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Justice is More Important than Freedom

 
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2004 09:43 pm
Debra - I think you have falsley reduced liberty and freedom to the same thing. Liberty is the freedom from undue persecution from authority - it does not encompass the concept of freedom.

Absolute freedom has no one around you to consider or abridge those rights - i.e. a state of nature as considered by Hobbed and Locke. This would lead us to an anarchy - but in the philosophical definition of the term - people are generally good and can govern themselves (as opposed to the popular conception of total chaos). This freedom is the same as anarchy - just not chaos.

(I and other posters were seeking to seperate this sort of freedom from absolute freedom - which is the freedom to do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. This concept of freedom needs justice to protect others from themselves.)

However, as thinkers progressed Hobbes in particular, we came to be weary of other men (the founding fathers were rightfuly skeptical of any power not granted to others by all) and thought that a justice system was needed to secure these freedoms (the concept of the night watchman).

Thus, Justice - as quoted by you above in the Declaration of Independance secures our freedom and life from others.

The things that you are born with is life, liberty (a form of freedom) and the pursuit of happiness (really freedom to pursue what makes you happy - in the virtue ethics sense). Justice follows from these God given things and seeks to preserve them.

The reality is that the founding fathers conceptualized of justice as preserving negative rights (as in freedom from things) as opposed to positive rights (freedom to things).

I think the founding fathers realized that no one was given absolute freedom by thier maker and thus did not include it as an unalienable right. They restricted the freedom to libery and the pursuit of happiness.

Regardless, justice follows these freedoms to secure them from others.

TTF
0 Replies
 
alikimr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2004 10:05 pm
Debra-Law:
You say "justice for all" secures
the "freedom of all". I totally agree with you.
But I must bring to your attention that it is very significant to the ongoing debate that you can never say "freedom for all" secures "justice of all".
A close analysis of your excellent presentation does help to reenforce the prerequisite position of justice over freedom.
0 Replies
 
Hazlitt
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 12:45 am
Liberty and Justice for all
Debra-Law

What you say is one way of looking at the question. I take from your quotation of the declaration that you agree with its assertion that rights come from the deity. The Declaration is a very late document in the general discussions about Liberty and Justice. I don't think there is universal agreement that these virtues are handed down from on high and can therefore be seen as co-equal parts of a divine system of human rights.

As I stated above, I believe that ideas about Freedom (LIberty) and justice evolved over time, and are still evolving.

By the way, I think that you and I simply have to accept that we disagree on this point. Attempts to resolve the question are usually tiresome and futile. As long as we are living in a democracy, we can operate from either premise and still enjoy Freedom and Justice. This is true even though I know you are operating out of totally false presuppositions, and you are equally convinced that I'm nuts.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 08:04 am
Alkimr:

Absolute freedom - the freedom to do whatever - whenever - if it never impeded on others would be just. It is the increase in people to the point of needed the concept of private property to secure some of these resources to feed others that brought about the need for a justice system.

You can have freedom without a justice system - you cannot have a justice system (or it does not make sense) without freedom.

I think in the your definition of justice - you want to smuggle in freedom as a tacit assumption - which I do not think you can do if we seek to seperate them and define them as independant of each other.

Justice is securing a persons freedoms. Freedom is not having any restraints placed on you - and does not require a concept of justice.

I may sound like I am beating a dead horse here - but my ideas have good company - Locke, and Rousseau for instance.

TTF
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 10:31 am
Enlightenment
thethinkfactory wrote:
Freedom is not having any restraints placed on you - and does not require a concept of justice.

I may sound like I am beating a dead horse here - but my ideas have good company - Locke, and Rousseau for instance.



Contrary to your assertion, your ideas are not derived from John Locke's writings. If you have read John Locke's publications, you have misconstrued what you read.

The revolution of ideas (enlightenment) of the late seventeenth century and the writings of John Locke greatly influenced our forefathers.

John Locke wrote about the inalienable rights of man to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are the ones that man may never alienate from oneself and voluntarily surrender to a governing power.

Locke rejected the notion that Kings ruled by devine right. Locke rejected the notion that Kings could take a man's life, liberty, or property at the King's pleasure. Locke wrote that Kings were not sovereign -- but rather the people were sovereign and that no government could have power over them except with the consent of the governed.

Why would people cede power to a government to make and enforce laws that govern the conduct of the people? Because without a central government to secure the inalienable rights of all the people to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness -- no person's rights were secure. Without security, any other stronger person or group of persons (hoards of marauders) could ride in and slaughter you or enslave you and plunder. Absolute freedom to do as one desires (freedom from laws administered by a governing power) is not freedom at all if one must live in constant fear of lawless marauders.

People voluntarily band together and form governments for their common security. The government derives its just powers -- to make and enforce laws for the common good -- from the consent of the governed. Therefore, freedom and justice go hand in hand.

Freedom is defined as the right to do as one pleases so long as you don't harm someone else. Freedom is meaningless without justice that would hold those who would infringe upon your freedom accountable for their lawless conduct through civil (remedial) and criminal (punitive) laws. If your conduct harms someone else -- if you violate the laws established for the common security -- then justice requires that you shall be held accountable for your unlawful conduct. Lawlessness will not be tolerated by society of free men and women.
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 11:25 am
Re: Liberty and Justice for all
Hazlitt wrote:
Debra-Law

What you say is one way of looking at the question. I take from your quotation of the declaration that you agree with its assertion that rights come from the deity.


You are wrong. The people who wrote our founding papers believed in the "creator," but it makes no difference to the concepts involved whether a "deity" exists or not. I am reciting the underlying basis for the widely held concept that freedom and justice go hand in hand.

The Kings of yore claimed that they ruled by devine right. Accordingly, the King could do no wrong. The people were subject to the King's pleasure. The King could take your life, liberty, and property upon his own whim. The people--the King's subjects--had no inalienable rights.

The people began to reject the idea that the King ruled by devine right. The people began to believe that they had certain rights that not even the King may infringe upon. In medievil England, the barons forced King John to sign the Magna Carta. (One provision of the Magna Carta: No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.)

In the seventeenth century, the people went through a revolution of ideas--an "enlightenment." The people again rejected the notion that the King ruled by "devine" right. They rejected the notion that the King was a supreme being on Earth designated by God to rule over them. They started to believe that ALL MEN WERE CREATED EQUAL and that they ALL were endowed "by their creator" with certain inalienable rights and that among those rights were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

That was the revolutionary idea: That all men were created equal -- from the lowliest servant boy to the King. That all men were born with certain inalienable rights -- rights that the King could not take from them at his pleasure. That the king is not sovereign--but rather the people are sovereign and that no government (or King) could rule over them without their consent. That governments are created by the consent of the governed for their common security -- to secure the inalienable rights of all men who are created equal.

That's why the people of the original thirteen colonies were enraged. They were angry that England would impose taxes upon them without their consent--without representation. In the Declaration of Independence, the people set forth all of their grievances against the King, yet the King had denied them justice. The King's governance over them had become oppressive and intolerable; they were denied redress (justice) for their grievances and this compelled the people to declare their independence from the King and to establish a new nation.

The King does not rule by devine right. ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. Enlightening ideas for those times. . . .
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 12:09 pm
John Locke
Freedom and Justice go hand in hand. Locke, throughout his entire treatise of government, consistently taught that there cannot be freedom without justice administered by laws imposed upon society by and through the consent of the governed.

See Second Treatise of Government by John Locke

[No man is free to use force when he may appeal to justice
as provided by law]

Sec. 207 . . . where the injured party may be
relieved, and his damages repaired by appeal to the law, there
can be no pretence for force
, which is only to be used where a
man is intercepted from appealing to the law: for nothing is to
be accounted hostile force, but where it leaves not the remedy of
such an appeal; and it is such force alone, that puts him that
uses it into a state of war, and makes it lawful to resist him.
A man with a sword in his hand demands my purse in the high-way,
when perhaps I have not twelve pence in my pocket: this man I may
lawfully kill. To another I deliver lool. to hold only whilst I
alight, which he refuses to restore me, when I am got up again,
but draws his sword to defend the possession of it by force, if I
endeavour to retake it. The mischief this man does me is a
hundred, or possibly a thousand times more than the other perhaps
intended me (whom I killed before he really did me any); and yet
I might lawfully kill the one, and cannot so much as hurt the
other lawfully. The reason whereof is plain; because the one
using force, which threatened my life, I could not have time to
appeal to the law to secure it: and when it was gone, it was too
late to appeal. The law could not restore life to my dead
carcass: the loss was irreparable; which to prevent, the law of
nature gave me a right to destroy him, who had put himself into a
state of war with me, and threatened my destruction. But in the
other case, my life not being in danger, I may have the benefit
of appealing to the law, and have reparation for my lool. that
way. . . .



Chapter XIX -- Dissolution of Government

Sec. 211. HE that will with any clearness speak of the
dissolution of government, ought in the first place to
distinguish between the dissolution of the society and the
dissolution of the government. That which makes the community,
and brings men out of the loose state of nature, into one politic
society, is the agreement which every one has with the rest to
incorporate, and act as one body, and so be one distinct common-
wealth. The usual, and almost only way whereby this union is
dissolved, is the inroad of foreign force mak
ing a conquest upon them: for in that case, (not being able to
maintain and support themselves, as one intire and independent
body) the union belonging to that body which consisted therein,
must necessarily cease, and so every one return to the state he
was in before, with a liberty to shift for himself, and provide
for his own safety, as he thinks fit, in some other society.
Whenever the society is dissolved, it is certain the government
of that society cannot remain. Thus conquerors swords often cut
up governments by the roots, and mangle societies to pieces,
separating the subdued or scattered multitude from the protection
of, and dependence on, that society which ought to have preserved
them from violence. The world is too well instructed in, and too
forward to allow of, this way of dissolving of governments, to
need any more to be said of it; and there wants not much argument
to prove, that where the society is dissolved, the government
cannot remain; that being as impossible, as for the frame of an
house to subsist when the materials of it are scattered and
dissipated by a whirl-wind, or jumbled into a confused heap by an
earthquake. . . .

Sec. 216. Thirdly, When, by the arbitrary power of the
prince, the electors, or ways of election, are altered, without
the consent, and contrary to the common interest of the people
,
there also the legislative is altered: for, if others than those
whom the society hath authorized thereunto, do chuse, or in
another way than what the society hath prescribed, those chosen
are not the legislative appointed by the people.

Sec. 217. Fourthly, The delivery also of the people into
the subjection of a foreign power, either by the prince, or by
the legislative, is certainly a change of the legislative, and so
a dissolution of the government: for the end why people entered
into society being to be preserved one intire, free, independent
society, to be governed by its own laws; this is lost, whenever
they are given up into the power of another.


Sec. 218. Why, in such a constitution as this, the
dissolution of the government in these cases is to be imputed to
the prince, is evident; because he, having the force, treasure
and offices of the state to employ, and often persuading himself,
or being flattered by others, that as supreme magistrate he is
uncapable of controul; he alone is in a condition to make great
advances toward such changes, under pretence of lawful authority,
and has it in his hands to terrify or suppress opposers, as
factious, seditious, and enemies to the government: whereas no
other part of the legislative, or people, is capable by
themselves to attempt any alteration of the legislative, without
open and visible rebellion, apt enough to be taken notice of,
which, when it prevails, produces effects very little different
from foreign conquest. Besides, the prince in such a form of
government, having the power of dissolving the other parts of the
legislative, and thereby rendering them private persons, they can
never in opposition to him, or without his concurrence, alter the
legislative by a law, his conse power, neglects and abandons that
charge, so that the laws already made can no longer be put in
execution.

This is demonstratively to reduce all to anarchy,
and so effectually to dissolve the government:
for laws not being made for themselves,
but to be, by their execution, the bonds of the society, to keep
every part of the body politic in its due place and function;
when that totally ceases, the government visibly ceases, and the
people become a confused multitude, without order or connexion.
Where there is no longer the administration of justice, for the
securing of men's rights
, nor any remaining power within the
community to direct the force, or provide for the necessities of
the public, there certainly is no government left. Where the
laws cannot be executed, it is all one as if there were no laws;
and a government without laws is, I suppose, a mystery in
politics, unconceivable to human capacity, and inconsistent with
human society
. [/u]
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 12:26 pm
I have read Locke - thanks. How about a quote from the Online Encycolpedia of Philosophy that makes my point well.


"According to Locke, the State of Nature, the natural condition of mankind, is a state of perfect and complete liberty to conduct one's life as one best sees fit, free from the interference of others. This does not mean, however, that it is a state of license: one is not free to do anything at all one pleases, or even anything that one judges to be in one's interest. The State of Nature, although a state wherein there is no civil authority or government to punish people for transgressions against laws, is not a state without morality. The State of Nature is pre-political, but it is not pre-moral. Persons are assumed to be equal to one another in such a state, and therefore equally capable of discovering and being bound by the Law of Nature...

Property plays an essential role in Locke's argument for civil government and the contract that establishes it."

http://www.iep.utm.edu/s/soc-cont.htm

Absolute freedom, as I outlined above, is doing whatever, whenever - is possible - just not moral for Locke.

Liberty - is freedom from interference that is undue - but does not define freedom solely.

Justice - is only needed when freedom or Liberty - is agbridged. This is only needed when property is entered into play.

You are arguing that Justice comes first - I am saying, and so is Locke that in the state of nature there is only liberty (a form of freedom) Life, and the pursuit of happiness (another form of freedom). Justice is only needed when there is not enough raw materials and property is introduced to the mix.

Your Quote of Locke's Second Tretise is after the state of nature is dissolved, after man has put lawn in place to secure his freedom and hs begin to ignore this justice.

You have put the cart before the horse with a misplaced quote. It proves my point that just is needed only to secure a persons rights (two of which are forms of freedom - Liberty and Puruit of Happiness). I have bolded this portion below.

"This is demonstratively to reduce all to anarchy,
and so effectually to dissolve the government:
for laws not being made for themselves,
but to be, by their execution, the bonds of the society, to keep
every part of the body politic in its due place and function;
when that totally ceases, the government visibly ceases, and the
people become a confused multitude, without order or connexion.
Where there is no longer the administration of justice, for the
securing of men's rights,
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 12:50 pm
thethinkfactory wrote:
Debra - I think you have falsley reduced liberty and freedom to the same thing. Liberty is the freedom from undue persecution from authority - it does not encompass the concept of freedom.

Absolute freedom has no one around you to consider or abridge those rights - i.e. a state of nature as considered by Hobbed and Locke. This would lead us to an anarchy - but in the philosophical definition of the term - people are generally good and can govern themselves (as opposed to the popular conception of total chaos). This freedom is the same as anarchy - just not chaos.

(I and other posters were seeking to seperate this sort of freedom from absolute freedom - which is the freedom to do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. This concept of freedom needs justice to protect others from themselves.)


Again, you are wrong. Locke taught, even in the "state of nature," there is not absolute freedom to do what you wish and without regard to other people's rights. Justice does not tolerate absolute freedom to harm others--not even in the natural state. In the natural state where there is no central government to secure the rights of all, every man is still created equal and every man has the right to demand justice and the power to punish others who would violate the laws of nature.

Second Treatise on Government
Chapter II
Of the State of Nature

Sect. 3. POLITICAL POWER, then, I take to be a RIGHT of
making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less
penalties, for the regulating and preserving of property, and of
employing the force of the community, in the execution of such
laws, and in the defence of the common-wealth from foreign
injury; and all this only for the public good.

C H A P. I I.

Of the State of Nature.

Sect. 4. TO understand political power right, and derive it
from its original, we must consider, what state all men are
naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order
their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as
they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without
asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.

A state also of equality, wherein all the power and
jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another;
there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same
species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages
of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be
equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection,
unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest
declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on
him, by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to
dominion and sovereignty.

Sect. 5. This equality of men by nature, the judicious
Hooker looks upon as so evident in itself, and beyond all
question, that he makes it the foundation of that obligation to
mutual love amongst men, on which he builds the duties they owe
one another, and from whence he derives the great maxims of
justice and charity. His words are,

The like natural inducement hath brought men to know

that it is no less their duty, to love others than

themselves; for seeing those things which are equal, must

needs all have one measure; if I cannot but wish to

receive good, even as much at every man's hands, as any

man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have

any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be

careful to satisfy the like desire, which is undoubtedly

in other men, being of one and the same nature? To have

any thing offered them repugnant to this desire, must

needs in all respects grieve them as much as me; so that

if I do harm, I must look to suffer, there being no

reason that others should shew greater measure of love

to me, than they have by me shewed unto them: my desire

therefore to be loved of my equals in nature as much as

possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of

bearing to them-ward fully the like affection; from which

relation of equality between ourselves and them that are

as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural

reason hath drawn, for direction of life, no man is


ignorant, Eccl. Pol. Lib. 1.

Sect. 6. But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is
not a state of licence: though man in that state have an
uncontroulable liberty to dispose of his person or possessions,
yet he has not liberty to destroy himself, or so much as any
creature in his possession, but where some nobler use than its
bare preservation calls for it. The state of nature has a law
of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason,
which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it,
that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm
another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men
being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely
wise maker; all the servants of one sovereign master, sent into
the world by his order, and about his business; they are his
property, whose workmanship they are, made to last during his,
not one another's pleasure: and being furnished with like
faculties, sharing all in one community of nature, there cannot
be supposed any such subordination among us, that may
authorize us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one
another's uses, as the inferior ranks of creatures are for our's.
Every one, as he is bound to preserve himself, and not to
quit his station wilfully, so by the like reason, when his own
preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as much as he
can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it
be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life,
or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty,
health, limb, or goods of another.

Sect. 7. And that all men may be restrained from invading
others rights, and from doing hurt to one another, and the law of
nature be observed, which willeth the peace and preservation of
all mankind, the execution of the law of nature is, in that
state, put into every man's hands, whereby every one has a right
to punish the transgressors of that law to such a degree, as may
hinder its violation: for the law of nature would, as all other
laws that concern men in this world 'be in vain, if there were no
body that in the state of nature had a power to execute that
law, and thereby preserve the innocent and restrain offenders
.
And if any one in the state of nature may punish another for any
evil he has done, every one may do so: for in that state of
perfect equality, where naturally there is no superiority or
jurisdiction of one over another, what any may do in prosecution
of that law, every one must needs have a right to do.

Sect. 8. And thus, in the state of nature, one man comes by
a power over another; but yet no absolute or arbitrary power, to
use a criminal, when he has got him in his hands, according to
the passionate heats, or boundless extravagancy of his own will;
but only to retribute to him, so far as calm reason and
conscience dictate, what is proportionate to his transgression,
which is so much as may serve for reparation and restraint:
for these two are the only reasons, why one man may lawfully do
harm to another, which is that we call punishment. In
transgressing the law of nature, the offender declares himself to
live by another rule than that of reason and common equity, which
is that measure God has set to the actions of men, for their
mutual security; and so he becomes dangerous to mankind, the
tye, which is to secure them from injury and violence, being
slighted and broken by him. Which being a trespass against the
whole species, and the peace and safety of it, provided for by
the law of nature, every man upon this score, by the right he
hath to preserve mankind in general, may restrain, or where it is
necessary, destroy things noxious to them, and so may bring such
evil on any one, who hath transgressed that law, as may make him
repent the doing of it, and thereby deter him, and by his example
others, from doing the like mischief. And in the case, and upon
this ground, EVERY MAN HATH A RIGHT TO PUNISH THE OFFENDER, AND
BE EXECUTIONER OF THE LAW OF NATURE.

Sect. 9. 1 doubt not but this will seem a very strange
doctrine to some men: but before they condemn it, I desire them
to resolve me, by what right any prince or state can put to
death, or punish an alien, for any crime he commits in their
country. It is certain their laws, by virtue of any sanction
they receive from the promulgated will of the legislative, reach
not a stranger: they speak not to him, nor, if they did, is he
bound to hearken to them. The legislative authority, by which
they are in force over the subjects of that commonwealth, hath no

power over him. Those who have the supreme power of making
laws in England, France or Holland, are to an Indian, but
like the rest of the world, men without authority: and therefore,
if by the law of nature every man hath not a power to punish
offences against it, as he soberly judges the case to require, I
see not how the magistrates of any community can punish an
alien of another country; since, in reference to him, they can
have no more power than what every man naturally may have over
another.

Sect, 10. Besides the crime which consists in violating the
law, and varying from the right rule of reason, whereby a man so
far becomes degenerate, and declares himself to quit the
principles of human nature, and to be a noxious creature, there
is commonly injury done to some person or other, and some other
man receives damage by his transgression: in which case he who
hath received any damage, has, besides the right of punishment
common to him with other men, a particular right to seek
reparation from him that has done it: and any other person, who
finds it just, may also join with him that is injured, and assist
him in recovering from the offender so much as may make
satisfaction for the harm he has suffered.

Sect. 11. From these two distinct rights, the one of
punishing the crime for restraint, and preventing the like
offence, which right of punishing is in every body; the other of
taking reparation, which belongs only to the injured party,
comes it to pass that the magistrate, who by being magistrate
hath the common right of punishing put into his hands, can
often, where the public good demands not the execution of the
law, remit the punishment of criminal offences by his own
authority, but yet cannot remit the satisfaction due to any
private man for the damage he has received. That, he who has
suffered the damage has a right to demand in his own name, and he
alone can remit: the damnified person has this power of
appropriating to himself the goods or service of the offender,
by right of self-preservation, as every man has a power to
punish the crime, to prevent its being committed again, by the
right he has of preserving all mankind, and doing all reasonable
things he can in order to that end: and thus it is, that every

man, in the state of nature, has a power to kill a murderer, both
to deter others from doing the like injury, which no reparation
can compensate, by the example of the punishment that attends it
from every body, and also to secure men from the attempts of a
criminal, who having renounced reason, the common rule and
measure God hath given to mankind, hath, by the unjust violence
and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against
all mankind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a
tyger, one of those wild savage beasts, with whom men can have
no society nor security: and upon this is grounded that great law
of nature, Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be
shed. And Cain was so fully convinced, that every one had a
right to destroy such a criminal, that after the murder of his
brother, he cries out, Every one that findeth me, shall slay
me; so plain was it writ in the hearts of all mankind.

Sect. 12. By the same reason may a man in the state of
nature punish the lesser breaches of that law. It will perhaps
be demanded, with death? I answer, each transgression may be
punished to that degree, and with so much severity, as will
suffice to make it an ill bargain to the offender, give him cause
to repent, and terrify others from doing the like. Every
offence, that can be committed in the state of nature, may in the
state of nature be also punished equally, and as far forth as it
may, in a commonwealth: for though it would be besides my present
purpose, to enter here into the particulars of the law of nature,
or its measures of punishment; yet, it is certain there is such
a law, and that too, as intelligible and plain to a rational
creature, and a studier of that law, as the positive laws of
commonwealths; nay, possibly plainer; as much as reason is easier
to be understood, than the fancies and intricate contrivances of
men, following contrary and hidden interests put into words; for
so truly are a great part of the municipal laws of countries,
which are only so far right, as they are founded on the law of
nature, by which they are to be regulated and interpreted.

Sect. 13. To this strange doctrine, viz. That in the
state of nature every one has the executive power of the law of
nature, I doubt not but it will be objected, that it is
unreasonable for men to be judges in their own cases, that self-

love will make men partial to themselves and their friends: and
on the other side, that ill nature, passion and revenge will
carry them too far in punishing others; and hence nothing but
confusion and disorder will follow, and that therefore God hath
certainly appointed government to restrain the partiality and
violence of men. I easily grant, that civil government is the
proper remedy for the inconveniencies of the state of nature,
which must certainly be great, where men may be judges in their
own case, since it is easy to be imagined, that he who was so
unjust as to do his brother an injury, will scarce be so just as
to condemn himself for it: but I shall desire those who make this
objection, to remember, that absolute monarchs are but men; and
if government is to be the remedy of those evils, which
necessarily follow from men's being judges in their own cases,
and the state of nature is therefore not to how much better it is
than the state of nature, where one man, commanding a multitude,
has the liberty to be judge in his own case, and may do to all
his subjects whatever he pleases, without the least liberty to
any one to question or controul those who execute his pleasure7
and in whatsoever he cloth, whether led by reason, mistake
or passion, must be submitted to7 much better it is in the state
of nature, wherein men are not bound to submit to the unjust will
of another: and if he that judges, judges amiss in his own, or
any other case, he is answerable for it to the rest of mankind.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 12:56 pm
How is this not absolute freedom that we are all born with:

TO understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to ordertheir actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.
It is after possessions and the lack thereof for all that we need a social contract. because we cannot do it ourselves because we are too parital.

The last bold is concerning the exectuive power of man to enact justice on the other when a freedom has been abridged.

TTF
0 Replies
 
Hazlitt
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 01:11 pm
Locke and Natural Law
Debra-Law and Thinkfactory, Between the two of you Thinkfactory comes closer to my way of thinking about the relationship of Liberty to Justice.

However, where I differ with you both is that I do not believe in the concept of natural law. All the ideas about Liberty, Justice, and natural law are man made constructs, IMO, and are not a part of and do not emanate from nature.
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 01:31 pm
Locke wrote:

Sec. 87. Man being born, as has been proved, with a title
to perfect freedom, and an uncontrouled enjoyment of all the
rights and privileges of the law of nature, equally with any
other man, or number of men in the world
, hath by nature a power,
not only to preserve his property, that is, his life, liberty and
estate, against the injuries and attempts of other men; but to
judge of, and punish the breaches of that law in others, as he is
persuaded the offence deserves, even with death itself, in crimes
where the heinousness of the fact, in his opinion, requires it.
But because no political society can be, nor subsist, without
having in itself the power to preserve the property, and in order
thereunto, punish the offences of all those of that society;
there, and there only is political society, where every one of
the members hath quitted this natural power, resigned it up into
the hands of the community in all cases that exclude him not from
appealing for protection to the law established by it. And thus
all private judgment of every particular member being excluded,
the community comes to be umpire, by settled standing rules,
indifferent, and the same to all parties; and by men having
authority from the community, for the execution of those rules,
decides all the differences that may happen between any members
of that society concerning any matter of right; and punishes
those offences which any member hath committed against the
society, with such penalties as the law has established: whereby
it is easy to discern, who are, and who are not, in political
society together. Those who are united into one body, and have a
common established law and judicature to appeal to, with
authority to decide controversies between them, and punish
offenders, are in civil society one with another: but those who
have no such common appeal, I mean on earth, are still in the
state of nature, each being, where there is no other, judge for
himself, and executioner; which is, as I have before shewed it,
the perfect state of nature.

********

Man has NEVER had "absolute freedom" to do as he pleases, even if his conduct harms other people. The concept of "absolute freedom" ignores the existence of consequences for conduct that violates the rights of others. The concept of "absolute freedom" defies the absolute truth that other people might not agree that you have the "absolute freedom" to harm them without consequences.

Absolute freedom has never existed and never will exist because if you harm other people, you risk punishment. Freedom has always meant and will always mean the freedom to do as one pleases so long as you don't harm others. You cannot alter that definition no matter how hard you try. You cannot rely upon Locke's writing to substantiate your theory that "Freedom is not having any restraints placed on you - and does not require a concept of justice."


The concepts of freedom and justice will ALWAYS go together. Under the natural law, every man had the power to punish any other man who violated the natural law of equality and infringed upon other people's rights. Today, in a political society as opposed to a natural society, a man may not use self-help or force to enforce his rights and to obtain justice (except in cases of self-defense when force is necessary to save one's life). Under the political power, man has ceded his power to punish over to the common government. Freedom and justice have always been two concepts that exist side by side in the laws of nature and in the laws of the body politic.

The people have ceded power to the government to enact and enforce laws for the common good -- to secure the rights of ALL persons. Because we do not live in the natural state, but all persons live in a political state, freedom is also defined as the right to be free of unreasonable government intrusion in to private matters and infringment of rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Although the government has a long history of regulating private matters, the people are not tolerant of interference in their private affairs.
0 Replies
 
rufio
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 02:01 pm
Freedom is the only true justice.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 04:45 pm
Debra:

Man has always had absolute freedom - Locke just says it is immoral - thus he shouldn't (not that he can't) excersice it.

I will let that be the end of it because I think we are going around in circles.

TTF
0 Replies
 
alikimr
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 09:14 pm
Debra-Law:
Wherever did you get that definition of freedom....
"freedom has always meant and will always mean
the freedom to do as one wishes SO LONG AS YOU DON'T HARM OTHERS" ????
And why do dismiss Locke so casually
because you do not agree with his definition that
'freedom is not having any restraints placed on you'
And where do you get the idea of "the natural law of equality"? The last time I looked at " natural law" it certainly accented that the fittest of the unequals would survive.
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Nov, 2004 05:03 pm
free and equal
I do not dismiss John Locke's writings. You have misconstrued ALL of my posts. When another poster stated his/her opinions were the same as Locke's opinions, I pointed out that there was no basis in fact for that statement.

John Locke has NEVER wrote that freedom means having no restraints and that the concept of justice has nothing to do with freedom. If you want to know what John Locke actually said on the subject matter, read the excerpts that I provided or go to the link I provided and read John Locke's entire Second Treatise on Government for yourself.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 09:23 am
Alkimr:

The posts between Debra Law and I (a he by the way Debra Wink ) rotated - probably ad nauseum to the rest of you - around my statement that justice comes after freedom and that freedom is an absolute (meaning no restraints) - was silimar to John Lockes.

I said that Locke believed that man was born into absolute freedom and that only when resources become scarce and private property has been invented by man is there a need for justice.

Debra was saying that Locke's concept of freedom was intertwined with a concept of justice and thus one did not come before the other - they both came into existence together.

So Alkimr: It appears your post is aimed at me not Debra (and Debra - correct anything above if you think I have summed wrong).

My position was in a state of Nature (which means different things to different philosophers - but we can sum as saying in a very small agrarian society with little contact with other small agrarian societies) man is absolutly free. He is not hindered by anyone because all have enough resources.

That does not mean that he cannot hinder others freedom just for kicks - but that he shouldn't because he has no reason to - thus making it immoral.

It is only when resources get scarce and the society starts arguing over ownership rights that man needs a justice system to enforce those rights.

TTF

p.s. Debra I was thinking about our conversation this weekend and I really appreciate your passionate thoughts - it has made me want to read Locke and Roussau again! There is nothing wrong with an argument that a person believes whole heartedly in. Smile
0 Replies
 
Debater
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 12:28 am
The right to swing your fist stops just short of my chin. By looking at this quote we can see that, while freedom is important, there are consequence for stepping outside of the bounds placed on freedom. The reason these bounds have been placed there are so that we can all live in a society with the highest amount of autonomy possible to each individual. I belive justice is more of a check incase people overstep their right to freedom. Justice is there for the person whose freedom and autonomy has been infringed upon.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 08:37 am
Debater: Exactly.

TTF
0 Replies
 
val
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2004 04:47 am
TTF

As I said before, absolute freedom is impossible. Men are mortal entities. How could creatures with such limitations be absolutely free?
And if all men had absolute freedom, then none of them would be free.

In the "arcadic" rural society you described, there is no absolute freedom. Decisions must be maid according to the caprices of the weather, to ilness, to the care of children, to possible invasions.
And, even in that society no one could say: I have a project in order to improve the produtivity of my land, and I am going to apply it in the next 100 years.

Absolute freedom is absurd.
0 Replies
 
 

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