Liberty is the ability of individuals to have agency (control over their own actions). Different conceptions of liberty articulate the relationship of individuals to society in different ways—including some that relate to life under a social contract or to existence in a state of nature, and some that see the active exercise of freedom and rights as essential to liberty. Understanding liberty involves how we imagine the individual's roles and responsibilities in society in relation to concepts of free will and determinism, which involves the larger domain of metaphysics.
Individualist and classical liberal conceptions of liberty typically consist of the freedom of individuals from outside compulsion or coercion, also known as negative liberty. This conception of liberty, which coincides with the Libertarian point-of-view, suggests that people should, must, and ought to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions, while in contrast, Social liberal conceptions of (positive liberty) liberty place an emphasis upon social structure and agency and is therefore directed toward ensuring egalitarianism. In feudal societies, a "liberty" was an area of allodial land where the rights of the ruler or monarch were waived.
Famous quotes containing the word liberty:
“A few hours mountain climbing turns a rogue and a saint into two roughly equal creatures. Weariness is the shortest path to equality and fraternityand liberty is finally added by sleep.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)
“Mutual repect implies discretion and reserve even in love itself; it means preserving as much liberty as possible to those whose life we share. We must distrust our instinct of intervention, for the desire to make ones own will prevail is often disguised under the mask of solicitude.”
—Henri-Frédéric Amiel (18211881)
“Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where.”
—Abraham Lincoln (18091865)