"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.

Conservatives traditionally support Liberty, but they may tend to be pliant about certain freedoms, aware as they are to the potentional dissonance.

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