A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Thursday, March 09, 2006

More Cherry Picking

Pick wisely? Posted by Picasa

We all know, I guess, that Hitler was a bad guy in a Germany where everyone was taught to obey the authorities and not question the goodness of the state goals. We also know, I suppose, that anarchy is bad. You know, where everyone makes up his own rules and lives for himself and defies all authority. But in the long continuum between total anarchy and total submission where does freedom become lawlessness or submissiion become aiding and abetting tyranny?

It is easy to throw the labels around, but at what point does the truth appear? Is it tyranny for a husband to decide which friends his wife should have, choose her wardrobe, insist she stay home with the kids, refuse to allow her to go to college, and refuse to allow her a driver's license? Is it lawlessness for him to tolerate everything, including sexual affairs, bank robbery, and lesbianism? Not easy questiions.

But how do we answer them? Of course, we go cherry picking. Most of the cherries are anecdotal in cases like this: stories about Bill and Mary, Jerry and Bobbi, etc. Mary thinks Bill is a Hitler because he is concerned about an affair she is having with his best friend. Jerry thinks Bobbi is lawless because she thinks she should be able to vote in church.

But what is the truth? Are there no limits on human freedom except which I impose on myself, or are there no limits on the level of control that another person or institution can impose one? Where are those limits, and who is to decide?

It will not do for each one to decide for himself, for that is to answer the question on the side of anarchy; but neither will it do for one person or group to decide for everybody for that is to come down on the side of tyranny and we are back at square one.

In the long, long continuum between anarchy and tyranny where is truth to be found? Choose your cherries very carefully.
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