On one side of the coin is insulation from economic insecurity, acute lack of opportunity, and deprivation of social capital. I call this “freedom from poverty,” where poverty comes in many forms but always has the same effect: it robs us of the operational capacity to exercise most freedoms, and interferes mightily with exercising liberty. Another way to describe this is for everyone in society to be provided the same existential foundations and available choices — a level playing field across many dimensions of life that liberates us from being oppressed and restricted in real terms.
The other side of the liberty coin is collective agreement to support the liberty of others, regardless of who those others are and whether they are “just like me.” This equates a high level of tolerance and acceptance of differences between people. However, the presumption is that many core values are shared across all differences, so that this collective agreement is not too onerous, distasteful, or amoral. We agree to operate a certain way as a society so that everyone else’s freedoms are maximized. This is the basis of the rule of law.
Good government’s role is to facilitate both sides of the freedom coin when society is not able to do so on its own. When societies are culturally immature — as is the case with the U.S.A where I live — they require a bit more involvement from government to create both freedom from poverty and an effective rule of law. When the citizenry is morally immature and generally ignorant, government intervenes to create “civil society” by bolstering these two arenas. Over time, as societies mature into a more morally advanced arrangement and all citizens acquire broader foundations of knowledge, government’s role can attenuate as both sides of the liberty coin become the de facto reality of cultural practices and standards; that is, civil society can be supported increasingly by perversive culture rather than by government.
The common denominator for all such arrangements is progressive democracy, where citizens have increasingly direct control over how both freedom from poverty and the rule of law are implemented in their community, region, and nation. Democracy becomes a sort of banking system that stores up and protects this wealth of liberty and regulates how it is exchanged and shared within society. But again, democracy can only be effective in this regard when citizens are maturing morally and accumulating sound knowledge.
How to effectively encourage, fortify, and enhance the moral creativity of society so that our “freedom coin” is actually increasing in value has been a long-term aim of my research and writing. For more on this and all-of-the-above, please see the resources below.
Level 7 Philosophy
The Goldilocks Zone of Integral Liberty
Private Property as Violence
My 2 cents.
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