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Re: [philosophy-156] Tonight's philosophy topic: Freedom and Toleration

From: Gned the G.
Sent on: Thursday, April 17, 2008 9:58 PM
 - Great message, very libertarian, see http://common-law...­ for 
more. I had a date tonite, otherwise I probably would've gone to the meeting. 
I hope to catch one eventually.

Gned the Gnome - philosopher etc.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <[address removed]>; <[address removed]>
Sent: Thursday, April 17,[masked]:50 PM
Subject: [philosophy-156] Tonight's philosophy topic: Freedom and Toleration

I've updated this meeting. For more details, see the full listing: 

When: Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 7:00 PM

Where: Half-Price Books
5803 E. Northwest Hwy.
Dallas, TX[masked]

[Reminder: we meet at the tables just outside the cafe area.]

Tonight's discussion topic is inspired by recent events -- the state's 
abduction of 400+ kids from a polygamist retreat .

What is freedom?

The degree of freedom in a society can be measured in terms of the nature of 
the associations between its members. People are free if they can enter into 
any associations they wish to make, and they are not coerced into any 
associations against their will. By associations, I include both social 
associations, such as friendships, meeting, publications, and marriages, as 
well as material associations, such as trade, business partnerships, and 
common property. Voluntary associations are those entered into by mutual 
consent to mutual benefit. (This is true by definition in the sense of 
subjective benefit, since individuals always act to maximize values.) 
Non-voluntary associations are as taxes, crimes, trade restrictions, and other 
regulation of consensual behavior which are imposed on individuals against 
their own judgment.

What is toleration?

I would recognize two kinds of toleration. Political toleration is equal 
treatment under the law - the presumption that every human being has the same 
rights as everyone else. Political discrimination includes preferential or 
detrimental treatment of any group or individual based on any criteria other 
than an individual's respect for other's rights - of the rich or poor, black 
or white, native or immigrant, gay or straight, young or old.
It's important to note that political discrimination is only possible in 
interactions that involve the use or thread of force.

Social toleration is non-judgmentalism or multiculturalism -- the presumption 
no particular subculture or way of life is superior to any other. We engage in 
various forms of social intolerance when we issue moral praise and 
condemnation, or choose to associate or dissociate with various people or 
groups based on their beliefs or identities. There are many levels of 
tolerance - we might buy our groceries from someone we would not necessarily 
want as a business partner or spouse. (I would argue that a presumption of 
innocence is equally important in social as well as political tolerance.)

Freedom and Toleration

I would argue that a free society must be politically tolerant, but socially 
intolerant. Political tolerance is required because freedom of association 
requires that individuals be able to establish any voluntary association they 
choose, including those that the majority disapproves of, such as polygamous 
relationships. Social intolerance is necessary because a free people must rely 
on their own judgment for moral guidance, and in other for them to be live 
successfully in a politically pluralistic society; they need to use their 
judgment to decide which associations are harmful or beneficial within the 
context of voluntary associations.

Politicially, freedom means the freedom to disagree - to be free to make 
choices regardless of others approval of them. A free people must be free to 
create and join religious cults, no matter how absurd their beliefs or how 
self-destructive their practices are. Socially, freedom requires an ethic of 
self-reliance and moral judgment. To live and thrive in a free society, we 
must decide which people and groups to join and which ones to condemn and 

What do you think?

You can always get in touch with me through the 'Contact Organizer' feature on 
the website: http://philosophy...­

The DFW Examined Life Philosophy Gr.

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