Freedom

Comes in many guises.

It is hard to imagine how important a freedom is if one is brought up to expect it. In Hope Against Hope, one of the best books written about life under totalitarianism, Nadezhda Mandelstam, the widow of the Russian poet Osip, who died in Stalin\’s purges, describes a conversation with fellow dissidents in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. For some reason, the talk turned to train travel, and she asserted that, in Britain (which she had never visited), people were free to buy a ticket for any destination they chose and travel without official permission. Her friends laughed this to scorn. How could this be possible, they asked. How could the authorities dare surrender so much power to the citizenry?

I wonder how many would prefer that we not have said freedom. I know very well that there are those who argue that we should not be so free to travel by air. And there are certainly those who would impose capital and currency controls so that if we do we would not be able to take our own money with us.

For, sadly, there are those who think that (and to be honest, these people are on both the right and the left) the Nation, or the State, are the correct building blocks, the entities that require consideration. As opposed to us few others, the liberals in the proper sense of that word, who insist that it is the individual that is paramount, the Nation being just a convenient phrase for a collection of such, the State merely those we hire to do the scut work.

3 comments on “Freedom

  1. Who is funding the NEF? It’s got the Usual Suspects (Larry, dear dear Larry, and WGCE) working for them. I can’t believe there’s no Government finance in there somewhere, directly or indirectly.

  2. Michal Gancarski:

    I am in agreement with you on the importance of the more basic distinction. And my own assessment (just gauged through living) is that the collectivists comprise literally all of the Democrats and somewhat over half of the rest, somewhere in the 75-85% range, with the “conservatives” varying somewhat on just which activities they’d prefer regimented.

    It’s daunting, I agree. But I am also reasonably sure of another aspect of the problem. Apart from a small core of psychopathic individuals, the mere fact that collectivists support those whom they feel would function as “alter-egos” and, even as dictators would enforce policies of which they, themselves would approve, all is not so bleak as the numbers would suggest.

    (I am convinced) that collectivizers believe that the policies they endorse would lead to an amelioration of conditions; few of them, either, actually desire totalitarian regimentation but are convinced that theirs is the true way to a generally better life for all, one of increased material prosperity, human dignity, etc.

    Far more distressing than any mere numbers is the degree to which so many of the most intellectually capable are among that opposition.

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