Saturday, September 18, 2021
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Six Kinds of Freedom

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Take a Hint, Canada.

Yahoo News — Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag resigned on Thursday after parliament formally condemned her handling of the Afghanistan evacuation crisis.
Too bad Canada doesn't have a Parliament. Or a news media.

Canada Excluded From International China Security Pact

Globe and Mail Dismissed by Justin Trudeau as merely a crass American salesman's move to pawn off the latest high-tech US-built nuclear subs to what we have to therefore assume he thinks are the total idiot Aussies, the three-nation deal didn't even include Canada in the talks leading up to the historic pact. And after Trudeau's comments on the matter (and the aforementioned attitude toward the Aussies), you can understand why.
"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday played down Canada’s exclusion from the Indo-Pacific security deal, saying it is merely a way for the U.S. to sell nuclear submarines to Australia ... “This is a deal for nuclear submarines, which Canada is not currently or any time soon in the market for. Australia is.”"
In a clear indication that even Trudeau's political bro Joe Biden doesn't actually take him or Canada seriously anymore (forcing one to wonder if his high-fivin' bro Barack Obama doesn't also come off as a bit two-faced after Obama gave Trudeau a campaign "endorsement" this week), even Canadian officials were left in the dark. Almost like Canada can't even be trusted anymore on any level.

"Three officials, representing Canada’s foreign affairs, intelligence and defence departments, told The Globe and Mail that Ottawa was not consulted about the pact, and had no idea the trilateral security announcement was coming until it was made on Wednesday by U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison."

Trudeau, in contrast, delayed Canada's Wuhan Virus immunization program by signing a deal not with the Americans or Brits, but with... CHINA, for vaccines, in what turned out to be a total failure with countless Canadian lives lost as a result. What is going on here?

And the science SAYSSS…

National Post —Move over Donald Trump. In their NP Platformed email available to subscribers, columnist Sabrina Maddeaux calmly explains that Justin Trudeau's recent uncontrolled angry outbursts — one at a citizen who was rude, and one at a reporter who dared challenge him with actual reporter-like questions — provides a clue as to his baser instincts. And if you saw these outbursts, you'd agree, it isn't a good look for him or any normal human. But moreover, it's a terrible look for anyone claiming the title of Prime Minister. But it's this new line of anti-science, pure crass political campaign bullshit that has me riled:
"...At a weekend rally in Oakville, Ont., Trudeau revealed his hand when he claimed that, “If you want this pandemic to end, go out and vote Liberal.” He repeated the message again, even turning it up a notch, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, saying, “If you want this pandemic to end for good, go out and vote Liberal!”
"This is the ultimate false promise by a politician who’s become infamous for making false promises. No one can guarantee he will be able to end the pandemic. In fact, the expert consensus seems to be that there will be no real end to it: the virus will become endemic and we will be forced to live with it, albeit hopefully more normally. ..."
So it's "follow the science," and "the science says... to vote Liberal”? Many, especially the media, would dismiss "bible belt" politicians who insinuated that "God wants you to vote [whatever way].  This blowhard — and his disciples — should be treated no differently.

Two NDP humans resign their candidacy for alleged racist tropes

The National Post headline reads, "Two federal NDP candidates...

Inflation races higher in Canada — another new emergent threat to any economic recovery

Globe and Mail — They're reporting that Canada’s inflation rate jumps to 4.1%, fastest pace since 2003, sending shockwaves to almost nobody in the news media ahead of the stupid election. For example, the state-owned CBC "news media" division of the Trudeau Liberals reports it as their news item number seven or eight from the top. The G&M, as if explaining it to the CBC, wrote:
"The Statscan report arrives just five days before a federal election that’s seen affordability emerge as a key theme on the campaign trail, with all major parties pitching ideas to rein in a variety of costs, including for housing, child care and wireless plans..."
The cost of "wireless plans" is something like priority number 18,539 for me and 99% of the country, but Jagmeet Singh and the NDP — and therefore their loyal media at every opportunity — make out like it's more important than... I don't know.... inflation at 4% and Canada falling out of the economic freedom top ten... to say nothing of trillion-dollar debts and out-of-control budgets, and that thing about the end of our freedom of speech 'n junk like that. But ma wireless plan!!%#

Not “election news,” apparently: Canada drops out of top 10 countries in annual economic freedom report

Fraser Institute — In a sane land with actual journalism, this would be front-page news, one week ahead of an election. "In this year’s report, Canada ranks 14th based on 2019 data, the most recent comprehensive data, part of a downward trend since 2016. (Last year, Canada initially ranked 8th, although data revisions later lowered its rank to 13th.)"
“Due to higher taxes and increased regulation in Ottawa and the provinces, Canadians are less economically free, which means slower economic growth and less investment in Canada,” said Fred McMahon, Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute.
Economic Freedom of the World: 2021 Annual Report is the world's premier measurement of economic freedom, ranking countries based on five areas—size of government [Canada: 111th], legal structure and property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, regulation of credit, labour and business. In this year's report, which compares 165 countries and territories, Hong Kong is again number one—although China's heavy hand will likely lower Hong Kong's ranking in future years—and Canada (14th) trails the United States (6th).

Why isn’t this the biggest story in Canada?

National Review — "Why Isn’t the Attack on Larry Elder the Biggest Story in America?"  Their sub-head put it exactly right:
"A white woman in a gorilla mask threw an egg at a black man seeking to become the first non-white governor of our largest state, and the media shrug."
And they begin their story much as I have over the years: "Do a search for “Larry Elder” and gorilla on the CNN website and nothing comes up. Washington Post? Zilch. Nothing comes up on the New York Times site either..." — only replace those outfits with CBC, CTV, Global, Globe & Mail, etc.
In case you're stupid, let me fill you in: Larry Elder is a black man, but moreover, and in fact almost entirely over, he is a conservative man of considerable intellect and conscience. A Republican.
Indeed, in Canada, wherein they talk endlessly about evvvvvvery instance of "racism" in America in their activist effort to have it spill over into Canada and create divisions here to help fulfill their political ends, they utterly ignored this overt racism doozy. Why? Because they're hypocritical, dishonest, ideological, political... anything but journalists. They should all be ashamed of themselves. But I bet they aren't.
And yet they are so self-assured and arrogant that despite their obvious corruption, which they don't even care if you notice, they continue to demand and accept YOUR taxpayer handouts.

WE: The liberals’, the Liberals’, and Trudeau’s shame —documented in 4-part podcast

The Podcastosphere — I've listened to four parts of the well-done series titled "The White Saviors," narrated by Olusola Adeogun. There will be one more episode. The series documents the "cult" — yes, cult is the word used by an interviewee who worked for them — that is the liberals' own WE organization. I always thought of this WE group as cult-y, and corrupt, and as phony as a Liberal or NDP campaign promise, and as a leftist brainwashing center of bullshittery, but now, more so. Including, or especially because of, Justin Trudeau's participation in it. And the news media's love of it. And Big Public Education's embrace of it. And all of that combined.
The podcast is well described as "the exclusive story of a charity that did well when it was supposed to be doing good."
Produced by Canadaland, which has been on it for years, and arguably broke the story of WE and Liberal Party corruption in 2020.

Click and learn: https://play.acast.com/s/the-white-saviors

Biden’s poll numbers are too embarrassing for the “news” media

RealClearPolitics.com — I bring you the numbers because the others won't. The "news" media only bring you the news they want you to know, filtered through their very special way of telling it to you — because as you know, they're not really a "news media" at all. Therefore, Biden being increasingly underwater, as demonstrated by the scientific data that the news media studiously refuses to follow at RealClearPolitics.com, is ignored. They are lying through omission.
Click to see chart
Read a well-reasoned explanation of Biden's declining poll numbers by Rich Lowry, at Politico, but not at any of the "news media" outlets that couldn't stop reporting on Trump's declining poll numbers.

We won’t “get thru this together,” any more, boyfriend.

Globe and Mail — The Liberals' Globe and Mail division sounded off today on none other than their hero, liberalism's fancy-socked neo-liberal, The Right Woke Justin Trudeau. Seems the marriage is off.
"...We will never find comfort in the Liberal Leader’s corrupted line that we will “get through this together.” He doesn’t mean it. Only certain people matter to Mr. Trudeau – the ones he uses to prosecute identity politics for the singular purpose of furthering his destiny. ..."
The G&M, in a historic fashion reminiscent of the Maclean's revelation of two years ago, suddenly wakes up to discover that the Emperor wears no clothes; or at least those he does wear are just butt-ugly, overly showy, and of poor — possibly Fabrique en Chine —quality. He is, in fact, Right Woke, as I've been saying. And thus, the G&M finally seems to have woken up. Good morning.

The Article

Like many people, I have a reflex affection for the word “freedom.” Nevertheless, I pause when asked to explain what it means. Most people answer: “It means doing what you want.” This common response speaks for an age – our own – which sees self-expression and personal satisfaction as the key to authenticity. But throughout history various cultures and civilizations have had vastly different concepts of freedom, and even within our own tradition the meaning has never ceased to change. The Greek sense of freedom differed from the Roman; the earliest Christian ideal of freedom differed radically from its later one; freedom in the Renaissance meant release from the supposed darkness of religion and a return to the enlightened classical past; and by the Eighteenth century freedom meant living by the light of pure “reason”. Then again, in the Romantic period from about 1780 to 1830 people revolted against the idea of cold and heartless reason and sought “true freedom” in feeling and original self-expression.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, classical liberals (as distinct from their modern brethren who are pro-statist) began extending this idea into political life, demanding freedom from all unwarranted authority – especially that of the state. And finally, our most recent ideal of freedom is a rather paradoxical one: we want a combination of radical individual rights, but also a vast social security net to be provided by the welfare state. This uniquely modern combination we may think of as a kind of libertarian socialism. At any rate, as the concept is so multi-faceted, a single definition of freedom is almost impossible to find. So I have found myself wondering if a better approach might be to try a working classification of the different kinds of freedom. There are at least six of these, as explained below. But first, there is an all-important distinction to be made between freedom and liberty, as these two words are often used interchangeably. 

I propose that the word “liberty” should be used to refer to freedom in its physical context, and not to other kinds of freedom. A man in jail, for example, has almost zero liberty but retains all his freedom in the sense that he has not lost the ability to choose among myriad options, attitudes, and values. He can sleep, count the miles while pacing the floor, or write poetry. He can also decide to lie to the warden to protect a fellow criminal, or tell the truth. Most people, it seems, use their freedom to restrict their liberty in all sorts of ways. For example, selling oneself into slavery for a few years used to be common in the ancient world. Sometimes whole towns sold themselves as slaves to a neighbouring city in exchange for military protection. And there have always been people who have chosen to become hermits or monks, voluntarily restricting their liberty in the hope of finding spiritual freedom. Less dramatically, most of modern life for everyone is spent freely getting tangled up in all sorts of ways that reduce liberty. Mortgages, bank loans, contracts, leases, business deals, and family and personal promises and obligations are mostly how we use our freedom to restrict our liberty. Indeed, a bit of reflection will reveal that most human beings most of the time build a lock-step kind of life for themselves … and then complain they would like to be more free. With this distinction hopefully cleared up, I now want to describe the six different kinds of freedom that come to mind. The effort will be repaid if the next time someone asks a reader what freedom means, they may in turn be asked: “To what type are you referring?”

Internal Freedom
The first and most basic type of freedom is embodied by the chap in jail. He has all his internal freedom, but no liberty. All normal human beings are born and remain free in the most important sense that they are forever and at every conscious moment freely-choosing beings, and every life is a delicate tapestry of millions of such personal choices, for better or worse. We cannot escape this kind of freedom even if we try, for we must then freely choose among means of escape, and so on. From this perspective we are condemned to be free, for even choosing not to choose is a choice. Internal freedom is of the greatest personal intimacy and secretiveness, indeed it is the hidden core of our being and unknowable by others. It distinguishes human beings from the animal kingdom, and from each other, and is the basis on which we are able to become moral – or a-moral, or immoral – beings. That is why some people call this moral freedom. But this kind of freedom is not in itself moral. Rather, it is the unique capacity we have to become moral or immoral according to how we use our freedom.

Self-Freedom
Most of the world’s freedom talk, at least as found in the great religions and philosophical movements has had to do with freedom from ourselves, in the sense of learning how to escape the ever-present danger of enslavement by our own passions and ignorance. For the ancients, self-freedom had to do with the practice of self-control, restraint, and balance to achieve the admired master-slave relationship of soul over body that they were certain is essential for the good life. In modern times, however, this ideal has largely been turned upside down with the expression of strong feelings, of the “true self,” elevated to the superior position. The goal of this kind of freedom is therefore often expressed as the need “to find my self” (although no one ever seems to ask how we would know whether the self seeking, or the self sought, is the true self). At any rate, this inversion of the traditional relation of mind over feeling has according to many produced what our forbears would have called a disorder of the soul. But whatever may be the outcome, few moderns ever escape a lifelong dialogue with themselves on this kind of freedom. 

External Freedom
(Sometimes called “freedom from…” ) This refers to the normal and common freedoms expected in daily life, in most countries, throughout history. It is sometimes described as freedom from, because it implies immunity from undue interference by authority, especially by government. It is also sometimes called “negative freedom,” meaning freedom to do anything not forbidden by the laws (in contrast to a totalitarian system that says you may only do what is permitted by the laws). Many in the Western tradition consider this, in combination with Political Freedom, explained next, to be the most important kind of freedom.

Political Freedom
(Sometimes called “freedom to…” ) Try to imagine a world in which you are ruled by a tyrant who lets you do what you want on Monday, but not on Tuesday, and so on, unpredictably. You would likely conclude that whatever your external freedoms may be, they are too unpredictable to be of any use. What we might call “political freedom” has to do with establishing certain predictable and permanent rights of action (whether we use them or not) and limits to government power that help to guarantee the practice of those rights. The most common political freedoms are the right to speak freely, to associate with people of your choice, to own property, to worship, to leave and re-enter your country, to be tried by a jury of your peers, to vote in elections (if you live in a democracy) and so on. When these rights exist we can say we have freedom to do these things (though to speak truthfully, we are only free to do them if they are permitted). They comprise the normal rights associated with a free society (which may or may not be a democratic one). For example, ancient Athens had all these things, but was not democratic in our modern sense of the word (up to a third of the citizens of Athens were slaves). England had all these rights fully two centuries before she became democratic. The former Soviet Union, on the other hand, promised all these things to citizens on paper, but did not allow them in practice, because the only sense of freedom expected there was collective freedom.

Collective, or Higher Freedom
(Sometimes called “freedom for…” ) Many commentators on freedom take the view that external freedom and political freedom are just formal concepts that mean nothing to the poor and disadvantaged. Indeed, they often amount to a recipe for a chaotic liberal society, an uncivil nightmare of clashing wills and unconnected citizens chasing bucks to see who can die with the most toys. What is really needed, they argue, is a “higher freedom” based on a collective will to achieve the common good. This is sometimes labelled “positive freedom,” or “freedom for”, because it is based on an ideology of collective unity that prescribes distinct social and moral values and objectives for all. For example, often under this ideal of freedom the state alone is allowed to control the production and supply of all basic citizen needs, thus giving them freedom-from-want. Believers in collective freedom say the idea of protecting citizens from their own government is not logical if the government is the embodiment of their will in the first place. Needless to say, this type of freedom, in the name of which we have seen disastrous totalitarian experiments in our time, is the deadly enemy of the sort of political freedom found under liberal constitutionalism.

Spiritual Freedom
In its purest form this type of freedom comes from striving for a complete identification with God (or God’s will, or all creation, for example) to arrive at a condition of soul that transcends the confusion and disharmony of the self and the material world. There are many types here, but at the extreme some seekers after this kind of spiritual freedom take one of two opposing routes. They engage in a kind of libertinism of the flesh on the ground that the body is of no importance whatsoever and so may be used, abused, and enjoyed until it is spent (pot-smoking hippie mystics come to mind). Or, they take the ascetic route and deny the flesh altogether on the ground that worldly needs, pleasures, and longings prevent achievement of the complete spiritual freedom (I think of my Buddhist neighbour here). For this type, strict control if not denial of the allurements of the body leads to complete freedom of the spirit. 

That’s the best I can do for now. This little exercise helps me think about the nature of freedom, and I hope it has helped readers, too.

Joel Johannesen
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