[ExI] Liberty vs. Justice (was Re: BIS: Extraterrestrial liberty and colonising the universe)

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Fri Jun 21 22:38:14 UTC 2013

On Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 6:25 AM, Daniel Shown <daniel at kungfuchicken.com>wrote:

> o-ethical constructs go Liberty has always seemed far less useful to me
> than Justice.  I get confused by the Anglo/Franco liberty obsession.
Back in my religious days, I remember arguments that went which is more
important faith or obedience... and those arguments never really served any
purpose. Hopefully, in this venue we can create more light than heat.

First, definitions... If you define Justice as "equally enforcing the law
independent of the individual", then Justice is a poor contender for "most
important" because bad laws lead to bad outcomes even if judiciously
enforced. Ask anyone serving time for marijuana possession in the United
States how that worked out for them. Or anyone serving life in prison under
California's Three Strikes laws for three rather minor crimes.

I suspect by "Justice" you mean something a little more like Just Law
Justly Enforced. However, any time you enact a law, it has unintended
consequences that inevitably impact someone negatively. For example, you
can call it "social justice" to take a dollar from a very wealthy
individual and give a cent to 50 poor individuals (keeping 50 cents for the
redistributing bureaucracy). But this wealth redistribution deprives the
well off person of his dollar, so it affects him negatively. So the more
laws one has, the more unintended consequences build up, and eventually you
get to the point where many elderly people are with Western Medicine...
taking 5 pills to do something helpful, and ten more medications to
counteract the bad effects of the combination of the first 5 pills. More
laws to fix bad laws just leads to more bad laws in most cases. Today in
the United States we are passing laws with greater than 1500 pages. The
entire US constitution, with all the amendments, by comparison is only 18
similar pages.

The alternative is Freedom, by which I mean the absolute minimum number of
laws to protect us from predators (internal and external) who would deprive
us of our life, liberty and/or property. I think this includes protecting
the environment from freeloaders who would save money by polluting without
paying. With Freedom comes Responsibility, and we have not had freedom in
the United States for so long that we have a lot of citizens that don't
know what Responsibility is anymore. So reinstating freedom at this point
would be irresponsible because we have so many people who have given up
their freedom for security (financial and otherwise) from the government.
It's probably even worse in Europe, but not yet as bad in some other places.

To restore freedom would require a program that first restored individual
responsibility. That is difficult for most of the proles. And you can't do
it through more laws and more government programs, sadly. So it falls to
the citizenry. And thus I fear that freedom as I envision it will never be
restored in the modern world because I see little chance of responsibility
being restored first.

But ideally, a responsible populace, with the maximum degree of freedom
would produce the society that most closely approximates the ideal. That is
why I value freedom over justice.

I welcome your well thought out response.

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