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Liberty Versus Freedom

When discussing
Liberty and Freedom, it is rarely clear what the distinction is between the two.   Please enjoy the following quotes which elaborate the parallels and differences.  The main issue is that one’s liberty is independent of others and never circumscribed, while freedoms of one person are limited by another’s.


Today, liberty and freedom are used interchangeably and mean essentially the same thing, but the terms have different origins.
Liberty, with its root in Latin, had its origin in words for “unrestricted,” “independence,” and “separation.”
Liberty separated one from the mass of enslaved humanity and made one independent. Freedom, in Northern European languages, sprang from the same root as the word “friend,” and did not mean separation from, but belonging to a community of free people. The creative tension between liberty-as-separation and freedom-as-belonging is central to American history. Some objects in this exhibition fall clearly into one category or the other, but most combine elements of both traditions, just as they were combined in American history.”





“Freedom” and ”
Liberty” Are Not the Same Thing

Paul V. Hartman


“Freedom is the exemption from control by some other person, or from arbitrary restriction of specific defined rights like Worship, or Speech.
Liberty is the sum of the rights possessed in common by the people of a community/state/nation as they apply to its government, and/or the expectation that a nation’s people have of exemption from control by a foreign power.


Freedoms are things that people EXTRACT from their government;
Liberty is less derivative, more formative; a thing GRANTED by the people to the people in common. The ability to Assemble, for instance, while commonly thought of as a freedom, is really an aspect of liberty.


Freedoms end when they encounter a contrary freedom of another person. You are free to smoke, until you encounter my freedom not to inhale your smoke.
Liberty lacks that distinction: my liberty never contradicts or limits yours.”






LIBERTY                                                            FREEDOM

Freedom from arbitrary or depostic government or controlState of being at liberty rather than confinement or under physical restraint.
Freedom from external foreign rule.Exception from external control, interference or regulation.
Freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.Power of determining one’s own actions.
Freedom from captivity, confinement or physical restraint.The power to make one’s own choices or decisions without constraint from within or without.
Unwarranted or impertinent freedom in action or speech or a form or instance of it.Civil liberty as oppossed to subjection to an arbitrary or despotic government.
A female figure personifying freedom from despotism.Personal liberty as opposed to bondage or slavery.

Ease or freedom of movement or action.






By | 2007-06-01T09:50:32+00:00 June 1st, 2007|Justice, Perspectives, Philosophy|0 Comments

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