Monday, August 18, 2008

Genuine Freedom

(warning: the following link may not be suitable for tender consciences)

Professor Clive Hamilton offered the following observation in an article on trends in television and society in the Sydney Morning Herod on Saturday:

"But when you walk around and see teenage girls wearing T-shirts that say 'Porn Star' or, even worse, one that says [a slogan too obscene to bear repetition]', then you ask yourself: where else can society go? And you realise the big disappointment of liberalism's failure to deliver genuine freedom."

It is pleasing that Prof. Hamilton, a political and social progressive, recognises a distinction between true freedom and false freedom, or licence. But what does true freedom constitute for this gentleman? He has published a book recently entitled The Freedom Paradox, and at his website it says that

[h]is search takes him to an unexpected conclusion: that we cannot be truly free unless we commit ourselves to a moral life. The implications of this conclusion are profound, and they challenge many deeply held beliefs in modern secular society.

An ‘unexpected conclusion’? For the secular humanist, perhaps. And what is this ‘moral life’ of which he speaks? Is it that of his Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics colleague, Professor Peter Singer, in which it is all about getting oneself onto one’s highest possible indifference curve without putting someone else on a lower one of his own, and with its horrifying scheme of ‘human non-persons’ and ‘non-human persons’? Perhaps I will obtain a copy of this volume and find out.

Catholics know what real freedom is all about, though. For the individual, St. John tells us that it is the truth that makes us free—it is truth and goodness that are the just objects of freedom. And as for society, His late Holiness Leo XIII puts it quite succinctly in Libertas Præstantissimum:

[…] the true liberty of human society does not consist in every man doing what he pleases, for this would simply end in turmoil and confusion, and bring on the overthrow of the State; but rather in this, that through the injunctions of the civil law all may more easily conform to the prescriptions of the eternal law.

Reginaldvs Cantvar

No comments: