>Liberty versus Equality: Where do you stand?

>Do you want to be free?
Do you want to be considered as equal to others?

What’s the right balance to strike between the two, and is there a country that you can point to as a good example?

3 comments

  • >There clearly is a trade-off between the two. 100% liberty means freedom to do whatever you want, no matter who it impacts upon. Hence 100% liberty means very little equality. Yet on the other hand 100% equality means you eat the same things, get the same salaries etc etc and are not individuals.I think the greatest balance (but by no means the right balance) is achieved in Western countries, where your right to do what you want is respected up to the point where your choices enfringe upon the liberties of others. Clearly this balance means that the state limits the liberties of others to enfringe upon other's liberties. Yet as Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau once said, you need to trade some liberties in order to get the benefits of a state and government.Taxation is the most obvious example of where government enfringes upon the liberties of its citizens. But this is where it becomes really subjective. What is an enfringement of other's liberties? What is the desired level of equality?I'm of the opinion that such government powers should be used to ensure equality of opportunity, and a minimum standard of living. Equality should be pursued to the extent that homelessness, starvation, thirst and malnutrition are eliminated. Yet it should not be pursued beyond the point where progression is no longer possible, with one exception. The exception to this is that the government should be able to cap wages at a maximum level through taxation. This way the actual salary can still increase and hence be used as a sign of success. Yet the top 0.1% of the population cannot get hundreds of times the amount of wealth and income that those on the lowest incomes get.They're examples of where things should move more towards the left. Yet liberties have been eroded for many different reasons over the past couple of decades. For instance the amount of information that can be accessed about everyone over the internet is quite frightful, and there we need to restore certain eroded liberties as we come to adjust to this technological revolution in which we are living.

  • >Most rebels, or people that are fighting against their country because they want something more… are looking for both liberty and equality. While it is impossible to have both at its fullest, it isn't a "Equality 43% and Liberty 57%". Liberty means that eveyr citizen is free. Equality means that no one suffers more/less and that no one gets paid more/less. In this case, if you pursued a college education while the other ended at high school, then equality cannot be applied here, because one party obviously worked harder than the other.http://sonanddad.blogspot.com/

  • >Thanks for your comments Joe. You have some great shots on your site too.You defined Liberty and Equality. Yet that is according to your subjective definitions of the two concepts. You say "it is impossible to have both at its fullest" and you are right. Someone who believes in complete equality might say that it is unfair to give more to those who were simply born clever. They might say that that person who finished education in high school suffered through the first part of his/her life not fitting in and feeling inadequate, whereas the other was happy being succesful and therefore the one who ended in high school should be given at least the same economic gains in later life.Of course you are right that it is not a matter of numbers. Yet there is certainly a trade-off nonetheless. Take Eritrea as an example of somewhere that believes in and employs policies based on this trade-off. They've been independent for 19 years and yet had a media clamp-down and no free elections for 10 years. Why? You could argue many reasons of course, but the official response is that those liberties are curtailed in order to protect the people's safety and therefore equality. The last time there was a free media there were media attacks on different groups of people that caused instability. Now of course you and I may argue that such a response is 'wrong', but you must accept that the argument is one of opinion. There argument about the existence is justified, and indicative of many third world countries who believe in this trade-off. The belief is that increasing liberties in an unstable country provokes more instability and therefore the erosion of particular people's safety and equality.

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