Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What Is Liberty?

The term Liberty is tossed about with ease. It means different things to different people. Dictionary definitions can be helpful.

My Webster's (1978) says that Liberty is "1: the condition of those who are free and independent; freedom from slavery, imprisonment, or control by another - 2: power to do what one pleases; freedom from restraint".

My Black's Law Dictionary (Revised 4th Edition, 1968) says that Liberty is "Freedom; exemption from extraneous control".

But to be practical, simple freedom is only one component of Liberty. One side of the gold coin shows Lady Liberty standing in her glorious freedom, the other shows an eagle proudly grasping arrows and olive branches.

The counter-balance for freedom is responsibility. Liberty includes a measure of each. One cannot be free and dependent at the same instant.

To Trust Liberty, it is therefore necessary to be both free and responsible; to fly and know that there is no parachute.

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