*Sigh*. We are woefully off topic. Michael, I agree with most of what you say here.... But I disagree with your evaluation that taking away free-will is always wrong. It will never be "right", per say, but if you believe the words "wrong" and "evil" to mean that nothing positive comes out of the action, or that it wasn't the best option, I'm forced to disagree. An example I will use to justify this is the murder of Osama Bin Laden.1. Osama Bin Laden, like every other human being on the planet, deserved to have a fair trial before being punished for his crimes. The fact that he was executed without a trial is a gross miscarriage of justice.
We killed this man. He was not a good man; I have no doubts that he was evil. He deserved to die, and people were saved by his death. But is his death "good"? Is it not still "wrong"? We took away his free-will when we killed him. By your reasoning, we should have let him live (personally, I do not think killing him WAS the smartest move, but that's besides the point). By all rights, at the very least his capture was justified. If we left him his free-will, many more would be dead, and he would be free. That's the problem. If we agree that we all have a right to free-will, that implies that we can do things that take away the free-will of others. In other words, it creates a bit of a paradox. I am not justifying the suppression of the rights' of others by any means. I'm just saying that your reasoning that we all have free-will is a bit contradictory.
Sometimes we HAVE to force others to relinquish their rights for the betterment of society. As we all have vastly different views, it is quite unfortunately necessary to prevent suffering. When it comes to brainwashing.... To me, that will always be wrong. If you need to physically restrain someone, lock them away, even KILL them- I accept this as an eventual necessity. But to rip from a person their mind, what makes them who they are.... There will never be justification, as far as I'm concerned. By all definitions, it is mind-rape, and it should not be practiced. For these reasons, as well as my opinion that it is unnecessary and vengeful, I will never tolerate torture.
But what of people who voluntarily alter their minds and their personality? What if someone wishes to take these medication? There, I feel, is the point in which they cross the line separating what is right for others and what is right for them. At that point, I feel as if they have every right to proceed.
I think that you are confusing free will with free liberty, which is the right to do anything you want. This is an illusion; nobody has free liberty. There are many things I can want that I can never have. For example, I want to hear Jesus preach, and I want to see the first-ever performance of Hamlet, and I want to win the World Series at the same time as I win an Oscar for Best Music. No matter how much I want to do these things, though, I cannot do them.
It is also important to note that imprisoning a person limits what he can do. Does it take away his free will? No. He can still choose to do what he wants, even if his options are extremely limited.
2. I am against the death penalty, for many reasons. If I was on the jury, I would have voted to sentence Bin Laden to life in prison, after his guilt was proven.
3. Justice demands that some actions should be illegal. The classic example is a person's right to shout "FIRE!" in the middle of a crowded theater. This should be allowed, due to the right of free speech. But because it causes a panic, it is illegal, and anyone who does this should be punished for disturbing the peace.
It is possible to imagine a scenario where a certain person or oganization should be supressed, for the good of society. However, I am very, very cautious when it comes to giving someone the ability to surpress others. History has shown time and time again that this power is generally abused. People quickly go from "surpressing evil-doers" to "surpressing anyone who disagrees with them".
4. It is possible that a good result can occur from a bad action. However, it is wrong to perform a bad action, in order to achieve a good result. The ends do not justify the means, especially when you're dealing with other people, because it is immoral to treat someone as a means to an end, rather than treating them as a person.
For example, say there's a guy who makes videogame walkthroughs on Youtube. And say people sometimes yell at him, because he's not making videos fast enough. They are treating him as an ends to a means, namely, entertainment, instead of treating him like an actual human being who has a life outside of Youtube. And that would be immoral. Just a hypothetical situation.
5. It is certainly possible for someone to voluntarily change their personality. Pills and drugs are not necessary for this, although they can be extremely helpful, depending on the changes you're trying to make. For the sake of the discussion, I only mentioned people who are forced to take drugs to change their personalities.