I wish I had the time to be involved in these conversations, but I don’t so I’ll talk to myself here. I have developed general principles and I hope to apply them to a particular case so as to better understand them.
Here Winston writes:
Is it incoherent to prefer to live in a country where I am free to practice my religion, not get arrested for criticizing the government and not get shot for trying to cross the border?
In this quote, Winston attempts to delineate between freedoms and non-freedoms. However, in the US and N Korea, both places authoritative create an ordering of goods. N Korea is plausibly “less free” because they have most (and basic) goods out of order from the demands of the natural law. The US does as well, but it appears that the US is more free because we are pleased with at least some or most of the ordering of goods, though in N Korea and the US each ordering is essentially restrictive and discriminatory.
To consider the above, the right to practice my religion is a particular ordering of goods. This ordering is restrictive in some ways. It treats all religions, true/false/good/evil, indifferently. This necessarily proceeds from a sort of skepticism about what we can know about God. However, this remains a particular restriction in that it is an ordering of goods.
All the religions are restricted from have a particular dominance as the acknowledged truth over the others. They are restricted from being preached in several public ways. They are restricted from denouncing and effectively addressing heresies.
Being shot for being a Christian is another sort of ordering of goods. What we mean in saying that a nation is more free where people are not shot for their religion isn’t that it is more “free” but that it is in some way better/preferable/desirable. I prefer a country where I can practice my religion without being shot and so it is more “free.” The plausibility of this is that such a nation is objectively in a better condition than the one where Christians are executed more or less openly. However, it is not for that reason more free.
Here we are talking about real objective good, however, any particular ordering of goods is possible by authority, whether all religions are exterminated, three random ones are selected as the state religion syncretically combined, or one religion is treated as superior to others and the other are treated more or less in accord with the degree of truth they contain.
Part of the key is that it appears plausible because it is objectively better though a horrendous injustice. However, even here there are problems because a state like N Korea may execute witches and Satanists that are objectively harmful to society, but the US not only tolerates but protects there insidious behavior.
We may treat the other examples as well. You may criticize the government, but part of that is restricting the government from attacking you or restricting hearers from being able to punish liars.
Each example is an ordering of good against other orderings and each ordering is itself making some goods superior and other inferior or evils. It is when we don’t like the particular ordering that we complain.