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Essay: Should we value more ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ liberty

Sample Essay

Introduction

Freedom, synoym for ‘liberty’ is to be free of any sort of constraints or boundaries or restrictions. But it is a fact that in no society a person is completely free to do anything since there are boundaries within which one can practise freedom. If freedom will mean no restrictions at all then it can result in abuse of freedom because the moment a person’s actions affect another person liberty needs to turn into liscence in order to cross this fence.Libertyhas a close relationship with ‘right.’ A person is free to act in any way but within rights otherwise it will result in infringement of other’s rights which is licence.

Although in society there is a very thin line between who has, what kind of rights and why; it is a dilemma the people face. Establishing the limits of liberty is yet another problem. The nature of freedom can befurther established by understanding the difference between two types of liberty:Positive liberty and Negative liberty.

Positive liberty is to have the power and the resources to fulfil one’s own potential, it leads to personal development since one develops within one’s rights and potential therefore, benefiting the society, the individuals and oneself. It is also to make the most of your self by realising one’s potential to the highest point. On the other hand Negative liberty is to have the freedom to act in any way without any obstruction from people or society which means the external constraints that must exist to avoide infringement of others rights is absent. In order to maintain peace, law and order constraints areessential since its within one’s rights one can practise freedom to the extent that affects oneself only. Restrictions areessential to protect people’s rights and liberty from others actions or else there would be chaos and serious infringement of rights (Berlin, Isaiah, 1969).

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