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By ATWadmin On December 17th, 2006

Here’s an interesting question for you all to consider..

"What if the part of human nature which wants paternalism, or maternalism, in the State is sometimes, or often, stronger than the part that wants freedom and self-determination?

What if we are wrong to imagine, as Bush claims, that an aspiration for freedom lives in the hearts of all mankind? What if that aspiration is a simple error of a uniquely American culture, which combined northern European Calvinism which rejects any hierarchy in church or in life; a personal relationship with God; Lockeian liberalism; a distinctly northern European moral code in which honor, reliability, hard work, and integrity are the measure of a person; a frontier attitude which expects life to be which expects life to be difficult but remains optimistic, and an innate distrust of government and politicians – is a very strange brew…."


I think that this excellent contribution by Dr Joy Bliss is well worth a read, and for what it’s worth I think that her "what if" may in fact be a "what is"…..

Hat-tip to Bird Dog over at Maggie’s Farm.

9 Responses to “ON LIBERTY…..WHO NEEDS IT?”

  1. The role of the state is the issue. The two extremes are the view that the state should do everything and that it should do almost nothing.

    Most of us reject both propositions and politics is about finding the right balance.

  2. This is some conundrum. If only you can find the right words to make sense of the puzzle. Could it be that there is no definitive answer and we all have to rub along togather the best we can ?
    What I find so ridiculous, is the fact that those elected to govern, once in power, are not satisfied with a moderate gentle, kindly even, governance. They insist on Ruling. And they can, by dint of their corrupt control and use of the Taxpayers revenue. Remove that control and you have the measure of Political Democracy.
    Regards, A T Flynn

  3. DV,

    An excellent quote – followed by two comments which I wholly agree with. It is indeed a conundrum.

    I think the aspect of conservatism that most likely will help find the balance is pragmatism: believe in general principles but recognise that you must also judge individual circumstances on their individual merits.

    In this way there may be a leaning towards liberty or authoritarianism on a per event basis but an overall thrust towards (I hope) liberty.

  4. All human life is a struggle between what you want to do and how what others want to do affects you and vice versa. Politicians are the ones who have to manage those competing demands and most of them being only human have a tendency to believe that if they have powers they must use them regardless of whether it’s the best thing to do. It’s a rare politician who genuinely volumteers to discard any powers he/she has.

  5. Worse than that Colm is that the reality of life now is that 9 years of Labour have conditioned people to expect the government to use their powers to make life better for them.

    The idea that we make life better for ourselves and that government is a mere facilitator (rather than the actual creator) of that better life will be an alien concept to many.

  6. Doesn’t a democracy imply that one votes for the candidates that represent your views? – that is, they are reactive to the wishes of the community they represent.

    What we have, and have had for many decades are representatives who think that when we vote for them, we are giving them not only the keys to the front door, but also our credit cards, and the deeds to the family manor. They like to call it, ‘being proactive’.

    That is how they hope we see it anyway. How ‘they’ see it is as a license to activate any hare-brained idea or scheme which occurs, or is put to them by any crony or pressure group, – as long as it has the possibility for them to, ‘leave a legacy’.

    That such schemes bear little or no relationship to any election manifesto, is of no consequence, we will all be so pleased with the benefits that they will bequeath us, that we will forget all those broken promises on the matters really matter to us, and for which we voted for them.

    So the question is – ‘What is democracy?’ – Is it really a license to rob and pillage? or is it an opportunity to participate in the highest form of community service?

  7. I guess that if you can say that the aspiration for freedom is something that is the preserve of a certain type of Protestant of northern European extraction, it means that you need not worry too much about how you treat those slaves and Indians.

    But the contributor may be on to something: ‘our revolutionary ancestors’ weren’t really too concerned about the treatment of slaves and Indians either.

  8. Perhaps that song ‘The Self-Preservation Society’,as sung to Noel Coward in that film ‘The Italian Job’, should be the anthem for us Protestant Northern Europeans!

    It would allay any accusations of hypocrisy, if nothing else…

  9. British report sees rights for robots including the right to Social Welfare!