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FREEDOM

1512. Freedom requires a framework; diversity must meet the test of viability; creativity is defined by custom. Life itself evolves through the interplay of random, chaotic forces tested against the inflexible limitation of survival. The principle of complementary opposites explains why life is not as simple as may appear on the surface -- why real virtue is never an ideal -- but a compromise.

1419. Globalism and nationalism represent two warring aspects of our instinctive desire for hierarchy. Nationalism at least allows for the possibility of democracy; globalism does not.

1417. Democracy represents the conscious attempt to modify the worst effects of instinctive tribalism. It allows for the disruption of a natural tendency towards hierarchical entrenchment with regular threats of uncertainty. It is like the discontinuous practice of monogamy: serial hierarchy.

1416. The persistence of religion and the continuing popularity of dictatorships suggest that the human brain has developed with a strong bias towards tribal hierarchy -- conformity and an acceptance of authority. At most important turns in the road, tribalism trumps thought. 

1404. It was once thought that freedom of speech was a good idea. Now that everybody knows what the good ideas are, the importance of freedom has declined precipitously.

1401. Motion M-103 suggests that free speech should be curtailed to stop "Islamophobia." It proposes the exchange of our birthright of freedom for an unsavoury mess of religious pottage.

1375. It is the task of modern government to provide security -- against attack, injustice, and extreme want. The provision of security invariably involves infringements on the liberty of some -- but the best government aims to enhance liberty for citizens in general. Identity politics poses the difficult question: to what extent is it legitimate to enhance the security of one group by infringing on the liberties of all the others?

1372. Multicultural harmony is thought to be obtained by dictating the tune, and establishing penalties for traditional, divergent melodies.  But in the harmony purchased with liberty, discord lurks.

1370. Governments see harmony as a component of security; the temptation is to see citizens as piano keys rather than composers.

1369. Every government must find a balance the desire for security and the need for liberty. Or the need for security and the desire for liberty.

1368. The art of government consists of knowing when to interfere, and when to step aside. It lies in determining the balance between security and liberty.

1366. The price of security is always liberty. "Perfect" security comes in a very small cage.

1362. The state which enables the greatest individual liberty is best -- but the freedom of the individual will inevitably be circumscribed by the requirements of the state.

1361. There are times when the freedom of the individual to express his devotion to religious fantasies must defer to the freedom of the state to express its devotion to secular values.

1354. The cage containing freedom is best constructed of facts;  paradoxically -- high-sounding, expansive ideals make very small cages.

1352.The restriction of some freedoms -- while necessary -- should be based on logic, rather than  fantasy. It seems logical to restrict the freedom of thieves and murderers. Is it also appropriate to restrict the speech of those who criticize the fantasies of political correctness, or who oppose the evils -- both theoretical and practical -- of the religion of Islam?

1350. Freedom of religion is the freedom to engage in fantasy. To give special deference to religious ideas -- because they claim divine approval -- is to express a preference for fantasy over fact.

1349. Determining the limitations of freedom -- while necessary -- is fraught with difficulty. In the modern era, the freedom of fantasy often trumps the freedom of fact. The self-congratulatory all-inclusive tolerance of unproven, unsuccessful -- and ultimately destructive ideas -- is encouraged; those who wish to point out sobering facts are seldom welcomed.

1348. The awkward paradox of freedom is that it cannot flower (or even be understood) in the absence of boundaries. Freeing thieves and murderers will enhance their liberty, but not that of society as a whole. Like every virtue, freedom contains the seeds of vice. Like every ideal, it must be considered not as theory -- but in terms of its practical effects.

1347. Canada's universal health care system is both falsely egalitarian and truly oppressive. The patient, who -- in a capitalist society -- would be a customer able to take his business elsewhere -- is reduced -- in a socialist scheme -- to a supplicant without options. The price of security is always liberty.

1325. At some point it would seem that political correctness -- which oppresses others in claiming the primacy of feelings -- will be hoist with its own petard. What is more hurtful than to have one's freedom to speak and to proclaim the primacy of facts constantly denied? 

1302. Those who seek self-esteem through government-enforced pronoun usage reveal a pathetic inadequacy. Such deference compelled is empty -- it rings hollow at the core; substantial self-regard can arise only from accomplishment.

1301. Requiring the use of transgendered pronouns shows how "feeling good" for the minority has become more important than "feeling free" for the majority.

1283. When prejudicial barriers to participation in employment are removed -- liberty is enhanced. But the requirement that a particular group be represented in any type of employment is restrictive. "Equality" purchased at the cost of liberty should be given its true name: oppression.

1212. Human beings respond to incentives; they are inherently competitive. Just as the competitive spirit cannot be allowed unfettered reign, neither can it be extinguished. Those who attempt to do so -- under the banners of virtue and equality -- are not merely foolish; given sufficient power, they become dictators -- and murderers.

1209. The single payer health care system is, necessarily, coercive, removing competition and reducing patient choice. How we supplicants wish to throw off the yoke, and become customers, able to take our business elsewhere!

1201. Socialism, multiculturalism, and political correctness are all informed by the principle of equality. Since "equality" is an unattainable ideal state, coercion and oppression are intrinsic to all three.

1200. What evils are wrought in the name of "equality!" It is the Procrustean bed into which the great unequal masses of mankind must be forced in order to proclaim that "virtue" has been achieved.

1187. In the ideal world, the niqab would not be banned; in accordance with the concept of freedom -- it would be allowed as a symbol of an oppressive political and religious ideology which is destructive of that very notion of freedom which permits its expression. But in the real world, that "tolerance" seems inextricably wedded to the notion that the oppressive symbol -- and the underlying ideology -- not be criticized. To allow opposing ideas a free rein -- and then prohibit criticism of them -- is not tolerance but stupidity. It seems the equivalent of a death wish.

1182. The virtue of harmony is a convenient cover for the totalitarian impulse.

1135. The notion of complementary opposites is the key to understanding the limitations of the real world. It is not a question of choosing, irrevocably, peace, freedom, love, tolerance, and equality. All of these ideal conceptions imply their necessary opposites. Conflict, restriction, hatred, and inequality cannot be wished away with pious incantations, however heartfelt, or with determined imaginings, no matter how fervent.

1123. Political correctness seeks to suppress speech critical of Islam. Thus not only are bad ideas protected -- including the absurd claim of infallibility -- but a liberty fundamental to western societies -- the right to criticize -- is denied. It is an obsequious appeasement -- an offer of cultural suicide in the hope of harmony.

1120. Political correctness aims for a world of equality where feelings are triumphantly unhurt; the attempt is oppressive, and ultimately must founder on the implacable truth: feelings can never be sacrosanct, and equality is not in the blueprint of natural things.

1119. Ideals are conceptual and theoretical -- they are notions of perfection; human beings are real and -- resistantly -- imperfect. That is why the attempt to implement ideals invariably involves coercion and a loss of liberty.

1118. Socialism illustrates the tyranny of the ideal: it invariably leads to dictatorship.

1117. The tyranny of the ideal becomes possible when noble intentions are considered more important than actual results.

1111. "Cultural sensitivity" should not preclude the criticism of oppressive,  unjust, and absurd cultural practices. For how else can freedom, justice, and reason be advanced?

1102. Islam presents a problem because it is very oppressive in theory, but can be less so in practice. The danger is that a failure to criticize bad ideas can be mistaken for consent; the feelings of believers must never stand in the way of  criticizing absurdity and injustice -- wherever they are found. 

1085. Mr. Dawkins has noted the "epidemic" of restrictions on open speech. The pathogen responsible is the notion of equality; the disease is called political correctness. In the ideal world, people, cultures, and religions -- even ideas -- except those which deny the very premise of equality -- are equal. Thus criticism becomes "unfair" and -- the ultimate in tragedy -- hurtful of feelings. The ideal world is, necessarily, a restrictive and coercive factor in the real one.

1064. Life, at its core, is not egalitarian, but competitive. This fact may be deplored, and competition may be beneficially modified in the interests of "equality" -- but it can never be eliminated. The attempts to create egalitarian societies -- socialist states -- are coercive cures worse than the disease they are meant to remedy. All socialist societies are Procrustean beds -- they invariably become dictatorships as they attempt to force real, natural, competitive inequalities into a theoretical framework of equality.

1029. The indignant response to the sin of cultural appropriation may be likened to laws against blasphemy: they are both attempts to compel reverence where it is not being freely given.

1028. When ideas -- whether religious or secular -- are considered too "blasphemous" to be expressed -- we know that somebody's illusion is being threatened.

1027. Laws against blasphemy always suggest inadequacy -- the need to proclaim certainty in the absence of evidence.

1024. "Blasphemy" is found in matters of comforting but vulnerable belief; the forbidding of criticism is invariably a sign of weakness and insecurity.

1019. The art of civilization lies in convincing citizens that their conformity is freely chosen.

1014. A capitalist democracy -- in which citizens conform in the interests of self-improvement -- is superior to a theocracy or socialist state -- where citizens are required to conform to an ideal vision of reality; these invariably become indistinguishable from oppressive monarchies or dictatorships.

1013. Tribalism -- instinctive and essential -- depends upon conformity -- and conformity implies some degree of tyranny. There is always a penalty for failing to think with the herd.

998. Good ideas are unpretentious, fearless and confident; bad ideas -- pretending to virtue and authority -- fear the truth, and thus claim immunity from the scrutiny of free debate.

995. That morality is best which allows for the greatest liberty of citizens which is consistent with the well-being of the society of which they are a part.

958. Political correctness -- which values feelings over facts, and fiction over freedom -- has led to a kind of intellectual bankruptcy. Any criticism of ideas is seen as an illegitimate attack on the feelings of those who hold them; thus the competitive marketplace of ideas -- where the best must battle to survive -- is rejected in favour of a central plan – a plan designed to enforce an inoffensive egalitarian harmony. It proclaims, in effect, a socialism of the mind.

931. Freedom of speech and blasphemy are conceptual matter and anti-matter: in collision -- one must destroy the other.

930. Those who believe that bad ideas can be overcome with silence and kindness have another bad idea.

929. When religion is used to justify oppression and cruelty, polite silence merely approves the evil.

928. Your rulers are those you fear to criticize.  ( A re-statement of: "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."  Voltaire,  1694 - 1778)

927. When you refrain from criticizing a bad idea for fear of giving offense, the bad idea has won.

925. Socialism requires a great deal of coercion in order achieve the unnatural conditions of "brotherhood" and "equality." It is simply dictatorship pretending to benevolence.

923. "Hate speech" is a term which appeals to virtue, but paves the way to tyranny; it is the means through which opinion is transformed into blasphemy.

900. Capitalism embodies freedom; socialism yearns for security. They are the cobra and mongoose found in battle within the body politic.

898. Fidel Castro illustrates the necessary link between socialism and dictatorship. Socialism is the genetic legacy of ants, but human beings still yearn for some degree of autonomy and some measure of freedom.

896. Speaking the truth is often seen as subversive and revolutionary -- because it usually contradicts the cherished illusions: that equality and harmony are the birthright of mankind.

843. Political correctness places a high value on emotions, and a low value on truth. It fails to recognize that it is more important to criticize an idea for its deficiencies than to protect it because of the emotional cost of criticism. No society can thrive on a diet of agreeable delusions.

842. It is the folly of the politically correct to equate an attack on ideas with an attack on the "dignity and humanity" of those who hold them. When criticism is forbidden on the grounds of "hurt feelings," bad ideas are sanctioned and encouraged. In other words, stupidity triumphs.

841. The "preferred narrative" is that cultures and religions are equally worthy. In an effort to silence those who disagree, many newspapers now provide no opportunity for commentary on articles dealing with religion and culture. Whenever ideas seem to require the protection of censorship, you know they are dangerously flawed. Truth cannot be proclaimed by the well-intentioned; it is discovered through evidence, and from an exchange of competing views.  

826. Islamic free speech is like the thunder of unicorns racing across an imaginary plain.

821. Freedom from religion is as important as freedom of religion.

812. Each society must determine how much liberty should be sacrificed for security and equality.

811. Equality is no friend to liberty.

809. The greater the freedom, the greater the inequality.

807. Beware the progression of the sounds of aggression. There is little doubt microaggression aspires to nano-aggression; some will not be satisfied until all speech is silenced in the name of harmony.

801. Socialism is based on the premise that human beings would prefer to be ants.

799. There is no free lunch. The Canadian government funds the health care system, but the patient is required to donate his right to choose a more efficient and timely service.

798. The urge to organize and improve society is irresistible, but organization always demands a price in terms of individual freedom. Human beings are not ants.

785. The Canadian healthcare system, in the guise of egalitarian benevolence, deliberately removes competition and reduces consumer choice. As with any benevolent monopoly, a culture of complacency and sanctimonious condescension is the result.

784. A benevolent monopoly is particularly odious; the usual monopolistic arrogance is wedded to an aura of sanctimonious self-satisfaction. 

783. No monopolist is ever humble.

782. Arrogance is a necessary concomitant of monopoly.

765. Islam and freedom of speech cannot co-exist; the battle may, at great cost, be postponed, but it cannot be avoided.

743. Every totalitarian – whether dictator, socialist, climate alarmist, religious leader, or upholder of political correctness – is an idealist: he attempts to make humanity fit – through force or persuasion -- the Procrustean bed of an ideal, conceptual world. The concept is always at odds with the facts or with the realities of the human condition, and is ultimately unattainable or unsustainable.

722. Freedom of speech is attacked because, over time, it tends to lead to truth -- a destroyer of dreams and a threat to harmony.

715. There are few things more dangerous than a bad idea pretending to be a good idea -- and claiming special status and protection on that account.

713. It is important to be able to say nasty things about bad ideas; freedom and good ideas are the worthy beneficiaries.

694. In the real world, no freedom can be absolute; but the freedom to criticize should come within an inch of infinity.

667. In restricting free speech, academic institutions claim the virtue of harmony, and the harm of hurt feelings; thus are pacts with the devil written in reverence, sealed in piety, and sprinkled with the holy water of good intentions.

666. Usually free speech is restricted in order to protect a "preferred narrative" -- a view of the world which is known to be fatally vulnerable to facts.

657. The greatest threat to freedom in the West is political correctness -- the despotism disguised as virtue.

655. The despotic impulse is a human constant. It often appears cloaked as virtue -- protecting the sanctity of religion, the fragility of feelings, or the ideal of equality. It even pretends to a saving of the planet.                  

637. We long for "dangerous" spaces, where feelings are irrelevant, and all ideas are free to engage in a battle to the death.

598. Freedom of religion proclaims the right of citizens to hold foolish and irrational beliefs; it does not protect them from criticism of their irrationality, or the denunciation of their folly.

592. When ideas seem to require the protection of censorship, it suggests they are burdened by some essential deficiency, afflicted by some fatal vulnerability to reason.

589. When truth is labelled blasphemy, a new dark age of the mind has been proclaimed.

582. Political correctness values feelings over facts, fiction over freedom.

581. Political correctness is essentially totalitarian – it aims to suppress truth in favour of harmony.

584. Only through competition in the marketplace of discourse can the best ideas emerge and triumph.

570. Facts require no special protection; it is only some beliefs that claim criticism is unfair and illegitimate.

569. Tolerance -- as a self-perceived virtue -- will brook no dissent.

567. Every instance of political correctness reflects the death of some degree of honesty, the snuffing out of some light of truth.

566. "Tolerance" becomes totalitarian when it denies the right to criticize.

533. One day -- probably hundreds of years in the future -- it may be possible to say: "I don't care whether you are offended."

532. Pure virtue -- self-perceived -- seeks no compromise with reality.  This explains the fascism of the Left.

524. The more governments grow in power, the more people look to government to solve problems; the more governments are asked to solve problems, the more power they seek to solve them. Thus liberty defers to security.

495. Only from a free exchange and competition will the best ideas emerge and triumph; those with the worst ideas are the most anxious that freedom be suppressed and competition curtailed. This accounts for the confidence of science, and the defensiveness of religion. 

458. Compassionate government largesse, apparently unencumbered, may yet contain the seeds of dependency, and the tendrils of tentacles. It is not inconceivable that eventually, "free" health care may require behaviour, diet, and medication in conformity with government guidelines.

453. Political correctness: freedom sacrificed at the altar of hypocrisy.

439. The name of the "Hope not Hate" organization -- which opposes "Draw Muhammad" contests -- should be changed to "Capitulation, not Courage." Or, perhaps -- "Forfeit Freedom in Favour of Fanaticism."

416. The claim that something should be beyond criticism is a sure sign of its inadequacy.

407. A concerted attempt to shield people from experiencing hurt feelings may appear noble; but a price is paid in the coin of freedom, and in the currency of truth.

396. Idealism is absolutism. That is why idealistic schemes for improvement, allowed their full scope, become coercive and oppressive.

389. To refrain from mocking those with foolish ideas for fear of giving offense is not wise. Hurt feelings are a small price to pay for the erosion of stupidity.  (cf. The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.  Herbert Spencer, 1820 - 1903)

374. Laws Against Blasphemy:  How truth, and laws of science stand serene!
                                                    Their sole defence -- but facts in reason's theme.
                                                    Yet  anxious faiths and Gods of priestly scheme --
                                                    'Gainst such deceits --'tis ruled -- shall none blaspheme!

371. The price of security is always liberty.

367. To limit freedom of speech in the hope that none will ever be offended is a blighted seed – a precursor of decay. Its flower is a failure of honesty, its fruit -- the imprisonment of the mind.

305. In the interests of harmony, it is often considered appropriate to silence any discordant notes of truth.

279. Most will give up an acre of freedom for a closet of security.

263. The socialists’ ideal is a compulsory grand scheme to construct a shimmering palace of crystal for all; that all citizens should have the freedom to construct their own dwellings is as abhorrent to them as the hodge-podge of mud, wood, brick, and glass which must invariably result.

223. Freedom is the freedom to find a doctor, and having found him, to choose another, just as one would engage and dismiss a veterinarian, a barber, or an auto mechanic. (Canada, 2013)

                         ("Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows." Winston Smith, 1984)

218. The fascism of the Left, though masked in compassionate smiles, is still oppressive, and still cruel: it is still fascism.

217. Bureaucratic domination without representation is a recipe for slavery.

195. Western societies are engaged in a slow, determined march from liberty to security.

150. Security by government intervention is always paid for in the dear coin of freedom.

141. Some form of servitude is a condition of civilization.

128. Of all words in our great English language, there is one which may be deemed most welcome in aspect, most sweet in sound, and most powerful in its incitement to immediate response. And that is the word "free."

102. Equality fascism is the authoritarian impulse directed at the creation of equality. Since equality is as unachievable as it is desirable, the impulse is both persistent and perilous; it inevitably involves the sacrifice of common sense notions of justice and freedom.

47. While it may not be appropriate in every venue, and on every occasion, mockery is the guardian of reason, the enemy of pretension, and the mirror to folly. No belief, no passion, no commitment should be considered immune from the acerbic test of ridicule.