The Philosophical Origin of Liberty

The principle of human equality, the idea that all humans are equal in their individual rights to exert their will, provides the foundation for property rights. The concept of equal human rights came about during the Enlightenment Era when people realized that kings were not inherently superior to their peasants. Before that, kings decided all the rules of ownership and conduct. But when you accept the principle of human equality, then anyone may exert their will, so long as they do not infringe on another’s right to do the same.

This is the principle that we call “Liberty.”

Ownership comes from the idea that your will has physical manifestations in the world. Your own body is one of those physical manifestations, so you own yourself. Furthermore, you own any other physical manifestation of your will, so long as your are not infringing on the same right of anyone else.

Hence, “Private Property Rights” are the practical manifestation of the principle of Liberty.

But ultimately, in order to secure that principle of human equality, which necessarily implies Liberty, those principles must be encoded in law. That law must be superior to the will of any human. Otherwise, any human can overturn that principle.

This concept has historically been called the “Rule of Law.”

The Rule of Law is necessary to secure Liberty, and implies a specific body of law with jurisdictional enforcement powers. Hence, a system of Liberty necessarily requires a government. Anarchy precludes the Rule of Law, because in anarchy, there are no rulers, not even by those who seek to enforce the Rule of Law.

The Rule of Law alone is not sufficient to guarantee Liberty. The content of that body of laws matters, and must absolutely reflect the principles of human equal rights and Liberty, or tyranny will result.

So, beware of those who seek Anarchy, beware of those who pursue the Rule of Law without those laws being guided by the principles of Liberty, and beware of those who invoke equality while rejecting property rights. Each of these groups would destroy the protections that we seek from tyrannical leaders.

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A New Concept: Philosophical Entropy

“Philosophical entropy” is the idea that the more ways there are for a person to be wrong, the more people will be wrong. When a multiple-choice question gets fewer right answers as more options are added, that’s one of the simplest forms of philosophical entropy. The existence of multiple differing political ideologies within a population is a more complicated example of philosophical entropy.

I call this concept “philosophical entropy” in quite the literal sense. Entropy is defined as the tendency for a system to occupy all accessible microstates, weighted by the difficulty of accessing each particular microstate. Physically, this means that any system comprised of particles that can each be in two possible microstates of equal energy will have half of its particles in one microstate and half in the other microstate.

If we borrow this concept from physics and apply it to philosophical epistemology, we can think of each belief system as a macroscopic statistical system. Each logical step or choice a person must make in order to construct that belief system is a microstate. Each logical step can either be right or wrong. Once a single incorrect logical step is made, the person’s entire belief system is built on faulty logic, and will be wrong unless they somehow correct that error through another counteracting error later. The more logical steps there are, the more chances a person has to end up wrong. In other words, while travelling down a pathway from axioms to ideological conclusions, the more different branches there are at which a person must choose a direction to travel, the more likely they will eventually choose a wrong path, and end up at the wrong ideological conclusions.

Thus, philosophical entropy suggests that if we assume that there is one right ideology, then the more wrong ideologies there are, the fewer people will be right. Ideological diversity is thus harmful to the ultimate goal of getting more people to be right, unless NOBODY has yet found the right answer.