Justification of Laws Limiting Individual Freedom

Justification of Laws Limiting Individual Freedom

Humans have a right to seek joy by any means that does not prevent or reduce the joy of others. Any other stance is an expression of religious views, which I respect, but which should not be promulgated by the government.

Therefore, any law must be to either:

a)      Create facilities for the joy of all
b)     Restrict freedom for the purpose of preventing one person from depriving another of joy or the possibility of joy.

In the cases where law is promulgated in support of the creation of facilities for the joy of all, the laws should be as efficient as possible.

In the cases where law is promulgated in support of prevention of the preemption of the joy of others, the minimum restriction must be sought, and any notion that limiting any person’s joy because others might be jealous or envious of greater joy must be rejected.


Category A:

  • Interstate Highways
  • Sewer and Water facilities
  • Public Schools
  • The Common Defense

Category B:

  •                Thou shalt not kill (or even assault) other humans
  •                Don’t steal (with exceptions, such as taking a car to get a trauma victim to a hospital)

About rsiz

Father and Husband, Oracle Technology Scientist and Consultant, planning to end poverty for citizens and legal US residents Lebanon, NH · http://www.rsiz.com See my wife's puzzles at thingamajigsaw.com
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2 Responses to Justification of Laws Limiting Individual Freedom

  1. Robert says:

    I think that we have lost sight of the concept of liberty these days, and that many pay lip service to the ideal. When it is convenient for them to ignore the principle, at their benefit, then they do. When it is their liberty at stake, or that of some ideal that they hold to, then they will fight for liberty.

    Liberty, government and society are going to always be at odds. My concept of liberty and that of another, will differ. That is why we create documents that clearly outline our liberties and rights. Even then, people are willing to abrogate those documents all to easily as we knee jerk into reactions. We forget that liberty is not something that is easy, liberty does not present to the human being the guarantee of a happy life, a life filled with medicine and doctors, or cars, or education, or the freedom to quell the words and thoughts of others. Liberty is expensive, and often in a moment of delusion, we decide we don’t want to pay that price.

    So, we cede away our liberty to Government, with the notion that Government can better protect and exercise our liberty than we can. The sad fact that as free men (and women) we have the right to cede that liberty – all to often though it becomes impossible to regain that liberty without pain and shedding of blood (or spending millions of dollars).

    If you look at your first suggestion: Create facilities for the joy of all – this falls on the face of itself. First of all, no building or construction is going to be created for the joy of all. Things don’t scale that way. The concept of creating something for the “joy” of all is flawed on the assumption that everyone sees value in the same things.

    Now, I’d rather agree with a statement like this: Creates facilities that defend and protect the liberty of all. In a statement like this, we recognize that liberty requires defending. We recognize that there are those who would usurp our liberty by might and military. Even in this statement there is risk if one should use his liberty to usurp this protection and use it against those it’s supposed to protect. Yet, in this world it is clear, men of liberty must be protected. I would agree with your notion about interstate highways being for the common good. Given the state of our public education system, I’m not sure I believe that we have a system that proves that ceding to the government our responsibilities to educate our children is a good thing,

    The more we cede our liberties, the greater risk we take of inadvertently finding ourselves standing in the face of totalitarianism. It is a subtle thing, but it’s a real risk that we must face realistically, if we are to maintain our liberty.

    Finally, point b. is a bit concerning:

    “Restrict freedom for the purpose of preventing one person from depriving another of joy or the possibility of joy.”

    The problem here is that this means someone has to judge what is restrictive and what is not, or such restriction must be codified in law. Also, we tend to be willing to deprive people of joy based on emotion (think lynchings) when we do not respect the liberty of others, and when we can justify our actions on the notion that they have interfered with our liberty.

    So, these restrictions must be codified in law, which is hopefully informed by some basic set of principles (constitution, bill of rights, etc)…. Yet, when we are emotional about things, or when our personal beliefs are offended, we are so happy to put aside those guiding principles for the benefit of our own personal beliefs.

    Slavery is a perfect example of such a thing. Even today, the big “Don’t Bully” campaigns that are running, would seek to restrict our freedom of speech. You might say, “Freeman! How can you defend bullying?” I don’t. I defend the constitution, and I say that bullying in the form of words, internet posts and texts is terrible but it is PROTECTED communications by the bill of rights no mater how much we don’t want it to be. The notion that some want to create laws to make bullying illegal flies in the face of our liberties, even if it is hard to take.

    George Orwell once said: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

    We must defend liberty – and make sure that anything we cede to government is truly lifting up the principles of liberty. Any government that will steal from my pocket, at gun point, to put into the pocket of another in the guise of “social liberty” – is not interested in liberty – for there is no such thing as social liberty – only liberty.

  2. rsiz says:

    You make some interesting points. I hope the examples do clarify context of the tagline for the categories. The creation of any laws requires someone to decide at least as a representative of democracy that the law is just. My categories do not say “make law anything you can fit into these two categories,” but rather, justify that your proposed law at the very least furthers a goal in one of these two categories if it somehow limits freedom. Only then is it just to pursue the political process to make the law real. The specific topic of bullying is challenging. You raise some valid concerns that it tends to chill free speech. In the context of schools, though, we recognize en loco parentis and more limits to certain speech than elsewhere. With children present far more speech has the potential to cause actual harm. Still – they should be very careful in the crafting of any restrictions.
    As for no facility being for the joy of all your interpretation seems to imply the White House is only for the President and the Capitol for Congress. For the joy of all where all means persons generally as opposed to for some private slice of society. I’m happy with that as quite understandable and you are, of course, free to disagree. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

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