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Why deal with my problems when I can focus on yours?

March 14, 2013

I was thinking about this as a result of comments on another blog. I’ve been struggling with trying to understand why some people seem so willing to limit the rights of others. Not just gun rights, but other civil liberties as well. It also happens in religion. Recently, I realized I was over-complicating this thing. The answer is not complicated, at all. It’s this: Some people are afraid of freedom. While they may give verbal support to the idea of freedom, the thought of people actually enjoying and exercising freedom scares them. It scares them beyond what they can handle and far more than they will admit. In order to deal with that fear, they tend to do one or more of three things.
  1. They point to prior undesirable or even horrific events to demonstrate what happens when people exercise their rights. That it’s only a relatively few who abuse their freedom to do wrong, is irrelevant. The fact that it has happened at all is proof of the danger of freedom. If freedom is to exist, it must be restrained or limited, is their cry. Interestingly, these folks may be in situations or live in places where they claim such things seldom or even “can’t” happen. More denial.
  1. They raise the specter of vast chaos if more people were to exercise freedom. The horrors of the past are nothing compared to what will happen if there are fewer restraints on freedom or if more people choose to exercise it. Surely we are facing unprecedented mass confusion, at best and an explosion of abuses at worst. So, this “unfortunate” and “ill-informed” focus on freedom must clearly be opposed.
  1. They paint the proponents of freedom with a very ugly brush. Said proponents are accused of advocating anything from the mildest of offenses to the most despicable of behaviors. Only social pressure or lack of the proper incentive, trigger or set of circumstances has kept them from acting out on their most base urges themselves. Fortunately, our control advocates are there to oppose them and provide a solution.
But wait, there’s more. See, this fear of freedom looks, on the surface, as if it’s concerned with what will happen if a large number of people who lack restraint are suddenly empowered by freedom. That’s not the way it really is. It has far more to do with the one advocating more control over others than it does anyone else. He or she is afraid. Afraid of a perceived threat? Often so, but also afraid of his or her own urges and issues. It’s not simply about what others will do. It’s what I (the control advocate) might do if allowed to be too free. And so, three things are done:
  1. The relatively small number of incidents is ignored or called irrelevant. The “controller’s” neighborhood/social class/professional association/doctrinal group is declared free of the objectionable behavior(s). Objective reality is denied.
  1. The fears and insecurities of the control advocate are projected onto others.
  1. The person in favor of more control over others and more restrictions on freedom rushes to take up the cause as a way of countering his or her own issues.
There we have 3 classic, and common, defense mechanisms. Denial, projection and reaction formation. All as a way of dealing with their own fears, anger, rage and urges. Defense mechanisms are designed to protect us from psychological or emotional harm. We all use different ones at different times to protect us from both external and internal things. That’s normal. External things might be something like the death of a loved one. Internal factors are often those things about myself that I find unacceptable, but that I’m not willing to consciously face and admit to.
The control advocate who fears freedom doesn’t simply fear what will happen if you or I exercise our freedom. He fears what hemight do if allowed to exercise hisfreedom. He fears his own issues, his own anger, his own rage and his own urges. And so, he denies his fear, he projects his issues onto others and he endorses something that opposes in some way the things he fears in himself.

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6 Comments
  1. Freedom can be frightening; Totalitarianism can be tempting. So says Erich Fromm on the cover of his book, " Escape From Freedom."I've been struggling to get through this book for a year now. Fromm uses psychoanalysis to figure out why some people are scared of freedom and lean towards Fascism.

  2. The great masses seek to be told what to do, what to desire, and who they are. Why do you seek to deliver them from the bliss of despotism? They certainly do not want freedom. They certainly do not deserve freedom. Why deny them their right to be governed?Individual freedom manifestly infringes on your right to be governed, and therefore true liberty cannot exist without the subjugation of the individual to the whim of the State, as necessary for the benefit of the collective. The common subject has no rights in a civilized society. When a government is formed, all rights previously retained by individuals are collectivized, and left to the discretion of the State.Individuals do not possess any individual rights which may be construed to limit the power of the collective State to fulfill it's many duties and obligations to subject persons. However, the State does bear obligations, for example to protect the lives of it's subjects, to provide a minimum level of existence (limited welfare, assurance that people do not starve and children have access to a suitable education), to maintain a prosperous economic climate which is beneficial to society, to guarantee property against infringement by other citizens or unlawful conduct by State actors, to create a healthy environment for business, among other duties which the State bears to it's subjects.Most of these collective rights are not guaranteed under the current U.S. constitution. Other nations often do better in this regard.

  3. E.N., I have no desire to be rude. I will, however, be direct. And, as you have spoken broadly, I will respond the same way.I have read your comments here and on at least one other blog. Most of them are indistinguishable from each other. They all tend to include the same predictable themes: the right of people to be governed and subjugated, the absence of individual rights, the happiness to be found living as a subject of the state, on and on, ad nauseum. To address them all: History has shown them to be nonsense, both individually and collectively.Let me be clear. History provides more than ample evidence of the absolute failure of the things you espouse. The system you so enthusiastically endorse has devastated every country it has touched. It is one of history's most abject failures. If you wish to believe the nonsense you write, I completely support your right to do so. I will also point out what I believe to be its flaws.

  4. E.N.Interesting that you use your INDIVIDUAL Rights to free speech, freedom of association to visit other people's blogs.Given your comments, makes me wonder if you aren't under some orders to do so. :)Do you have some authorization you can show us? Otherwise please cease and desist commenting –you have no individual right to do so using your logic.

  5. Without the government there would be NO rights. How can a mere subject of the State, who was born in a government hospital, raised in government schools, benefited from government utilities and regulation, has traveled to and from ones occupation on government roads, and who's life, liberty, and property where protected from threats, foreign and domestic by a government military and police force, be so brazenly arrogant to challenge the very institution that has protected, and indeed endowed us with liberty, property and above all, life. The twenty-first century American is very much a creation of the state, as without police officers, firefighters, social workers, and soldiers, there would be no quality of life, no liberty and no property worth defending. If any ancestor of yours had not received welfare, in some form, it is possible that you would not be here today. Has not the food with which we are nourished by (the safety of which is guaranteed by the State)traveled to your dinner table on government roads? Would you be alive today if it where not for a collective right for the State (not the mere subject) to keep and bear arms, in the form of a professional military and police force? We must at all times consider ourselves a creation of the State, which has (directly or indirectly) endowed the ordinary subject, with their very lives, property and the freedoms that we take for granted.The current system illustrates the backwards notion that individuals (as opposed to the collective State) are (somehow) endowed with "rights" (such as the right to hate, the right to evade law enforcement, the right to own killing machines, and the like) and that, upon the formation of a collective society, and a State to rule over such, subjects grant necessary power to the State in order for such to fulfill specific duties.Such a concept of "Rights" being applicable to the common subject is an absurd notion, in addition to being inherently dangerous, as the common subject has no rights in a civilized society. When a government is formed, all rights previously retained by individuals are collectivized, and left to the discretion of the State. Individual freedom manifestly infringes on your right to be governed, and therefore true liberty cannot exist without the subjugation of the individual to the whim of the State, as necessary for the benefit of the collective. To adorn your (unworthy) assertion that We present a violation of one's principals by exercising "INDIVIDUAL Rights to free speech" with the embellishing comment, The problem isn't merely limited to the Second Amendment. America, relishing in it's military omnipotence, has such a powerful world presence that it fails to realize that the real enemy is within. There have been so many restriction that have been erroneously placed on State interests that the current system has created a State grossly incapable of attaining the most fundamental role of establishing a concerted and ideologically uniform government. The perpetual state of crisis is the inevitable result of the burdensome debate inherent in an multiple-party system. CCP lawmakers are of far greater intelligence, and are more knowledgeable than a computer-trained redneck, who espouses to deranged notions of "individual liberty" and "personal freedom". When under threat of imprisonment, capital punishment, and forfeiture of property, those with anarchist tendencies (such as yourself) will Tremble and Obey.I value freedom. Freedom is a precious commodity. I value it so highly in fact, that I insist that it be reserved to myself.

  6. E.N., While I have my doubts as to your sincerity, for the moment I'll proceed as if you believe the things you say. Let me address all your points, briefly. From Cambodia, where 2 million were killed in a doomed effort to make an unworkable system work, to the Soviet Union, which collapsed under its own weight, from North Korea which can't feed itself to the ecologically and economically devastated "East German Workers Paradise" and everywhere else it has touched, the system you praise has resulted in widespread hardship, abuse and horror. It's worth noting that China's increase in wealth and productivity has occurred in those areas that are enjoying less centralized control.Just as the system you endorse is a failure, so to are those who lead it. The political ideologue must function within a rigid system for he has no hope of achievement outside one that does not artificially prop him up. To him, the idea of achievement based entirely upon the value he brings to the marketplace (whether the economic marketplace or the marketplace of ideas) is anathema, for he has nothing of substance to say, nothing of value to contribute. The idea that others might have the will and ability to achieve success (however they define it) on their own is offensive to him as it denies everything for which he stands. The success of the individual is a threat, not only to the political order that is the basis of his power, but also to all that on which he has based his identity and value. There, I think that covers it.

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