Positive Liberty

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Should the Government Promote Positive Liberty?

The idea of liberty, or freedom, varies between different theorists. One theorist, Isaiah Berlin, focused on the difference between two different ways of thinking about political liberty (Cherniss & Hardy, 2010). Berlin called these two different concepts negative and positive liberty. According to Berlin, negative freedom can be defined as ‘freedom from’, that is, freedom from constraint or interference of others. In contrast, positive freedom can be defined in two ways: ‘freedom to’, that is the ability to pursue and achieve willed goals; and also as autonomy or self-rule, as opposed to the dependence on others (Cherniss & Hardy, 2010). Keeping the idea of positive liberty at
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And are we to presume that if the law doesn’t explicitly say we can do something, we are not allowed to do it? (Keong, 2007).
Another concern expressed by Keong (2007) is the idea that positive liberty means we expect the state to hand us certain things on a silver platter. Positive liberty has been used as a platform to push through ideas such as the principle that everyone is entitled to a minimum income or standard of living, though not everyone is comfortable with the “moral hazard this might evoke” (Keong, 2007). Key questions asked with this in mind include; ‘if you are guaranteed something, will you be willing to contribute back to society for it? Or, will you sit around and collect your entitlements? (Keong, 2007; Haworth, 1991).
After going through what positive liberty is, examples of positive liberty and the debates surrounding positive liberty, the main question running through my head is whether the government should promote positive liberty? While I do acknowledge what Keong says about people expecting the state to hand entitlements over, I think that the government should promote positive liberty to maintain order within society. An image that runs through my head at the thought of the government not promoting positive liberty is one of anarchy. People can do whatever they like with no consequence which to me, breeds chaos all around. At least with positive liberty, people can do what
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