What is Liberty?
Rush Limbaugh, Bernie Sanders, Aristotle, Plato, Karl Marx and Confusious have claimed to love it.
So what is liberty? And why is it so important?
We must define what we mean when we use the loaded word LIBERTY, because what one politician or philosopher means by the word liberty, is not necessarily another’s interpretation.
I define Liberty as the act of being free within just laws from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, conscience, behavior, and political views.
ORLibertarians define Liberty as the freedom to pursue your own good, in your own way, without other people limiting your options or forcing you to meet their needs first. But there is a specific, political liberty. Political liberty is what you and I can not do to one another. You cannot force me to do what I don’t want to do and I cant unilaterally impose my desires on you.
You and I must respect one another’s boundaries, and the boundaries of our property.
When it comes to politics and government, it is under these definitions that we can best pursue the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Under this kind of liberty, we are better able to pursue those things that mean the most to us.
Many nations and individuals place other values much higher than that of liberty. But for liberty-minded individuals, the foundation of political liberty enables each of us to pursue our higher good. Liberty is the very best way to achieve all those other values. Pursue our own good in our own way.
Most likely, each of us knows what is and isn’t good for ourselves more than someone else. We have personal access to our beliefs, convictions, preferences, desires, talents, and goals. We each feel the results of our choices directly. The knowledge that I am going to gain through the consequence of my actions is incentive to make better choices. Others may sympathize with my experience, but they still won’t BE me, feel my pain, suffer from my miseries or experience my joys. In saying this, I am the best one to make decisions for me.
There are values that some may hold higher than liberty. Some examples are religion, family, tradition. Even so, they are free to pursue those as a higher principle than liberty. But they may not impose those values on another (me).
Other political thinkers define liberty differently. They define liberty as the freedom to get something specific, like healthcare or housing or jobs.President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 Freedom Speech defined liberty as;
- Freedom of Speech
- Freedom of Worship
- Freedom from Want
- Freedom from Fear
Should all members of society have education? Healthcare? Employment? Food? Do people have a right to food? The right to be taken care of when they’re sick?Have we done enough for those citizens who haven’t historically had education, healthcare, employment and food? Are they free?
And if your answer is “no”, do you think the federal government is the best solution for these issues?
To meet these entitlements, it forces a society to redistribute wealth. The government will have to provide that so a person can achieve their goals.
Can two people really be free if one of them has to take from the other in order to be free?
And is it right to compromise one person’s freedom to meet another person’s freedom?
I believe that these needs are best met at the local level. Whether it be religious organizations, non-profits, community outreach or whatever form it may be. We are most effective with those within our concentric circles. The citizens of a community are the best advocates for the needs within their community.
Points on Liberty:
- Free to choose your own good in your own way as long as it does not harm another.
- There are other important values, but those values are often best achieved through liberty.
- An individual knows whats best for them and how to achieve a good life for themselves.
- Liberty births diversity, invention and innovation.
- Freedom from outside interference to act upon one’s will.
By allowing individuals to create their own paths, we create many examples of diversity. New ideas and better ways of approaching life’s problems can be explored when individual liberty is a primary political value. “Because we are the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave…”