Sunday, March 13, 2016

Socially engineered spaces.............

     Coercion is natural;  freedom is artificial.  Freedoms are socially engineered spaces where parties engaged in specified pursuits enjoy protection from parties who would otherwise naturally seek to interfere in those pursuits.  One person's freedom is therefore always another person's restriction;  we would not have even the concept of freedom if the reality of coercion were not already present.  We think of a freedom as a right, and therefore the opposite of a rule, but a right is a rule.  It is a prohibition against sanctions on certain types of behavior.  We also think of rights as privileges retained by individuals against the rest of society, but rights are created not for the good of individuals, but for the good of society.  Individual freedoms are manufactured to achieve group ends.

-Louis Menand,  The Metaphysical Club:  A Story of Ideas in America

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