James Leroy Wilson's blog

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Freedom and Brotherhood

I've been re-reading Rose Wilder Lane's The Discovery of Freedom (of which the Mises Institute provides a lengthy expcerpt here). Two points Lane emphasizes (using the masculine gender, not referring ot the male sex) are:

1. All men are free. You can use force on individuals, but you can't control them. Only the individual is in control of his energy.
2. All men are brothers. Is is a fact that men must work together to survive.

While Lane is considered to be part of the "Old Right," these points help clarify how I view the Libertarian Left. For the question of man's freedom distingusishes libertarianism from authoritarianism. And the question of man's brotherhood distinguishes Left from Right.

But the questions aren't black and white. The opposite of love could be hate, or it could mean fear, or indifference. Likewise, the opposite of "all men are free" isn't always "no men are free." Sometimes it's "some men are free" or "sometimes men are free."

I'm not going to put these into a chart. Nor am I going to do a quiz, because that would be misleading. For the questions of man's freedom and man's brotherhood may produce one result that could be misleading because one's pragmatic and philosophical views of the state, land, money, etc. are not addressed. But I think these definitions define one's general orientation:

On the Left:

Left-libertarianism(including anarchism): all men are free, all men are brothers
modern liberal/progressivism: sometimes men are free, all men are brothers
Establishment liberalism: some men are free (i.e. earn by merit and intellect the right to rule and impose what they think is best on others), all men are brothers
state communism: no men are free, all men are brothers


On the Right:

Objectivism: all men are free, no men are brothers (may not be accurate, but that's my understanding)
Right libertarianism: all men are free, some men are brothers (traditional values and attachments are best preserved in a free society)
Conservativism: Sometimes men are free, some men are brothers (my country right or wrong).
Religious Right and neo-conservatism: Some men are free (i.e., some have the right to rule and impose what they think is best on others); some men (i.e, the people of the West) are brothers.
Fascism: no men are free, some men are brothers (everything for the State; my country must be supreme over others).
Feudalism, slavery: some men are free, some men are brothers
Gangsterism: no men are free, no men are brothers

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:13 PM PST

    This is a rather interesting idea, although I'm not sure that Anarchists believe "all men are brothers"

    ReplyDelete