Friday 8 January 2021

Free Association

In the early 1800's belonging to a Trade Union was against the law. Trade Unions were seen as organisations that were one step away from being clubs for revolutionaries. In Britain many were transported to Australia as convicts. But Liberals fought to change that, Liberalism did change that. Today it is very rare for an organisation to be illegal, or to be a member of an organisation. 

Terrorism has changed free association, but something else changed it even more Civil Rights. Within Liberalism there are two ideas that are both quite well known and in opposition to each other. Freedom and Equality. They are in fact mutually exclusive, if you are free then you are not equal, but if you are equal you are not free. Freedom means that people are different and that difference is celebrated, or at least under Liberalism it should be. But equality means that people are the same, interchangeable even.

Before the 1960's Liberalism believed that freedom was the highest ideal that it possessed. That more freedom meant more Liberalism and more Liberalism meant more freedom. It was mutually supporting. But the civil rights movement put a spanner in the works, it said that freedom caused some people to be unfree, that freedom was achieved for some by making others unfree, by limiting their rights. sometimes by violence. Some Liberals rejected that idea, but for others it fit into what they had started to think, that equality was more important. That equality was the highest ideal within Liberalism. 

Today that is the majority of Liberals, freedom has been cast down and has been replaced by equality. But on the way from there to here there had to be a price and that price was free association. Liberalism had brought free association into being, the idea that you should be free to join any organisation you wanted to and that you were the best judge of who you should associate with. But that meant that you did not have to join or associate with people you did not want to. Which means that you can and maybe even should, exclude people. That ran right smack bang into the civil rights movement. 

Freedom or Equality? 

Free Association or Civil Rights? 

Liberalism decided quite quickly which one it supported, within a decade it had chosen equality over freedom. Which meant that Liberalism became something that it had once been against. This is where Classical Liberalism ended and Left and Right Liberalism re-emerged. This is where Cultural Marxism merged with Liberalism and changed the course of Liberalism and of our Civilization.

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  1. That equality was the highest ideal within Liberalism.

    But strangely enough modern liberals are not the slightest bit interested in equality. It's not like they're calling for the wealth of billionaires to be redistributed to ordinary people.

    What modern liberals preach is not egalitarianism. They preach Social Justice as a way to distract us from looking at real inequalities.

  2. Equal opportunities are the hallmark of a democratic and egalitarian society but must yield different outcomes. Trying to achieve equal outcomes is a mistaken policy.

    1. Trying to achieve equal outcomes is a mistaken policy.

      Trying to achieve completely equal outcomes is certainly a mistaken policy. Trying to achieve outcomes that are more equal than they are at the moment is however a valid policy. In fact it's probably a necessary policy.