Tuesday, April 13, 2010


There has been some discussion in some of my readings about whether liberty or equality is of utmost importance. There seems to be a move in progressive circles to affirm equality over liberty. As equality is about the underpriviledged, the minority or the "outsider". The move toward equality is a global move to universalize resources and opportunities.

While equality is important if one is looking at discrepencies, is equality to be measure by outcome orl in opprotunity? One views equality in absolute terms, while the other affirms individual choice and value of self-responsiblity.

Redistribution of wealth is one such concern for the progressive. This is not about opportunity, but stealing another's goods and limiting free enterprise. Opportunity, on the other hand, is about making sure that another has a right to make a living, or get an education. But, opportunity, again, does not mean prescriptive measures of ensuring ends that may co-opt choices about the type of education or how that education or living is to "be". Again, the progressive wants to assure 'ends" or outcomes.

Liberty is valued by the conservative, as this ensures the right of the individual to take responsibility for self-governance. Self governance is the basis of civil society because laws cannot maintain liberty, as they limit or prescribe behavior. Liberty is about the ability to make life choices, without co-ercion.

Liberty is a value of liberal democracy because it means open, and engaging. And civil society must allow that opennes, otherwise we limit diverse viewpoints, and this hinders the democratic process itself.

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