James K.A. Smith’s article in Evangelicals and Empire is good overview of the contrast between the rhetoric of freedom in the West and the classical Christian and distinctly Augustinian notion of freedom as rightly ordered desire:
If we valorize freedom as mere freedom of choice, then we end up affirming the condition of a disorderd should as metaphysically normative, and we will end up describing as “free” what Christian theology describes as a state of sin. We will also end up describing the rightly ordered agent as some how unfree because he is not free to do otherwise.
I pretty much agree with this. The equation of freedom with the experience of choice is, frankly just stupid. Also, I am a firm believer that true freedom is freedom that can do no other. The one who cannot help but love his wife is free. The man who chooses to cheat on his wife with his secretary is enslaved.
But, of course this line of reasoning has an ideological danger to it (which does not militate against it—it just needs to be noted). Equating freedom to rightly ordered desire must not be allowed to turn into a sort of enforced moral totalitarianism if it is to be true freedom. In other words, while reducing freedom to choice is slavery, it is not any less slavery to say that since freedom is not ultimately about the experience of choice it doesn’t matter whether or not we coerce the choices of others.