make.  My belief is absolute, as would be the beliefs of those opposed to me.  In other words, we can’t both be “right”.  At least one (if not both) of us has to be wrong.  BUT, I don’t for one minute believe that allowing you the freedom to believe what you want in any way discredits my beliefs.  Part of embracing liberty is taking the crazies with the sane.  The alternative is censorship or an authoritarian state.  And that, if you look at history,  is a terrible place in which to be.

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2 responses to “Liberty vs. Censorship

  1. I completely agree with all of this. If we want liberty we have to be willing to take the bad with the good, but most people are perfectly willing to admit that there’s a lot of bad we have to tolerate in order to have government “protection”, and they are willing to accept it. I think in a way that fear of the unknown is the greatest obstacle that prevents people from supporting liberty.

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  2. Thomas Sowell has been credited with saying “No matter how disastrously some policy has turned out, anyone who criticizes it can expect to hear: “But what would you replace it with?” When you put out a fire, what do you replace it with?”

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