Freedom


Freedom
Freedom, for people, means not being owned or controlled by anyone else. The best way to describe it is as the opposite of "slavery".
Special cases.
Freedom does not always mean that people do as they want. There are many things that may not let people do that. So freedom is a very political and philosophical idea.
A difficult problem is that sometimes people make bad choices. They may make choices which stop them doing things they want to do later. If they had not been free to make the bad choice, they "would" have be able to do the things they wanted later. So, some people think that it is sometimes OK to control someone else, if it helps that person do things they want in the end.
For example, it is okay to say that a child who wants to get a good job must go to school, because when the child grows up, they will be able to get that job. Or, if a person has decided they do not want to drink alcohol and drive, it is okay to stop them driving if they drink. Because of this, some philosophers (like Isaiah Berlin) think there are two kinds of freedom. They say that not being owned or controlled by anyone else is called "negative freedom" or "freedom from". They believe that there is another kind of freedom called "positive freedom", or "freedom to". Positive freedom is the ability to do all of the things that you can and want to do.
Some people also say that we should stop a person driving if they drink because they might get hurt - even if the person "did" want to drink and drive. Or we should make a child go to school even if they do not want to get a good job in the end, because they might change their mind when they grow up. These may be good ideas, but they are not "positive freedom". It is only "positive freedom" if you control the person now to help them do something that they want to do later, and you know for sure that they want to do it. These ideas are called "paternalism", where you control a person now to do something that you want them to do later, or that you think they should do. "Paternalism" makes a person less free, but it can make their life better, which is another hard question.
Freedom today.
Today, freedom is felt by many to be something that all human beings have from birth, and a natural right. This means that one is free by the fact that they are a human being. As humans, everyone has dignity that must be respected.
Types of freedom.
Some of the main types of human freedom are: freedom to life, freedom of association, freedom of belief, freedom to express oneself, freedom to choose one's state in life. However, the civil constitutions of each country have different definitions of the freedoms allowed to the citizens. It has been argued that any law limits freedom, since it sets limits on what people may do.


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