What is Liberty?
We can all recite the famous line from Patrick Henry’s speech on March 23, 1775. The famous speech ended, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
So, what is “Liberty’?
Definitions vary on what liberty means, but it is often defined as a philosophy. Interestingly, there is a paradox or dichotomy of both positive and negative perspectives that surround the word. In John Stuart Mill’s work, “On Liberty”, he was the first person to recognize the difference between:
- Liberty as the freedom to act, and
- Liberty as the absence of coercion.
Think for a moment about the differences between the two perspectives above. Then think about how they are also related and inter-linked.
Reflect on The Statue of Liberty, which is an artistic personification of the concept of Liberty. Think also about the Liberty Bell, which is a symbol of independence as well as an icon of liberty and justice.
Memorial Day is but a few days away. Take a moment to reflect on the men and women who have gone before us to not only establish, but to protect, our freedoms. It is through their great sacrifice that we are able to celebrate and embrace Liberty, Independence, and Justice.