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Positive and Negative Liberty Watch

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    These are the two types of liberty or freedom considered by the academic Isiah Berlin.

    Negative liberty is freedom from coercian. Individuals should be able to pursue their own interest atleast to the degree that their actions do to not constrain others. Thus laws and power should be minimised. Negative liberty leaves us with a world that has no meaning other than to let people do what they want.

    Negative liberty is commonly seen as the only type of freedom in the Western world that is safe.

    Positive liberty is freedom from internal contraint. Individuals are liberated from class structure, race, sex, addiction, drugs and irritational acts. It is the relisation of ones true uncorrupted desire. Laws and society should be structured around allowing people to realise positive liberty. Positive liberty leaves us with a world where its fundamental meaning is to liberate people from themselves. This view of liberty is one that is promoted by religion reguarlly.


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    (Original post by turn and fall)
    These are the two types of liberty or freedom considered by the academic Isiah Berlin.

    Negative liberty is freedom from coercian. Individuals should be able to pursue their own interest atleast to the degree that their actions do to not constrain others. Thus laws and power should be minimised. Negative liberty leaves us with a world that has no meaning other than to let people do what they want.

    Negative liberty is commonly seen as the only type of freedom in the Western world that is safe.

    Positive liberty is freedom from internal contraint. Individuals are liberated from class structure, race, sex, addiction, drugs and irritational acts. It is the relisation of ones true uncorrupted desire. Laws and society should be structured around allowing people to realise positive liberty. Positive liberty leaves us with a world where its fundamental meaning is to liberate people from themselves. This view of liberty is one that is promoted by religion reguarlly.


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    Why are they mutually exclusive?
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    Positive Liberty requires coercian. Which is the precise opposite of Negative Liberty.


    The film Coach Carter is a good example of Positive Liberty

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybt8wXIahQU

    Coach Carter liberates the boys from themselves through rules and compassion. He coerces them into better men. However the rules he enforces contrain their negative liberty i.e closing the gym
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    (Original post by turn and fall)
    Positive Liberty requires coercian. Which is the precise opposite of Negative Liberty.


    The film Coach Carter is a good example of Positive Liberty

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybt8wXIahQU

    Coach Carter liberates the boys from themselves through rules and compassion. He coerces them into better men. However the rules he enforces contrain their negative liberty i.e closing the gym
    I don't see why you need laws to follow positive liberty. Surely if you want to achieve divine/whatever realisation, it would be more beneficial to have absolutely no law whatsoever. Also, the emboldened part; I thought negative liberty was a lack of rules, therefore meaning that closing the gym is an example of positive liberty.
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    (Original post by ANARCHY__)
    I don't see why you need laws to follow positive liberty. Surely if you want to achieve divine/whatever realisation, it would be more beneficial to have absolutely no law whatsoever. Also, the emboldened part; I thought negative liberty was a lack of rules, therefore meaning that closing the gym is an example of positive liberty.
    You do not need laws but you do need to coerce people. You need to change who they are.
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    (a) You cannot liberate people for them. They must liberate themselves.
    (b) You cannot "coerce" people into being better people.
    (c) The only rules that a society should maintain are that one must never infringe the civil liberties of another being.
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      Private property, that is to say the arbitrary exclusive claim on a portion of the earth by an individual or group, and coercively enforced through human-made laws, fences and suchlike, is a clear infringement on my liberty.

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      (Original post by Oswy)
      Private property, that is to say the arbitrary exclusive claim on a portion of the earth by an individual or group, and coercively enforced through human-made laws, fences and suchlike, is a clear infringement on my liberty.

      Only in the non-normative sense of the word 'liberty' is it true that private property is an infringement of liberty. Clearly you are only morally to be at liberty to do something which you have a right to do. No-one says that it is a restriction of my liberty that it is illegal to murder you and likewise for private property.
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      (Original post by AnarchistNutter)
      (a) You cannot liberate people for them. They must liberate themselves.
      (b) You cannot "coerce" people into being better people.
      (c) The only rules that a society should maintain are that one must never infringe the civil liberties of another being.
      (a) The masses are numb and without direction they go nowhere. Within the masses there are too many conflicting interests for there to be spontaneous direction.

      (b) Not all attempts to improve society have failed. Coach Carter a true story is a heart warming example.

      (c) The narrow minded purposeless ideals of negative liberty.


      The West has forgotten the positive ideals of freedom. It has lead itself into a trap whereby we cannot escape negative liberty because we distrust politicians that could change our lives.

      Until we gain faith in idealoligy that is above ourselves we will always be slaves to ourselves
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      (Original post by turn and fall)
      (a) The masses are numb and without direction they go nowhere. Within the masses there are too many conflicting interests for there to be spontaneous direction.
      You have no idea how incredibly patronising you sound. The vast majority of the masses are poor and do mind-numbingly boring labour. If your labour is mind numbingly boring, you will become mind numbingly boring. If education and society around us is boring, you will not achieve "guidance". Tell me how on earth do you possibly expect the individual to grow in a society that is based upon authoritarian relationships?

      (c) The narrow minded purposeless ideals of negative liberty.
      :rolleyes:

      The West has forgotten the positive ideals of freedom. It has lead itself into a trap whereby we cannot escape negative liberty because we distrust politicians that could change our lives.

      Until we gain faith in idealoligy that is above ourselves we will always be slaves to ourselves
      Western civilisation has, as its core principle positive liberty; I believe we refer to it as the "nanny state". What you are saying is that people don't have the will power or the intelligence to make their own decisions. You think I don't want to do anything to improve the condition of man?

      You are wrong. I want to provide men with responsibilities: only this will improve their condition. How on earth do you possibly expect men who are slaves to the hierarchical institution, men who depend upon "enlightenment" from their gods and masters to make all their decisions for them, to grow and expand?

      This moral absolutism you endorse can only lead to the worst form of tyrannical despotism. You have to snap out of the mindset that states that ideas and concepts are completely alien to the mind and spirit.

      Only when we, ourselves question the world around us can we develop a true sense of morality. As stated by Max Stirner:

      "I decide whether it is the right thing for me; there is no right outside me."

      Consequently you think that the vast majority are too ignorant and blind to find guidance but you would bestow the privilege of enlightenment and leadership upon a few elitists who are somehow exempt from your laws of mass stupidity? This is rather contradictory, no? Why is it you know what is best for other people but they do not know what is best for themselves?
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      You have no idea how incredibly patronising you sound. The vast majority of the masses are poor and do mind-numbingly boring labour. If your labour is mind numbingly boring, you will become mind numbingly boring. If education and society around us is boring, you will not achieve "guidance". Tell me how on earth do you possibly expect the individual to grow in a society that is based upon authoritarian relationships?
      People are stupid. Just look at the power of advertising, public relations and religion.

      Western civilisation has, as its core principle positive liberty
      We do not. We have an attitude of the minisation of authority and distrust of those in positions of power.

      This moral absolutism you endorse can only lead to the worst form of tyrannical despotism
      This is why postive liberty has been hidden. In the past it has not worked without terrible consequences.

      Why is it you know what is best for other people but they do not know what is best for themselves?
      People are not rational. That is why behavioral economics was invented.
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      (Original post by turn and fall)
      People are stupid. Just look at the power of advertising, public relations and religion.
      Again: boring labour, boring lives and slavery in society. Interestingly enough, those with more power and wealth (and therefore authority over others) tend to be more literate, more philosophical and more educated.

      We do not. We have an attitude of the minisation of authority and distrust of those in positions of power.
      No. Most people want the government to intervene in the social realms. They want harsher prison sentences, harsher drug laws, etc. Ironically it is (irrational) authority and hierarchy which push up crime in a society.

      This is why postive liberty has been hidden. In the past it has not worked without terrible consequences.
      :confused: You have just argued against your own argument.

      I would like to point you towards the Milgram obedience study: it shows you what destructive obedience can do to a society. If people had not blindly obeyed Hitler, there wouldn't have been a holocaust.
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      No. Most people want the government to intervene in the social realms. They want harsher prison sentences, harsher drug laws, etc. Ironically it is (irrational) authority and hierarchy which push up crime in a society.
      Ahhh but politicians do not. If put to a vote the death penalty would return.

      :confused: You have just argued against your own argument.
      I am aware of how positive liberty can be abused. But our society now has no meaning and it seems like a natural progression from idealistic stagnation.
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      (Original post by turn and fall)
      Ahhh but politicians do not. If put to a vote the death penalty would return.
      Politicians are at the very top of the hierarchy (along with other elitist classes in society). They are the ones actively proposing excessive authority and "positive liberty" (which in the end achieves the opposite of what it seeks to desire - it merely acts as a tool for elitists to gain power). The rest of society will remain authoritarian as long as the state abuses its power and there is seen to be a need for hierarchy.

      I am aware of how positive liberty can be abused. But our society now has no meaning and it seems like a natural progression from idealistic stagnation.
      It is idealist concepts you propose :confused:
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        (Original post by tomheppy)
        Only in the non-normative sense of the word 'liberty' is it true that private property is an infringement of liberty. Clearly you are only morally to be at liberty to do something which you have a right to do. No-one says that it is a restriction of my liberty that it is illegal to murder you and likewise for private property.
        Just because one group in society, the rich and those who act for them, have the power to construct a 'right' to private property doesn't make it morally legitimate, it is still a process by which the many are alienated from the earth and its resources by the few. Hiding behind laws and 'rights' doesn't help you here, though it's pretty much all the libertarian can do.

        I'm saying right here that it is a restriction on the liberty of the many when the few are wealthy or powerful enough make arbitrary and monopolising claims to portions of the earth and which are coercively defended through man-made laws, fences and shotguns.

        Your attempted parallel with murder is laughable; the earth did not start out as anyone's 'private property' but had to be coercively removed from common access and use. We all, on the other hand, start out as ourselves and cannot easily be anyone else.
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        (Original post by Oswy)
        Just because one group in society, the rich and those who act for them, have the power to construct a 'right' to private property doesn't make it morally legitimate, it is still a process by which the many are alienated from the earth and its resources by the few. Hiding behind laws and 'rights' doesn't help you here, though it's pretty much all the libertarian can do.

        I'm saying right here that it is a restriction on the liberty of the many when the few are wealthy or powerful enough make arbitrary and monopolising claims to portions of the earth and which are coercively defended through man-made laws, fences and shotguns.

        Your attempted parallel with murder is laughable; the earth did not start out as anyone's 'private property' but had to be coercively removed from common access and use. We all, on the other hand, start out as ourselves and cannot easily be anyone else.
        JOOI, Do you have a problem with the concept of private property altogether, or do you just dislike the way it is currently distributed?
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          (Original post by py0alb)
          JOOI, Do you have a problem with the concept of private property altogether, or do you just dislike the way it is currently distributed?
          A problem with both, ultimately. If distribution, management and access to the earth were under substantively more equitably arrangements, i.e. the earth was used to satisfy the needs of the many not the needs and whims of the few, it would be something of a step forward no doubt. More realistically, however, the private property construct sees a progressive accumulation of land and resources into the hands of the few and which correspondingly alienates the many, leading to their ever more inescapable exploitation.

          I like to raise the issue of private property whenever libertarians decide to champion liberty because it reveals their double-standard. Coercion of any kind is unacceptable to the libertarian. they tell us, but this maxim hits a brick wall when we realise that portions of the earth can only become private property and taken from wider human liberty through coercive forces. They'll try all kinds of arguments to get out of this exception to their rules but it's still an exception; when it comes to the crunch liberty isn't really anywhere near as important to them as the liberty of the propertied.
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          (Original post by Oswy)
          A problem with both, ultimately. If distribution, management and access to the earth were under substantively more equitably arrangements, i.e. the earth was used to satisfy the needs of the many not the needs and whims of the few, it would be something of a step forward no doubt. More realistically, however, the private property construct sees a progressive accumulation of land and resources into the hands of the few and which correspondingly alienates the many, leading to their ever more inescapable exploitation.

          I like to raise the issue of private property whenever libertarians decide to champion liberty because it reveals their double-standard. Coercion of any kind is unacceptable to the libertarian. they tell us, but this maxim hits a brick wall when we realise that the portions of the earth can only become private property and taken from wider human liberty through coercive forces. They'll try all kinds of arguments to get out of this exception to their rules but it's still an exception; when it comes to the crunch liberty isn't really anywhere near as important as the liberty of the propertied.

          So, going back to a Lockian example, if I spent a year toiling away growing food for my family to eat, and collected enough reserves to see us through the winter, you think I have no more right to that food than my neighbour who had spent the year sitting on his ass? You think its morally permissible for him to just come and take it from me? That I can have no complaint? You think that is fair and just? That's what a denial of the right to private property looks like.
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            (Original post by py0alb)
            So, going back to a Lockian example, if I spent a year toiling away growing food for my family to eat, and collected enough reserves to see us through the winter, you think I have no more right to that food than my neighbour who had spent the year sitting on his ass? You think its morally permissible for him to just come and take it from me? That I can have no complaint? You think that is fair and just? That's what a denial of the right to private property looks like.
            Presumably, from your own perspective, you'd only offer up this argument on the grounds that your neighbour also had access to land and resources comparable to your own, i.e. that everyone was provided with an equal opportunity in land use to grow food for their family. If you answer in the affirmative then you should still have a problem with private property in that it is a finite resources that is routinely, under private property arrangements, progressively accumulated into the hands of the wealthy to the extent that others are excluded from that opportunity for self-sufficiency you putatively defend. Beyond that, there's no solution to operative injustices (real or imagined) which are themselves built on unjust conditions.

            In the real world, of course, private property takes away from the many any opportunity to individually and directly have power over the satisfaction of their productive needs. While the few own hundred acre plots, thousand acre plots, even million acre plots, the many have no access to land as you idealise it and thus must 'consent' to their wage-labour exploitation.
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            (Original post by Oswy)
            Presumably, from your own perspective, you'd only offer up this argument on the grounds that your neighbour also had access to land and resources comparable to your own, i.e. that everyone was provided with an equal opportunity in land use to grow food for their family. If you answer in the affirmative then you should still have a problem with private property in that it is a finite resources that is routinely, under private property arrangements, progressively accumulated into the hands of the wealth to the extent that others are excluded from that opportunity for self-sufficiency you putatively defend. Beyond that, there's no solution to operative injustices (real or imagined) which are themselves built on unjust conditions.

            In the real world, of course, private property takes away from the many any opportunity to individually and directly have power over the satisfaction of their productive needs. While the few own hundred acre plots, thousand acre plots, even million acre plots, the many have no access to land as you idealise it and thus must 'consent' to their wage-labour exploitation.

            You seem to be attacking a general principle whereas actually your problem is with a very specific possible outcome. You talk about "routinely" and "in the real world". What you interpret as "routinely" happening "in the real world" is entirely irrelevant in a theoretical debate about the philosophical underpinnings of categorical moral rights. Furthermore, it is in no way inevitable that the simple right to be recognised as the owner of private property automatically leads to unfettered capitalism. Unless you can demonstrate that Locke's 3rd natural right of man automatically leads to an intrinsically exploitative economic system, your argument is entirely without foundation. I simply see no way in which you have a hope of showing that.
           
           
           
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