I saw the above bumper sticker recently. I like the statement (because I'm pro-gun and anti-royalty), although it wasn't the most respectful given the recent news. Interestingly enough, I could tell that this was not a new sticker - peculiar timing. Other than reminding me that Kennedy "did no wrong," it made me think about how weird the conceptions of freedom are.
Freedom seems of greatest concern where population density and diversity are both high. When these are found together (i.e. large U.S. cities), the landmine of potential problems is huge due to the net decrease in tolerance. Most people that live in dense/diverse cities seem to have higher tolerances, for whatever reason (maybe for sake of otherwise constant rage). However, each person that has "that ONE thing they just cannot tolerate" times a million people, makes for contentions in freedom, which causes this net decrease in tolerance.
My general stance on the subject is: "Allow people as many freedoms as possible as long as they don't infringe upon their neighbors." While this is all fine and dandy, it neither takes in to consideration common courtesy nor differing tolerances of infringement. Isn't it too bad that, put in certain situations, adults are just really big children?
It's interesting to me that despite being stereotypically polar topics (in terms of political leanings), homosexuality and guns similarly infringe upon one's neighbor:
- While my gun can be under lock-and-key, some do not like its potential
- While a homosexual can think/act the same as a heterosexual, some do not like his/her potential
Even if not directly witnessing/experiencing the infringement, one may remain intolerant on a certain topic. This intolerance depends on how directly affected one is by this infringement and how much they care about the direct/indirect affects. Each freedom has an opposite freedom. For instance: Freedom to Own a Gun vs. Freedom to Live in a Gun-Free Neighborhood. Is that to say though that each option is equal? If so, with any corresponding legal decision freedoms are neither created nor destroyed.
If you take a utilitarianism view, then choose the outcome of those who hold the majority view (greatest good). In that case freedom can be created/destroyed. Therefore, true democracy optimizes freedom and seeks normative relativism. To be put in to action we'd replace Congress with an elected mathematician (or two) who comes up with a function that takes in to consideration all major decisions (political, religious, etc.). Then, each eligible voter can take a scantron test based off this formula, which would determine normative relativism. The sum of all outcomes will be law/policy.
Oh wait, without elected officials, people like ole Teddy couldn't have late night, extramarital rendezvous (with DUI written all over it), kill someone, and still get off scot free. Damnit! And I was feeling close to a solution.