7th May 2011
The deep humility of freedom
I was thinking about something the other day and realised that the critical difference between the philosophy of freedom and philosophy of statism (e.g. socialism including Vedic socialism) is of the deep humility of the philosophy of freedom.
Of one thing Adam Smith and F.A. Hayek were sure: that they knew virtually nothing, particuarly about what you know, or about what you know about your local circumstances. I, too, like these other philosophers of liberty, know nothing.
I also know, however, that you know nothing, or practically nothing, as well.
An individual today knows less than one millionth of the knowledge found in our libraries. And that knowledge is one millionth of the knowledge that mankind will ultimately acquire. And that will be one trillionth of the actual knowledge in this universe. Effectively all of us know nothing, so close to zero is our knowledge.
A philosopher of freedom would therefore never second-guess your choices in life. The philosopher of freedom is fine with whatever you decide to do after consideration of the facts of your local situation. You are king. Only if you harm others can anyone object.
This simple and basic lesson in humility (and hence respect for others' tastes and preferences) is different from the arrogance that is on offer from statists. These enemies of freedom are characterised by an arrogance so massive and totalitarian that reason can never penetrate into their head.
That totalitarian arrogance is also typical of religious fanatics and most gurus, each of whom wants to force a particular way of thinking and living down our throat. The philosophy of freedom therefore detests any attempt at paternalism, any attempt to direct our choices, any attempt to reduce our freedom to think and to question.
In the end let me re-affirm in deep humility that I know nothing, so please let me learn things at my own pace. Don't EVER try to impose your ideas on me (noting that 99% of "your" ideas are NOT your ideas but ideas that you have COPIED from your parents and/or religious teachers).
I trust we can live in peace with this simple idea that all of us are, effectively, fools; all of us still trying to learn simple things like how our body works, how an economy works, how the universe works.