A blupete Essay


Notes, to blupete's Essay
"On Liberty"

1 N.Y. Times 7 Jan. 4/7.

2 Themes & Variations (New York: Harper, 1st Ed., 1950) at p. 246.

3 See Richard Church's Voyage Home, iii. 35 (1964) .

4 Human Understanding (1690).

5 "History of Freedom."

6 Normal people in normal circumstances act through passion and tradition, more than through rational thought; thus it is very important when addressing social issues that the role of tradition, culture and family must be very carefully considered.

7 Freedom and the Law (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 3rd Ed., 1991) at p. 28.

8 A Concept, according to the OED, is a thought, or an idea: "The product of the faculty of conception .... concepts are merely the results, rendered permanent by language, of a previous process of comparison ... a concept is a general representation of a whole class of things." This definition of concept is to be compared with the word, percept, which, on my understanding, are the mental bits or parts (percepts) which cannot be conceived by the brain but from which the brain forms a concept, or a thought or an idea which may or may not invoke, through a further mental process, the body's muscles to take action. A percept is to be distinguished from the action. As one of the editors of the OED observed, it was William James who sometimes used the word percept to refer to "the content of consciousness during perception." Technically, then, a percept is a particular pathway that leads from the senses of the being, such as the sense of sight, where, "the visual image formed on the retina by light rays entering the eye is transformed into a visual percept, on the basis of which appropriate commands to the muscles are issued." And, further; "each physical stimulus, after interpretation by the mental processes, will result in a percept."

9 "Of Liberty and Necessity," Human Understanding.

10 On Liberty, 1859.

11 The Law, 1850.

12 See A Plea for Liberty (New York: Appleton, 1891) at p. 6.

13 The demarcation of classes of people, -- groups within society, groups with differing ranks and privileges -- may be lines determined by birth (certainly that was the case in earlier ages); or by wealth; or by force; or by those employed or not employed by government. As for economics: while the complex, the social structure, is large and can be made to appear complicated by the incalculable actions of all the self-directed individuals working within it; the economy is run, nonetheless, by a rather simple set of laws. I say, parenthetically, that the subject of economics, unfortunately, has been made out to be complicated by people, who claim to be in the know. These economists, these prognosticators with their pointed hats and crystal balls, have been employed, by politicians, so to justified the free spending ways of big government.

14 The Lessons of History (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1968).

15 The Fatal Conceit, The Errors of Socialism (University of Chicago Press, Vol. I, 1989) at pp. 63-4.

16 See Spencer, op. cit., p. 24.

17 Our Heritage of Liberty (London: Bodley Head, 1942) at p. 41.

18 For a concrete example, let me turn you to a piece of federal legislation, Employment Equity Act. Section 4 of that act, so I read, requires employment policies of those with federal contracts of over $100,000 to be based on race, sex, ancestry, appearance or disability, the numbers depending on the percentage of the traits in the population. Under such a regime, we can be sure, from the lowly filing clerk to the supreme court judge, the best will not be had, and those chosen can never assert with pride to themselves or others that they got to their position on their "own merits"; pride of position is at least tarnished. Worse, yet, those massive numbers not chosen will be unhappy with their "achieved" level and frustrated with the feeling that they cannot personally advance themselves.

19 Olmstead v. United States (1928), 277 U.S. 438, 479.

20 Our Heritage of Liberty, op. cit. at p. 74.


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