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Thursday, April 04, 2013
(Written for an audience that still gives lip-service to the Constitution and "government": State Line Tribune, Farwell TX.)
I love liberty. Mine, yours, and the other guy's. This gets twisted around and misinterpreted. Some mistake liberty for "complete freedom from responsibility and consequences" and suggest it indicates "a lack of discipline and maturity".
How completely backwards they have it.
Freedom is only a component of liberty; not the whole story. Freedom is doing whatever you want to do. That can be good, bad, or neutral. Liberty, on the other hand, is the freedom to do anything that doesn't violate any other person's equal and identical liberty.
Thomas Jefferson phrased it like this: "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” In other words, you have no liberty to attack or steal, even if you have the freedom to do so and get away with it, because doing so violates someone else's equal rights. You have either violated their person or their property. Everything else is within your liberty to do, whether listed specifically in the Bill of Rights or not, even if some are offended by your actions- it's just none of their business.
Respecting liberty is the mature and responsible way to live among other people. It is much more ethical and moral than relying on hired hands to enforce silly rules- rules which invariably violate Jeffersonian "rightful liberty"- against your neighbors.
When you ask others to violate the liberty of another person you are asking those you send on your behalf to accept all the responsibility and consequences for the wrong things you send them to do. By doing so you are showing a definite lack of discipline and maturity. But the responsibility is still yours, whether you accept it or not.
I, like Jefferson, prefer the "inconveniences" of "too much" liberty to those of too little. You have chosen your side whether you know it or not. Where do you stand?