Tabula Escriba - Default of Autonomy

We share with many other value philosophies a default of autonomy, with some intuitions on structures for deviations from it. Broad autonomy serves a number of values/ends in society, the most important being that without a feeling of it (and some reality of it), personal happiness, expressiveness, and growth are limited. There are also concerns for societal efficiency, difficulties in scaling domain knowledge appropriately to tasks, and a necessary distance between cultural values and enshrined cultural values (typically laws) to allow a society's values to evolve and exist to fill areas where laws cannot easily function (e.g. manners). Adopting a default of having autonomy being valued for society (even to some extent in entities created by the state or in relation to other people), we require justifications for any sufficiently large deviation from that default, these justifications being based on some strong societally enshrined value. This default is neither limited to nor to be understood (solely or primarily) in terms of private society versus the state - it extends to many relations between private groups as well. Individuals or institutions that exert undue control over others may be condemned, limited or proscribed.

It is important to note that while we value autonomy, it does not occupy a supreme position in our value system. A good argument relating to the public good, the good of the natural environment, or a needed orderliness of society (for administrative laws, e.g. traffic) is sufficient to allow compromise, recognising that in each such tradeoff society pays a cost in autonomy for the other values served.

Pat Gunn (aka Improv) <>