Freedom an emotion

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freedom an emotion

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01.07.01 / 01.06.01


Freedom, an emotion






The lonely person on an island has no idea or vision of freedom. Once the second person arrives a social contract is set up. Now and only now freedom is a matter of concern - for both inhabitants. A suspicion arrives to certainty: Freedom is a function in the sense of  the equation “freedom = f (society)”. Also the suspicion that a comprehensive understanding of society on society is not attainable by principle is becoming a strong statement; so feeling is looking around the corner.

Which of the two inhabitants on the island “is” more free: The leader of both or the one who takes advantage from the leadership of the other? An additional complication results from the frequent dialectical contradiction, i.e. the incompatibility of desires between two or more people claiming a certain freedom. There lies a lost coin on the sidewalk. Who has the right to take the coin? No doubt for liberals: The person arriving first. That means, a second person doesn’t longer have the freedom to take the same coin. Can this be an appropriate setting? Absolutely.

But in a liberal society of free men, freedom should be attainable for everyone. The social moral to this is: "My freedom must be compatible with the freedom of every other person". Does that solve the problem? Not yet. Laws and norms define the rules of the social game. Is the problem now solved? Not yet, because it is - even with the best of intentions - impossible to set up laws for every (future!) case or situation; but the (personal) conscience solves everything that is not regulated by laws. Conscience indicates with the greatest precision whether an action is unacceptably disturbing the freedom of other people. There are, however, many unscrupulous people. The norm "not to interfere with the freedom of other people" and, in addition, a judge are the methods by which such practical problems are solved in a modern society. In doubtful cases, however, the judge also decides according to his conscience. Feeling enters the scene.

Reconsider the coin-case. In spite of the well established norm concerning “the right of first” it is clear that under specific conditions one second person would consider his freedom restricted but an other would not. The busy manager rushing from one appointment to the next will want more freedom; another unemployed manager would be happy to attend such meetings that plague the incumbent manager while this second manager reads books that do not interest the first one at all. The well-known or at least expected conclusion: free or not free is (largely) a question of individual, very subjective judgement. Feeling is full in scene .

So far the considerations by means of generalization. Also analysis leads to the conclusion, that freedom is (to a large extend) a question of feeling. If a set of socially homogeneous individuals is asked about their understanding of any category, such as freedom, it is to be expected that the results will differ both individually and randomly grouped together. Why? Because each human being has his or her own, certainly unique perspective. Above all, the feelings of individuals are heterogeneous. And feeling will differ on time scale also. More diversity desired?

The mother of human action, feeling, dominates the scene, whenever freedom is the topic, whenever freedom is the agenda. The conclusion induce to satisfaction.

On the basis of social ethics, the sense of freedom of every member of society is given (free) space to develop. It is clear that individual wishes of all cannot be fulfilled with necessarily general state laws or rules imposed by any state actor. Bear in mind, that knowledge of society on society will be kept very restricted for ever.

But with certainty applies: Every member of society knows by conscience exactly what to do, what to undertake and what action is to omit.

A strong argument for establishing liberalism as the conceptual backbone of both civil society and the state complex is hereby made clear.






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