Western Rifle Shooters Association

Do not give in to Evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bovard: Misdefining Liberty

From Jim Bovard:

The definitions of liberty devised in ivory towers and elsewhere have a profound impact on political and judicial thinking. Regardless of how wrongheaded some concepts of liberty prevalent early last century may now appear, America’s legal structure is now based on those ideas. And that legal structure continues binding today’s citizens to the intellectual follies of previous generations of thinkers and reformers.

The Founding Fathers’ concept of liberty was forged by decades of abuses by British colonial rulers. “The Restraint of Government is the True Liberty and Freedom of the People” was a common American saying in the 18th century. Historian Forrest McDonald wrote that “political discourse [in Revolutionary-era America] was an ongoing public forum on the meaning of Liberty.”

The Founding Fathers’ concepts of freedom fit into the classical British tradition. In 1721, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon defined liberty as “the power which every man has over his own actions, and his right to enjoy the fruit of his labor, art, and industry, as far as by it he hurts not the society, or any members of it, by taking from any member, or by hindering him from enjoying what he himself enjoys.” Adam Smith, in his Wealth of Nations, advocated a system of liberty whereby “every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest in his own way.”

However, changing political circumstances and shifting intellectual tides would eventually help to obscure American thinking...

Read the rest.

How clear is your definition of liberty?


Anonymous Kerodin said...

I stick with Mister Jefferson: Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.

It works for me.

I hope everyone has their own answer.


April 27, 2011 at 6:55 AM  
Blogger GunRights4US said...

Bovard holds a special place of honor for me. I trace my own personal awakening back to a time about 12 years ago when I read his book Lost Rights. Wow! What a wake up call.

As for definitions of Liberty: Jeff was right on - my liberty ends at the point where another's begins.

April 27, 2011 at 7:01 PM  
Anonymous The Spirit of '76 said...

Bovard did the LORD's work with that essay.

It answers the nagging question of "Why?" Our Royal Masters treat our lives with such utter contempt, as an exterminator view the cockroaches he kills.

April 28, 2011 at 12:26 AM  

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