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Political freedom
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{{redirects here|Freedoms|other uses|Freedom (disambiguation){{!}}Freedom}}{{Liberalism sidebar|Ideas}}Political freedom (also known as political autonomy or political agency) is a central concept in history and political thought and one of the most important features of democratic societies.Hannah Arendt, "What is Freedom?", Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought, (New York: Penguin, 1993). Political freedom was described as freedom from oppressionIris Marion Young, "Five Faces of Oppression", Justice and the Politics of Difference" (Princeton University press, 1990), 39–65. or coercion,Michael Sandel, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010). the absence of disabling conditions for an individual and the fulfillment of enabling conditions,Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (Anchor Books, 2000). or the absence of life conditions of compulsion, e.g. economic compulsion, in a society.Karl Marx, "Alienated Labour" in Early Writings. Although political freedom is often interpreted negatively as the freedom from unreasonable external constraints on action,Isaiah Berlin, Liberty (Oxford 2004). it can also refer to the positive exercise of rights, capacities and possibilities for action and the exercise of social or group rights.Charles Taylor, "What's Wrong With Negative Liberty?", Philosophy and the Human Sciences: Philosophical Papers (Cambridge, 1985), 211–229. The concept can also include freedom from internal constraints on political action or speech (e.g. social conformity, consistency, or inauthentic behaviour).Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance"; Nikolas Kompridis, "Struggling Over the Meaning of Recognition: A Matter of Identity, Justice or Freedom?" in European Journal of Political Theory'' July 2007 vol. 6 no. 3 pp. 277–289. The concept of political freedom is closely connected with the concepts of civil liberties and human rights, which in democratic societies are usually afforded legal protection from the state.

Views

Various groups along the political spectrum naturally differ on what they believe constitutes true political freedom.Left-wing political philosophy generally couples the notion of freedom with that of positive liberty, or the enabling of a group or individual to determine their own life or realize their own potential. In this sense, freedom may include freedom from poverty, starvation, treatable disease and oppression as well as freedom from force and coercion, from whomever they may issue.Classical liberal Friedrich Hayek criticized this as a misconception of freedom: [T]he use of "liberty" to describe the physical "ability to do what I want", the power to satisfy our wishes, or the extent of the choice of alternatives open to us [...] has been deliberately fostered as part of the socialist argument[.] [T]he notion of collective power over circumstances has been substituted for that of individual liberty.Friedrich August von Hayek, "Freedom and Coercion" in David Miller (ed), Liberty (1991) pp. 80, 85–86.Anarcho-socialists see negative and positive liberty as complementary concepts of freedom. Such a view of rights may require utilitarian trade-offs, such as sacrificing the right to the product of one's labor or freedom of association for less racial discrimination or more subsidies for housing. Social anarchists describe the negative liberty-centric view endorsed by capitalism as "selfish freedom"."Anarchism FAQ".Anarcho-capitalists see negative rights as a consistent system. Ayn Rand described it as "a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context". To such libertarians, positive liberty is contradictory since so-called rights must be traded off against each other, debasing legitimate rights which by definition trump other moral considerations. Any alleged right which calls for an end result (e.g. housing, education, medical services and so on) produced by people is in effect a purported right to enslave others.{{citation needed|date=April 2016}}Some notable philosophers, such as Alasdair MacIntyre, have theorized freedom in terms of our social interdependence with other people.Alasdair MacIntyre, "The Virtues of Acknowledged Dependence", Rational Dependent Animals: Why Humans Need the Virtues (Open Court, 2001).In his book Capitalism and Freedom, American economist Milton Friedman argues that there are two types of freedom, namely political freedom and economic freedom. Friedman asserted that without economic freedom there cannot be political freedom. This idea was contested by Robin Hahnel in his article "Why the Market Subverts Democracy". Hahnel points out a set of issues with Friedman’s understanding of economic freedom, i.e. that there will in fact be infringements on the freedom of others whenever anyone exercises their own economic freedom and that such infringements can only be avoided if there is a precisely defined property rights system—which Friedman fails to provide or specify directly.JOURNAL, Hahnel, R., 2009-03-01, Why the Market Subverts Democracy, American Behavioral Scientist, en, 52, 7, 1006–1022, 10.1177/0002764208327672, 10.1.1.563.8688, BOOK, Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman, Milton, University of Chicago Press, 1962, According to political philosopher Nikolas Kompridis, the pursuit of freedom in the modern era can be broadly divided into two motivating ideals, namely freedom as autonomy or independence and freedom as the ability to cooperatively initiate a new beginning.Nikolas Kompridis, "The Idea of a New Beginning: A Romantic Source of Normativity and Freedom" in Philosophical Romanticism (New York: Routledge, 2007), 32-59.Political freedom has also been theorized in its opposition to and a condition of power relations, or the power of action upon actions, by Michel Foucault.Michel Foucault, "The Subject and Power" in Paul Rabinow and Nikolas S. Rose, eds., The Essential Foucault. It has also been closely identified with certain kinds of artistic and cultural practice by Cornelius Castoriadis, Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse, Jacques Rancière and Theodor Adorno.Environmentalists often argue that political freedoms should include some constraint on use of ecosystems. They maintain there is no such thing, for instance, as freedom to pollute or freedom to deforest given that such activities create negative externalities, which violates other groups' liberty to not be exposed to pollution. The popularity of SUVs, golf and urban sprawl has been used as evidence that some ideas of freedom and ecological conservation can clash. This leads at times to serious confrontations and clashes of values reflected in advertising campaigns, e.g. that of PETA regarding fur.John Dalberg-Acton stated: "The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities".BOOK, The History of Freedom and Other Essays, Acton, John D., 1907, Macmillan, London, 4, Gerald C. MacCallum Jr. spoke of a compromise between positive and negative freedoms, saying that an agent must have full autonomy over themselves. It is triadic in relation to each other because it is about three things, namely the agent, the constraints they need to be free from and the goal they are aspiring to.JOURNAL, MacCallum, Gerald, July 1967, Negative and Positive Freedom,weblink The Philosophical Review, 73, 3,

History

Hannah Arendt traces freedom's conceptual origins to ancient Greek politics. According to her study, the concept of freedom was historically inseparable from political action. Politics could only be practiced by those who had freed themselves from the necessities of life so that they could participate in the realm of political affairs. According to Arendt, the concept of freedom became associated with the Christian notion of freedom of the will, or inner freedom, around the 5th century CE and since then freedom as a form of political action has been neglected even though, as she says, freedom is "the raison d'être of politics".Hannah Arendt, "What is Freedom?", Between Past and Future: Eight exercises in political thought (New York: Penguin, 1993).Arendt says that political freedom is historically opposed to sovereignty or will-power since in ancient Greece and Rome the concept of freedom was inseparable from performance and did not arise as a conflict between the will and the self. Similarly, the idea of freedom as freedom from politics is a notion that developed in modern times. This is opposed to the idea of freedom as the capacity to "begin anew", which Arendt sees as a corollary to the innate human condition of natality, or our nature as "new beginnings and hence beginners".BOOK, On revolution, Hannah, Arendt, Penguin Books, 1965, 9780140184211, Reprinted, London, 211, 25458723, In Arendt's view, political action is an interruption of automatic process, either natural or historical. The freedom to begin anew is thus an extension of "the freedom to call something into being which did not exist before, which was not given, not even as an object of cognition or imagination, and which therefore, strictly speaking, could not be known".Hannah Arendt, "What is Freedom?", p. 151.

See also

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Notes

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External links

{{Liberty}}

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