Sometimes, when I’m here and there on the interwebs, I find something which is so simple that I should have known it years ago (or maybe I did and just forgot it). At any rate, Mrs. Peel channels Chesterton beautifully:
There’s a Chesterton quotation I discovered recently (via the Anchoress):
The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.
I’m heartbroken and appalled at how few people, especially in my birth cohort, understand that quotation. Someone who doesn’t understand what Chesterton means, who doesn’t understand the meaning of freedom, from either a philosophical or a theological standpoint, is someone who is, for all intents and purposes, aiding in the destruction of what remains of Western civilization. “Fascism with a smiley face,” as Jonah Goldberg calls it.
While the penultimate freedom is of the heart (and so can exist when the body has been completely immobilized and placed into a sensory deprivation tank), proper personal freedom does allow one sufficient rope to hang oneself, as it were, but insufficient rope to hang anyone else without penalty.