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Is It Sufficient to Define Liberty as the Absence of Restraint

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"He (Man) must have a master, but the master may be Nature or maybe a fellow man. When he is under the impersonal coercion of Nature, we say that he is free; and when he is under the personal coercion of someone above him, we call him, according to the degree of his dependence, a slave, a serf, or a vassal. " (Spencer, 1891)History has many instances showing that liberty was the cause for people of various countries to fight which eventually lead to the overthrow of their governments. Aristocrats have always been revolted against and the French revolution and the Russian revolution stand testimony to that.

As a matter of fact, Jean Jacques Rousseau’ s French Revolution slogan, “ Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” became the basic principle for democracy in the world. Even now many parts of the world struggle for liberty. In Pakistan and Myanmar, people are fighting for democracy against military regimes. In this political sense, the restraint is in the form of anti-democratic rule. Such a government can be said to curb the people’ s freedom because the restraint imposed on them affects them, their country and prevents improvement on a global level.

But at the same time, every country has a judiciary and the police, in order to protect the people from law offenders. The judicial laws are also restrictions laid down so that any action committed by common men does not go against the welfare of the nation. The judiciary has the power to punish offenders of the law. One may tend to opine that this affects the freedom of thought, belief, and action of, say, a thief, or a murderer.

Police could be wrongly thought of as ones who wipe out the liberty of a thief. Thus, it is possible to expect offenders too, to fight for liberty. The argument that comes in here is that the aristocratic government is not the same as law enforcement. No doubt they are two totally different things, yet, when we define liberty, care should be taken that the words are always interpreted in the proper way. The same meaning cannot be associated with the word at all instants.

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