Two Visions of Freedom

May 23, 2009

In The Conflict of Visions, Thomas Sowell points out fundamental differences in the constrained (conservative) and unconstrained (liberal) visions.  One of those fundamental differences is in how the two visions define freedom.

Those with the constrained vision think of freedom as freedom from coercion of others. 

Those with the unconstrained vision think of freedom as freedom to live as we choose without many consequences.

This explains so much.  So much.  

For instance, this evening I heard on the news that laws have been enacted to “protect the debt ridden” from credit card companies. 

Those with the unconstrained vision of freedom may see that as good, because it appears to remove a negative consequence for those in the unfortunate position of having a lot of debt.

Those with the constrained vision sees this as government coercion on trades between John and Mary (see previous post), likely resulting in John doing less business with Mary due to the government coercion and as a consequence of her own poor money management.

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