What is Political Liberty?

If we consider freedom, as an essential characteristic of human beings, political liberty is an essential requirement for a state that wants their citizens to live in accordance with their own nature. For a state to promote liberty is both recognition of the rights of the citizens and acknowledgement of the fact that free citizens will be able to contribute more to the political structure and economic wealth of the nation. As also Lao Tzu says ‘the greater is the amount of restrictions and norms in a state the greater is poverty among the people … the more numerous are the laws and regulations given the more numerous are the thieves and robbers’. Liberty of expression is the possibility of a citizen to express herself in accordance with he consciousness.

Different ethical and political approaches will provide different visions of liberty in accordance with their views and in accordance to weather they see liberty more in legal terms or mare in ethical terms. For the following reason the concept of liberty has been evolving along with advancement of history and this concept will vary, mostly, according the extent of legal liberty being given by law to the citizen. Philosophers like Hegel would say that: it is the same concept of liberty which gets better and better clarified as new solutions provide new problems along historical dialectics (the concept of thesis, antithesis and synthesis).

We can generally say that: from an ethical point of view, each person should be freely allowed to express her liberty up to the point that her liberty does not harm the liberty and the rights of another person. Where should this limit, to liberty, be defined by the state? This is where there is an open political debate and different schools of thought will give their various visions of liberty.

For Bertrand Russell ‘freedom in its most abstract case: means the absence of external obstacles for the realisation of desires’. I would not agree with such a statement because a man who acts according to his desire can never be free, he will always be a slave to desires and desires are uncountable. In the French ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen’ political liberty consists is the power of an entity in doing whatever does not injure another entity.

There is an interesting concept about liberty I would like to point out. In our society we have different laws being given and each formulation of a law is a result of attainment of liberty, as Croce believed. He also said that attainment of liberty as a law in one aspect of life is also denial of some liberty in another aspect of life. So each law puts limits to liberty. Now these limits will cause discomfort in society and this discomfort will cause society to find new laws to attain more liberty. As a consequence to this, new laws will be formed as a greater attainment of liberty, but then these new liberties will obstacle some other liberties. So this constant effort of human beings to enlarge their freedom will continue to a never final achievement possible through law. So I would say that there is no such possibily as absolute legal liberty so its attainment is not possible.

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One Response to What is Political Liberty?

  1. griffithinsider says:

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