Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Liberal Values Part VI: Free Intellectual Inquiry

Our multi-part series to explore liberal values based on the definition from that we promote here at TTGSIMH:
Liberalism: A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority. [Also a] 19th-century Protestant movement that favored free intellectual inquiry, stressed the ethical and humanitarian content of Christianity, and de-emphasized dogmatic theology.
Let's head on into the religious side of it. So what do we mean by "free intellectual inquiry"? I see this as having an opportunity (freedom, liberty, latitude) to think about religion for yourself. That is actually the way that I was raised and I have to say good things about it. Seeking your own information and making informed choices is, for me, an important part of a free life. When your thoughts and beliefs are controlled (which is a scary thing, but the basis of a lot of religion), then you are never truly free, no matter what political freedoms are guaranteed to you by your country.

Ultimately, intellectual freedom is true freedom. As Viktor Frankl wrote in Man's Search for Meaning, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." Free your mind and the rest will follow.

1 comment:

  1. Moved from HaloScan:

    Intellectual freedom is more than just about religion - going with the Thomas Jefferson quote used in Gore's speech: "The only true repository of the public will is an informed citizen."

    Without freedom of inquiry (and by extension, speech), then informed decisions, consent, and true self-responsibility become impossible to maintain.
    StealthBadger | Homepage | 01.18.06 - 10:59 pm | #