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F . The Freedom Dogma

The Freedom Dogma does not imply that an individual possesses the inherent right (or freedom) to act in any way possible at any given point in time. Society demands that certain actions be avoided, and thereby pre-determines certain choices for the individual by proscribing (or compelling) certain courses of conduct, in accordance with the Mutual Duty Dogma. Throughout this bible, wherever proscribed conduct is mentioned, the avoidance of compelled conduct is considered to itself be proscribed conduct, and thus the concept of avoidance of compelled conduct should always be implied to be a part of the concept of proscribed conduct. Accordingly, the fact that society has proscribed (or compelled) certain conduct does not mean that the individual lacks the physical freedom to engage in (or avoid) that conduct. What the individual lacks is the freedom to engage in (or avoid) that conduct and still be considered to be a responsible member of society. Accordingly, freedom must be regulated (or limited) by duty (or morality).24 No society has ever granted complete freedom to the individuals who comprise the society.25 To do so would be irrational and anti-social in the extreme.26 All societies have associated various consequences with proscribed conduct which is engaged in by any particular individual. For the society which should result from the following of the religious dogma and principles that are described in this bible, the proscribed conduct and the appropriate consequences for engaging in that proscribed conduct are stated herein.27 The fundamental freedom for all individuals is the freedom from unnecessary, proscribed, and non-consensual harm to said individual.28 Accordingly, the limits of individual freedom are the points at which exercising said freedom would inflict unnecessary, proscribed, or non-consensual harm upon another individual, or upon property which is of some consequence to another individual, or in those circumstances where the value system adopted by society determines that it is necessary for the individual to be harmed in order to avoid harm to others.29 With that restriction in mind, and the restrictions imposed by this bible in mind, all individuals have an inherent right to act freely as their own conscience and desires might dictate, so long as they possess the sanity and maturity necessary to competently assess any moral choices which are present for any proposed course of conduct.30 As a consequence of the adoption of a "rule" form of Utilitarianism, individuals will be endowed with more freedom than they would have under a fundamentalist form of Utilitarianism because under the latter form, they would be compelled to work for the maximum amount of happiness of all individuals in the society, regardless of any lack of personal happiness due to this compelled course of conduct. Under the "rule" form of Utilitarianism, individuals should never feel compelled to work for the happiness of others unless some "rule" compels that course of conduct. Thus, "rule" Utilitarianism has the result of achieving more individual happiness at the sacrifice of some amount of striving for societal happiness. This appears to be the better balance for all, rather than the other way around.

22 This is not to be read as a denial of the likelihood of events occurring which we know will occur on some regular or random basis, such as new years day, sunrise, severe weather or earthquakes. Such events are not "predestined," but are merely likely to occur at a given occurrence rate over a statistically significant period of time. All such events are more a function of inertia than anything else. While we may not yet understand the forces which set the entire system in motion, we do understand that it is a system in motion, and that, as with all systems in motion, some events can be predicted to occur far in advance of their actual occurrence.

23 Christianity has a great deal of trouble reconciling the concept of an omnipotent God with the concept of denying the predestination of events and the concept of freedom of choice. The result of a fundamentally irreconcilable conflict between these concepts has been a limitation upon the omnipotence of God, in that God's knowledge of the future is limited to knowing the results of the acts and omissions of each individual who proceeds without a "change of heart," which each individual is fully free to have at any given point in time.

24 And morality includes the concept of civil disobedience, in that an individual is also free to make a moral choice to freely disobey the strictures laid down by society, and engage in proscribed conduct (or avoid compelled conduct), so long as the individual is ready to accept the consequences of that freely made choice.

25 From this point forward, the parenthetical phrases regarding compelled conduct are omitted, under the assumption that by now you have the proper idea in mind.

26 Such a society would be anarchy, a social order which has long been recognized as totally unworkable in light of the other values which are cherished by individuals. Anarchy is the antithesis of order, and the principal reason for creating a social order in the first place is to impose some form of order upon what would otherwise be random events leading to random catastrophes. Thus, the individual's desire for shelter leads to the concept of security (or perhaps peace of mind), and this concept leads to the desire for order because without order there can be no security (and therefore no peace of mind). The bottom line is that no individual can feel secure in a society where individuals are allowed total freedom to do anything they wish, and therefore individuals naturally form social orders of various kinds for the purpose of mutual protection from those who would not respect their right to be free from unnecessary, proscribed, and non-consensual harm.

27 This is similar to the fact that much of the Jewish law is stated beginning in the book of Exodus.

28 Unnecessary harm is any harm for which there is no greater good to be achieved by the infliction of said harm. The flip side of this is the concept that necessary harm means a harm which is inflicted for a greater good, including for purposes of punishment of an individual. Proscribed harm is any harm which society proscribes, regardless of any greater good which might be achieved by inflicting said harm, and regardless of any consent given by the individual who will be harmed. An example of proscribed harm would be sexual abuse of small children, which can never be justified nor consented to under any circumstances whatsoever. In other cases, where an individual is in possession of all required mental faculties, and the necessary knowledge and maturity, it is possible for that individual to consent to be harmed because the individual sees an advantage to the harm which perhaps society would not see, or perhaps the individual simply has assigned different values to the two sides of the balance scale such that the balance is in favor of enduring the harm to be inflicted. So long as the harm to be endured is not proscribed harm, and so long as the consent given is free and not fraudulently obtained, then society has no business interfering in a private transaction which just happens to end up inflicting harm upon one of the participants. (An example of the sort of transaction in which this concept might apply would be a sadomasochistic sex act between two consenting adults. Society can set rational limits to the extent of the harm which may be inflicted in such a transaction, and require the proper consent, but after that, society should tolerate the resulting infliction of harm because the participants have deemed their pleasure from that harm to be the greater good.)

29 The flip side of this thought is "that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self protection. That the only purpose for which power may be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to some one else." (J. S. Mill, On Liberty, quoted from Volume 43, page 271, Great Books of the Western World, 1952 Edition.) However, even the foregoing has its exceptions, in that the individual must be mature enough and sane enough to the point of being capable to make a moral judgment upon the subject matter at issue, or else the individual is properly denied the freedom of choice which might otherwise be exercised. (Op. cit., pages 271-272.)

30 The concept that necessary harm may be imposed allows an individual to make a moral choice to engage in civil disobedience. However, all individuals who engage in civil disobedience must be prepared to endure the consequences of that course of conduct.

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