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Having been involved with the political left in my youth and early adulthood, I had the same thoughts as Thomas More as I read the Halfling's first-rate observations about the devaluation of the concept of freedom. I came to realize that lurking beneath the veneer of freedom-articulation as an ideal was an authoritarian substratum of believed infallibility.

The evil of believed infallibility was captured by Mill when he said, "[T]he opinion which it is attempted to suppress by authority may possibly be true. Those who desire to suppress it, of course deny its truth; but they are not infallible. They have no authority to decide the question for all mankind, and exclude every other person from the means of judging. To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility. Its condemnation may be allowed to rest on this common argument, not the worse for being common." He added, a few lines later, "Absolute princes, or others who are accustomed to unlimited deference, usually feel this complete confidence in their own opinions on nearly all subjects."

The frequent commentariat portrayal of freedom as "somehow weird or subversive" is an attempt to use the power of the voice they have to suppress opposing views by ridicule or worse, instead of engaging in rational debate.

World War II posed a tangible threat to physical freedom. Wondering why the concept of freedom is being more and more devalued, it has occurred to me that the further removed in time people are from the last time there was an existential threat, the more they fail to realize that freedom is a precious commodity, the denial of which may start in small ways but imperceptibly extend into all facets of life in the absence of conscious efforts to sustain it.

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Excellent. It continues to amaze me that ideals we used to think of as espoused by the political left have been abandoned by so-called "progressive" activists, freedom being just one of them.

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I forgot to say it was "Atlas Shrugged".

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I read Ayn Rand's libertarian treatise 50 years ago when I was 16 and while I didn't (and still don't) go along with much of its philosophy, two things have stuck. One is the idea of the virtue of selfishness. The other is the was that the protagonist "stopped the engine of the world", something I think is happening, albeit somewhat differently, at present.

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