Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Towards Liberty

Over the last year I’ve become more and more persuaded by the likes of Nietzsche, Foucault, and the Post-Modernists that there is no ultimate truth. All presuppositions are fallible and subject to doubt. This affected my zeal for politics, and left me without a strong anchor for my political inclinations. My time adrift, though, is over.

No free society can be achieved because those who desire power will slowly undermine the logical presuppositions that liberty rests upon. Of course, tyranny too must rest on logical presuppositions. It is a battle of ideas and presuppositions between those who want power and those who want liberty. It is a battle that will never end, and I suspect will always ebb and flow.

In this battle, both sides are using the flawed techniques of social science and utilitarianism. Both suffer inescapably from the impossibility of calculation, and the perversion of status seeking agendas. Without spending countless hours of study and analysis, how can we resist the “science” of tyranny and thwart it with the “science” of liberty?

We don’t have to.

Then how can we help our fellow man avoid propaganda and the manipulation of self-serving reason? Without looking at the reasoning, we can merely look at the conclusions. Do the conclusions of their arguments gather more power into the hands of a small set of individuals? If so, then their argument is likely false and motivated by the “will to power”.

Recall, though, how I explained how an academic can be corrupted by secondhand status. That is, those with power reward the academic because his arguments give them power. The academic can maintain the pretense of disinterested research because he appears not to directly benefit from his conclusions. His mind has been bent to reinforce the status he has achieved. He will doggedly defend his “science”.

Am I immune to the desire for status? Not at all. I am, however, humble enough to realize that I will not be one of the select few who get to rule. My best alternative is to undermine the power lust of others. To avoid tyranny, I must pursue liberty, and not just for myself, but for everyone. The accumulation of power anywhere is a threat to me.

We must be skeptics. Our liberty depends on it.

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