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Thursday, 08 November 2012

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Funny how so-called libertarians fail to see that the most important constraint on anyone's freedom is economic. Those born into poverty must earn freedom, just as American slaves could save up to buy their freedom by earning money doing extra jobs in their spare time. The version of freedom you peddle, liberates only a small minority who already occupy positions of great privilege and enjoy more freedom than others.

Ann Coulter, meanwhile, forgets that without the religious right, her beloved Republicans would be in a much worse place. But more than that, the social-conservative tradition has a far greater claim to being the authentic voice of Republicanism.

Stephen, I see that unlike most philosophers you actually start with a reductio ad absurdum! Just pause for a moment and reconsider your own words:

"the most important constraint on anyone's freedom is economic"

I wonder what the Jews in Auschwitz would have made of that? "It's murder in here, Solly, we got no money!" Or the prisoners in the Gulag? Or the almost countless millions upon millions who perished in Mao's Great Leap Forward? Let us, to be kind, put that down to a slip of the keyboard - we've all done it - but let us consider a different - and more sensible proposition - that poverty is a restriction on freedom.

It would depend, surely, on the nature of the economic system under which you were suffering poverty. If it was under state-controlled socialism/Marxism in which everyone's income and living standards were forced by diktat to be the same then, of course, everyone would be poor - except, as history teaches us, the Commissars who always and everywhere are rich.

Now consider a poor man in a society where everyone is free to pursue their economic interests with only the disinterested law of contract acting as a control. History teaches us that most men will remain poor but if enough poor men become rich then they offer the means for the poor to become less poor. I would suggest a quick course in 19th century British economic history, it would do you the world of good!


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