What is this moral freedom business?

Part 3 – How freedom and identification fail

 

The two models - agency through freedom and agency through identification - are culturally determined.  A child must be acculturated to use freedom in decision-making or defer to an exemplar. No society adopt one or the other completely, but the social tendencies run deep, particularly in China and in the US.  Think of “freedom” in the US, and perhaps “harmony” in China.  Those words might well describe the political and social culture of each country. 

What is this moral freedom business?

 Part 2  Agency through identification

 

Moral philosophers – Ci Jiwei, Joseph Chan, and many others, probably beginning with Kant – define several kinds of freedom - personal freedom, economic freedom, political freedom and moral freedom.  For my purposes here – and as Ci and Chan do as well – I merge personal and economic freedom, and political and moral freedom.  That seems to me a reasonable change that does no harm to the discussion. 

Every society necessarily allows for some personal freedom – traveling to work, some form of leisure, some choices about buying personal items. 

Not so for moral freedom.

What is this moral freedom business?

Some notes, in four parts

 

Part 1

I referred to moral freedom in the recent post on Ai Fen, the Wuhan doctor who first told her colleagues about the coronavirus.  She was threatened severely for releasing information.  Under threat, she said no more, until her moral sense overcame her decades of prior training to do as she was told by leaders. See Moral Freedom.

Several people have asked for clarification on moral freedom. The term means what?

Killer App

Trump, Xi, CCP, GOP is the title of a series of posts I ran about a year ago, pointing out some of the ways that Trump and Xi are alike, and CCP and GOP are alike.

We know that Mr. Xi and CCP wasted about six weeks at the early stages of the crisis.  This no doubt cost lives in China, as people died at home without being tested.

We know that Trump has wasted more than six weeks, since he knew about the virus from early in January when China informed WHO.   This waste of time has cost lives in the US, and is going to cost a lot more, as doctors and nurses work without a "safety net," preventive measures are ignored by Trump, people die from overdose on hydroxychloroquine and GOP derides the pleadings of the scientists and doctors.  The bungling will force the use of the "death panels" hypothesized by the GOP in Obamacare debates.  In overwhelmed hospitals, doctors will be forced to triage virus patients.  Public health and safety cost money, and Republicans say we can't afford it.

So let’s help in the election.  Let’s remind all Americans in our high-tech information age that the GOP has developed a killer app for the American people.  Call it Trump.  By June or July, Americans will have realized how true that is.

 CCP and Mr. Xi’s Learning Disability

Two full months into the Covid-19 crisis, we see where Mr. Xi’s crackdown on communication and openness has taken him.  He is himself in no danger, but CCP runs into a conceptual wall with free flow of information. That is a disability – a learning disability – for CCP and China now.

Recent

  • Once Upon a Time, America

    Once Upon a Time, America

     

    At the end of 2018, I wrote a series of posts on similarities between Xi and Trump, CCP and GOP.  See below.

    Now, about six weeks before the election, Barton Gellman at the Atlantic has an analysis of how Trump can disrupt the election and refuse to leave.   This is by no means the only story like this, and the idea seems more and more possible.  What if Trump Refuses to Concede?

    Read more ...  
  • A Quick Voting Guide

    A Quick Voting Guide

    We get plenty of advice about how to be a good or strong leader – ask others for input, don’t take all the credit, don’t micromanage … but these are modes of practice.  When we look around, there is surprisingly little advice on the sort of moral qualities a leader should possess.  Here is a quick review.

    Read more ...  
  • Everything old is new again – Inner Mongolia

    Everything old is new again – Inner Mongolia

    If you’ve gotten tired of depressing news from Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong, there is a new oppression to watch in Inner Mongolia. As in the other provinces comprising mostly non-Han people, the new policy requires forced language change and erasing of traditional culture.

    Read more ...  

Resources

Economics Blogs

Party News

Australian National University ANU and related

History, Language and Culture Basics

Contemporary Economics, Governance, and Law

Economics and Cultural History - Interpretation

Work on contemporary China, academics and journalists but in the popular media

Work on contemporary China, mostly in the popular media

Philosophy, Daoist and Confucian Studies

Political Reference Documents