From the thinking Reed this.  I was really impressed with this post on freedom.

the way conservatives and libertarians define freedom, it means largely non-interference from the government. But for many people, the biggest problem in their lives isn’t government interference, but other actors and forces that prevent them from pursuing happiness. A more common-sense definition of freedom is simply being able to do what you want to do, or what some theorists have called “effective freedom.” Government–through its powers to tax and regulate, among other things–can facilitate the effective freedom of its citizens. In fact, you could argue that government action is indispensible to the effective exercise of freedom and that the distinction between “negative” and “positive” liberty is largely an illusion. After all, protecting any freedom requires the exercise of government power and the expenditure of public resources.


One response to “Freedom

  1. renaissanceguy

    In the section you excerpted there seems to be a misconceptions. Unless they are all-out anarchists, libertarians do beleive that a legitimate function of government is to defend the effective freedom of the individual–through just laws and a court system to redress wrongs and grievances.

    I think a second misconception is that if somehow the government isn’t directly inhibiting my personal freedom, I am completely unaffected by the regulatory actions of the government. The truth is that every monetary transaction I engage in is impacted by the government’s interference. In addition, if the government is somehow favoring others, then it is–by default–disfavoring me. And vice versa.

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