Freedoms are not the same as Liberties. Freedoms imply capacity for, or absence of obstacles to pursuit of noble objectives such as marriage, raising children, generating income, pursuing a career etc.
Freedoms always connote responsibilities, rights, and restraints.
Liberties imply capacity for choice of lifestyle. Absent safeguards, a push for liberties can generate chaos in society.
If everyone has unconstrained right to defining of their lifestyles, what is to stop a medical doctor from defining ‘prescription of wrong drugs’ to be a liberty? What is to prevent a man from defining pathological murders of strangers at night a personal liberty? Each of these illustrations of ‘liberties’, known or documented to have occurred in society, pathological murders more so than deception by medical doctors.
In the United States, people desire to take drugs (expressions of personal liberties), yet the government fights tooth and nail to prevent drugs from getting to such people. Drugs only hurt people who take them, render them incapable of output and productivity. In the fight against drugs, the U.S. Government declares it cares so much about people’s capacity for maintenance of their freedoms it fights tooth and nail to limit their liberties — access to drugs that only hurt themselves.
The fight against drugs in United States is stark evidence for presence of dichotomy between freedoms and liberties. Even more stark is the fact that taking of drugs (demonstration of a liberty) is harmful to people’s capacity for maintenance of freedoms (capacity for output and productivity in just about every sphere of life).
Up until some shootings in recent times — the shooting in South Carolina at a church consisting mainly of African American worshipers in particular — hate speech from certain white supremacist groups was considered expression of freedoms — the speech had yet to translate into hateful actions, could be regarded as nothing but harmless within-group vitriol. Consequent on said shootings, the FBI is noted to have taken actions to ensure hate speech on the internet associated with the shooting was taken down.
The moral? Whenever freedoms devolve into liberties that are harmful to others, well functioning civil governments respond appropriately, impose restraints on persons who exhibit harmful liberties.
The actions of the FBI demonstrate clearly that hateful speech against others is tolerated as a freedom only if it does not translate into harmful actions against targets of such speech.
Whenever people misinterpret freedoms to be liberties, well functioning governments ensure misinterpretations of freedoms are not indulged, ensure misinterpretations are discouraged, mitigated, prevented.
Well functioning Civil Governments ensure freedoms do not devolve into liberties.
In pursuit of liberties, there are instances of which people have fought against their very own freedoms. Perhaps the most famous case in point is the fight taken up against Julius Caesar by the Roman Senate.
Now, before you accuse me of lining up with tyranny, before you accuse me of opposition to democracy, consider carefully the following evidence.
Subsequent to assassination of Julius Caesar, Rome was ruled by Emperors, never again was ruled by Senators. Senators became sidekicks to Emperors.
We are talking here of rulership by Emperors for the next 500 years until Rome first was sacked about 454 AD (there continued to be emperors in the Western Roman Empire, but they were a shadow of what Roman Emperors had been in past).
But was Julius Caesar not assassinated because supposedly he sought to become Emperor?
If Senators assassinated Julius Caesar for pursuit of democracy, why were future Emperors celebrated, not merely tolerated or assassinated?
Based on the evidence — submission of the Roman Senate to all Emperors that came after Julius Caesar, and there were many, both good (Constantine the Great — 306 to 337 AD) and evil (Diocletian — 284 to 305 AD)— clearly Julius Caesar could not have been assassinated because he sought to be Emperor. The truth lost in popularization of dramatic renditions of supposed friendship between Julius Caesar and Brutus is the fact that Julius Caesar was assassinated because he cherished freedom over liberty. The Roman Senate wanted liberties for itself, eschewed a man who stood for self discipline characteristic of respect for rights, responsibilities, and restraints, characteristic of pursuit of freedoms.
It is pursuit of liberties (absence of restraints), as opposed to pursuit of freedoms that makes Roman Senators tell a man — Julius Caesar , who had spent the last 18 months of life conquering territory for benefit of same senators — that they would hear him only at their own leisure or pleasure.
On receipt of the news that the Roman Senate, people who stood to benefit the most from his victories via allocations of governorships, lands etc. to their relatives and people for whom they were benefactors would hear him only at their own pleasure, Julius Caesar marched on Rome.
The march on Rome led to many battles (from 49 to 45 BC) subsequent to which Julius Caesar emerged victorious.
Perhaps you are not aware of this most salient fact, which is, Brutus, prime assassinator of Julius Caesar, had allied against Julius Caesar in the civil war that had ensued, had lost alongside the opposing General, Pompey.
Subsequent to his victory, and as gesture of goodwill, not only was Brutus pardoned, he was allowed to retain all of his stature in Roman society, did not lose a single right or privilege from opposition to and fight against Julius Caesar. Same magnanimity was offered not only to Brutus, but to all who had opposed Julius Caesar.
Have you ever heard of a dictator or tyrant who kept detractors who already had tried to oppose him, who already had tried to kill him in power, in wealth, in influence?
Brutus, a man who could not command an army would not share rulership with a supposed friend, Julius Caesar who treated their disagreements merely as a disagreement, who made possible the wealth of the Roman Empire. Still think Brutus really was a friend to Julius Caesar?
Whenever people pardon others merely for stoking of their very own egos, they never allow the pardoned maintenance of prior status. They go to extreme lengths to ensure deterioration in stature, sometimes banning such people to some extremity of geographical location. In the allowance of all those who opposed him to maintain their prior stature in society, Julius Caesar demonstrated he was acting in best interests of the Roman Empire, not embarking on some self aggrandizing desire for rulership or dictatorship. Julius Caesar demonstrated that he was fighting so freedoms could rule over liberties.
On the night Julius Caesar was murdered, he was to discuss his vision for the Roman Empire with the Roman Senate.
Dictators and Tyrants do not discuss, they demand.
If Julius Caesar was guilty of any vice (sic), it was believing that doing good to those filled with hatred can make friends of enemies. But then, how else can belief in freedom live?
Without able, respected Generals such as Julius Caesar, the Roman Senate could not have conquered the then known world.
In fact, for many years subsequent to the civil war induced by the assassination, Rome would not produce any great Generals until perhaps Constantine the Great who became Emperor in 306 AD after yet another round of civil war within the Roman Empire.
In the decision to assassinate Julius Caesar, Rome subsequently would attract only Generals willing to wield a heavy hand, the sort of heavy hand that avoids fates such as that of Julius Caesar. Subsequent to assassination of Julius Caesar, the Roman Senate never again would wield the sort of power that enabled assassination of a Julius Caesar.
Respect for freedoms implies the Roman Senate would regard Generals as co-rulers deserving of respect, as co-rulers whose voices needed to be heard. In the decision to treat Julius Caesar as an underling, the Roman Senate demonstrated lack of restraint characteristic of demonstration of liberties. Rightly so, Julius Caesar acted like a free man, a man who believes in freedoms, marched on Rome with his conquering armies.
It is important to note that the current arrangement within which Generals serve to protect a territory cannot be compared with a time within which wealth commanded by the Senate was itself outcome of strength and wisdom of Generals.
History gets the story of Julius Caesar right. But then most people only have seen or heard about the dramatization, have not read the story for themselves.
It is true Julius Caesar died via assassination, but it also is true all those who assassinated him died eventually. Commonality of death, and possibility of murder of good men is the reason people are celebrated on basis of how they live, is the reason billions of people deem a man crucified on a Cross by his people and the Roman Empire (Jesus Christ) a good man.
Freedoms are worth a lot more than liberties. If the current generation of people living on planet earth chooses liberties (absence of restraints) over freedoms (rights, responsibilities, and restraints), it is guaranteed such a course of action will turn out a travesty of gargantuan proportions. If you are in doubt, just ask the post-Julius Caesar Roman Empire.
Post assassination of Julius Caesar, Rome traded opportunity to be guided by a principled good man for what exactly?
Civil war between potential successors lasted from 44 to 31 BC. Octavian — Emperor Augustus — the General who won out eventually assumed powers greater than sought by Julius Caesar, reduced the Roman Senate to a shell of itself. From that point on, Rome would be ruled by authoritarian Generals — Generals less likely to discuss their vision with the Senate.
Consider the following descriptions of Emperors that succeeded Emperor Augustus by Roman Historian Tacitus, as rendered by Professor Erich C. Gruen of University of California, Berkeley (in Roman Civilization, pg. 127, in Part I of History of the World, Earliest Times to the Present Day, Hall, J.W. (ed.), World Publications Group, MA).
Ancient writers dwell endlessly on the personalities, foibles, and wickedness of the rulers. It was an obsession in imperial historiography. Even the greatest of Roman historians, Tacitus, writing in the early second century, focused almost exclusively on court intrigues, and political machinations within the royal family, and struggles for power in ruling circles. Tacitus has left unforgettable, if somewhat one-sided, portraits of the emperors: the dour, hypocritical and misanthropic Tiberius (14–37 AD); the psychopath Caligula (37–41 AD); the hen-pecked and physically repugnant Claudius (41–54 AD); the fanatical esthete and cruel egotist Nero (54–68 AD).
Seneca, the famous Stoic quoted by many today was not celebrated, was executed by Nero. Apostles Peter and Paul of the Christian faith are believed to have been executed by Nero. I could go on and on, but the point of importance already is established. Whenever society executes a good man who seeks to rule for the benefit of the people, it attracts the worst sort of vagrants to same office.
Giving in to liberties (a sense of entitlement without regard to what is proper, noble, or right) creates chaos and disorder. Celebration of freedoms (rights and responsibilities, with each inclusive of restraints respected by everyone) is essence of progress and prosperity of all societies.