freedom


freedom
   Freedom is a difficult term to define, for it has different meanings to different people. Even when they agree about the definition, they may interpret it in a different manner according to their own attitudes and experiences. In the most general sense, it means the ability to act or think as one wishes without being subject to any external pressure. However, there are several problems with the concept. One is that freedom is a ‘good’ word, implying something of which almost everyone is likely to approve. Another is that it is one which rests upon personal valuations, for any preference for one system over another as being more ‘free’ is to some extent dependent upon which freedoms one values most.
   Many writers would distinguish between negative and positive freedom. Negative freedom means the absence of restraint and is about preserving the independence of the individual from state encroachment. It is freedom from something, whereas positive freedom is being free to do something. The distinction is not a clear-cut one, however, for almost every freedom from something can be described the other way. Freedom from ignorance can be equated with freedom to be provided with education. In the postwar era, many people have campaigned for more positive freedoms, wanting to obtain certain economic and social rights. They expect the state to be active in promoting goals such as full employment, educational and health provision, and freedom from discrimination. Under conditions of negative freedom, a laissez-faire role is envisaged for the state, so that people can live their own lives unhampered by any shackles. Under positive freedom, the government is viewed more as a partner of the individual in the development of rights and freedom.
   See also: civil liberty, civil rights

Glossary of UK Government and Politics . 2013.

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  • Freedom — Freedom, CA U.S. Census Designated Place in California Population (2000): 6000 Housing Units (2000): 1619 Land area (2000): 1.339288 sq. miles (3.468739 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.339288… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • freedom — [frē′dəm] n. [ME fredom < OE freodom: see FREE & DOM] 1. the state or quality of being free; esp., a) exemption or liberation from the control of some other person or some arbitrary power; liberty; independence b) exemption from arbitrary… …   English World dictionary

  • Freedom — Free dom (fr[=e] d[u^]m), n. [AS. fre[ o]d[=o]m; fre[ o]free + dom. See {Free}, and { dom}.] 1. The state of being free; exemption from the power and control of another; liberty; independence. [1913 Webster] Made captive, yet deserving freedom… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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