I have been wondering of late about the difference between liberty and license. I thought I understood the meaning of liberty but I find that I seem to be in the minority with my definition. This is what Dictionary.com says:
[lib-er-tee] noun, plural: lib·er·ties.
1. freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
2. freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
4. freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint: The prisoner soon regained his liberty.
5. permission granted to a sailor, especially in the navy, to go ashore.
I would say that liberty also entails responsibility for one's actions and respect for others. After all, what's the point of liberty if it only applies to oneself? And personal responsibility is something I was taught went along with liberty.
We do not have full liberty, no society does. That would be anarchy. With full liberty, there would be no laws, no courts, no trials, no government at all; people would be free to do and say whatever they please. Neighbor annoying you? Just kill him or her. So, I would say we have a limited liberty. Or, as I was told as a child: "the freedom to swing your fist ends just short of another's nose."
The question is always just how limited should liberty be?
A Night Unremembered
7 years ago