04 January 2009

A note on a note

Having reread my previous post, I'm beginning to notice an issue that I hadn't really considered before in the status and meaning (or extent to which an allowed freedom makes free the person who holds it) between expressive freedoms and non-expressive freedoms.

I call expressive freedoms expressive because they involve, primarily, self-expression. They don't create other freedoms for one's self, and exercising them does not (necessarily) involve a threat of any sort to the state. In other words, restrictions on activity for no purpose as far as the State is concerned (and this is where things get interesting) other than to restrict them.

I call non-expressive freedoms such because they are the opposite of expressive freedoms insofar as they are primarily activities which could pose a threat to the state - such as owning weapons, financial privacy, homeschooling children.

Now, the question of whether there is some essential difference between expressive and non-expressive freedoms would seem to be related to the extent to which private customs and customary power centers within society either buttress the state or retard the advance of the state - typically, by either promoting an ethic of violence (for instance, an abusive or authoritarian family) or retarding state hypertrophy (any voluntary association).

Further, it is possible that the prohibition of an expressive freedom could so enrage people that they may come to consider the value of non-expressive freedoms as well. But this might be a two-edged sword - for instance, for every person who considers marijuana prohibition and extends his analysis to the rising police state and busy-body culture in this country, how many people are there who continue to vote for good, gray, respectable democrats in hopes that marijuana will be decriminalized, taxed, and regulated?

Just a few thoughts.

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