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Paper Example: Positive and Negative Freedom

3 pages
574 words
George Washington University
Type of paper: 
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Freedom can be defined as the right of an individual to do whatever they want without being restricted or controlled by anyone. Negative freedom is defined as the freedom that consists of freedom from something. On the other hand, positive freedom consists of the ability to do something. In simple terms, negative freedom is freedom from any constraints while positive freedom is considered as the freedom of an individual to achieve their goals and live as they want. One may thus note that negative freedom consists of laws that are geared towards combating discrimination while positive freedom enables individuals on a limited income to lead more fulfilled and meaningful existence. When the two strands of freedom are considered concerning liberal thought, classical liberals often advocate for negative freedom while social liberals tend to favor positive freedom.

The difference between negative and positive freedom is vital in regards to the proper role of the state. It is imperative to note that the objective of negative freedom is to demand a limited role for the state while positive freedom often results in a larger role for the state. From this perspective, the role that the state plays is absolutely vital in depicting the line within liberal thought that exists between the individuals on the right of the libertarian axis and those individuals on the left.

With positive freedom, individuals can take control of their lives. This is because positive freedom can also be comprehended to means the freedom to certain actions of some description. This means that positive freedom facilitates the creation of a welfare state. Negative freedom, on the other hand, reflects the absence of constraints and barriers. Consequently, individuals possess the negative freedom to the extent that certain actions are available to them.

Socialism can be defined as the novel idea that all individuals are created equal. Since individuals are social creatures, they all should have the same voice, especially when controlling the destiny of the society. Socialism is based on collective ownership of the existing, material wealth of humanity and as such no individual-, whether state bureaucrat or capitalist- can utilize the privileged of ownership to control the lives of other individuals. Gulags, oppressive surveillance by secret police, lack of personal liberties and a hyperactive undemocratic hierarchy of bureaucrats are some of the characteristics that represented characteristics of countries that practice socialism. Socialists believe that sharing is better than control in addition to having democracy instead of orders.

Socialism can be viewed as the final victory of democracy in that it gives individuals sovereignty over their lives.

Currently, the barrier that exists to meeting all needs of humanity is not the lack of technology or the worlds material wealth, but how such aspects are controlled and distributed. Socialists are however interested in is forcing individuals to go against their will about giving back the ill-gotten privileges, power and wealth that they stole from them. The main problem with socialism is that it favors authoritarian regimes. Negative freedom, however, consists of freedom from something. In most instances, it is the state. Socialism regards negative freedom and an inadequate account of human freedom. When the notion that law, then there should limit the capacity of action by any individual needs to define a distinguishing line that separates public authority and private life. This means that through political safeguards and enforcing rights against the intervention of the state against people is to mock their negative freedom.

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