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To: annalex
"Liberty is an infrastructure that enables values, just like the Internet is an infrastructure that enables creation of WWW content."

The opposite could also be said to be true: if you are not surrounded by primarily moral and ethical people what you are free to do, besides shooting back until you run out of ammo, is pretty limited.

"Coerced family is no family"

All families are coerced in the sense that they are determined by who had sex with whom and who was born as a result. People who recognize that they are "stuck" with their father, mother and siblings and behave morally and ethically with regard to them are freely choosing to do the right thing despite being presented with a fait acompli.

"the only way to ascertain a slave's virtue is to see what he does when free."

None of us are completely free, nor is anyone completely enslaved. Even a slave can refuse to follow orders. He may soon be hanged, but he can choose to resist nevertheless. Coalminers who had to work long hours in dangerous conditions could walk off the job any time, but they had few other opportunities that would guarantee food on the table for them and their families.

The reality is that we have to try and make the best choices we can given that we have been genetically created to prefer certain actions and things (regardless of their merit), conditioned by early childhood to prefer certain other actions and things (again, regardless of their merit), and we are currently surrounded by a sea of voices trying to get us to do still other things of questionable merit.

We are born stuck in a very sticky life and the more we thrash around in life, the more we get stuck. We are not individual atoms engaging in pure transactions with other individual atoms.

We learn from tradition that if we behave certain ways and limit ourselves to certain choices, we will have more choices in the future, e.g. if I don't become a drug addict I will tend to have more money with which to buy more useful stuff. So does the freedom proceed from adherence to good values, or do good values proceed from a free environment? I may agree with you that the relationship is not symmetric, but I don't think it is one of precedence either where freedom is given the greater precedence.

Besides if you've ever visited one of the Calvinist predestination threads, you might start doubting freedom exists at all! ;-)

40 posted on 02/11/2002 7:06:05 PM PST by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: who_would_fardels_bear
Besides if you've ever visited one of the Calvinist predestination threads, you might start doubting freedom exists at all! ;-)

Define free will.

42 posted on 02/11/2002 7:20:50 PM PST by A.J.Armitage
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To: who_would_fardels_bear
Perhaps #30 to which you responded was too terse; however all the points that you visit in your #40 were already either addressed or clear from context. I understand that liberty depends on virtue as well as vice versa, but I note that virtue depends on liberty ontologically, while liberty depends on virtue practically. What does it mean? One can't speak of virtue unless the actor is a free agent (free among humans; God's foreknowledge of predestined human acts is another matter entirely; no Calvinist would deny the existence of political freedoms while maintaining the fallacy of free will). Thus if John got Jane pregnant and having liberty under law to either marry her or not, chose to marry her, then John has virtue. If John got Jane pregnant and his salary were garnished for child support under the law, then we can't say if he has virtue or not. The latter is "coerced family". When words "freedom" or "liberty" refer to moral obligations instead of legal ones, clarity suffers. A phrase like "none of us are completely free, nor is anyone completely enslaved" is true is some poetic sense, but it obscures the all-important distinctions between ethical and legal obligations.
46 posted on 02/12/2002 6:50:03 AM PST by annalex
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