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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Paradox of Liberty, Prosperity, and Happiness

Only the charlatans woo the people by promising them liberty, prosperity, and happiness. 

Madame Roland, a supporter of the French Revolution, who was sentenced for execution because she was a member of the Girondist faction, reportedly said while she was being led to the guillotine: “O Liberty, how many crimes are committed in thy name!” The French Revolution failed to bring liberty, and prosperity and happiness because such things cannot be achieved through philosophical and political movements. It is the naive and ignorant, who are unaware of the complications of philosophy and politics, who join movements which promise to bring liberty, prosperity, and happiness.

In a free society, there will be hundreds of ways of looking at liberty, prosperity, and happiness—this leads to the paradox that true liberty means controversy about not just the nature and scope of liberty but also of prosperity and happiness. If you encounter certainty about the nature of these ideas in any movement, then that movement is not free. It is totalitarian. It is being led by people of fixed minds who want to forcefully impose their worldview on everyone else. Absolute certainty about the nature of liberty, prosperity, and happiness is the fountainhead of absolute slavery and absolute misery.

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