Saturday, June 01, 2013

Regulating freedom so we can be free?

So, the question might be, do we regulate "freedom" so that we can be free? Has to have something to do with teaching ourselves and others (kids) how to access what we need from the physical and social environment without impinging on others and without exhausting the carrying capacity of the world. What rules would support this kind of social organization?

Live and let live
Create what you need and if you want, share whatever you have in excess
Develop sustainable products and production methods
No initiating harm to others; avoid harm from others if at all possible
Be honest in your exchanges with others
Exchange is voluntary

How free can we be?

I've been reading a lot about liberterianism and anarchy lately. I find it really interesting stuff. I like the idea of being free from formal regulation of the governmental kind. I do think that humans are capable of regulating ourselves without the need for a formalized governmental system. In fact, most of us do most of the time. In other words, most of us regulate ourselves (in terms of doing the "right thing" without the need of government intervention) fairly well. To be sure, there are some who would do the "wrong thing" without any sort of fear of punishment (although most anarchists agree that there would be some form of "punishment" even in an anarchic society) that are currently doing the right thing, but it seems that this number would not be that large, proportionally. An, of course, those that currently act without regard for governmental (or any other) kind of consequence, will continue to do so.

The question, though is can we be free from any kind of regulation?The answer to this is no. Years of research have clearly demonstrated that humans need regulation of some kind. In other words, we don't know how to live with others innately; we need to learn how to do this. This learning is a life-long process and we are subject to it until death. This is not a bad thing, however (or it doesn't have to be). It is obvious that any interaction with the world results in some kind of outcome. Humans are designed to respond to the environment. We have evolved to survive through the use of our senses to make contact with the world and then modify our behavior based on the results of that contact (basic conditioning). Years of collective and cumulative human contact with the world results in "rules" about behavior ("don't touch a hot stove or you will get burned"). These rules are passed down from generation to generation and are modified due to changes in the environment; new rules are also generated due to changes in the environment. These rules result in continued and (coordinated) regulation and behavior.

more later...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Email to my older brother

Thought you'd like to know that I have been reading much about Austrian economics lately. I am not completely convinced that a truly free market, absent govt regulation, would be all that much better. I am leaning that way, though. I have always been critical of the govt and corporations because of their fascism and subsequent criminal use of power and am definitely in favor of ridding the world of both. I like Rothbard's work the best, so far. I think Mises is misguided with his notion of human action (not supported by empirical evidence; not surprising, tho since he eschews science in general). I usually love what Lewis Rockwell writes.

Funny, I think I know why people think I'm a liberal. I dislike the consolidation of power and the inequality (restriction of freedom) that it creates. Because of that, people seem to think I am in favor of govt intervention to alleviate that condition. I'm not and never have been. I wasn't sure what the answer was, but I knew govt wasn't it. I firmly believe that people need to work. In part because they don't need to leech off of others, but mainly because work leads to individual success and accomplishment and is a dignified way of living. Give people some education, a chance, and an opportunity to be competitive in an unregulated, fascist-free market, and yeah, I think we would have much less poverty and inequality than we do now. Plus, it would be clear that someone not working was her/his own choice.

Wish I had discovered this literature 30 years ago.