Many in Classical Liberalism circles, often the liberal conservatives and the ones supporting the Austrian school of economics, hold liberty as the highest, almost sacred, value (see Hayek and François Sureau).
I do not. I first and foremost care about human welfare, then can come freedom, which is also fundamental (to be a human, but also for the development of society).
Human welfare should be defined as basic access to life, health, and psychological/intellectual autonomy.
How can you be free if you are dead, starving to death, badly ill, or under enormous social pressure??
I don’t know much about economic schools, but I have thought about this trade-off. Freedom has a more emotional appeal to it, for many anyway, I can’t speak for everyone. Welfare becomes important if you don’t have it, it’s always important, but if you have it you don’t think about it so much, again, can’t speak for everyone.
What would be great, is if those who have more than enough used their freedom to concern themselves with the welfare of others.
Of course our society has depended on acquiring, that is stealing the wealth of others - see the colonial era and legacy. Then we send the impoverished them (that our policies created) some rice and worry that sharing our wealth will spoil their will to succeed. No wonder it’s created such a crazy society.
We have created fabulous wealth for some, but also fabulous misery for masses on a level never experienced on this planet. That’s not even mentioning what we’ve done to land, water and other creatures.
Nothing in any of that will change until we start recognized our supremely self-serving nature.
But something happen around the time of the two great World Wars that humanity should have focused on, rather than sweep under the proverbial carpet.
Human populations and our material expectations were starting to overwhelm Earth’s biological ecological dynamic equilibrium. In the 60s we as a people were dealing with the factual revelation and starting to have that awakening conversation. But it was too scary and our sober atomic engineer President Carter brought that discussion to the fore.
Whereupon, our entire society turn on him and ran to the arm of a Hollywood Actor with the great stage presence and a line of nonsense about economic growth and no limits, and the answer to all our wants was to consume and grow and consume ever more. Some hailed him the savor of our country, rather than the grim reaper he really was.
And Ayn Rand became a folk hero with her childish selfish self-serving “philosophy,” whom some of our most power leaders followed like a guru.
But that is also the time the first humanist associations started to be created, right?
That’s interesting, because I thought yesterday that I should finally read her book, to know what it is all about.
I don’t have positive opinion, from what I have heard, she was a narcissist, and her work was not serious, which strongly decribilized Classical Liberalism.
I feel she mainly describes and encourages the entrepreneur culture (Richard Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine). Don’t have particular appreciation for entrepreneurs, I like inventors, educators, scientists, intellectuals (including some type of artists), craftsmen, butchers, farmers, etc.
But I believe in what was depicted in The Fable of the Bees, and The Wealth of Nations: the best way to deal with humans bad aspects (greed, selfishness) when they can’t be changed is first to take advantage of them.
Never read and heard serious free-market economy theorists worshipping entrepreneurs. Either they emphasize the inventors, either they show distrust against private companies, knowing they will be tempted to establish monopolies, and getting along with the government to get advantages such as laws which benefit them only, at the expense of the consumers and the workers
If it is naturalistic, scientific order, then yes, maybe. Otherwise, in my understanding (I admit I lack backing research on it, but I am opened to discussion), it is a slogan of the conservatives, even the fascists.
If I may offer a perspective.
IMO, the highest most fundamental principle is living in harmony with the biome we call earth.
All our beneficial social programs won’t mean much when we wantonly rape the earth of all the resources it needs to maintain a balanced environment and as a result, keep us all alive.
The importance of biomes
Conservation and Preservation of Biomes
Because we share the world with many other species of plants and animals, we must consider the consequences of our actions. Over the past several decades, increasing human activity has rapidly destroyed or polluted many ecological habitats throughout the world. It is important to preserve all types of biomes as each houses many unique forms of life. However, the continued heavy exploitation of certain biomes, such as the forest and aquatic, may have more severe implications.