Thursday, December 29, 2011

Liberty, lībertās, lībertātis

Though Freedom is often defined as arbitrary action with impunity, no restriction placed upon behavior at all, the initial definition of Liberty [1] calls to an idea of individualism and release from constraint in a very physical sense. Those physically restrained are those enslaved. So closely is the relationship between restrained and enslaved that the First Section of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution explicitly states that slavery shall not exist in the country unless it is used as punishment for a crime. To preclude slavery under all conditions would be to abolish incarceration in kind. Separation and independence do not carry, in their proper definitions or connotations, a sense of lawlessness or arbitrary action. Liberty (in this context) should be viewed not as freedom to act in any way one cares with impunity, instead Liberty is a release from slavery, from physical bondage, from unnecessary restraint, from inequality.
If Liberty is not chaos, as many may assert when asked, then a rare investigation is called for; Liberty’s relationship with law. The function of law, as discussed in Law as Incentive, is to codify the Social Contract in order to protect Inalienable Rights. The interaction of Liberty and Inalienable Rights is conditional, one can not be Liberated if they exist in any sort of society which threatens their Inalienable Rights as they will be restrained from acting as they wish, in very least, because they will have to protect their Inalienable Rights independent of society. It is the protection of Inalienable Rights, and freedom from coercion, that allows the independence necessary for Liberty. This conditional relationship shows that, if not requiring law, Liberty at very least requires a society in which no individual would transgress against another in a way that would violate laws which protected the Inalienable Rights of all people. Law does not restrain but supports Liberty in how it defines interaction through codification so, as we interact, there is a commonly understood structure to how people relate to each other.
The structure of interaction provided by law is often confused for having the intent of providing safety. While it is the essence of justified law to protect all people’s Inalienable Rights, justified law is not intended to provide (or in cases force) safety. Law is meant to ensure the codification of Inalienable Rights, to provide Liberty so that all people may act as they see fit under their own power. It is not necessarily the case that each individual will see safety as the guiding principle of their actions. When legislation forces upon people evaluations such as those, which are not directly justified by protecting another person’s Inalienable Rights, that legislation is undermining equality in assuming that the individual to whom it applies is less capable of deciding their own course of action than a governing body. The Liberated person must be capable of self-determination and responsible for the consequences of their actions.
One who is Liberated is independent and unconstrained, free from coercion and unnecessary legislation. The Liberated Individual is neither bound in physical restraints nor the coercion that shackles the mind with a lack of clarity or threat of unnecessary repercussion. The threat of violence, for example, is a mechanism of restraint and the very mechanism used by governments of dominion, by definition. To restrain Liberty with the application of unnecessary law is coercion (under threat of penalty) coercion, constraint, and so violence when leveraged upon an individual. A government of dominion does this inevitably when individuals abdicate their power to create governmental authority. In a case of self defense, it is not a commonly held belief that the defender is exercising any sort of authority over their attacker. A government focused only on the defense of Inalienable Rights could conceivably too be an entity without authority, at very least without authority in the way expressed by a government of dominion.
The Liberated State would have to allow for the Liberated citizen and so it would have to govern only enough to protect Inalienable Rights, as earlier defined. Law prohibiting homicide (and violence in all forms) would have to exist, of course. The Liberated State would have to ask itself if there was a significant difference, in the defense of one’s rights, between violation by a person or by environmental conditions (such as cold or disease) and how that may effect housing and health care. Property (as a means to pursue happiness) would have to be protected on some level into which further investigation would be necessary as to what property a person may lay claim. Coercion would have to become a focus in laws regarding business, government, as well as individual interaction. Even staples of current criminal justice systems, such as the surprisingly unacceptable interrogation [3], are institutions of coercion with no place in the Liberated State.

[1] “The Meaning of Liberty.” Breed’s Hill Institute, Dec. 2008. Web. 19 Dec. 2011.
[2] Lībertās - Unbounded, unrestricted or released from constraint. Contains the idea of being separate and independent.
[3] Rosen, Marie. “Where the Truth Lies: The Phenomenon of False Confessions.” John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Web. 20 Dec. 2011.

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