One of my biggest frustrations with moving between old books – and old thinking – and modern thinking is that modern thinkers really like to draw categorical distinctions between things that make these things seem separate, even where they’re not separate.
For example, I don’t think it’s possible to separate freedom and dependency without both concepts losing meaning.
To make the example more concrete, in response to one of my posts on freedom, Aretae wants to categorize freedom and to draw clear distinctions between freedom, dependency and license. While these distinctions might be clever, the problem is that they don’t really exist. Unfortunately, modern philosophy basically consists of the practice of drawing such distinctions and then drawing conclusions from the distinctions you’ve created.
Freedom – whether it be negative or positive – is always constrained. Reality intrudes in many ways. No one, in world that includes other people – has completely unconstrained freedom.
Also – and if I’m wrong this is why – I cannot conceive of a "free dependent." My son is 4 months old. To discuss his freedom is absurd because of his dependence. The concepts are inseparable.
The sad fact of reality is that:
many Californians – certainly millions – are financial liabilities. These areunproductive citizens. Their place on the balance sheet is on the right.
. . .
The low-browed man of 70 (and remember – for every 130, there is a 70) may still require special supervision. Besides a job, he needs a patron. Productivity he has, but direction and discipline he still requires. His patron may be a charity, or a profitable corporation, or even – gasp – an individual.
In the last case, of course, we have reinvented slavery. Gasp!
This is also how I conceptualize dependency. People who consume more than they produce need a patron – reality demands it. The framework in which this patron is one person is slavery – according to modern thinking this is the tell-tale sign of unfreedom. Again, even at the root of the modern definition of freedom, we find a connection between dependency and freedom.
In modern thinking, these people are "freed" by giving them a new patron. This is freedom only in the sense that it gives the Progressive a warm feeling. In no meaningful way does it correspond to actual freedom.
Understood this way, then, Moldbug says almost precisely the opposite of:
Ethics is not part of the political discussion. And autonomy is good for folks-like-me, not for everyone. Odious. Like the neo-cons. Like the state deparment "realists". And like historical apologists for slavery. Lots of pretty words, all of which say, "fuck the others and their preferences…the important folks are folks like me".
Ethics is a key part of it. To "free" someone who is incapable of exercising freedom is not a blessing but a curse. Attempting to do so makes a mockery of truth and justice and can only lead to disorder. It seems to me that the only ethical standard that "freeing the dependent" serves is to make the Progressive feel good about himself. So, if lying to yourself to make you feel good is ethical, then we’ve achieved something ethical. I suspect that such a situation is not ethical.
Instead of saying "the important folks are just like me," the intent is to say that, "the standard that works for me is not applicable to every human."
Indeed, the more I think about my differences with people the more it all comes down to HBD.