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THE NATURE OF FREEDOM

© Copyright 1993 by Frederick Mann, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

PART ONE

Definitions of Freedom
Anthem by Ayn Rand (Penguin Books, NY; 1992 - first published in 1938):
"There is nothing to take a man's freedom away from him, save other men. To be free, a man must be free of his brothers. That is freedom. That and nothing else."

Return to Reason: An Introduction to Objectivism by Paul Lepanto (Exposition Press, NY; 1971):

"Full freedom is the absence of restraints, other than natural ones, on an individual's actions."
"The degree of a man's freedom decreases as the restraints on his actions, beyond those imposed by nature, increase in number or extent."
"Although the influences reducing a man's freedom can vary in form, the source of any and all such influences can only be the actions of other men."

For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto by Murray N. Rothbard (Collier Books, NY; 1978 - first published 1973):

"Freedom is a condition in which a person's ownership rights in his own body and his legitimate material property are not invaded, are not aggressed against."

The Discovery of Freedom: Man's Struggle Against Authority by Rose Wilder Lane (Arno Press & The New York Times, NY; 1972 - first published in 1943):

"Freedom means self-control; no more, no less."

The Ego & Its Own: The Case of the Individual Against Authority by Max Stirner (Rebel Press, London; 1982 - first published in German in 1845 as Der Einzige und sein Eigentum):

"It is not recognized in the full amplitude of the word that all freedom is essentially self-liberation - that I can have only so much freedom as I procure for myself by my owness."

How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne (Avon Books, NY; 1973):

"Freedom is living your life as you want to live it."

Definitions Have Consequences
Distinguish between two definitions at the extreme ends of a spectrum. At one end is the Randian definition which essentially says that your freedom can only be taken away by other humans. At the other end is the Stirnerite definition which says "all freedom is essentially self-liberation," which implies that only you yourself can prevent your freedom.

If as a freedom-activist, you adopt the Randian definition, then all your efforts to increase freedom are aimed at stopping others from taking away your freedom. You have to educate other people so they will change their behavior. You have to change any political system that violates your freedom. Only by changing the political system and the behavior of freedom-violators can you achieve freedom.

On the other hand, if as a freedom-activist, you adopt the Stirnerite definition, then all your efforts to increase freedom are aimed at improving yourself and how you handle your affairs. One of the principles advocated by Harry Browne is that you don't organize to change or oppose the government because they are likely to nail you. According to Browne, one of the greatest freedoms is freedom from the urge of wanting to control others.

Depending on which definition you adopt, your behavior will be fundamentally and radically different. Does the Randian definition lead to essentially self-sacrificial, altruistic behavior? Are Randians expected to sacrifice money, time, and effort to support organizations that will change the political system? Does the Stirnerite definition lead to "selfish" (in the commonly used sense) behavior that is ultimately self-defeating? Are Stirnerites expected to focus only on self-liberation, while in the long-term the political system may overwhelm them anyway?

Adopting which definition gives you most power?

The Self-Liberation Strategy
"Freedom technology" consists of the knowledge, methods, and skills to live free. It includes the methods used to defend against aggression from terrocrats (coercive government agents or terrorist bureaucrats). It also includes the methods used to blow away the bogus power of terrocrats. The first assumption of the Self-Liberation strategy is that individuals can greatly increase their freedom and power by acquiring and applying freedom technology.

The second assumption of the Self-Liberation strategy is that the power of terrocrats is tenuous (fragile, of little substance). Their power rests on lies and naive victims believing those lies. Terrocrat power depends on support from victims. (Rand's "sanction of the victim.") Gandhi demonstrated the tenuous power of terrocrats when he defeated the British Empire and drove the British out of India without firing a shot. The fall of the Berlin Wall was a further demonstration. The East German armed might, supported by several hundred thousand Russian troops could not keep the Berlin Wall standing, once a critical mass of victims withdrew their sanction. Another demonstration was the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Again, when a critical mass of victims withdrew their sanction, the Soviet Empire disappeared overnight.

Free people cooperate on the basis of self-ownership, individual sovereignty, and voluntary exchange. We advocate that individuals and groups acquire and implement freedom technology to increase their personal freedom and power, and to shift their assets and economic activities into the free market to whatever degree is appropriate for each individual. We further advocate that sovereign individuals create alternative voluntary institutions (particularly regarding currencies and financial services).

The third assumption of the Self-Liberation strategy is that when a critical mass of people, assets, and economic activities have shifted into the free market, coercive political systems will collapse like the British in India, the Berlin Wall, and the Soviet Empire.

PART TWO

Freedom and Options
I could describe freedom as the positive options practically available to me. In jail I would have few positive options available. Currently, I have a considerable range of positive options available to me. Freedom is options.

Freedom and Power
Power is essentially the ability to do things. The more things I can do, the more power I have. As my power increases, so do the positive options available to me. Thus I increase my freedom by increasing my power. Freedom is power.

Freedom and Knowledge
Generally, I do the things I know how to do. I don't do what I don't know. The more I know, the more I do. The more I do, the more power and freedom I have. Freedom is knowledge.

Freedom and Connections
Through reaching out to others, I create a network of like-minded connections. This network creates a rapidly growing potential for more positive options. Some in the network assist me, thereby increasing my power and freedom. Freedom is connections.

Freedom and Money
Money enables me to do a great deal that I couldn't do if I didn't have money. Money provides me with options. Freedom is money.

Freedom and Self-Chosen Work
To work at a dreary, dead-end job I have to perform to earn the money to survive is to be stuck in a negative option. To be free I need to find a way to work at what I love and enjoy. My work needs to be an unfolding and an expression of who I am. Freedom is self-chosen work.

Freedom and Technology
With the use of technology I can do much I couldn't do otherwise. I use my telephone to speak to people all over the world. Within 24 hours I can fly by plane to almost anywhere in the world. Technology vastly increases my options. Freedom is technology.

Freedom and Health
If I were ill in bed, or confined to a wheelchair, I would have far fewer options available to me. The healthier I am, the more positive options I have. Freedom is health.

Freedom and Intelligence
Intelligence can be described as thinking skills. The better I think, the more options I have, the more effectively I act. Freedom is intelligence.

Freedom and Emotional Control
When at the effect of involuntary emotions I can't think clearly. I tend to act irrationally. Uncontrolled emotions reduce the positive options available to me. Freedom is emotional control.

Freedom and Self-Confidence
The opposite of self-confidence is self-doubt. Self-doubt can paralyze me, preventing action. When I can't act I am unfree. Self-confidence enables me to act. Freedom is self-confidence.

Freedom and Time
If I "don't have time" to do what I want to do, I am unfree. Lack of time enslaves. Life-extension provides more time. Freedom is time.

Freedom and Space
To do what I want to, I need space in which to do it. Imprisonment is being confined to a small space. Imagine a future time with human colonies in space, on the Moon, and on other planets - and considerable space travel between them. Freedom is space.

Freedom and Immortality
According to the best evidence available to me, if I die I lose all freedom - all my options have expired. Death is the biggest and ultimate enemy of freedom. My highest priority as a freedom-lover is to overcome death and render it obsolete. Death must be killed. Freedom is physical immortality.

Programs in the Mind
The definitions and descriptions of aspects of freedom are programs in the mind. They affect how we see the world. By implication, they include sets of operating instructions on how we deal with the world.

Freedom and Results
Our organization advocates a shift from being "right" to producing results. The issue isn't whether any of the definitions and descriptions of elements of freedom are "right" or "wrong." Of much more importance is whether or not I produce the results I want. Nothing is as frustrating as expending money, time, and effort for any purpose or "great cause" while producing no results or negative results year after year.

In order to produce the result I want, I need to define what I want and focus on that. I need to calculate what actions might produce the desired result. I need to test these actions and observe what result they produce. If they don't produce the desired result, I need to choose a different result and/or I must try different actions. I may also want to examine my mind for programs that prevent me from taking the necessary actions. If I find such programs, I could replace them with programs that enable me to produce the result I want.

The most important result I want is greater freedom for myself, my friends, and all humanity. I believe that applying the material which our organization provides is the action to produce this result. By beginning to acquire and apply freedom technology, you can start enjoying the benefits of greater freedom immediately.


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