Friday, December 15, 2006

The search begins

Why the blog?
I had no plans to start a blog, when one day a friend asked me, in a rather harsh way, why I didn't have a blog. I told him all the reasons not to write a blog that I had and he efficiently tore my every argument to shreds. So, I was convinced to write a blog and to wright in English to reach out to more people and perhaps tell the world about the situation in Sweden. After some more thinking it through I finally got a blog and a vague idea what to write about, freedom.

What is freedom?
It's hard to find something if you don't know what you are looking for to begin with. Problem is, freedom is not an easy word to define and great thinkers and laymen alike have discussed the issue over time. Many has also argued rather it is a goal to try and achieve or not. I'm going to attempt to tell you what I think freedom is and why it is something worth trying to obtain or even fight for.

Socialist freedom
I've got friend that call themselves communists. Discussing freedom with them can be both giving and extremely annoying. From a communist perspective freedom is to be able to do things. To take an example from a discussion with a left wing friend. If a group of young boys in a rundown suburb wants to start a band but lacks the money to get instruments or hire a place to practice they are unfree because the economic reality doesn't enable them to do as they please, therefore it is right to, by taxation, take part of a working mans salary and give it to the kids. The working mans dreams doesn't matter to them, they don't care about the fact that he might have dreams and needs on which he would like to spend his money.

That is the freedom of socialism, that the government decides that some peoples dreams and ambitions are more worth than others and that the government decides which needs and dreams are the most important. Communist freedom is that the state by force take away the property of some to give to others. Of course they don't put it like that, they claim that it is freedom from the evil chains of capitalism which should be replaced by the righteous chains of a socialist government. That freedom, which means slavery by taxation, is not my freedom.

Anarchist freedom
Anarchists mean something different when they say freedom, not the lack of order as some claim, but the lack of oppression. I am more prone to this definition of freedom, the lack of an oppressive government, but at the same time I don't believe that such a society would work, not in a large scale at least. Without a central organ that keeps law and order many will take the chance to oppress their fellow man and start a government of lower scale and of the worst kind, that of the local warlord and a civil war is bound to happen as local warlords fight each other or team up against stronger rivals and the nations will soon be recreated. So, no, anarchist freedom may be freedom in theory, but when it comes to really, the state is necessary to ensure freedom.

Liberal freedom
Liberals want a minimal state that doesn't get in the way of peoples search for freedom and that there are some basics rights that should always be observed. There are however some different views on how large the state should be and which rights should be guaranteed by the state and how these rights should be interpreted. However there are many disputes amongst different liberal traditions but the central values has always been democracy, freedom of speech, individualism, human rights and the right of ownership. There are many things I like about the liberal version of freedom, that freedom is not be hindered by the government in ones pursuit for happiness. There are other things that I dislike with liberalism, such as an overblown love of individualism and some liberals views on society's less fortunate ones. Still liberalism calls for a government that works to guarantee the freedom of the people without it self becoming an oppressor, this can't be expressed clearly enough and many liberals in today's politics are definitely crossing the line to being oppressors themselves.

If you combine the anarchistic freedom from oppression with the liberal freedom guaranteed by the state you come close to what I call freedom, this however doesn't say much of what kind of society is the best to guarantee freedom, how to obtain freedom or even why you should strive to obtain it. These subjects and many more are what this blog will be about, so if you think freedom is important, keep reading this blog!

With love
Nils Dacke

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