Radical freedom, if you’re not familiar with the term, is basically just “do as you will is the whole of the law”. There are many variants of it, but in general it’s the proposition that there are no binding constraints upon a person’s actions—no good or evil—except what they themselves impose.
If this sounds like pure madness, it is, but it’s always coupled with some variant of the belief that humans are innately good and never (or very rarely) want to do wrong, so the people who profess it always assume that it will produce the exact same results but with less guilt. You can see this in the ads by an atheist group on the side of buses—I believe it was in London—saying, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying an enjoy your life.” A friend said that a famous atheist once answered a question about morality if nothing is forbidden because God is dead, “I’ve already murdered the number of people I want to: zero.”
In defense of the people who propose ideas like this, they’re not complete idiots and do know that there are people who do murder, steal, rape, etc. There isn’t a single response to that, but I think in most cases they classify anyone who does this as mentally ill and think all such behavior should be dealt with medically.
You could even make a case that Ayn Rand should be classified as a preacher of radical freedom, since her version of radical selfishness was somehow supposed to involve everyone working together towards the common good. (They were supposed to realize that cooperation to mutual benefit was their best way to benefit. I think they’re also supposed to recoil in horror from benefiting at the expense of another or by receiving anything which they haven’t earned. Because that’s obvious to everyone who is rational. I’ll wait until you’ve stopped laughing to type more.)
But something I’ve noticed about everyone who preaches radical freedom is that they never preach this to children. They always wait until somebody who doesn’t believe in radical freedom has painstakingly, over many years, trained children children to do what is right rather than whatever they want to do, until the children largely want to do what is right, by habit. Only then do the preachers preach radical freedom. Then they look and notice that people who are largely set in their ways don’t much vary their ways if they start believing that anything goes and conclude they were right that radical freedom is harmless.
Or at least people don’t vary their ways much at first. Another thing I’ve noticed is that the people who preach radical freedom don’t tend to follow up, over decades, with the people they’ve converted. Not that it would matter, since if any of their followers do bad things, it is because they were defective, or mentally ill, or irrational, or whatever, and never because all human beings face temptation and need support in virtue.
And they never seem to ask what happens to the children raised by their followers. In part, of course, people tend to abandon radical freedom as a doctrine once they’re forced to raise children because telling a child that what they really want to do is share their favorite toy is just so utterly doomed to abject failure that almost no one ever tries it. And of course when followers practice some amount of realism raising their children, they are no longer followers, or are heretical followers, or just don’t show up to the monthly do-whatever-you-want meetings because children make it hard to belong to clubs. Whatever the reason, the preachers of radical freedom never talk about the practical aspects of raising children. And in the end, I suppose it shouldn’t be shocking that people who never consider how to raise children should be unaware that degeneration generally happens by generations.
One thought on “No One Preaches Radical Freedom to Children”
One of the key developments of the 20th century in Academia is the restructuring of the professoriate in such a way that professors now get married and have children at much lower rates than most other demographics.
So most of the academics who proclaim a doctrine of radical freedom (or the equivalent) have never and will never have to do something as practical as raise a child.
We should note that radical moral relativism also usually cannot survive the experience of getting married and having children. Almost no human being can seriously and earnestly agree that a vicious attack on his or her spouse and/or children is “okay, if the attacker thinks it is.”
Some ideological beliefs are merely pretexts, and can be sustained only by contact with airy nothing; earthy reality is too hard for such ideas.
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