A Little History For Context
The term ‘Freedom’, and its near relation ‘Liberty’, have a long heritage. The babylonian words “ama-gi”, meaning “Return To The Mother”, written in cuneiform, are often cited by Libertarians as the first written use of ‘freedom’. That usage literally refers to giving a slave back to his mother — an analogy to the more precisely stated ‘freeing him from slavery’ – owners gave a slave back to his mother when freeing him. In practice, the word “ama-gi” was used to grant exceptions from the dictator’s obligations or taxes. So the term meant freedom from obligations to the government. These special dispensations were used as a reward – freedom from requirements.
The most simplistic use of Freedom described the opposite of slavery. It was not an abstraction, but a direct analogy to the deprivation of one’s choices under the threat of violence. Slavery to contemporary ears is a horrid system, but under barbarism it was universal. ( Barbarism refers to those people not members of one’s market system ) (( DEFINITION of “BARBARIAN”: Those persons who do not pay the set of costs of forgone opportunity, employed within a social order that cooperatively manages a market and territory. )) Most farm labor required a great deal of physical effort — hard work easily avoided with slaves. People often sold themselves into slavery simply because it was a reliable way to be fed and sheltered in a world where starvation and hunger were common. Wars and raids were conducted to obtain slaves – forced laborers. And escape was dangerous in that ancient world – without a tribe to take care of you, starvation was almost guaranteed.
Later, ‘Freedom’ was the term used to describe a Free Man. A ‘Citizen’. A ‘non-barbarian’. This means quite literally, in a world consisting largely of either barbarians, competing warrior states, or eastern dictatorships, ‘an investor in the city and market’. As an investor, or rather
It is hard for us to to imagine a world of barbarians. It is not so hard to imagine a world filled with conquerors. Today’s barbarians are immigrants who do not conform. And nation states that seek power in order to obtain resources and trade routes.
Liberty by contrast, refers, not to constraint of, and control of, individual actions under threat of violence such as under the institution of slavery, but to the more general absence of coercion by a government, of those people who are not slaves, and not barbarians, and therefore citizens. In particular, in the west, it implies and egalitarian relationship between all those who are responsible for society: refraining from imposing conditions other than those one places on one’s self, or are required in order to maintain the property definitions (( DEFINITION of “PROPERTY DEFINITIONS”: A set of forgone opportunities that require one refrain from using objects of utility, or refrain from seizing or creating opportunities for gain – ie: self enforced self deprivations – usually described as property both individual and shareholder, manners, ethics, morals )) that constitute the social order. ((DEFINITION of “SOCIAL ORDER”: A social order is a collection of property definitions, and the required forgone opportunities required of members of the society in order to allow non-violent cooperation, and the establishment of a division of labor, and peaceful trade and exchange. And if a landed culture, also including the visible material contributions needed to maintain the physical viability of the territory, its built capital, its resources, and most importantly its market – without which escape from poverty is impossible. ))
But in response to increases in the complexity of social order due to increases in population and the resulting increases in the division of knowledge and labor, both of the terms of “Freedom” and “Liberty” have been subject to political framing by public intellectuals and politicians, and their followers in the pragmatic public who use the extraordinary and uncommon freedom of speech ‘discount’ under democratic government to redefine these terms. This redefinition of the Social Order’s Property Definitions, and restatement of the material costs and the forgone opportunity costs of that system, has effectively constituted a legitimization of fraud, theft and redistribution.
This restatement consequently led to a gradual usurpation of the social accounting system of opportunity costs, material costs, that make the market society possible. This distortion and confusion of meaning begs analysis, so that we, as members of a society under a democratic government, can tell the difference between those commonly held properties of freedom and liberty that are necessary and possible, from those that are either forms logically and physically impossible, from those that are intentionally obscure or distorted for the purpose of committing fraud and theft — or both.
While frequent increases or decreases in redistribution of the PROFITS from the market are not only justifiable and beneficial, but warranted as a return on on the investment to shareholders (( DEFINITION of “SHAREHOLDER”: Synonym to “CITIZEN”: individuals who contribute forgone opportunity costs expressed as property definitions and thereby pay for the social order. )) (“Citizens”) as the division of knowledge and labor increases, the redefinition of the accounting system of property definitions, and forgone opportunity costs is simply a complex form of corruption, theft and fraud. Corruption theft and fraud made possible by the obscurity of the causal processes employed to create the Social Order, due to the fact that they are evolutionary in origin, unarticulated, expressed almost entirely as sentiments, and understood only as habits, superstitions, traditions, or exploitations, rather than as a system of precise and material accounting and costs, that materially effect economic calculation and human cooperation as the size of the population and the resultant division of knowledge and labor increases.