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Political freedom (also known as political autonomy or political agency) is a central
concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas A mental representation (or cognitive representation), in philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the bo ...

concept
in
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
and political thought and one of the most important features of
democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the a ...

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 oppression or coercion, the absence of disabling conditions for an individual and the fulfillment of enabling conditions, or the absence of life conditions of compulsion, e.g. economic compulsion, in a society. Although political freedom is often interpreted negatively as the freedom from unreasonable external constraints on action, it can also refer to the
positive Positive is a property of Positivity (disambiguation), positivity and may refer to: Mathematics and science * Converging lens or positive lens, in optics * Plus sign, the sign "+" used to indicate a positive number * Positive (electricity), a po ...
exercise of rights, capacities and possibilities for action and the exercise of social or group rights. The concept can also include freedom from internal constraints on political action or speech (e.g. social
conformity Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natura ...

conformity
, consistency, or inauthentic behaviour). The concept of political freedom is closely connected with the concepts of
civil liberties Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolled bill, enrolling, enactment of a bill, enacting, or promulgation, promulgat ...
and
human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
, which in democratic societies are usually afforded legal protection from the
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
.


Views

Various groups along the
political spectrum A political spectrum is a system to characterize and classify different in relation to one another. These positions sit upon one or more that represent independent political dimensions. The expressions political compass and political map are ...

political spectrum
hold different views about what they believe constitutes political freedom.
Left-wing Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equality, prioritizing it for all people. ...
political philosophy generally couples the notion of freedom with that of
positive liberty Positive liberty is the possession of the capacity to act upon one's free will, as opposed to negative liberty, which is freedom from external restraint on one's actions.Berlin, Isaiah. ''Four Essays on Liberty''. 1969. A concept of positive libert ...
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. The socialist concept of freedom ("liberty") as viewed by
neoliberal Neoliberalism, or neo-liberalism, is a term used to describe the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with free-market In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; ...
philosopher and
Nobel Memorial Prize The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, officially the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel ( sv, Sveriges riksbanks pris i ekonomisk vetenskap till Alfred Nobels minne), is an economics prize administered b ...
Economist
Friedrich Hayek Friedrich August von Hayek ( , ; 8 May 189923 March 1992), often referred to by his initials F. A. Hayek, was an Austrian-British economist, and philosopher who is best known for his defence of classical liberalism. Hayek shared the 1974 Nob ...
is that "the 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 ... the notion of collective power over circumstances has been substituted for that of individual liberty."
Social anarchists Social anarchism is the branch of anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such a ...
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 Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...
as "selfish freedom".
Anarcho-capitalists Anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. It ...
see negative rights as a consistent system.
Ayn Rand Ayn Rand (; born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum;,  – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. She is known for her two best-selling novels, ''The Fountainhead'' and ''Atlas Shrugged'', and for developing a philosophic ...

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. Political philosopher
Alasdair MacIntyre Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre (; born 12 January 1929) is a Scottish-American philosopher who has contributed to moral and political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the natu ...

Alasdair MacIntyre
theorized freedom in terms of our social interdependence with other people. Nobel Memorial Prize Economist
Milton Friedman Milton Friedman (; July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and c ...

Milton Friedman
, argues in his book ''
Capitalism and Freedom ''Capitalism and Freedom'' is a book by Milton Friedman originally published in 1962 by the University of Chicago Press which discusses the role of economic capitalism in Liberalism, liberal society. It sold over 400,000 copies in the first eightee ...
'' that there are two types of freedom, namely political freedom and
economic freedom Economic freedom, or economic liberty, is the ability of people of a society to take economic actions. This is a term used in economic and policy debate Policy debate is a form of debate competition in which teams of two advocate for and against ...
, and that without economic freedom there cannot be political freedom. In his article "Why the Market Subverts Democracy",
Robin Hahnel Robin Eric Hahnel (born March 25, 1946) is an American economist and professor of economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution ...
takes issue with Friedman's concept of economic freedom, asserting that there will be infringements on the freedom of others whenever anyone exercises their own economic freedom. He argues that such infringements produce conflicts that are resolved through property rights systems, and therefore it is essential to decide what is a better or a worse property rights system, yet Friedman simply takes for granted the existing property rights and does not question them. Political philosopher
Nikolas Kompridis Nikolas Kompridis (; born 1953) is a Canadian philosopher and political theory, political theorist. His major published work addresses the direction and orientation of Frankfurt School critical theory; the legacy of philosophical romanticism; and ...

Nikolas Kompridis
posits that the pursuit of freedom in the modern era can be broadly divided into two motivating ideals, namely freedom as
autonomy In developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions ...

autonomy
or
independence Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or Sovereign state, state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. The opposite of independe ...

independence
and freedom as the ability to cooperatively initiate a new beginning. 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 Paul-Michel Foucault (, ; ; 15 October 192625 June 1984) was a French philosopher, History of ideas, historian of ideas, writer, political activist, and Literary criticism, literary critic. Foucault's theories primarily address the relationship ...

Michel Foucault
. It has also been closely identified with certain kinds of artistic and cultural practice by
Cornelius Castoriadis Cornelius Castoriadis ( el, Κορνήλιος Καστοριάδης; 11 March 1922 – 26 December 1997) was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Helle ...

Cornelius Castoriadis
,
Antonio Gramsci Antonio Francesco Gramsci (, ; ; 22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxism, Marxist philosopher, journalist, linguist, writer and politician. He wrote on philosophy, political theory, sociology, history and linguistics. He was a ...
,
Herbert Marcuse Herbert Marcuse (; ; July 19, 1898 – July 29, 1979) was a German-American philosophy, philosopher, sociology, sociologist, and political philosophy, political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Born in Berlin, Ma ...
, Jacques Rancière and
Theodor Adorno Theodor is a masculine given name. It is a German form of TheodoreTheodore may refer to: Places * Theodore, Alabama, United States * Theodore, Australian Capital Territory * Theodore, Queensland, a town in the Shire of Banana, Australia * Th ...
.
Environmentalist An environmentalist is a person who is concerned with and/or advocates for the protection of the environment. An environmentalist can be considered a supporter of the goals of the environmental movement The environmental movement (sometimes ...
s often argue that political freedoms should include some constraint on use of
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
s. They maintain there is no such thing, for instance, as freedom to pollute or freedom to deforest given that such activities create
negative externalities In economics Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behav ...
, which violates other groups' liberty to not be exposed to pollution. The popularity of
SUV A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification Governments and private organizations have developed car classification schemes that are used for various purposes including regulation, description, and categorization of car A c ...
s,
golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" ...

golf
and
urban sprawl Urban sprawl (also known as suburban sprawl or urban encroachment) is the unrestricted growth in many urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. ...
has been used as evidence that some ideas of freedom and
ecological conservation Conservation biology is the study of the conservation of nature and of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction and the erosion of biotic interactions. It is an int ...
can clash. This leads at times to serious confrontations and clashes of
values In ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy ...
reflected in advertising campaigns, e.g. that of
PETA People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA; , stylized as PeTA) is an American animal rights organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of th ...

PETA
regarding
fur Fur is a thick growth of hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular bi ...

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." 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.


History

Hannah Arendt Hannah Arendt (, also , ; 14 October 1906 – 4 December 1975) was a German-born American political theorist. Her many books and articles have had a lasting influence on political theory and philosophy. Arendt is widely considered one of ...
traces the conceptual origins of freedom to
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
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 , 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". Arendt says that political freedom is historically opposed to
sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate a ...
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". 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

*
Academic freedom Academic freedom is a moral and legal concept expressing the conviction that the freedom of inquiry by faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy as well as the principles of academia An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; ...
*
Civil and political rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system ...
*
Decentralization Decentralization or decentralisation is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision making, are distributed or delegated away from a central, authoritative location or group. Conce ...

Decentralization
*
Dissident A dissident is a person who actively challenges an established Political system, political or Organized religion, religious system, doctrine, belief, policy, or institution. In a religious context, the word has been used since the 18th century, and ...
*
Economic freedom Economic freedom, or economic liberty, is the ability of people of a society to take economic actions. This is a term used in economic and policy debate Policy debate is a form of debate competition in which teams of two advocate for and against ...
* Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, which is related to freedom of privacy *
Freedom House Freedom House is a U.S.-based, U.S. government-funded non-profit non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience a ...
*
Freedom of assembly Janitorial workers striking in front of the MTV building in Santa Monica, California">Santa Monica Santa Monica () is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California Los Angeles County, officially the County of Los Angeles, i ...
*
Freedom of association Freedom of association encompasses both an individual's right to join or leave groups voluntarily, the right of the group to take collective action to pursue the interests of its members, and the right of an association to accept or decline memb ...
*
Freedom of movement Freedom of movement, mobility rights, or the right to travel is a human rights concept encompassing the right of individuals to travel from place to place within the territory of a country,Jérémiee Gilbert, ''Nomadic Peoples and Human Rights'' ...
*
Freedom of religion Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in ...
*
Freedom of speech Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philoso ...

Freedom of speech
*
Freedom of the press Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being w ...
*
Freedom of thought Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience or ideas) is the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present s ...
* Global Social Change Research Project * Libertarianism (disambiguation) * List of indices of freedom *
Negative and positive rights Negative and positive rights are rights that oblige either inaction (''negative rights'') or action (''positive rights''). These obligations may be of either a legal or moral character. The notion of positive and negative rights may also be app ...
*
Political prisoner A political prisoner is someone imprisoned because they have opposed or criticized the government responsible for their imprisonment. The term is used by persons or groups challenging the legitimacy of the detention of a prisoner. Supporters ...
*
Right to arms The right to keep and bear arms (often referred to as the right to bear arms) is a right for people to possess weapons A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. ...
*
Scientific freedom Academic freedom is a moral and legal concept expressing the conviction that the freedom of inquiry by faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy as well as the principles of academia, and that scholars should have freedom to teach ...
*
Suffrage Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called a ...

Suffrage
* ''
Two Treatises of Government ''Two Treatises of Government'' (or ''Two Treatises of Government: In the Former, The False Principles, and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, and His Followers, Are Detected and Overthrown. The Latter Is an Essay Concerning The True Original, ...
'' *
World Index of Moral Freedom The World Index of Moral Freedom'World Index of Moral Freedom (WIMF)'' is sponsored and published by the Foundation for the Advancement of Liberty, a libertarian Libertarianism (from french: libertaire, "libertarian"; from la, libertas, "fr ...


Notes


External links

* Alberto Abadie (October 2004)
"Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism"
(PDF). Harvard University and NBER.

* ttp://histclo.com/cih/free.html "Freedom: The Great Gift of the West" {{DEFAULTSORT:Political Freedom Civil rights and liberties Political concepts Social concepts