.02

On Freedom and Equal Opportunity

I seek to optimize autonomy and freedom of choice, and I emphasize the value of political freedom, voluntary association, and the importance of individual judgment, and the rule of law. I am a skeptic of authority and maintain that the power of the state must be limited in order to protect citizens from the arbitrary exercise of authority. I strongly believe in the ideas of liberty and equality. I oppose conservatism and absolutism in government and business.

However, I do not, in their contemporary form, advocate capitalism or private property rights of land, infrastructure, and natural resources. I will discuss capitalism as a socio-political and economic system in a globalized economy first, and property rights in light of philosophy and libertarianism second.

The establishment of social liberalism unfortunately has become a key component in the expansion of the welfare state. Although spawned from the concept of equality, the welfare state actually discriminates unprecedentedly between its citizens. This not only hampers progress and innovation, but also contributes to growing inequality. The middle class pays significantly more tax than the poor and the rich. And while most people receive no welfare benefits at all, some receive more welfare than others. I strongly oppose such policies. Equality, for me, would mean that the same rules, taxes, and benefits apply to everyone. It is not the government’s job to compensate for individual fortune or misfortune once the individual has come of age. Consequences resulting from choices made in adulthood should be yours alone. And it’s up to you to make the best of every opportunity.

However, the purpose of government, in my view, is to provide everyone with equal opportunity. To me, it is obvious that a government, in order to provide equal opportunity, has an obligation to provide a safe environment with freedom of speech, free-flowing information, the nondiscriminatory rule of law, and a police force that truly serves and protects, rather than alienates citizens. 

Further, equal opportunity requires levelling the playing field. Like monopoly, everyone should start with the same resources and play under the same rules. Unfortunately, life is not set up in that way as the players are born and raised in different circumstances. That is why I believe that public transport, internet access, healthcare and education for minors should be completely free. Equal opportunity can only exist when all players are offered the opportunity to start adult life in reasonably similar circumstances.

And governments should ensure that at least all information relating to business, interest rates, exchange prices, products, services, policies, legislation, and economics is readily available to everyone, free of charge, and at the same time. Equal opportunity is nonexistent where one party has access to information about resources, products, or services that others have not.

Additionally, access to the courts and legal services should be made available and affordable to all. Equal opportunity cannot exist when a party cannot seek justice due to the costs of legal proceedings.

In a global economy, the free flow of capital is deemed essential. Equal opportunity, however, requires that such free-flowing capital is balanced by free-flowing labor. When capital is allowed to cross borders where labor is not, it hampers equal opportunity and innovation. In my view, you cannot have one without the other. Similarly, free-flowing labor needs to be balanced by free-flowing products and services, or it may lead to an undesirable extent of human migration. If work doesn't migrate towards labor, labor will migrate towards work. Protectionism has no place in a globalized economy, as it will only invoke violence and terror.