Positive and negative freedom
Friday, January 07 2011 @ 12:05 PM CST
Contributed by: filbert
Positive freedom is simply the freedom to . . . Freedom to do . . . whatever you want to do. Freedom of action.
Negative freedom is, then simply freedom from . . . Freedom from . . . whatever might negatively impinge on the above positive freedom. So, negative freedoms would include two of Franklin Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms:"
Freedom of speech and expression;
Fredom of religion;
Freedom from want;
Freedom from fear.
Taking this view of the two faces of freedom, "The Left" tends to be willing to sacrifice positive freedoms for negative freedoms--especially positive freedoms having to do with economic issues. Paradoxically perhaps, "the left' then turns around and sacrifices negative freedoms in the social sphere--religious and sexual mores, artistic and cultural norms--for positive social and artistic freedoms. "The Right" on the other hand tends to uphold positive economic freedoms over negative ones--the freedom to earn, keep, and use personal property--over negative freedoms such as "freedom from want;" while upholding the negative social freedoms represented by traditional social and cultural institutions and mores over "living on the edge" of expressing positive social/cultural freedoms.
I read through quite a few of the articles I found on the internet regarding positive freedom and negative freedom and quickly found myself wandering into the tall grass of Marxist muddle-headed self-contradictory pseudo-intellectual mush.
It will (I suspect) astonish absolutely no one that the mainstream philosophical definition (i.e. the Marxist definition) of positive and negative freedom is exactly the opposite of what I define above. Thus you discover mind-bending statements like this one earnestly offered up for your consideration:
In hitherto existing Socialist states, like the Soviet Union and China, “negative freedoms” were severely restricted, while “positive freedoms” were advanced.
Got that? In the Soviet Union, in Communist China--the two states that together killed more human beings than any other two nations in the history of mankind--"'positive freedoms' were advanced."
This is why socialism--"progressivism"--communitarianism--Marxism--is extremely, EXTREMELY dangerous bullshit. It is a seductive siren song for overly intelligent intellectuals with too much time on their hands and too many drinks in front of them on the table in the cozy bar adjacent to the campus where they happily study their philosophies in isolation from the real world where most of us live.
Now, consider that one of those intelligent intellectuals is now President of the United States, and famously stated that he considers the Constitution of the United States a "charter of negative liberties."
The spin embedded in the careful use of the terms "positive" and negative" by the Marxists is--or should be--transparent. They believe in the freedom of the community (of which, oddly enough, they tend to always be the ones in charge) over the freedom of the individual, who tends to be rather difficult to control without guns and jails and massive health care programs and total control of the news media and gulags and concentration camps and pogroms against the Jews . . .
That's what the Democratic Party of the United States in the year 2011 is all about. That's what Obamacare is about. It's about ensnaring you, the American people in a velvet net of "positive" negative freedoms, so that their betters--lead by Obama--can "take care of you."
For your own good, of course.
Do you like your freedom?
Are you positive?