Total Liberty Would Reduce Our Liberty

To have free play for one's individuality is, in the modern view, the subjective triumph of existence, as survival in creative work and offspring is its objective triumph. But for all men, since man is a social creature, the play of will must fall short of absolute freedom. Perfect human liberty is possible only to a despot who is absolutely and universally obeyed. Then to will would be to command and achieve, and within the limits of natural law we could at any moment do exactly as it pleased us to do. All other liberty is a compromise between our own freedom of will and the wills of those with whom we come in contact. In an organised state each one of us has a more or less elaborate code of what he may do to others and to himself, and what others may do to him. He limits others by his rights, and is limited by the rights of others, and by considerations affecting the welfare of the community as a whole.

Individual liberty in a community is not, as mathematicians would say, always of the same sign. To ignore this is the essential fallacy of the cult called Individualism. But in truth, a general prohibition in a state may increase the sum of liberty, and a general permission may diminish it. It does not follow, as these people would have us believe, that a man is more free where there is least law and more restricted where there is most law. A socialism or a communism is not necessarily a slavery, and there is no freedom under Anarchy. Consider how much liberty we gain by the loss of the common liberty to kill. Thereby one may go to and fro in all the ordered parts of the earth, unencumbered by arms or armour, free of the fear of playful poison, whimsical barbers, or hotel trap-doors. Indeed, it means freedom from a thousand fears and precautions.

...Carried to the absolute pitch the right of free movement ceases to be distinguishable from the right of free intrusion.


If we had the liberty to kill, then everyone's liberty to move about free of fear would be impacted.

Folksonomies: centrism

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/religion and spirituality (0.368390)
/automotive and vehicles/vehicle brands/jeep (0.324234)

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Liberalism (0.949935): dbpedia | freebase
Rights (0.918655): dbpedia | freebase
Human rights (0.885895): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Liberty (0.880608): dbpedia | freebase
Metaphysics (0.874410): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Theology (0.866185): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
2009 albums (0.852504): dbpedia
Individual rights (0.832754): dbpedia | yago

 A Modern Utopia
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Wells, H.G. (2004), A Modern Utopia, Project Gutenberg, New York, NY, Retrieved on 2010-11-01
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: centrism utopias


    01 JAN 2010


    Arguments for centrism. Why balance is necessary. Include here any argument against any form of absolutism.
    Folksonomies: politics centrism
    Folksonomies: politics centrism