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My Philosophy on the Freedom of Choice -- Why It's Fine Making Mistakes (In General)

Updated: 3 days ago

"Freedom isn't about having the choices, but the will to make those choices in the first place" -- John Duran

The Essence of Liberalism: Respecting Individual Choices

In a honest liberal society, individuals respect, or at least tolerate, the choices made by others, regardless of their identity. While they may protest and voice their counterarguments, they recognize that as long as the choice-maker has the right to act independently, their opinion does not grant them the authority to interfere in matters that do not concern them.

This distinction marks the essence of a liberal society from one that disregards individual liberty. A truly liberal society embraces the principle of "live and let live," recognizing that even if an individual's choice appears foolish, illogical, or absurd, it remains their prerogative.

The problem comes when your care of that other person, overlaps their right for their freedom of choice, for the freedom of being who they are or want to be. Therefore, no matter how much you care for that other person, allowing them to be themselves is how a truly liberal society works.

And to be able to do that we need to overcome our internal blockades that prevent us from making courageful choices, as well as preventing other people from doing the same. As long as we consider sensitivity to be entirely a virtue, and not a freedom-limiting weakness, we will resume limiting others, as well as ourselves, from making certain choices, all because we care. Thus, caring can be a liability as well as apathy. It all depends on balance.

How Caring Too Much Hinders Freedom of Choice

And caring too much is how we begin to meddle in the paths of others, while acting not in accordance to the reality that exists beyond our mind, but in accordance to the reality we want to manifest. One of the problems with the law of attraction, for that matter, is that some realities cannot logically manifest, no matter how much we'll want them to be actualized, either by thought or by deed.

By the same token, standing in the path of others, because you dislike the choices they make... if they aren't exactly evil or malicious in nature, you essentially oppose their right to execute their freedom of choice. But that freedom is not yours. It's theirs. And it is a freedom, because it's a freedom from YOU.

And as long as we will intervene where it is illegitimate to do so, we will only cause ourselves suffering, as well as to others. And to respect individual choices, we best be mentally strong to endure the possibility of allowing those who care about, to make the choices they want to make. Freedom is based on courage, on the ability to act despite of fear. When we create and nurture generations of cowards, we threathen our own democracies in the name of sensitivity.

And I quote American author Carrie Jones:

"The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage."

When sensitivity is normalized, and becomes part of behavior regulation (Like in PC culture), it is also normalized to not allow others to live and let live, which is essential in any liberal democracy. And even if one's democracy isn't exactly liberal -- if no law has been broken, if no promise has been breached, and no deal was broken unjustly -- why should you meddle with the choices of others?

So what if you're a parent, for instance? Once your child becomes an adult, you have far less legal control over them. Their choices are theirs to make, and as such they are to be held accountable for them, not you.

Thus, when we do not see oversensitivity as a problem, we also don't see it as a problem, to limit others in the name of our own sensitivites.

But how can we be happy when neither side is free from the existential angst, that is fearing our vulnerabilities? How can we be happy, and thus freer, if we fear being hurt? Being sensitive means being more vulnerable. If we fear the pain that comes along with it, we'll fear life itself. And we'll fear living and letting others living per their choices.

How can you provide a safe space for people to be themselves, if you're too fearful of them executing their freedoms, regardless of your wishes?

Wisdom from Mistakes: The Road to Self-Determination (AKA Control Over Your Life)

Mistakes, no matter how grave, do not negate an individual's right to self-determination, or their right to lead their life how they wish to. The path to greater wisdom may, in fact, be paved with such errors, provided the individual learns from them and takes steps to avoid repeating them. And whether or not he or she chooses to learn from them, that's their own prerogative, as well! In other words, true liberty allows people to be wise as well as stupid, under the condition no illegitimate meddling would be made.

What's "illegitimate meddling"? It's any intervention in other people's life that opposes the following exceptions:

* Law-breaking against a country that helps its citizens (to survive, for example, you might want to steal food while the state will not provide the means for you to get food. You, after all, need to survive like everyone else. If someone you know failed to get employment, and cannot buy food, you might want them to get food, even if it's through theft).

* An adult person's right for self-determination. Your child is subordinate to you greatly only when they're not an adult. Once they are an adult they're entitled to any rights you yourself have, and as such are needed to be treated as an equal. In other words, your adult son or daughter are entitled to the same opportunities as yourself.

* Severe mental handicap (compared to a mental handicap/disability that isn't as severe)

Feel free to let me know if you have any more criteria for illegitimate meddling. I might consider editing it, and I can also give you credit, thus immortalizing your name on Philosocom under my succession plan.

Anyways, I don't mind making mistakes if it means I will become wiser afterward. I may sometimes make mistakes on purpose so I would learn from them, better. I believe it may be better to risk making mistakes and potentially gaining wisdom than to avoid risks altogether and never gain wisdom. And at times it's better to dare than to do nothing.

And to be free, one needs to dare.

There are exceptions to one's independence. If someone is not an adult and is required by law to attend school and/or military service, then they do not have a free choice in the matter. This is because the law should not be above anyone, even if it is far from perfect.

In other words, if someone wants to buy alcohol and they are an adult, then they have every right to do so, even if they might become alcoholics. They have every right to do so because liberty dictates that one can make mistakes, even if they may deeply regret them, like ending up in jail.

In summary, people don't always practice their own freedom of choice, nor necessarily enable others to do so as well. When we normalize our fears and add them to our social behavior, we become weak and limited, for we are afraid to do things we are allowed to do, and disallow others to do things they want to do.

How can we expect to exercise our freedom of choice when we normalize cowardice, and the fear of being emotionally hurt?

Hail Philosocom.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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