Liberty and Life

One major area in philosophy is the limits placed on how people can interact. In particular, it asks what kinds of actions should be permitted or outlawed within society. What kinds of things should be legal or illegal? Why do we have governments, and what should they be doing or not doing? These kinds of questions and answers can have a huge impact on our lives.

Objectivism says that we should be free to live our lives however we as individuals see fit, with the one rule that we cannot use physical force against other people. This is a policy of individual liberty. Everyone should be free from coercion by others. Each person can then make their own choices in life, and follow through with them. If someone else disagrees with how you're living your life, they're free to say so and even try to persuade you to act otherwise. But they cannot force you to.

In Objectivism, the job of government is to protect our freedom. The government would consist of the police and courts, as well as a military. It would find and arrest criminals. It would defend us from foreign invasions. And that's about it. It wouldn't act as a charity service, or subsidize businesses, or tell people who they can sleep with. The only job the government would have is to make sure each person respected the boundaries of other people.

Objectivism promotes a free-market. Like everyone else, businesses can't use coercion. They can't make you buy their products, and they can't prevent you from competing with them. But otherwise, they're free to do whatever they want. If you want to sell goods or services, you can do it under whatever terms and conditions you desire. If others disagree with you, they're free to try to persuade you. And if they still disagree, they're free to produce the goods or services themselves and compete with you. Nobody gets to use coercion against another person, even if that person is a businessman.

Objectivism promotes social freedoms. What you do with your own body, or with a consenting adult, is your own business. If it doesn't infringe upon the liberty of other people, it's none of their business. You can associate with whomever you want. You should be free to believe whatever you want, and your right to free speech should be defended. In other words, your freedom to live your own life is true in every aspect of your life, and not just those approved by others. The whole point is that you don't need the approval of others.

Objectivism promotes the idea that each person should be free to do whatever they want to do just as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. This doesn't mean that Objectivism thinks any action is as good as any other. People can and will do incredibly stupid things that they really shouldn't do. Objectivism draws a distinction between what you should be free to do, and what you should do. You should be free to live your life the way you see fit, even if other people are convinced that it's the wrong way. The law should not try to force people to act morally. Its sole purpose is to promote individual liberty, and by doing so, create the conditions necessary for someone to live his life.