Ming the Mechanic:

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 Liberty2004-02-20 18:50
picture by Flemming Funch

Via Lisa Williams who's reading John Stuart Mill's essay "On Liberty", which is good stuff:
"The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant."
In brief, you should be free to live your life as you choose, as long as you don't harm others. And government has no right to use its power against you, other than to prevent you from doing harm to others.

Now, wouldn't that be nice. If it were impossible for greedy individuals to manipulate themselves into positions of power where they can force everybody else to adhere to their twisted morals and self-serving business interests. What if government were an agency to ensure such fundamental individual liberty, rather than a primary vehicle for subverting it.

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21 Feb 2004 @ 12:58 by ming : Maximize freedom
Those are great definitions. I support both. I guess I'd prefer to work out a system, compared with sort of fighting it out along the way. Or, maybe, rather, work out a minimal system that ensures liberty, and that ensures it won't be a fight at all, and then work out the rest of the details live along the way.

You're right, a lot of good will is unfortunately a pre-requisite. And probably the reason we don't have anything particularly close to any of them today.  

22 Feb 2004 @ 08:01 by ming : Laws
Also, if laws are meant to be the system that works best for everybody, then obviously there's a reason to discuss things when a situation arises where the laws don't work. Any need for an "exception" or any perception of the results of a given law occasionally being unfair, means that it isn't really working.  

4 Mar 2004 @ 07:16 by Ray Wiltfong @ : Government
anarchism is the highest form of government suppressed by the lowest - faschism  

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