There is a widespread belief – particularly among advocates of freedom and capitalism – that individual freedom and individual rights will spontaneously emerge if nations gradually adopt various forms of capitalism, freer markets, and/or more private economic initiatives. Yet, many socialist, fascist and communist jurisdictions have done exactly this, but nevertheless remained socialist, fascist or communist. While their economies may have become more ‘efficient,’ their people still do not enjoy individual rights, having ironically been turned into ‘slaves’ of a state-directed economic ‘efficiency.’
Additionally, there is a certain ‘literalism’ on the philosophic front, with many freedom advocates rejecting the best political alternative on the basis of some kind of philosophical impurity or inconsistency on the part of a given politician or party.
This is dangerous thinking, and can lead to unwarranted feelings of futility, frustration, and cynicism regarding political action in general. It is an affliction that most affects those on the Right, and is in part responsible for the continuing ascendancy of the Left and the erosion of our freedoms.
As our Freedom Panel discussion illustrates, it’s important to understand that, in politics, philosophy is more about determining political direction than it is about reaching the destination. It can be self-defeating to turn one’s philosophical aspirations into a political obstacle.
For freedom’s advocates, philosophical perfection in politics is a goal that will never be achieved, given the nature of politics itself. The best that one can hope for – and support – is an ideal that, given the always limited range of alternatives, is the closest to being Just Right.
If you found this presentation valuable please consider supporting us: