Freedom, Not Vice

Virtues Are Not Political

In the previous Freedom Wisdom article, "The Dignity Of Freedom," I described the necessity of virtue as necessary to living a successful free life. As virtues are the means to life and one's success in life is directly commensurate with their virtues, so vice is the waste of life, and one's failure in life is directly commensurate with their vices.

Let me emphasize that virtue and vice are entirely personal, private, individual matters. One's personal vices or virtues are no one else's business and no one may morally interfere in another's life no matter how much they may be squandering it.

While it is true that in a free society, everyone would be free to practice whatever they liked without the interference of anyone else, the purpose of freedom is not so people will be free to live vicious lives, there can be no freedom to do what is wrong.

It does not matter that there are no laws against vice, that no one will stop anyone from wasting their life if they so choose, no one can do wrong in this world and get away with it, not because some government will punish them, but because reality itself penalizes all defiance of the requirements of one's own nature, and the nature of the world in which they live.

But freedom is not for the sake of vice, not for people to be free to waste their lives, but so individuals may be free to exercise their reason and act on their rational choices to achieve their goals and purposes, to be all they can be as human beings, to produce the values that make their lives possible and make them worth living.

The freedom that most libertarians, Objectivists, and other so-called advocates for individual liberty are promoting seems to be freedom to waste one's life in the pursuit of hedonistic pleasure, to engage in any kind sexual activity one chooses no matter how self-destructive it is, to destroy one's mind with any kind of drugs or mindless entertainment that will fill their meaningless lives.

Cannot Hide What You Are

The freedom hawkers and all those promoting their various programs and campaigns to, "restore liberty," talk a lot about, "self-ownership," about the fact that everyone's life is their own. In fact, most have little or no regard for that which they supposedly own.

In "The Dignity Of Freedom" I wrote, "The Sense Of Self-Respect is one's sense of personal value that prevents him for ever settling for anything less than the best he is capable of achieving, acquiring, being, and enjoying." The man of dignity will never settle for the cheap, the easy, the sordid, the degraded, the corrupt, or the common, or anything that requires little or no virtue or character to be or have. The man of dignity can never be satisfied with anything other than the genuine, the earned, the decent, the wholesome, the honest, the exceptional, and that which demands his best to have and enjoy.

If you go to any of the so-called freedom movement sites, read any of the discussion on the Objectivist or Libertarian forums, or peruse any of the "blogs" by individuals claiming to be Objectivists, libertarians, or any other flavor of freedom promoter, you will find example after example of coarse, crude, and vulgar language, suitable to the gutter or a whorehouse, but not in the mouth of an individual with self-respect or dignity. The whole tone of all these sites is tawdry, cheap, and trashy. There is no respect for privacy or the sensitivity of those for whom decency is the expression of their own moral being. There is no expression of reverence or honor for anything.

Ayn Rand described them:

"Most people lack [the capacity for] reverence and 'taking things seriously.' They do not hold anything to be very serious or profound. ... They are too small and weak to feel with all their soul—and they disapprove of such feelings. They are too small and low for a loyal, profound reverence—and they disapprove of all such reverence. They are too small and profane themselves to know what sacredness is—and they disapprove of anything being too sacred." [Journals - Part 1: Early Projects, "The Hollywood Years," circa February 1928, ... her first attempt in English to plan a novel. The working title was "The Little Street."]

They are not freedom fighters, they are champions of profligacy in the name of freedom, and reveal themselves for the hedonists and subjectivists they truly are by their emphasis on the cheap and vulgar, by their coarse and crude language, and by the impropriety and squalor of their interests—turning the gold of freedom into the oroide of license.

Neither they, nor any society composed of individuals with their lack of character and their twisted values will ever be free.