As I wrote in a previous article, The Paradox of Freedom, freedom cannot instill renewable trust in freedom when it is not protected by paradoxical rules to prevent individual freedom from harming collective freedom. Freedom, in other words, cannot exist without rules.
In today’s vernacular, freedom is an infinitely expanding tautology of desire, feverishly referenced by people with a passionate need for freedom to each their own. They attach their desire for freedom to autonomy, even though the quest for autonomy can never be achieved by violating the societal rules you are expected to obey, or deteriorates other relational expectations.
The sheer use of the phrase freedom, referred to as liberty in the U.S. Constitution, infers no totalitarian absolutism of freedom exists. If we had such freedom already, in which everyone’s freedom could be completely unleashed, we would not need to question or determine freedom.
Simply put, we cannot each have our own implementation of freedom to which other people must then comply. For that would imply one desire for freedom must yield to someone else’s desire for freedom. That is called a vile-maxim, the death knell to freedom required to build trust in a renewable society.
Traffic is a great example. While you are free to drive wherever you want, you must obey traffic lights as you travel. Green means go, and red means stop. That, in simple terms, is the paradox to freedom—rules to protect the freedom of one driver from colliding with another, systemically.
The coronavirus has made clear how many still unvaccinated people do not understand that the pursuit of individual freedom, to decline vaccination is similar to driving through the red light in the traffic example above, and cannot come at the cost of the protection of our collective freedom. The only reason they are allowed to do so now is that we have failed to define the paradoxical rules needed to protect collective freedom. Hence the lack of trust in any kind of freedom.
To enable freedom, you do not define freedom, but you define the paradoxical rules of the gameplay deemed acceptable. You free the upside of freedom by protecting the downside of freedom. As in a game of soccer, where not the merit of player performance is predetermined but the theory of gameplay and rules.
The problem is, we have a legislative body and an aging scripture, a stubborn constitutional bible, stuck in feeble absolutisms of freedom where relativity, compatible with everything in the universe, is required. We mistrust our freedom for good reason because it merely enables a vile-maxim of absolutism, ignorant to the general relativity Einstein discovered one hundred years ago.
The hotly debated subject of free-will, by people like Sam Harris, walks the same line.
There is no absolutism of free-will. For the same reason, no absolutism of free-will of one person can take precedence over another. You can want what you will or will what you want, but none of that can be achieved when the collective interest of those involved is not protected from an incongruent vile-maxim of free-will.
Moreover, the will of most people today is quite incompatible with the needs of people as defined by nature’s entropy, weakening the relevancy, compass, and value of free-will dramatically. The reality is, nature does not care about us. We must care about nature.
Freedom cannot exist without paradoxical rules. And it is not the freedom that needs managing but its paradox. To thrive together in society and relationships, the freedom for one individual to do what they want/need must be paired with the freedom of others to do what they want/need. Put differently, the desire for autonomy must be balanced with the need for loyalty.
Any debate about the absolutism of freedom or free-will uncalibrated to relativity is moot.
Freedom and free-will do exist, but not in terms of any one’s definition of absolutism. Freedom is a theory of relativity, its pursuit bound by the paradoxical rules designed to instill trust in renewable freedom for all.