Iíve been waiting for this debate to cool off, because I have some earnest questions on the article. I hope you guys excuse me for having little useful to contribute to the tough debate (well, maybe I could pen some perfunctory lines) and dash off a quick reply or give a link or something.
Basically, Iíve just joined a group of young people that meets to discuss philosophy. Iím pretty sure that some of my acquaintances there are subtle liberals, and that their response to criticism of the mixed economy and welfare, for example, would be that no one needs their uncompromised freedoms: it is no sin to give up just a fraction of them to help people in need. Indeed, I think that while some of them might concede that liberty is essential but othersí suffering is our duty, others will value that duty over freedom.
This assertion acknowledges that altruism and liberty are incompatible, but that liberty is inessentialóand Iím afraid that when I talk to them next, Iíll resort to arm-flapping and simply yelling ďFrEeDOm!Ē which will win me no credibility. So help: I donít know the principled position against someone who disvalues freedom (and independence, rights, integrity, self-reliance, and thus sanctions theft, force, and immorality). (Oh, and I predict that one justification theyíll use is that itís just a small theft, or just a slight, meaningless marginalization of my rights that shouldn't matter to me, as if extent matters here, as if I should be ashamed for wanting all my rights. What? Apoplexy.)
Also, this may be the most basic of questions, but isnít hoarding money not in anyoneís self interest? The liberal thought process is that if someone is making money, some people must be losing it. This is true only if, obviously, the maker doesnít spend anything. So is it not simply making money, but spending it that is a virtue? Not only accumulation, but trade, too? Money is useful only when itís exchanged, and this is the only way it benefits the holder, the consumer, the rest of society, etc. (Of course, it can be saved [hopefully at interest] for expansion, inheritance, etc., but this too is towards the goal of spending it).
Oh, and thank you Joseph, for the fine article. clarified much for me. Also, I hope I don't divert any discussion too dramatically. A PM would be fine for this struggling student; I've only recently been really getting everything, and it's thrilling.
Michael Allen Yarbrough