Saturday, December 30, 2006
Why Posts on Individual Freedom?
I have been posting on individual freedom, individualism, etc., because this is a basic value upon which virtually all Americans from left to right agree, at least as an abstract principle. It is only when one looks into the details of political opinions that one finds that 'individual freedom' in the abstract does not translate into the same concrete set of political and social recommendations. For example, it seems to me that if one truly values individual freedom then one must endorse a pretty strong policy of civil liberties as defined in the bill of rights. In the abstract pseudo-conservatives like William F. Buckley endorse civil liberties; however, in God and Man at Yale he advocated an end to academic freedom as we know it and endorsed a policy of indoctrination for undergraduates in the 'truths' of morality and political economy as he viewed them as a Catholic and an Adam Smith lover (see documentation of this in John Judis' biography of Buckley). Moreover, Buckley's support for McCarthy and McCarthyism also demonstrated his lack of a robust view of civil liberties. Indeed, Buckley's views regarding both academic freedom and McCarthyism demonstrated that he does not at all support the free exchange of ideas in freedom of speech when it comes to matters where he believes his views are 'right', and thus indoctrination is the policy he supports in many cases. I'm not sure how this differentiates him from Stalinists who also endorsed indoctrination of the 'party line.'