Argument that liberty and hierarchy are incompatible

Argument from slavery

1) Liberty is the opposite of slavery
2) Slavery can be defined as a non-voluntary situation where one person has the ability to command obedience of another, and there is a clear, non-reciprocal division between those who command and those who obey.
3) All hierarchical relationships resemble this situation in that people “there is a clear, non-reciprocal division between those who command and those who obey”.
4) Hierarchical relationships therefore strongly resemble slavery, and therefore cannot be consistent with liberty, thus defined.

Arguments from de facto responsibility

1) Freedom and responsibility are an insepaerable pair. If you are free in your action, you are responsible for the consequences.
2) Hierarchical institutions transfer control over your actions to another, and therefore restrict your freedom to act, and should therefore not be responsible for your actions.
3) If a hierarchical institution ordered you to murder someone, you would be considered responsible.
4) Therefore we have an inconsistency. Either you are to be held responsible, and should therefore have exclusive control over your actions, or your control over your actions can be alienated, but then those who command you should assume full responsibility for that which you do.
5) Responsibility cannot be alienated. We have de facto responsibility for our actions. Even if we decide to obey, we still DECIDE.
6) Since responsibility cannot be alientated, freedom (control over one's actions) should not be transferred to anyone else.

argument from a common definition of liberty

Definition; Liberty: the condition in which an individual has the ability to act according to his or her own will.
(When referring to liberty thus defined, "liberty" will be capitalised.

Axiom: we all have a right to absolute liberty.

1) That absolute liberty in the abstract, being impossible in practise, implies equal liberty for all.

a) Our actions, affect the scope of what others are free to do, and therefore reduce their LIBERTY.
b) Therefore the only way to have absolute LIBERTY would be to have complete control over the actions of others.
c) If somebody has complete control over my actions, I have no LIBERTY.
d) Therefore, if we all have the right to absolute LIBERTY, yet in reality it is impossible for us to all enjoy absolute LIBERTY, we must all a have a right to equal LIBERTY (infinity being equal to infinity).

2) That hierarchical organisation is incompatible with equality of liberty.

5) In hierarchical organisations, one person or group is given command over another group.
6) Those who are commanded are subject to a restriction to their LIBERTY.
7) Those who are in command are not subject to commands, and therefore do not have their LIBERTY restricted by this setup. Even if they apply the same rules to themselves, they choose these rules, and are therefefore still acting according to their wills.
8) Therefore those in command have more LIBERTY than the commanded.

Posted By

sam sanchez
Jan 20 2007 19:38


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