To a classical liberal, we appear conservative. To a conservative, we appear liberal-ish. To a Leftist,
we’re all cursed and we’re going to hell we’re evil.
The truth is that at Freedom Alternative Network we have more in common with American conservatives and with certain schools of thought in the Greek and Romanian Orthodox Christian Churches. With that said, we sometimes draw ire from them too because life is complicated and there are degrees to anything. Which is why we have a general philosophy (or a set of principles, if you want) – but not an ideology per sé.
Principles are not meant to be followed dogmatically, but are rather to be regarded as a “vision statement”.
Our general philosophy is routinely present in the way we argue and the way we do things in every day life. Everyone has some sort of a general philosophy – including, and especially, those who insist they don’t.
1. Precision and truth
Any policy must respond satisfactorily to The Thomas Sowell test, developed by economist Thomas Sowell initially as a way to cross-examine proposals from the economic Left.
We believe that the Thomas Sowell test can be applied to any policy in general, from any side of the political spectrum. The questions are as follows:
- Compared to what?
- At what cost?
- What hard evidence do you have?
Every time anyone offers a “solution” – we will want to ask these questions. Largely because we believe there are no “solutions”, but only trade-offs.
2. Man is inherently flawed
Too many people (on all sides of the political spectrum) build intellectual constructs on how things “should” work but then become trapped in them and lose sight of the fact that those things “should” work not with angels or fairies – but with every day men.
The record of history is full of examples of what happens when those with utopian visions end up in the position of imposing that on every day men.
In any matter we start from the assumption that man is inherently flawed and, as such, approach things with a view to get the best trade-off possible while at the same time allowing for mistakes and, yes, a certain dose of evil. Because no matter how much we’d love for evil (regardless of how one defines that “evil”) to be gone from the world, the reality is that evil will always be present because men are not angels.
3. Moral humility
We accept that we don’t know everything about everything and we also insist that nobody can know everything about everything.
As a result, we act from the premise that we might be sometimes wrong and we are always skeptical of those who think they’re never wrong or who are fundamentally convinced that their ideas are so good that have to be mandatory.
We believe moral humility is a prerequisite for a freedom-based civilization because without moral humility, the record of history shows us, totalitarianism eventually emerges – albeit at different paces.
4. Rigid tolerance limited by property
The word “tolerance” has been bastardized beyond recognition by modernity and so has the word “intolerance” – to the point when exercising your right not to provide a service is “intolerance” while putting pre-pubescent minors to provide lap dancing for adults is “tolerance”. Which is why we say “rigid tolerance”.
Because we believe man is inherently flawed and we think we don’t know everything about everything – tolerance in the classical sense is necessary in certain doses.
One is (and indeed should be) entitled not to be physically harmed for his behaviors, but one is not (nor should one every be) entitled not to have his behaviors mocked, ridiculed, described, disapproved and discriminated against.
We believe the relations of property are a much better metric by which such conflicts can be arbitrated than the frameworks currently fashionable in modernity (namely “hate speech” laws or progressive stack).
5. Free speech
The record of history shows us that when the free flow of ideas is hardened for long enough – violent revolution is the result. The opposite is also true: the civilizations that put little to no barriers to the free flow of ideas tend to overall be less violent.
Moreover, free speech protections are not meant for popular speech – but precisely for unpopular ideas and phrases. Nobody needed free speech protections to praise Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1986 or Enver Hoxha in 1981. Or indeed Kim Jong Un in 2019. But one does need free speech protections in order to present the alternative to what the powers that be are offering.
As a result, we do tend to defend even forms of speech that we find reprehensible – solely because not doing that is a lot more harmful. And not defending the freedom of expression of your fellow man is the shortest path to losing your own freedom of expression.
We believe that taking oneself way too seriously all the time is a recipe for disaster in all matters – civilizational, political and personal – including, but not limited to, one’s mental health. As such, we believe that having fun is important, including when doing otherwise serious work.
7. Tactics are tools, not moral principles
We believe that as long as we tell the truth, tactics should be used even if they have been used by unsavory characters as well. In other words, we don’t believe that just because Stalin loved Ararat brandy – that automatically makes the fabulous Armenian brandy a bad thing.
We regard tactics the same way – as tools with no intrinsic moral value which should be judged by the moral value assigned by the user of the tool. A hammer can be used to build a home or to kill someone. A political tactic can be used to advance liberty or to take it away. The way a tactic is being used has a moral judgment attached to it – but the tactic itself doesn’t.
As such, we believe a diverse source of tactics is better than a more monolithic pool of tactics to draw from – given that the more monolithic ones are the result of principles used as a dogma, rather than general guidance.