Friday, May 20, 2022

1004: Adding a Constitution....

The previous lecture on Tuesday may have left behind some question marks regarding the danger of a majority vote. That seems to result in a dictatorship of the majority.


However, one major matter was not mentioned: a matter because of which England was admired and regarded as a good example.


How do you protect the individual citizen and his freedom against a fickle majority? You do what the Founding Fathers did in America: you draft a constitution.


England had its Magna Carta. It was issued in June 1215 and was the first document to put into writing the principle 


that the king and his government were not above the law. It sought to prevent the king from exploiting his power and placed limits of royal authority by establishing law as a power in itself.


The Founding Fathers,  who did not have to protect against an absolutist king, focused on the individual and his natural rights..


The same happened in a number of European countries after 1815 during the so-called Restauration.


In the Netherlands, we had Johan Rudolph Thorbecke (1798 – 1872). He was a Dutch liberal statesman, one of the most important Dutch politicians of the 19th century. 


In 1848, he headed the commission that drafted the revision of the Constitution of the Netherlands, giving less power to the king 


and more to the States-General (parliament), and guaranteeing more religious, personal, and political freedom to the people.


So, this became the basic governmental organization in America and most European countries: 


first of all, you have a constitution, which has a kind of absolute power. Nobody is above the law. In a monarchy, this constitution restricts the power of a king


and puts the main legislative power in the hands of a parliament. And from then on, say.... 1850, the debate was about the question: who should become a member of parliament and how?


A second feature was the Two Chambers system, in all kinds of variations a system where most of the time nobility and aristocracy (a Senate) kept an eye on a chamber filled with elected people.


I don't know the details of the parliamentary history of all countries, but I guess the main debate became eventually universal suffrage.


Let's continue our journey. Sudden democratization, and expanded suffrage, in France and Britain rekindled liberal fears of democratic rule, 


especially as democratization seemed to go hand in hand with the rise of 'collectivism' as many called it. 


In the 1880s, governments in several European countries began enacting legislation to protect workers, reduce the risk of a financial crisis and insure citizens against illness and old age. 


The motivations behind the emergence of these embryonic welfare states varied. European governments began to worry about the poor health of their male residents, which reduced their ability to work and fight. 


Religious concerns also played a role, along with fears about wildcat strikes and other forms of workers' resistance. 


But to liberal opponents, the rise of collectivism seemed first and foremost a by-product of the increasing influence of the masses over politics.


It is interesting how history repeats itself. More than a hundred years ago right-wing politicians called social care like healthcare for all 'collectivism'.


The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels dates from 1848, so the terms 'socialism' and 'communism' were still in the making.


And what do we see in the USA? The moment things like an Affordable Healthcare Act is introduced, right-wing politicians again begin to yell "socialism.....communism!!!


Some things apparently never change....Thank you for your attention.

nm vv  

Main Sources:

MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Annelien de Dijn: "Freedom. An unruly history".  2020

TABLE OF CONTENT -----------------------------------------------------------------  

  1 - 100 Philosophers                         9 May 2009  Start of

  2 - 25+ Women Philosophers                       10 May 2009  this blog

  3 - 25 Adventures in Thinking                       10 May 2009

  4 - Modern Theories of Ethics                       29 Oct  2009

  5 - The Ideal State                                               24 Febr 2010   /   234

  6 - The Mystery of the Brain                                  3 Sept 2010   /   266

  7 - The Utopia of the Free Market                       16 Febr 2012    /   383

  8. - The Aftermath of Neo-liberalism                      5 Sept 2012   /   413

  9. - The Art Not to Be an Egoist                             6 Nov  2012   /   426                        

10  - Non-Western Philosophy                               29 May 2013    /   477

11  -  Why Science is Right                                      2 Sept 2014   /   534      

12  - A Philosopher looks at Atheism                        1 Jan  2015   /   557

13  - EVIL, a philosophical investigation                 17 Apr  2015   /   580                

14  - Existentialism and Free Will                             2 Sept 2015   /   586         

15 - Spinoza                                                             2 Sept 2016   /   615

16 - The Meaning of Life                                        13 Febr 2017   /   637

17 - In Search of  my Self                                        6 Sept 2017   /   670

18 - The 20th Century Revisited                              3 Apr  2018    /   706

19 - The Pessimist                                                  11 Jan 2020    /   819

20 - The Optimist                                                     9 Febr 2020   /   824

21 - Awakening from a Neoliberal Dream                8 Oct  2020   /   872

22 - A World Full of Patterns                                    1 Apr 2021    /   912

23 - The Concept of Freedom                                  8 Jan 2022    /   965

The Discussion

[13:13] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess this is because the rich refuse to share, MINE MINE ONLY MINE

[13:13] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): always have been like that

[13:14] herman Bergson: It is  remarkable that there always seems to be a group in society that wants to keep everything for themselves and another group that wants to share

[13:14] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:14] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sss

[13:14] herman Bergson: yes  Bejiita...something like that

[13:15] herman Bergson: and another funny thing is that collectivism, socialism and communism seem to be some dangerous things.....the highway to hell or something like that

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like scrooge mc duck swimming in his coun pile

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): coin

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like its something terrible and they equals it with Russian way of doing things = communism

[13:16] herman Bergson: But what you see today is how the parliamentary system eventually was invented....

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): to make it appear bad

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): something like that i guess is at play

[13:17] herman Bergson: It was meant to protect the freedom of everyone...

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but then turned into a big mess to gain the elite

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like MrT

[13:18] herman Bergson: Due to the Cold War socialism and communism have gotten a bad name indeed...

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep

[13:18] herman Bergson: But what is overlooked is the basic social ideas in those ideologies

[13:19] Dien (djdien.bailey) is offline.

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the main idea behind communism as i get it was good

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but

[13:19] Lente (lentelies.anatine) is offline.

[13:19] herman Bergson: Well...that has to be seen yet bejiita.....

[13:20] herman Bergson: Because communism attacks a thing that is seen as a basic natural human right: private property

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well well see

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well see

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats one detail i think

[13:21] herman Bergson: We discussed it before...for instance the  option of setting a limit to how much an individual may own as private property

[13:21] herman Bergson: against the Besosses, Gateses Murdoches etc

[13:22] herman Bergson: As we also have noticed...that the US isn't a democracy but a plutocracy in fact

[13:23] herman Bergson: Well a plutocracy with some democratic traits :-)

[13:23] herman Bergson: It is not always the money that wins there

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its a moneycrazy with tone on CRAZY

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well some other things too

[13:24] Ciska Riverstone is online.

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but indeed there are issues with the system

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that needs to be resolved and changed

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): big issues

[13:24] herman Bergson: Anyway...what we see is, that Europe is configuring a social system that protects a lot of freedom of the individual

[13:25] herman Bergson: freedom of speech and religion, right to private property become parts of a constitution

[13:25] Lente (lentelies.anatine) is online.

[13:26] herman Bergson: the cute paradox is owever that this constitution has to be approved by majority vote :-)

[13:26] herman Bergson: But in general  in this case...changing a constitution needs mor than 50% + 1 votes

[13:27] AndrewEagle01: Whisper: Hello Everyone

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hi Andrew

[13:28] herman Bergson: Another positive observation may be that homo sapiens has agreed  to subject himself to the law...nobody is above the law

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least most of us have

[13:28] AndrewEagle01: Whisper: Bejita

[13:28] herman Bergson: In fact a major achievement....

[13:29] herman Bergson: this is not worldwide the case, as we know...but homo sapiens CAN do it, if he is willing to

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:29] herman Bergson: It offers protection for everyone in such a situation

[13:30] herman Bergson: Unless you have a partial supreme  Court :-P

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Order!!!!!!... Order!! ... Order!! ...Order, Order!!! Order! Order!!! .... Order  

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats what we need indeed

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): too much chaos now everywhere

[13:32] herman Bergson: Is there?

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well like Putins war.. More totalitarian states Trkey, Poland Hungary ect going in wrond girection

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): wrong

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Turkey

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): away from democracy

[13:34] herman Bergson: Guess we covered everything for today :-)

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well i guess

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): soem important statements

[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i have to go...i'm sorry

[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hope to have more energy Tuesday if i can come

[13:34] herman Bergson: Time to relaxed in an orderly fashion :-)

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and i hope in the end all will somehow sort out

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥

[13:35] bergfrau Apfelbaum: * houdoe Beertje *

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true Herman

[13:35] herman Bergson: I still believe it will Bejiita

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the only thing that should be chaos is my code

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol

[13:36] bergfrau Apfelbaum: tyyy Herman and class!

[13:36] herman Bergson: that we know already Bejiita :-)))

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well i sorted the bug out in the end

[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!

[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): now that part also works

[13:36] herman Bergson: Ok...then

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok so what now?

[13:36] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...:-)

[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye

[13:36] bergfrau Apfelbaum: byebye Gemma! and all the best for the fast hip:-))

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hugs gemma

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

1003: The Danger of Democracy....

 What meant FREEDOM? IT meant that you got rid of the tyrant, the dictator, the absolutist king, and as a people got your say in your government.


Not being a slave was the ideal of the ancient Greeks, in other words, DEMOCRACY. 


However, since the French Revolution in 1789, the debate had changed. Not the classic idea of freedom was the center of the debate, but natural rights.


Since Rousseau and the Revolution, the discussion was about the natural state of man, human rights. Thence it was the duty of a government to protect these individual rights.


The hottest one was of course the right to property - handoff of MY PROPERTY! Others were the right to free speech, freedom of gathering, and freedom of religion.


And for the protection of all these rights, you don't need democracy. You just need a government that doesn't interfere with these natural rights.


Even put more emphatically, the last thing you need is democracy, the rule by the majority of votes.


You may wonder about that statement, but let me explain in line with how the people in the 19th century would explain it to you.


I assume that you agree with these human rights issues, these natural rights of man. Everybody should enjoy them, isn't it? So, government ...HANDS OFF!


Let me show you the danger of democracy. The majority vote counts. Suppose you give every citizen the right to vote.......What do you think will happen?


What group of people are the majority? Right, not the rich people, but the poor people, the have-nots. What do you think is the first law the majority will vote for?


Indeed! A law that distributes all wealth in society equally and even could put a limit to how much you may claim and hold as private property.


And suppose a majority is a member of religion X. What would be the first law the majority would vote for?


Indeed! No taxes should be paid by THEIR church. Other religions are not true religions, so exempt from tax freedom.


Or a law that organizes public education and allows only religion X to establish schools based on the principles of religion X.


Suppose the majority of the people are white. They see how other ethnic groups also get jobs, while there is a shortage of jobs,


Indeed. We need a law that excludes all but white people from the most profitable jobs.


Conclusion: democracy and a universal right to vote are a huge danger and threat to human rights.


Yet there also was another aspect of the debate on human rights. The starting point was the thesis that all men are equal.


Oh my, what have we said, the males must have thought, because exactly that starting point was the starting point of the suffragettes, the women that fought for equal rights and voting rights for women.


Keep the historical picture in mind: 1850 and the Industrial Revolution, the beginning of mass production, the growing need for workers.


There also is a growth in the population. Living circumstances were still bad, but yet little by little improving.


But it wasn't the rich part of the population that was growing, it was the majority (of poor people), who more and more wanted a say in how they were governed.


Scary times for the privileged and rich elites. Next lecture I'll show you how what happened in the 19th century is repeating itself in American politics today.


Thank you for your attention again...


Main Sources:

MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Annelien de Dijn: "Freedom. An unruly history".  2020

TABLE OF CONTENT -----------------------------------------------------------------  

  1 - 100 Philosophers                         9 May 2009  Start of

  2 - 25+ Women Philosophers                       10 May 2009  this blog

  3 - 25 Adventures in Thinking                       10 May 2009

  4 - Modern Theories of Ethics                       29 Oct  2009

  5 - The Ideal State                                               24 Febr 2010   /   234

  6 - The Mystery of the Brain                                  3 Sept 2010   /   266

  7 - The Utopia of the Free Market                       16 Febr 2012    /   383

  8. - The Aftermath of Neo-liberalism                      5 Sept 2012   /   413

  9. - The Art Not to Be an Egoist                             6 Nov  2012   /   426                        

10  - Non-Western Philosophy                               29 May 2013    /   477

11  -  Why Science is Right                                      2 Sept 2014   /   534      

12  - A Philosopher looks at Atheism                        1 Jan  2015   /   557

13  - EVIL, a philosophical investigation                 17 Apr  2015   /   580                

14  - Existentialism and Free Will                             2 Sept 2015   /   586         

15 - Spinoza                                                             2 Sept 2016   /   615

16 - The Meaning of Life                                        13 Febr 2017   /   637

17 - In Search of  my Self                                        6 Sept 2017   /   670

18 - The 20th Century Revisited                              3 Apr  2018    /   706

19 - The Pessimist                                                  11 Jan 2020    /   819

20 - The Optimist                                                     9 Febr 2020   /   824

21 - Awakening from a Neoliberal Dream                8 Oct  2020   /   872

22 - A World Full of Patterns                                    1 Apr 2021    /   912

23 - The Concept of Freedom                                  8 Jan 2022    /   965

The Discussion



[13:16] herman Bergson: Oh.....

[13:16] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you from a poor girl

[13:16] herman Bergson: and what I forgot to mention....

[13:17] herman Bergson: the "greatest" femocracy in the world is completely controlled by a Republican minority

[13:17] herman Bergson: democratic typos included :-)

[13:18] herman Bergson: But isn't it funny....democracy as a danger ? :-))

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it sounds like a paradox almost

[13:18] herman Bergson: yes :-)

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but with those statements u made....

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): interesting idea

[13:19] herman Bergson: there you go Bejiita :-))

[13:19] herman Bergson: But there is a question...

[13:20] herman Bergson: We'll have to figure it out in coming lectures

[13:20] oola Neruda: you said femocracy... did you mean democrach?

[13:20] herman Bergson: Why did these arguments against democracy...that is..univerals voting rights work that way

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): are the rich more equal than the poor?

[13:20] herman Bergson: I meant democracy oola...was a typo :-))

[13:21] oola Neruda: thank you for clarifying

[13:21] herman Bergson: like your democrach

[13:21] oola Neruda: lol indeed

[13:21] herman Bergson: lol

[13:21] herman Bergson: Told you...there is fun in the lecture of today :-))

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:22] herman Bergson: That is the point Beertje....the rich and powerful....

[13:22] oola Neruda: I'm reading MIDNIGHT IN WASHINGTON... it certainly fits with your subject...

[13:22] herman Bergson: the peculiar fact is that whatever happens in a society...there seems to be a layer of individuals who still keep control

[13:23] herman Bergson: Maybe June 9 will be a sunrise in Washington oola :-)

[13:23] oola Neruda: like FOX "news"

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): SSSSSS!

[13:24] herman Bergson: (June 9: start of public hearings by the Jan6 committee)

[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ah

[13:24] oola Neruda: June 9.... would like a surprise

[13:24] herman Bergson: there will be, I think, oola

[13:25] oola Neruda: you make my heart beat faster...

[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): in what way?

[13:25] oola Neruda: hope it is true

[13:25] herman Bergson: Mine too

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:25] herman Bergson: But there is no other way...they have to hit and to hit hard

[13:26] Lai Streeter (laila.streeter) is online.

[13:26] herman Bergson: the paradox Bejiita....democracy HAS to prevail

[13:26] oola Neruda: MUST

[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i hope it's true

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ys

[13:27] herman Bergson: Let me give you an other thought....

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:27] herman Bergson: They won't indict Trump for J6...

[13:27] oola Neruda: gasp

[13:28] herman Bergson: but they will indict him for stealing classified documents and transport them to his private home

[13:28] herman Bergson: the reason.....

[13:28] oola Neruda: they can prove that at least

[13:28] herman Bergson: such  an indictment is 100% NON political.....or is just a felony

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok

[13:29] herman Bergson: That is my opinion...they'll take T out in that way....

[13:29] herman Bergson: totally non partial....

[13:30] herman Bergson: there already is a Grand Jury investigating the it is serious

[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): so he doesn't have to go to jail?

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Was just gonna ask: can they finally throw that fat sac in jail and weld it shut?

[13:31] herman Bergson: The basic things you can observe here is how universal voting right and democracy and the dictatorship of the majority are at work in a governmental system

[13:31] herman Bergson: No no Beertje...stealing the documents means at least 15 years in jail

[13:31] oola Neruda: good point

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aa there we go!

[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): good:)

[13:32] herman Bergson: To begin with...America isn;t a 100% clean democracy at all....

[13:32] oola Neruda: agree

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed not

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its binary

[13:33] herman Bergson: so here we can see how even such a crapy system can survive and defend itself against a coup d'etat

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): either ur with us or against us

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): for both sides

[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i pitty the other prisoners with him inda house:))

[13:33] herman Bergson: Maybe we may conclude at the end....

[13:34] herman Bergson: even when you are just 50% democratic but you have a clean system of checks and can survive and enjoy freedom

[13:35] herman Bergson: No Beertje..prison rallies ...guaranteed a full house

[13:35] herman Bergson: altijd volle zalen Beertje :-)

[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): dankje

[13:36] herman Bergson: wel...this was fun wasn't it :-)

[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it was:)

[13:37] herman Bergson: Next lecture will be fun too, I guess

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:38] herman Bergson: Then we'll see that American republicans still use the arguments that were uses a hundred years ago too :-))

[13:38] oola Neruda: nice side story to pair with ... Midnight In Washington.... it is a long, detailed book but eye opening

[13:38] oola Neruda: very eye opening

[13:38] oola Neruda: must run... thank you Herman

[13:38] oola Neruda is offline.

[13:38] herman Bergson: Is it a novel of on fiction oola?

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Oola

[13:38] herman Bergson: awww...appoijntments...

[13:39] druth Vlodovic is online.

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa ok3

[13:39] herman Bergson: glad she could stay till now at least

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes

[13:39] herman Bergson: Well on to the nezxt lecture, I'd say

[13:40] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...

[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

1002: Getting in shape....

The situation becomes clearer and clearer. The masses want their freedom and want to participate in how and by whom they are governed.


The French Revolution was an attempt of the people to rule themselves which experiment ended in bloodshed and Napoleonic despotism.


Time and again the claim was that democracy was the only way to guarantee freedom, but more and more these two concepts were unlinked in the debates.


The leading trend among the leading classes was in the period 1800 - 1848 freedom OK, democracy (universal right to vote for everyone) NO.


In this debate, as we already have seen, emerged the concept of civil freedom, the idea that the government should as minimal as possible interfere with the life of the individual citizen.


But then came the year 1848. The Revolutionary Year of 1848 concerns a series of European uprisings that were supposed to make possible a liberal system, a liberal constitution or the expulsion of foreign rulers. 


It happened in all kinds of ways in many European countries,  Germany, France, Poland, Hungary, Austria, even in Sweden were riots, where people demanded general voting rights.

The movement was short-lived and many enforced measures were later reversed by the aristocratic and conservative elite. 


Nevertheless, the revolts exerted a major influence on the period that followed. Henceforth the rulers had to more or less take into account the liberal and nationalistic feelings of the increasingly influential bourgeoisie.


In 1853 when everything was under control again of the ruling elites and upper-class, Francis Lieber published "On Civil Liberty and Self-government"


It is a nice blueprint of how politics will deal with freedom eventually. If freedom and democracy are not necessarily synonymous, then what was freedom? 


Instead of answering this question directly, Lieber began with a long digression on the history of freedom. In particular, he wanted to make clear that the definition of freedom had changed substantially since ancient times. 


"What the ancients understood by liberty," he wrote, "differed essentially from what we modern citizens call civil liberty." 


For the ancients, freedom was based "on the degree of participation in government." As a result, they regarded freedom as something that could only be achieved in and through the state.


 Modern citizens, however, understood freedom completely differently, in a way that was almost the opposite of the ancient way of thinking. 


Modern people equated freedom with "the protection of the individual and the undisturbed action of society in its smaller and larger circles." 


Contrary to the ancients, therefore, modern citizens believed that freedom could not be achieved through the state but by excluding the state from the lives of individuals as much as possible. 


An explanation for the transition from ancient to modern freedom has been attributed to social changes and in particular to the rise of the commercial society with its individualistic character. 


Another explanation, however, pointed to a cultural transformation: the rise of Christianity. By assigning a priceless individual value to each person, 


Christian teaching had dealt a major blow to the tendency of the ancients to place the state above the individual. This kind of reasoning laid the foundation for our current political situation.


This begins to raise the question what is the relationship between the government and the individual citizen, too. 


What means democracy if it doesn't mean political freedom, that is, not being the slave of a ruler or ruling class?

Main Sources:

MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Annelien de Dijn: "Freedom. An unruly history".  2020

TABLE OF CONTENT -----------------------------------------------------------------  

  1 - 100 Philosophers                         9 May 2009  Start of

  2 - 25+ Women Philosophers                       10 May 2009  this blog

  3 - 25 Adventures in Thinking                       10 May 2009

  4 - Modern Theories of Ethics                       29 Oct  2009

  5 - The Ideal State                                               24 Febr 2010   /   234

  6 - The Mystery of the Brain                                  3 Sept 2010   /   266

  7 - The Utopia of the Free Market                       16 Febr 2012    /   383

  8. - The Aftermath of Neo-liberalism                      5 Sept 2012   /   413

  9. - The Art Not to Be an Egoist                             6 Nov  2012   /   426                        

10  - Non-Western Philosophy                               29 May 2013    /   477

11  -  Why Science is Right                                      2 Sept 2014   /   534      

12  - A Philosopher looks at Atheism                        1 Jan  2015   /   557

13  - EVIL, a philosophical investigation                 17 Apr  2015   /   580                

14  - Existentialism and Free Will                             2 Sept 2015   /   586         

15 - Spinoza                                                             2 Sept 2016   /   615

16 - The Meaning of Life                                        13 Febr 2017   /   637

17 - In Search of  my Self                                        6 Sept 2017   /   670

18 - The 20th Century Revisited                              3 Apr  2018    /   706

19 - The Pessimist                                                  11 Jan 2020    /   819

20 - The Optimist                                                     9 Febr 2020   /   824

21 - Awakening from a Neoliberal Dream                8 Oct  2020   /   872

22 - A World Full of Patterns                                    1 Apr 2021    /   912

23 - The Concept of Freedom                                  8 Jan 2022    /   965

The Discussion

[13:13] oola Neruda: I was in a two hour lecture this morning that explained the way Stalin and Lenin brought "freedom" to Russsia...

[13:14] herman Bergson: good luck...:-)

[13:14] oola Neruda: they made it sound like it was very good for them

[13:14] herman Bergson: some million kills under Stalin

[13:14] oola Neruda: nods

[13:14] oola Neruda: yes

[13:14] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (shudders)

[13:15] herman Bergson: But the issue at hand is something different today...

[13:15] oola Neruda: "it was for their own good... and their own fault"

[13:15] bergfrau Apfelbaum: Hello Andrew:-)

[13:15] herman Bergson: always, oola

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): stalin and lenin = freedom SSSSSS

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): stalin and lenin != freedom!

[13:15] AndrewEagle01: Hello Apfelbaum

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats for sure

[13:16] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): sorry Anrew i didn;t see you

[13:16] oola Neruda: they had great PR

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed, its same as hitler used, getting the people with him

[13:16] herman Bergson: As I said... the issue at hand is something different today

[13:16] oola Neruda: sorry

[13:17] AndrewEagle01: Since the dawn of time, the elites have enslaved the rest of the population

[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what is the difference herman?

[13:17] herman Bergson: First thing to observe is that the concept of freedom is now closely related to the individual and how is free to do what he wants within the limits of the law...

[13:17] herman Bergson: civil freedom

[13:17] AndrewEagle01: it was called pharaoh, emperor, king, president .. but the principle is still the same

[13:18] herman Bergson: As I said...the concept of civil freedom had gotten a strong position in the political debate...

[13:18] herman Bergson: the other debate is...who is ruling?

[13:19] herman Bergson: It was no longer connected to who is free

[13:19] herman Bergson: The middle of the road was voting rights....

[13:19] herman Bergson: which gave it a feel of democracy...

[13:20] herman Bergson: in the sense that the people were ruling....

[13:20] herman Bergson: however....the voting rights were limited mainly to the white, male educated elite of a country...

[13:21] herman Bergson: had a parliament and a government....

[13:21] herman Bergson: that was the situation in 1848, when all revolutions  all over Europe erupted...

[13:21] herman Bergson: The masses wanted a voice...

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:22] herman Bergson: March 18-19 in Sweden...big demonstrations...the army got in and 30 people killed and the "rebellion" was surpressed

[13:22] herman Bergson: Happened all over Europe...but it scared the hell out of the elites...

[13:23] herman Bergson: so...

[13:23] herman Bergson: what means freedom?

[13:23] herman Bergson: Peoples rule..?

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess

[13:23] herman Bergson: My goodenss no...

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or idk

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but freedom to decide your life

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): what u want

[13:24] herman Bergson: Rememeber that American fellow I mentioned two lectures ago...anno 2022!

[13:24] herman Bergson: He said...Democracy is rule of the mob

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not being trampled down upon by an elite ruler class

[13:24] AndrewEagle01: free will

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sss

[13:24] herman Bergson: Just imagine...2022

[13:24] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ok

[13:24] herman Bergson: and the SAME arguments as in 1900 against democracy

[13:25] herman Bergson: so...from 1848 on we are going to witness the fight of the mob to get voting rights

[13:26] herman Bergson: and here I mean "MOB" in a positive sense

[13:26] herman Bergson: I mean...EVERY CITIZEN....

[13:26] herman Bergson: in Europe this is anno 2022 the case

[13:26] herman Bergson: in the US  it is not

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): he meant that in a positive way?

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or

[13:27] herman Bergson: what do you mean Bejiita?

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i said u meant in a positive sense but did that US dude meant it in a positive way too?

[13:28] herman Bergson: no He didnt...

[13:28] herman Bergson: He did it in the reactionary way...

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed the word mob to me don't mean anything positive, however it refers to everyone indeed or a lot of people

[13:28] herman Bergson: Dictatorship of the Majority he meant....

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:29] herman Bergson: meaning the majority, the mob, is a dumb mass

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well lets prove him wrong

[13:29] AndrewEagle01: Democracy ? Do you think there are healthy ones in the world?

[13:29] herman Bergson: in other words...the country has to be governed by wise people, not the mob

[13:30] herman Bergson: All these ideas still exist in the political thinking of today

[13:30] herman Bergson: In that sense....

[13:30] AndrewEagle01: wise people *good idea*

[13:30] herman Bergson: America today is the greatest experiment and test of democracy possible

[13:31] herman Bergson: It has to show it that it has democratic balls

[13:31] oola Neruda: a big strength of Lenin and Stalin was incredibly good propaganda/ sounded a lot better than it was

[13:31] oola Neruda: great PR

[13:31] AndrewEagle01: America ? where Trump was elected thanks to his influence and his money? :)

[13:31] herman Bergson: No no Andrew.....

[13:32] herman Bergson: I mean....

[13:32] herman Bergson: In the US a president tempted a coup d'etat

[13:32] herman Bergson: and overrule legitimate and fair elections

[13:32] herman Bergson: He failed....

[13:32] AndrewEagle01: oh ok

[13:32] herman Bergson: the prove of his intentions is piling up....

[13:33] herman Bergson: Now

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed he showed his true nature now

[13:33] oola Neruda: and proof of help by Putin

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): back then

[13:33] herman Bergson: the BIG CHALANGE  for the American democratic system is....

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and now he goes on wailing about how he was cheated, that the election was rigged and how he should have win

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): still

[13:33] herman Bergson: does it have the ballsand guts to indict this Trump individual and jail him

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): WAAAH WWAAAAHH!

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sigh

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): he refuses to let it go

[13:34] herman Bergson: THAT is the American Dream put to its ultimate test

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:34] AndrewEagle01: Bejiita : Nods when he himself had won in troubled circumstances

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): democracy threatened by a gigant baby and his followers

[13:34] herman Bergson: It is completely in sync with our present project....

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is Putin stil helping him?

[13:35] oola Neruda: hard to prove but they are uncovering past help

[13:35] herman Bergson: I don't think so Beertje...isn't important anymore

[13:36] herman Bergson: That T committed a crime...a felony is in fact a proven fact....

[13:36] herman Bergson: But the Americans are so double....

[13:37] herman Bergson: on the one hand they say...when out of presidency you are just a general citizen and treated like that

[13:37] herman Bergson: and on the other hand they say...oh dear ,,,oh dear...indicting a former  PRESIDENT...oh dear..never happened before in history...should we really do that?

[13:37] herman Bergson: morons they are...:-)

[13:38] oola Neruda: Adam Shiff is working on it

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): he acts like he is still a president

[13:38] AndrewEagle01: Nods

[13:38] herman Bergson: of course they should if they want to save their political system and integrity

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ssssssss

[13:39] herman Bergson: yes Beertje...every time is see that...soooooo pathetique

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): as said he refuses to let it go like a baby screaming for candy in a store

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): WAAAAAH WAAAAAH

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): when he dont get any

[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): sneue man

[13:39] AndrewEagle01: To return to the subject of freedom :)

[13:39] herman Bergson: So ..within the context ogf our project

[13:40] herman Bergson: we have arrived at an interesting point

[13:41] herman Bergson: there is issue....there is issue and how to connect these two....there are voting rights...

[13:41] herman Bergson: The elite was scared like hell of the mob getting the right to rule....

[13:41] oola Neruda: and are messing it up as fast as they can

[13:42] herman Bergson: onn the other hand the "mob" was sick of being abused  by the elite for profit...

[13:42] oola Neruda: some are still delusional

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm

[13:42] herman Bergson: In a distance you already may hear the name....Karl Marx.....

[13:42] herman Bergson: Lenin....

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Stalin

[13:43] herman Bergson: October revolution

[13:43] herman Bergson: no..not Stalin Bejiita thta was later

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but both were evil dudes

[13:43] herman Bergson: So that is the dirction we are heading at the moment :-)

[13:43] oola Neruda: YES

[13:44] AndrewEagle01: The link between freedom and democracy can be citizenship, common sense, responsibility

[13:44] herman Bergson: So..just look at your own country at this moment....

[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): in other words, what is the future of democracy with so many dark forces threatening it at the moment?

[13:44] AndrewEagle01: Like article 4 of human rights

[13:44] herman Bergson: ow voting rights are secured...

[13:44] AndrewEagle01: Article 4. Freedom consists in being able to do all that does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits other than those which assure the other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights. . These limits can only be determined by law.

[13:44] herman Bergson: what the influence of the parliament is on government.....

[13:44] oola Neruda: gerrymandering is taking care of that

[13:45] herman Bergson: Right Andrew...nice civil freedom as developed in the 1800s

[13:46] herman Bergson: But just for fun......

[13:46] theo Velde is online.

[13:46] herman Bergson: you quite "the exercise of the natural rights of each man"

[13:46] herman Bergson: one...does man also mean WOMAN

[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what about woman?

[13:47] herman Bergson: two....does natural right also mean the control over your own body (Roe v Wade)???

[13:47] oola Neruda: not any more I fear

[13:47] AndrewEagle01: laughs

[13:47] oola Neruda: and they also want to ban contraceptives now

[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and now there is the discussion about abortion

[13:48] herman Bergson: who are the deplorables here...

[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): man discus about woman again

[13:48] herman Bergson: disgusting Beertje....

[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): abortion?

[13:49] herman Bergson: It takes a DICK to cause pregnancy...Where is the laws that control that dick?

[13:49] oola Neruda: babbed'

[13:49] oola Neruda: they don't want to allow contraception

[13:49] oola Neruda: either

[13:49] bergfrau Apfelbaum: snap snap

[13:49] herman Bergson: is disgusting men think to have the right to decide about female issues

[13:50] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): perhaps a small guillotine will do the job

[13:50] herman Bergson: Leave it to the women....

[13:50] oola Neruda: YAYYY!!!!

[13:50] AndrewEagle01: Does human right exist for those who are inside wombs?

[13:50] herman Bergson: What thef%ck know men how difficult it is for a woman do make such a decision.....

[13:50] oola Neruda: that is the real question Andrew

[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:50] oola Neruda: you nailed it

[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's the most difficult decision a woman can make

[13:51] herman Bergson: Yes Andrew...human rights apply to the organism the very moment it is able to survive outside a womb

[13:52] herman Bergson: before that it is a growing organism

[13:52] AndrewEagle01: The issue is complicated, a woman with all means of contraception must be responsible.

[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what a bout rape?

[13:52] herman Bergson: How complicated is that...

[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and a man is not responsable?

[13:52] AndrewEagle01: The wife is not responsible for the rape

[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nope!

[13:53] herman Bergson: You mean Anrew, that because a woman is responsible for contraception and she gets pregant it is her fault???

[13:53] oola Neruda: to be real.... there are many men who are drunks or ignorant or many other things... who beat their wives..... and worse... been there ... witnessed that... women do not always have control of these things

[13:53] AndrewEagle01: Yes, more men assumed their responsibility instead of fleeing, there would be fewer aborted children

[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed I've heard things even in court "but you should maybe not have dressed like that, that sexy ect"

[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (shudders)

[13:54] herman Bergson: But then Andrew....

[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like its her fault she got raped cause she looked too sexy

[13:54] oola Neruda: heard of child molestation?

[13:54] herman Bergson: isnt it the fault of the man because he was to lame or unwilling to use a condom?

[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (shudders even more)

[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep

[13:55] AndrewEagle01: Having unprotected sex leads to having children. Women need to be aware

[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and MAN

[13:55] herman Bergson: And the men????

[13:55] herman Bergson: Dont they?

[13:55] herman Bergson: isnt it SHARED responsibility?

[13:55] oola Neruda: again.... there are 12 year olds who get pregnant

[13:55] oola Neruda: who have no idea what is going on

[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: don't want to believe that contraceptives will be abolished...... all blabla

[13:56] oola Neruda: they are trying to do just that

[13:56] AndrewEagle01: Unconsciousness and ignorance are the sights of perdition

[13:56] herman Bergson: oola...that is even to sick to add to the discussion...such situations

[13:56] herman Bergson: That people just ignore these things

[13:56] herman Bergson: so sick

[13:56] oola Neruda whispers: S

[13:56] oola Neruda: ICK

[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (shudders)

[13:57] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): want us to wear a burka Andrew?

[13:57] herman Bergson: So, Anrew...abortion is a good measure in such situations

[13:57] AndrewEagle01: of course not

[13:57] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): because of the men who can't control themselves?

[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): forcing yourself onto someone is never ok

[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its awful

[13:58] AndrewEagle01: There is no harm in remembering that a human being must be responsible above all else (Woman or man)

[13:58] herman Bergson: Anyway...enough with this never ending story for today...

[13:59] AndrewEagle01: Prevention is better than cure

[13:59] bergfrau Apfelbaum: of course i'm pro-abortion.....rape...who wants a kid with an ass like that? Genes are transferred.

[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes Bergie

[13:59] herman Bergson: It is not a matter of being pro or contra....

[14:00] oola Neruda: knew a couple... both were very... um... retarded... they were required to get sterilized...

[14:00] herman Bergson: It is about the natural right of a human being,,,,A this cae to decide over her own body

[14:00] AndrewEagle01: Apfelbaum : Indeed, there are cases where abortion is unavoidable

[14:00] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Baas in eigen buik

[14:00] bergfrau Apfelbaum: Rapist, 5 years imprisonment. then the gentlemen think about it.

[14:00] oola Neruda: I know churches that PREACH, LOUDLY.... that a woman MUST OBEY HER HUSBAND... NO MATTER WHAT

[14:00] bergfrau Apfelbaum: 10 years!

[14:00] herman Bergson: Who has the right to tell HER what right she has?

[14:01] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (shudders at oolas remark)

[14:01] herman Bergson: That is this whole project about...FREEDOM

[14:01] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[14:01] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true Herman

[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i told my husband before marriage that I would never obey him....

[14:01] herman Bergson: who sets the limits to individual freedom and based on what rights does he do that?

[14:02] herman Bergson: Mistake Beertje....

[14:02] herman Bergson: at the altar you say YES I

[14:02] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no

[14:02] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol Herman

[14:02] AndrewEagle01: Common sense rules everything

[14:02] herman Bergson: so that was a big lie?

[14:02] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they didn't ask the question

[14:03] herman Bergson: altar is a metaphor Beertje

[14:03] bergfrau Apfelbaum: even at my niece's wedding... the priest told my niece that she must submit her to her husband. the whole church laughed. it was wonderful!!

[14:03] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ... 6 years ago

[14:03] herman Bergson: lol..they simple said...would you please be so kind to sign here? :-)

[14:03] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes

[14:03] herman Bergson: and you obeyed

[14:03] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no

[14:04] herman Bergson: you didnt sign?

[14:04] herman Bergson: lol

[14:04] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes i did..but not to obey as a bride

[14:04] herman Bergson: Will you marry me Beertje

[14:04] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes

[14:04] AndrewEagle01: Beertje : Laughs

[14:05] herman Bergson: OK...we'll have a party in the near future..:-)

[14:05] herman Bergson: Thank you all again....and keep your eyes open on your democracy

[14:05] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....^_^

[14:05] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[14:05] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and don't obey to anyone

[14:05] AndrewEagle01: It's a very interesting discussion.

[14:06] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm

[14:06] herman Bergson: wrong again obey yourself at least I hope :-))

[14:06] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): too difficult now

[14:06] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[14:06] AndrewEagle01: Thanks for the lecture Herman

[14:06] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you free herman and free class

[14:06] herman Bergson: My pleasure Andrew