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This page contains all of the posts and discussion on MemeStreams referencing the following web page: The Limits of Freedom. You can find discussions on MemeStreams as you surf the web, even if you aren't a MemeStreams member, using the Threads Bookmarklet.

The Limits of Freedom
by noteworthy at 8:26 am EST, Feb 26, 2010

Alain de Botton:

Being good has come to feel dishonest. The nun, the parish priest, the self-sacrificing politician; we have been trained to sense fouler impulses behind their gentle deeds.

An exchange:

Father Brendan Flynn: You haven't the slightest proof of anything!
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: But I have my certainty!

"Leonard Nimoy":

It's all lies. But they're entertaining lies. And in the end, isn't that the real truth?

The answer ... is No.

Paul Graham:

Don't just not be evil. Be good.

Alain de Botton:

In flight from dogmatism, we stand transfixed by the dangers of moral convictions. In the political arena, there is no faster way to insult opponents than to accuse them of trying to undertake the impossible task of improving the ethical basis of society.

One wonders whether the idea of freedom still always deserves the deference we are prepared to grant it; whether the word might not in truth be a historical anomaly which we should learn to nuance and adapt to our own circumstances. We might ask whether for developed societies, a lack of freedom remains the principal problem of communal life. In the chaos of the liberal free-market, we tend to lack not so much freedom, as the chance to use it well.

Freedom worthy of its illustrious associations should not mean being left alone to destroy ourselves. It should be compatible with being admonished, guided and even on rare occasions restricted -- and so helped to become who we hope to be.


It's important to understand that it isn't Congress that must change -- it is us.

Benjamin Franklin:

It was about this time I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection.

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