Friday, October 20, 2006

Some Thoughts on Liberty: Part 1

Liberty is the fundamental idea that our democracy is based on but what does that truly mean?
There are four different kinds of political liberty. The first is National liberty; the second is the political liberty of representative government, economic liberty and individual liberty. The first two are obviously of a collective nature and pertaining to the group.
Political Liberty as Representative:
Liberty has been a war or words and swords throughout history, the idea of Liberty as Representative has come into being when a dictator of absolute power weakens and there powers become relatively limited and those that are governed acquire a form of representation, so the increase of the power of the people comes [all things being equal] when the dictators power decreases. Since all governments impose forms of restrictions wither by the powers of law or by the power of force on those being governed. It would be logical to assume that those that would govern themselves would allow themselves a great deal of liberty. This brings the question of what is self-government? Or even democracy for that matter? In a large direct democracy we are supposed to vote on every issue, which is likely impossible. Then it seems that the ideal of liberty or self-government cannot take the form of direct democracy in a large modern nation-state. The closeted we can get to that ideal arrangement is representative democracy with regular elections in which every citizen has a vote (only one) in which party or group they find suitable. There is no illegal party and the system is not rigged.
Economic Liberty:
This is usually understood as a freedom to be able to own private property, to buy and sell goods, and to sell ones labors/ skills. Can there be private property, contracts, or employment without government? This is a question I have struggled with for a long time. Many philosophers like Ayn Rand and Robert Nozrick equate the idea of economic liberty with capitalism as a central tenet. Many philosophers equate economic liberity as the most important of all the freedoms and in itself is a foundation of all other kinds of liberty. So that implies that systems like communism and socialism lack certain freedoms because of the restrictions on economic liberty.

To be continued…


DRS said...

it is "evil" to leave me hanging....

Brainpolice said...

You posting part II or what? :)