Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Absolute Freedom, and Campaign Promises

Having talked about the roots of terrorism a little bit, I think I should talk about the concept of freedom a little bit as well.

Do you want to be free?

Freedom has costs. It doesn't come free and it doesn't come easy.

And there is no absolute freedom.

Platitudes, platitudes. Okay, let's walk through some thought experiments.

When I was just out of high school I often rode my bike to work. Pushing against the West Texas wind, riding up and down the rolling hills of certain parts of Odessa -- easy slopes on a ten-speed, but long, I often wished I knew of a way to counter all the forces I worked against. Gravity and friction were way up their amoung the forces I lazily thought I'd like to be free of.

All the science fiction I used to read, and my habit of daydreaming, I dreamed about getting rid of gravity. I'd heard the kite string analogy in a Church Conference talk, so I was roughly aware of where that would lead.
No string:

Nothing for the wind to work against.

The kite is just tossed about in the wind, blown in the air and then back down against the ground.

Blown away down the road and across the fields and into the trees.

And broken to pieces.
Then I worked over the high-school physics I knew in my head and realized that, indeed, without gravity and friction, I'd have a much harder time getting to work.

Assuming the earth somehow held together, I'd be floating around above it, nothing to push against, no way to accelerate in any direction without getting rid of mass, perfectly free, unable to get anywhere.

So I then daydreamed about getting rid of friction.

Again, assuming things would hold together without friction, it would be tires slipping against the pavement, feet slipping off the pedals.

Everything would slip.

No way to pump, no way to get moving, no way to steer, no way to brake.

No friction and no gravity.

Perfectly free in all directions, and no way to get anywhere or do anything.

Perfectly free is not free at all.

Freedom is definitely not something you want and number one priority. Number two or below. (I'm thinking about number five or eight, depending on how I'm counting on a particular day. Way up there, but not as important as God, family, country, or being able to work.)

Actually, I'd put freedom and law about equal in priority, but that's a rant for another day.

What does this have to do with not running for president?

Look at all the campaign promises. Look again. Is the candidate promising anything that looks just a little like perfect freedom for all?

Which of those promises do you want the winning candidate to actually follow through completely on?

Even my abstract platform of cleaning up the body of US law -- if that's taken too far, too quickly, it would tend to be rather destructive of society.

Imagine 400 million Americans floating above the surface of the earth, perfectly free, perfectly unable to do anything. Alleghorically speaking.

Many people who think they hate America would think they love that idea.

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