What is freedom? 2016 edition

This is a new version of a post I wrote back in 2013 about what freedom means to me.

I have been thinking about this for a while, and I have gone through some changes in how I define my views. When I was a teenager I oscillated between anarchism and liberalism, then I fell under the libertarian label, at least nominally since I don’t think I knew a whole lot – to me libertarianism was just “the best government is the least” – all with certain hedonistic tendencies (or about as hedonistic as it gets, for me at least), and now I’m a libertarian-leaning and right wing liberal with the occaisional anarchic tendencies, even if that is just free speech anarchism (well, almost – I’m prepared to accept active calls to violence or participation in violence as an exception in certain circumstances, but apart from that it’s free speech absolutism all the way). But all of that centered around one ideal – freedom.

Anyways…

Freedom to me means the ability of each individual to live the way he/she chooses to live and to follow his/her own natural inclinations without coercion from the state or too much pressure from social norms. It means for Man to be the social, competitive and perhaps spiritual animal that it is, perhaps more. You should be free to be the best that you are, or to become even greater than you are. It is independence, the ability of the individual to have agency and control, thus it is responsibility for ones own actions. It means the ability of the strong, the successful, the meritorious to earn the fruits of their effort in a competitive society through their own effort. It means being able to say whatever you want without being forced to fear coercion from either the state or anyone else. It means being able to express yourself as you please, without that same fear of coercion. It means not having every aspect of your life controlled or regulated.

My ideal society is one were this freedom is the highest ideal, and one that is in harmony with the natural order of how humans and societies work rather than held in bondage to utopian visions of the world. People need to be free to follow their own paths in life, to make their own decisions and pursue their own natural inclinations – free of peer pressure, free of state coercion unless you’re actually harming other people, free of the imposition of grandiose ideals that work against human nature and the human spirit whether they come from religion or from secular ideologies.

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