Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Far Does Freedom of Thought Really Go?

George Orwell: Probably one of the last
human beings that truly valued freedom
of thought.
I guess I took an extended Labor Day in terms of posting, and for that I'm sorry.  I'm sure that my male readers enjoyed the Labor Day post, though, so we all got something out of it.

Anywho, I read an article yesterday over at one of my favorite blogs, Western Hero, authored by Silverfiddle.  The gist of it is that it's pretty ridiculous that many Liberals think that the likes of Gov. Perry of Texas and Michele Bachmann are trying to institute a Christian theocracy, or they at least would desire such a thing to pass.

Maybe, deep down, Bachmann and Perry would love such a thing to happen, but Silverfiddle is right in suggesting that this is just another cook conspiracy theory, and although we should always be vigilant against the possibility of people trying to infringe on our liberty, we should likely just discard this theory.

I got to thinking about this, though, especially considering the whole blogosphere thing.  The question I asked to Silver on his blog is do we actually want diversity of thought?

"Of course we do, Jack!  Diversity of thought is the cornerstone of liberty!  We don't want to be mindless automaton drones!"  Is that really true?

Why do most people even engage in argument or debate?  Why do we weirdoes of the blogosphere even bother writing our shit allover the internet?  Is it because we truly want to explore and discover Truth?  I think some people do, but my guess is that most people secretly want everyone to think like them.

I know, I have a pretty shitty opinion of human nature, but I think this is generally true.  We all want to feel like we're right, like our beliefs are vindicated.  Humans naturally have an urge to understand the world around them, and there's little else that causes greater satisfaction than thinking that you finally understand something.  Usually, the more complex the thing we're trying to know, the greater the satisfaction we feel once we've figured it out.

That's probably why most people get all pissy whenever someone challenges them on this stuff.  No one likes to feel like they're wrong, so no one likes to be told that they're wrong.  What's more, no one likes to admit when they're wrong.  So when presented with facts or ideas that show what they believe to be fallacious, most people would just rather continue to argue whatever the hell it is they believe and try to convince you that you are fucked up.

We want everyone to think like us, because we enjoy the solidarity of having a common understanding.  It feels good when you're surrounded by like-minded people.  You connect with them and feel a bond with them.  We're social animals, as Aristotle said, and we feel most human and fulfilled in society with other humans.  So why would we logically want to be in a society where we all piss each other off because we can't agree on everything?

I think most people would just rather that we all think alike.  Although I love argument and debate because it is a learning experience (for me at least), deep down I do wish that people would think as I do, or at least admit that I'm right about some things.

Life would certainly be easier if everyone would just agree on everything, and we know the price that we have to pay for freedom of thought.  Some of us say that it's well worth the price, but I wonder how many of us actually mean it.


Harrison said...

Ironically, Orwell spied on his fellow Brits for the Government.

D Charles QC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D Charles QC said...

remember reading an item from some psychologist who said tht there are three types who write/blog (other than professionals such as journalists and political-causes).

The first is the Expressive - the one who has opinions and wishes to share it.

The second is the Informant - who has an issue and wants to tell it.

The third is Messenger - who pretends to be an Expressive, becomes an Informant but in fact just wants to the attention of others (but deep down just a hug and to be liked).

I think there is a lot into that and with the subject of politics, religion and conflict, it is the "professionals" that obscure the picture. What he did not say was the percentages of each of the three.

We certainly need to discuss and express and our freedoms is based on that and ultimately chosing from them. Even when some of those choices would take away the act of choice itself, can we say we are truelly free if we eliminated that option?

Jack Camwell said...

Interesting fact, Harrison. I made me laugh.

That's some interesting stuff Damien. I'd love it if you know of an online copy of that article.

I don't know the answer to your question to be honest. Freedom comes in making the choice itself. Of course our actions are going to limit what we can do down the road, but there's no such thing as absolute freedom. We're bound by time, space, and consequences. Freedom comes in what we do with those things and how we choose to navigate it.

D Charles QC said...

I will see if I can find that article or a reference to it.

After noting that comment I started thinking and ironically had coffee today with a priest (Catholic) and he said that a pretty interesting thing. He said that do we not often enough chose to have others take responsibility and thus giving it to them is not relinquishing controls?

I think he is right, but that is very different to those wanting to take it from you for other reasons not so magnanimous.

Silverfiddle said...

Thanks for the bump, Jack.

You comment over at my place was an astute one, and here was my response:

Brilliant observation. For this reason, I am a strong proponent of a constitutional libertarian government as established by the founders, before the progressives hijacked it.

The Federal Government has turned into a huge stick partisans use to smash each other over the heads with, depending on who wields it at the time. It needs to be confined to the enumerated powers and leave the rest to the states and the people.

You are right. I think most people are motivated to get others to think like us. In a free market place of ideas, that's great. When you hijack the state to indoctrinate everyone, it's wrong, sometimes hideously so.

Peter McCullough said...

The logical extension of the plans to homogenize the world for control of all money and power by whichever bogeyman is the usurping of the individual's right to free speech and ultimately free thought. Think not? Consider the havoc created in the realm of free speech by the purveyors of PC? Years ago who could imagine someone of Obama's ilk not only winning the presidency but then overtly flaunting his socialist/marxist tendencies unchallenged by a free press and a free media? Very few today dare to really speak out against the dismantling of our culture. our economy, our country being carried out under the direction of the White House? With an abridged right of free speech can the loss of freedom of thought be far behind? The sad truth is that after all that has been done to impinge the our freedoms and economic well being over the past two and a half years by Obama, we as a country will still buy a bridge from him. Care to take a head count of those sucked in by last night's American Job Act proposal speech?

Jack Camwell said...

Thanks Silver. I'm glad you found my observation efficacious =)

Of course that's what "they" want. The world is more orderly when people can't think for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Why do most people even engage in argument or debate? Why do we weirdoes of the blogosphere even bother writing our shit all over the internet?

Everybody's looking for affirmation, Jack. No one wants to think of himself as all alone -- and as someone else said, no one wants to think of himself as wrong either.

ALSO, most of us would rather do anything than confront our own shortcomings, and maybe actually DO something to improve ourselves -- the hardest work we'll ever find -- so we post remarks.

But then why does anybody do ANYTHING?

Most people seem to do only what they absolutely have to in order to get by. but that's because they have no curiosity and little interest in anything but satisfying their animal needs.

Why do others write music, poetry, novels, do sculpture, work with architecture, take courses, etc?

It's a big question. There may not be just one clear cut answer to it.

~ FreeThinke