objective vs. subjective freedom

Allen L. Barker alb at datafilter.com
Thu Sep 5 08:24:19 EST 2002

I found this brief excerpt from Scheflin's _Mind Manipulators_ interesting.
It makes a distinction between objective and subjective freedom.  An example
of the concept of subjective freedom is having the "freedom of speech" provided 
you never use it to say anything controversial -- but thinking that you have
real freedom of speech.  As long as you never tried to say anything controversial
you would go along happily thinking that you could if you wanted to.



   Smith and Ingraham are particularly excited by the 
   possibility of crime control through a
   combination of ESB, external monitors, tracking and 
   computer technology. The computer
   would retaliate against the possible criminal 
   on the basis of probabilities, eliminating the delay
   and difficulty of proving guilt to a jury beyond 
   a reasonable doubt...Ingraham and Smith echo
   Schwitzgebel's rationale, but they add some 
   sophisticated or sophistic-arguments of their
   own. They distinguish between "objective" freedom, 
   the freedom actually to do as one wishes,
   and "subjective" freedom, the feeling that one is 
   free. Objective freedom, they conclude, is
   incompatible with modern society, but subjective 
   freedom can be enhanced electronically:

   "Subjective freedom is totally dependent on 
   awareness, [it] is easily realizable within the
   context of an ordered society, whereas radical 
   objective freedom is not. Since society cannot
   allow men too much objective freedom, the least 
   it can do (and the wise thing to do) is to so
   order its affairs that men are not aware or 
   concerned about any lack of it. The technique of
   telemetric control of human beings offers the 
   possibility of regulating behavior with precision
   on a subconscious level, and avoiding the cruelty 
   of depriving man of his subjective sense of


The concept reminds me of a poem by DC Dave, which I quote here 
completely without permission:


   Fool's Paradise

   Welcome to the American aquarium
   Where life can be lived without care.
   If you swim only in approved areas
   You'll never know you're there.

   But thanks to my curiosity
   A strange thing came to pass:
   I followed the trail of a mystery
   And I discovered the glass.

                     DC Dave

Mind Control: TT&P ==> http://www.datafilter.com/mc
Allen Barker

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