American Elephants


Let’s have a conversation about freedom. by The Elephant's Child

Thomas Sowell wrote a rousing column today, as he usually does.

Most people on the Left are not opposed to freedom.  They are just in favor of all sorts of things that are incompatible with freedom.

Freedom ultimately means the right of other people to do things that you do not approve of.  Nazis were free to be Nazis under Hitler.  It is only when you are able to do things that other people don’t approve that you are free.

One of the most innocent-sounding examples of the Left’s many impositions of its vision on others is the widespread requirement  by schools and by college-admissions committees that students do “community service.”

There are high schools across the country from which you cannot graduate, and colleges where your application for admission will not be accepted, unless you have engaged in activities arbitrarily defined as “community service.”

The arrogance of commandeering young people’s time, instead of leaving them and their parents free to decide for themselves how to use that time, is exceeded only by the arrogance of imposing your own notions as to what is or is not a service to the community.

Working in a homeless shelter is widely regarded as “community service” — as if aiding and abetting vagrancy is necessarily a service, rather than a disservice, to the community.

Obama has mentioned that college kids working in the college library or hashing in a dining room are not considered community service, while dishing up food in a cafeteria for vagrants is.  Explain that one.

According to campaign promises and statements, by 2012, four years from now, over one half of the population will pay no taxes, and be supported by the other half who work.  This is not freedom.

Dr. Sowell goes on:

Supposedly students are to get a sense of compassion or noblesse oblige from serving others.  But this all depends on who defines compassion.  In practice, it means forcing students to undergo a propaganda experience to make them receptive to the Left’s vision of the world.

I am sure those who favor “community service” requirements would understand the principle behind the objections to this if high-school military exercises were required.

Indeed, many of those who promote compulsory “community service” activities are bitterly opposed to even voluntary military training in high schools or colleges, though many other people regard military training as more of a contribution to society than feeding people who refuse to work.

In other words, people on the left want the right to impose their idea of what is good for society on others — a right that they vehemently deny to those whose idea of what is good for society differs from their own.

I think we are in need of an ongoing conversation about what is meant by “freedom”, how we preserve it, and how we lose it.  And how we go about regaining our freedom if it is lost.

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2 Comments so far
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Yes. Liberals and conservatives argue about lots of peripheral issues, but freedom is the fundamental issue.

Freedom to earn wealth and use it as one pleses.

Freedom to spend one’s earned wealth on one’s own family.

Freedom to pay people the wages that the market dictates.

Freedom to set prices that the market dictates.

Freedom to say or write things, even if they “offend” people.

Freedom to express religious beliefs in public.

Freedom to drive the vehicle of one’s choice or light one’s home with the bulbs that one prefers.

I could go on.

Comment by renaissanceguy

Let’s not forget the freedom to use toilets that actually work on the first flush!

Nobody says it better than Dr. Sowell, except maybe Dr. Walter Williams.

Comment by Demosthenes




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