Am I Free? I ask the Owner.
You are Very Expensive, says the Owner. Owing to your insistence on Isle of Mull Extra Mature Cheddar Hand Made to the Sound of Bagpipes by Seventeenth Generation Islanders wearing their Great Grandfather’s Home Woven Tartan.
Hahaha, I say, I do not mean that, I say. Do I have Liberty? I say.
Of course you do, says the Owner, you are a Moral Dog.
Then let us return to the Park, I say.
No, says the Owner. I have to Work, says the Owner.
This does not sound like Liberty to me, I say. The Moral Dog is being Oppressed, I say.
Have you been listening to Jeremy the Beagle? Asks the Owner.
I might have heard him in Passing, I say, remembering how we All Cheered.
And did Jeremy call for Freedom for all Moral Dogs? Asks the Owner.
I think the words Oppression and Masses might have been mentioned, I say, remembering how we carried him on our shoulders around the Pond.
And did Jeremy suggest that Moral Dogs Rise Up in the Name of Freedom? Asks the Owner.
He may have suggested that Some Rising might be called for, I say, remembering how we gave a rendering of the Red Flag so resounding that squirrels Fled Terrified from the Treetops.
Which kind of Liberty would the Moral Dog like? Asks the Owner.
Surely, I say, Liberty is Liberty, I say.
On the Contrary, says the Owner, there are two sorts of Liberty. John Stuart Mill believed that Liberty was the Freedom to Choose, limited only by Obligations to the Freedoms of Others. Rousseau, on the other Hand, saw Liberty as the Freedom to Agree to the Conditions through which True Choice becomes Possible.
That is sounding Sneaky, I say. Give it to me in Cheese, I say.
John Stuart Mill, says the Owner, would offer the Moral Dog the Freedom to choose Cheese.
You mean he can choose Cheese at any time? I say.
If he take Mill’s view of Liberty, says the Owner.
As much Cheese as he wishes? I say. Hand Made to the Sound of Bagpipes by Seventeenth Generation Islanders wearing their Great Grandfather’s Home Woven Tartan? I say.
With the Proviso that some Small Morsel of Cheese must be left to sustain the Cheese Choices of the Owner and the Man, says the Owner.
That sounds Good, I say. I will go with Mill’s version of Freedom, I say. Let us go to the Park at once, I say. We can take Cheese, I say.
Of course there has to be Cheese to Choose, says the Owner.
I get the Feeling that the Owner is attempting to insert a Spanner in the Moral Dog’s Works. There is, I have observed, always Cheese to Choose, I say, owing to the Owner’s Longstanding Internet Relationship with the Seventeenth Generation Bagpipe-Playing Islanders wearing their Great Grandfather’s Home Woven Tartan. I do not therefore see the relevance of the Other Proviso. Let us go to the Park.
In just one moment, says the Owner. You have not heard the Other Version of Liberty, that of Rousseau.
I am not sure that I Want To, I say. I am sensing an Impending Question regarding the Cheese Supply, I say.
Indeed, says the Owner. Rousseau would offer the Moral Dog the Liberty to Choose not the Cheese but the Owner who is able to Offer him Cheese to Choose, says the Owner. Rousseau suggests that the Moral Dog should not Choose the Cheese but Choose the Conditions in which Cheese Choices Flourish.
That is not much use if the Owner then does not Offer Cheese, I say.
Ah, says the Owner, but the Liberty to Choose Cheese is also not much Use if there is no Cheese to Choose.
I see where you are Coming From, I say. You are suggesting that Freedom to Choose Cheese is reliant upon Choosing an Owner who provides Cheese to Choose. That seems a Slippery Eelish Argument to the Moral Dog, I say, suggesting he has no real Freedom At All, I say. He will always Choose to have the Choice to Choose Cheese, I say.
The Moral Dog has discovered Isaiah Berlin’s Paradox of Positive Liberty, says the Owner, which is that One may have to give up Freedoms to Achieve Choices. The Moral Dog must Choose the Owner if he wishes to Choose the Cheese, whilst the Owner who Chooses the Moral Dog has Chosen to Offer the Choice of Cheese. Whilst there is Cheese, neither the Owner or the Moral Dog can be Free.
We are Both Oppressed by Cheese, I say.
Sadly, says the Owner, we are. We could get Rid of the Cheese and Choose Freedom.
I look at the Owner. The Owner looks at me. We both look at the Fridge. There is, I fancy, the Faintest sound of Bagpipes.
Hello, says the Man. I have arrived to have a sliver of Cheese. Would you like some?
What do you think? Says the Owner.
I am not thinking at all. Not when there is Cheese.
I will avoid Jeremy for a few days, that’s all.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.