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Importance of freedom

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See also Freedom of speech

Protecting freedom is essential (confidence: likely)

(todo) see note 2) in the Righteous Mind review for a long discussion on this

  • something like charter cities/seasteading (see Haidt review, point 2 on importance of freedom)

Views, politics, importance of liberty, see rights, see on liberty, see personal choice vs collectivism, see hard to reinstate (pedophile effect with internet freedom) etc But many cases where government useful for coordination problem solving Idea of the 'banned object' shop (need to bite bullets sometimes) Balance between removing all 'bad' choices to protect people (paternalism) and complete freedom (probably suboptimal from utilitarian standpoint). No good answer? In politics, since government will not represent wishes of all (arrow impossibility theorm, is this that?) we should generally not coerce people unless very large benefit, leave them freedom to choose as they wish. Some things cannot help choosing (immigration policy for example) however. In personal life, people maybe want illusion of freedom, but not too many choices? Army is attractive because it gives structured set of choices, complete freedom is daunting. Hard. Brain needs to work harder?

liberty: is it right to coerce? everyone has their own view of 'the good', leaving them entirely free allows them to pursue this good. If they wish to be charitable, they can. But what of the greater good? Utilitarianism? Maybe also issues with coordination that could be fixed by coersion (externalities like pollution, freerider issues like building roads, etc.). It may be risky due to the limitations of our knowledge, meaning we are never sure if we are making the correct choice under utilitarianism, bringing us back to freedom-by-default, but can coerce of necessarily, carefully.

In politics, would people ever choose to go against their view of the good, unless it is by coercing people with a different view? In other words, if there were no politics, people would still be altruistic in the same proportion as they would be voting for altruistic policies, so government would be adding nothing (in fact it would be a negative, since it would remove the pleasure gained from giving charitably, replacing it by force), only when we force people to do altruistic against their wishes, ie, against their own morality, is there a gain in total charity done. Again, coordination issues?

Indeed, looking at politics, people generally seem to want higher taxes on the rich to pay for things that benefit them, rarely do they vote for a 1% increase across the board to help the very poorest. When they do try to help the poorest, they do so by trying to force their own morality on them again, by giving them government services rather than money.

notes from machinery of freedom, why preventing freedom in drug markets is easier and bad:

But there is no way to play safe. If a useful new drug is kept off the market, people who might be saved if the drug were available will die. Caution kills. Whom it kills may not be obvious; often the new drug is only an improvement on an old one, an improvement which might raise a cure rate from 80 percent to 85 percent. Which men and women and children make up the 5 percent killed by caution no one can ever know; their deaths are statistics, not headlines. A statistical corpse is just as real as a thalidomide baby on the front page; it is just less visible.[…] My own conclusion, that drug companies should be free to sell, and their customers to buy, anything, subject to liability for damages caused by misrepresentation, must seem monstrous to many people. Certainly it means accepting the near certainty of a few people a year dying from unexpected side effects of new drugs. I believe the cost of our present policy, although less visible, is even higher. How high I cannot tell.


the value to individuals of being able to run their own lives is typically greater than the value to anyone else of being able to control them—or in other words, that increases in liberty tend to increase total utility. […]


Views freedom, good heuristic, should do the utilitarian thing, but might push us toward local maxima, good to keep freedom, very hard to know long term effects of actions \^ is this all just rationalisation? see Haidt

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Last modified 2019-08-16 Fri 16:28. Contact