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Essay: Should we value positive or negative liberty

Sample Essay

Berlin proposed that positive liberty can result in authoritarianism since if in a democracy a minority is left at the mercy of a majority rule, the letter shall dominate the former and lead to authoritarianism. A self-controlled society might not necessarily reap freedom yet a more organic concept that aims to take society as a living organism on the whole that will act rationally, thus in such case the power of the majority can also be suppressed in the name of liberty.

There are a number of examples; after the cold war the string of dictators that sprung up and especially in the Soviet Union are proof of the above proposed ideal by Berlin regarding positive liberty. The value of either concepts is distinct but through theory it can be proved which might be better in particular circumstances and of course it also depends on theschoolofthought the person is following. If the example of the person driving and deciding whether to go for the store to get a pack of cigarettes or rather hurry up to reach the railway to make in time for the appointment, is considered in a different light; where the person is divided within oneself and the self who wants to go for the appointment instead of the cigarettes is the more responsible one so is the ‘higher self’ and the other self is the ‘lower self’ since the latter gives into irrational and impulse desires.Berlinalso states futher that if the higher self is in control of the person then according to positive liberty the person would be considered free but actually if a person lets go the lower self and recognises the higher self as dominant than the person simply let go of desires that are not rational and this does not mean the person has become free as a result. Ignoring the actualwishes to let their real self that is the higher self emerge does not mean a person is free as suggested by positive liberty because the true goal of a person must match with the person’s idea of freedom. Thus it varies from person to person that which one out of the two gain more value for the person; positive or rather negative liberty  (Berlin, Isaiah, 1969).

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