Politics & Philosophy by Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.
People often conflate liberty and freedom, thinking they're the same thing, and the confusion is not clarified by the dictionary definitions of the two words. In the dictionary, liberty is defined as “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views, and the power or scope to act as one pleases.” That's not how Americans define liberty, but the listed synonyms for liberty are: independence, autonomy, sovereignty, self-government, self rule, self-determination, home rule, free will, and choice; my goodness, the synonyms define liberty better than the definition, except that “freedom” is included as one of them. Unfortunately, liberty’s dictionary definition does not explicitly say “responsibility for your own actions” which would delineate it from Marxist liberty, but the common Oxford dictionary is European and can’t be expected to promote a uniquely American concept.
So how does the dictionary define freedom: “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint, absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government, and the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.” That's a good definition of freedom but the synonyms are almost the same ones used for liberty, including the word “liberty.” Worse, they include “self-sufficiency” which is primarily a liberty concept; no wonder people get so confused. In reality, American “liberty” is making choices for yourself and reaping the rewards or suffering the consequences of your actions bounded only by the liberty of others, while “freedom” is the ability to do so.
Categories | PRay TeLL, Dr. Hash
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