Tuesday, August 9, 2011

O'Reilly (among others) misses the point

O'Reilly recently was talking about freedom and political choice, with the right and freedom to be liberal, conservative, libertarian or a tea-party member. He made the same error that many others have made: confusing/blending political and philosophical ideas.

Tea-party members are more amorphous, while libertarian is a little more specific. But the dominant groups in modern politics are conservatives and liberals. How the difference can be seen, and the crucial nature of the difference between a philosophical belief and a political belief, though crucial, is simple.

A political belief/ideology being applied in politics and into law removes the freedom to choose. Whether it is a current liberal redistribution plan that increases a tax rate, or whether it is a conservative plan to define marriage, the effect is the same: the people losing the freedom to choose for themselves.

At philosophical levels, these ideas do not take away freedom, but are in fact expressions of freedom when people act upon them: the liberal may donate more if they choose, and the conservative may keep their marriage according to their dictates, while not infringing upon one who keeps their money to spend, invest or save it as they see fit, or for another couple to get married according to the dictates of their beliefs.

It is the crucial difference between a positive and a negative law: negative laws punish violations of rights; positive laws seek to guarantee things to be given/enforced that have nothing to do with defending rights, but at base to be implemented violate the rights of the citizens.

No comments:

Post a Comment