At odds with so much: the cost of a supposed freedom

So I said previously that the 7 commandments are at odds with the political and legal systems that are around these days. And I also gave examples of such conflicts and the inevitable conclusion for a moral and responsible person who is faithful to such commandments.

Another dissenting voice whispered from within me. “But, David, isn’t freedom one of the highest pinnacles we should aim for? To be free? You gave examples that shows that freedom seems to be at odds with the seven laws. Shouldn’t a liberty minded person be afraid of such commandments?”

The question here is what is meant by freedom.

Freedom can never mean without limits. Everything in our living experience has limits. Whether it is a shape of our bodies or the accuracy to which we can measure things, everything that we experience has limits.

And liberty cannot reasonably mean that you can do anything and everything that you want and do it as well. Anything that limits your activity is a curbing of freedom or liberty. I believe that any time it is best to limit your actions, that is evidence that freedom is not the highest goal to attain to, to aim for. There is something more important than just freedom.

If a “liberty-minded person” only has an end goal of freedom (the ability and actuality of doing everything and anything that you want) then, yes, not just the seven commandments but every and any law or guiding principle should be a cause of fear or discomfort.

I could write essays just going on about the different definitions of freedom. I could write more lines about how the concept of defining (hence limiting) freedom is a bit confusing. But the essential point is that in order for a person to get the greatest happiness in this life in conjunction with a community of people achieving happiness, there needs to be limits on the actions of people to avoid conflict and pain, there are things that ought not be done. So the seven commandments limiting actions is not the problem. These commandments saying that certain acts are forbidden may be at odds with certain understandings of freedom but not necessarily at odds with what is good for an individual or a group of individuals. In fact, it may be a good basis or a good start to peaceful interactions.

The question then is this: what is more important to you? Freedom? Or what is best for an individual or a group of individuals? And no, they are not always the same thing.


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