Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Definition of Freedom

My newest FB post:
The definition of freedom is the absence of invasion against a man's person or property. This is the libertarian definition of freedom—not FDR's Second Bill of Rights, not a "right to healthcare," not fiscal conservatism/social liberalism (like some libertarians have mistakenly defined liberty, and not even lawlessness. 
The only limit on the liberty of mankind is that man doesn't initiate force/aggress against other person's life, liberty or property. 
Violence is only compatible with liberty in (1) self defense, (2) defense of other's person and property, (3) retribution proportionate to the crime committed (if someone stole something from you, you would have the right to forcibly take it back from them), and (4) resistance against entrenched aggression and exploitation. 
The libertarian definition of liberty is represented by the nonaggression principle/axiom (NAP), which means that no man has the right to commit aggression against the life, liberty and property of another person. 
The NAP is not so much a holistic guide on life (like Christianity, Epicureanism, Stoicism, etc.) as it is a political ethic dealing with the use of force in society. It is a basic human rule of which its violation would require special justification. 
As for "absolute" freedom, the libertarian definition doesn't necessarily allow for freedom from all rules; it argues for freedom from invasion and aggression. This negative freedom is and should be absolute.
I would also add that positive freedom—the right to something—doesn't count. Positive freedom usually includes a right to a job, a right not to be mocked, a right to healthcare, a right to a house, and such things. However, this would have to lead to the initiation of force through taxation and violence in order to grant these positive liberties. Negative liberty—libertarian freedom—avoids these problems. Negative liberty simply allows for the person to freely pursue whatever goals he desires provided that he doesn't initiate force and violate others' rights in the process of doing so. That doesn't mean his goals are entirely noble or worthy of emulation, but as long as those goals don't involve the initation of force/aggression, then the pursuit of such should not be punished with force.

This is not intended to be a scholarly post, but a little post describing the libertarian meaning of freedom in order to clarify why libertarians believe what they believe.

Feel free to leave your comments at the comment section. They are welcome.

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