Saturday, May 16, 2020

Freedom from Parties

Speaking of freedom, as I was the other day, this local news piece is interesting. It's about police breaking up a large house party, but their intervention is not what's portrayed as restricting freedom. Rather, one anonymous local resident is quoted as saying:

"How disgusting it is for these scum to use that treasured day [VE Day] as an excuse to break many laws and impinge on the personal freedom of a quiet residential area. Welcome to the lawless Wild West of Southampton."

It seems odd to speak of the personal freedom of a quiet residential area, rather than of people, but perhaps this is simply shorthand for the residents of said area. But it also seems odd, to me, to phrase the complaint in terms of personal freedom at all. One certainly can - they were not free to sleep, because of the noise - but I don't know whether the language of freedom helps here.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Freedom and Liberty

If I'm teaching freedom again, then this piece - about 'liberate' protests against lockdown - looks like it could make for an interesting (though probably not by then so topical) discussion piece. As the author puts it:

"Liberty is a type of freedom defined and limited by civil society. It is not an unrestrained, unchecked license to do whatever one desires. Rather, liberty is a right constituted by the society — or, here, nation — one lives in."

This would pair nicely with Bernard Williams' essay 'From Freedom to Liberty', which makes a similar distinction between 'primitive freedom' and 'liberty as a political value' (though it's been a while since read this piece and I don't recall it being very accessible).