Comment: Lots of questions

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Lots of questions

What is the problem with the following definition?

Freedom is the ability to pursue one's desires without human interference.

I think it's a reasonable definition. Do we want it? Maybe or maybe not, but I think that is roughly what most of us mean by freedom.

It does rule out natural restrictions on freedom, like not being able to ride your bike when it's cold and leap tall buildings in a single bound, so maybe it should be called "freedom in the realm of human social interaction." And maybe I'm wrong, but I think that is perhaps a fitting restriction to place on our conversation.

Here are some anticipated answers: Is it possible to have the freedom to kill another person? It certainly is according to this definition, if that is what a person desires and the person has the freedom. There is no value judgement in freedom.

But the key is: *It all (or at least mostly) depends on your desires.* That is the responsibility part.

I realize that I haven't answered most of the questions above, but concerning the definition of freedom, does anyone have a problem with my answer? Can we start with this as a foundation?

If there is no problem, then the question of whether you want a particular person (e.g., yourself) to have freedom depends on the person's desires. If a particular person has a desire to kill me, I might want to limit his freedom. If I have a strong desire to eat fat, sugar, and drink large quantities of alcohol, then I might want to limit my own freedom.

Agreements made with others to reject certain freedoms/desires as non-valid fall under the category of liberty rather than freedom. *Liberty* is the collection of freedoms you have after agreeing to give up some freedoms to get along with others.

Agreement within yourself to reject certain freedoms/desires as non-valid is called restraint or discipline.

In the long run, I think people who want freedom (or even more liberty) have to answer the question: What do you plan to do with your freedom? I'm not saying we need to answer that for other people. That kind of thinking leads to central planning, and then a few people decide the answer for everyone, and no one even has much liberty and things become a mess---like what we've got now. Socrates was thinking that way, but it was a wrong turn. But what I'm saying is that we need to answer that question for ourselves. And we need to come up with the "right" answer.

I think that most, if not all, central planning results from some people thinking that others are unable to answer that question satisfactorily. Anyway, I've rambled on a bit too long under the assumption that we can agree on a definition of freedom without too much controversy. Let's see if that's true.