Liberty, in modern time, is generally considered a concept of political philosophy and identifies the condition in which an individual has the ability to act according to his or her own will.
Individualist and liberal conceptions of liberty relate to the freedom of the individual from outside compulsion;
A socialist perspective, on the other hand, associates liberty with equality in wealth. As such, a socialist connects liberty (i.e. freedom) to the equal distribution of wealth, arguing that liberty without equal ownership amounts to the domination by the wealthy. Thus, freedom and material equality are seen as intrinsically connected. On the other hand, the individualist argues that wealth cannot be evenly distributed without force being used against individuals which reduces individual liberty.
John Stuart Mill, in his work, On Liberty, was the first to recognize the difference between liberty as the freedom to act and liberty as the absence of coercion. In his book, Two Concepts of Liberty, Isaiah Berlin formally framed the differences between these two perspectives as the distinction between two opposite concepts of liberty: positive liberty and negative liberty. The latter designates a negative condition in which an individual is protected from tyranny and the arbitrary exercise of authority, while the former refers to having the means or opportunity, rather than the lack of restraint, to do things.
Mill offered insight into the notions of soft tyranny and mutual liberty with his harm principle. Overall, it is important to understand these concepts when discussing liberty since they all represent little pieces of the greater puzzle known as freedom. In a philosophical sense, morality must supersede tyranny in any legitimate form of government. Otherwise, people are left with a societal system rooted in backwardness, disorder, and regression. from Wikipedia
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Posted by Marguerita Bornstein at 5/17/2008 01:53:00 PM