Source:The New Democrat
“In addition to discussing his book Sunstein and Shermer talk about what it was like to work in the Obama administration, the issue of free will and determinism in the context of his theory of libertarian paternalism and choice architecture, opt-in vs. opt-out programs related to everything from menu options to organ donations, the electoral college, term limits for Supreme Court Justices, free speech on college campuses (and trigger warnings, safe spaces, and micro aggressions), Universal Basic Income, taxes, and terrorism.
About Professor Sunstein’s principle, Dr. Shermer wrote in his book The Mind of the Market:
“Libertarian paternalism makes a deeper assumption about our nature — that at our core we are moral beings with a deep and intuitive sense about what is right and wrong, and that most of the time most people in most circumstances choose to do the right thing. Thus, applying the principle of libertarian paternalism to the larger politico-economic system as a whole, I suggest that the default option should be to grant people the libertarian ideal of maximum freedom, while using the best science available to inform the policy that gives structure to the minimum number of restrictions on our freedoms. Let’s opt for more freedom and add back restrictions on freedom only where absolutely necessary and with great reluctance.”
This dialogue was recorded on March 4, 2019 as part of the Science Salon Podcast series hosted by Michael Shermer and presented by The Skeptics Society, in California.”
Source:Skeptic Magazine: Michael Shermer- Interviewing Cass R. Sunstein: On Freedom
“Freedom, generally, is having an ability to act or change without constraint. A thing is “free” if it can change its state easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being without undue or unjust constraints, or enslavement, and is an idea closely related to the concept of liberty. A person has the freedom to do things that will not, in theory or in practice, be prevented by other forces. Outside of the human realm, freedom generally does not have this political or psychological dimension. A rusty lock might be oiled so that the key has freedom to turn, undergrowth may be hacked away to give a newly planted sapling freedom to grow, or a mathematician may study an equation having many degrees of freedom. In mechanical engineering, “freedom” describes the number of independent motions that are allowed to a body or system, which is generally referred to as degrees of freedom.”
Depending on what ideological faction your talking about, freedom can mean different things to different people: for example, Socialists tend to define freedom as individuals not having to make complicated decisions for themselves and not having to deal with private for-profits that are trying to get people to spend the most money as possible, even if they don’t need what they’re getting, or it’s not good for them. Which is why Socialists tend to advocate for more government over individual, private choice.
Or Religious Conservatives and Nationalists, who believe freedom is the ability for people to make sound, moral decisions and live a moral life. Which is why they believe that activities and choices that violate their religious and cultural values should be outlawed. But as along as people are living a sound, moral life and make sound moral decisions, ( according to Religious Conservatives ) they should be able to do whatever they want to.
My personal definition of freedom is the ability for individuals to make their own personal and economic decisions for themselves, just as long as they’re not hurting innocent people with what they’re doing. My liberal definition of freedom is different from a Libertarian’s definition because I believe the best freedom is having the freedom to make the best decisions for themselves that they possibly can based on the best available evidence and facts that are available. Which is why education and information is the best fuel for any freedom that you’re talking about.
That education and information is for human beings what gas is for cars, what electricity is for computers. That without that fuel and energy people would still have the freedom to make their own decisions, but not have the freedom to make the best decisions for themselves, because they don’t have the knowledge to make the right decisions for themselves. Without education and knowledge, people are like pilots trying to lands planes in the night blindfolded without any lights.
Freedom and anarchism are not the same things, because most people who believe in at least some level of personal freedom aren’t Anarchists. And every developed country of the world not have has one form of a democratic government or another where the people have at least some high level of personal freedom. So when the Far-Right or Far-Left puts down people who believe in freedom as being Anarchists, again most people aren’t Anarchists, but that’s not what we’re talking about here at all. Just the freedom for individuals to make their own personal and economic decisions, just as long as they’re not hurting innocent people with what they’re doing. Not the freedom to harm innocent people with what they’re doing without any legal consequences for them.
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