Top Six Kinds on Liberty – Explained!

Liberty is of the following kinds:

(1) Natural Liberty.

(2) Civil Liberty.

(3) Personal Liberty.

(4) Political Liberty.

(5) Economic Liberty.

(6) National Liberty.

(1) Natural Liberty:

First or all, we have the concept of natural liberty which indicates unrestrained freedom to do whatever one likes. Professor R.N. Gilchrist calls it unscientific use of liberty. He defines natural liberty thus; “Everyone has a vague notion of liberty of some kind and a desire for it, but among ten people using the word, perhaps no two will be able to say exactly what they mean, or if they do so say it, will agree with each other in their definitions. This general unscientific use of the word we may call Natural Liberty”.

While analysing his theory of Social Contract, he defined natural liberty as “What a man loses by the social contract he defined natural liberty and an unlimited right to anything that tempts him, which he can obtain”.

Thus, natural liberty seems to be a license rather than a liberty. Natural liberty means absence of all restraints an unrestrained freedom to do whatever one likes. Just a lion is free to do whatever it likes in the jungle, so a man should have unrestrained freedom to do whatever he likes in society.

Thus, it is quite clear that natural liberty is based on sheer force. John Locke maintained that in the state of nature people enjoyed the right to life, liberty and property. But it is absolutely incorrect because it is only the state that guarantees the enjoyment of these rights.

In the absence of the state, the question of the enjoyment of human rights does not arise. In the state of nature people possessed animal powers and not the rights. Rousseau, an ardent advocate of the state of nature, maintained, “Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains”. This statement of Rousseau does not appear sound because the development of human personality is not possible in the absence of society.

And only in society the individual cannot enjoy unrestrained freedom. He cannot act according to his will in society. If he is allowed to do whatever he likes, there will be chaos in society and people will generate into the state of nature as described by Hobbes.

(2) Civil Liberty:

Secondly, we have the concept of Civil Liberty which means the Rule of Law. “Civil Liberty”, according to Barker, “consists in three differently expressed articles; physical freedom from injury or threat to the life, health and movement of the body; intellectual freedom for the expression of thought and belief, and practical freedom for the play of will and the exercise of choice in the general field of contractual action and relations with other persons”.

Civil liberty indicates that absence of those restraints which are not reasonable and legitimate. It refers to liberty enjoyed by man in society. It prevails in the state. It denotes the enjoyment of our rights within the limits of law.

The protection of civil liberty is guaranteed by the law. The protection of civil liberty is guaranteed by the laws of the state. Gettell has very aptly remarked in this connection, “Definite law, sure enforcement and equality before law marked the advance of civil liberty of man to man”.

(3) Political Liberty:

Thirdly, we have the concept of Political liberty which means liberty of citizens to participate in the political life and affairs of the state. By Political Liberty Laski means the freedom of the individual to participate in the affairs of the state. He says, “I can let my mind play freely about the substance of public business. I must be able without let or hindrance to add my special experience to the general barriers in the way of access to position of authority. I must be able to announce my opinion and to concert with others in the announcement of opinion”.

Leacock calls Political Liberty as “constitutional liberty”, and Gilchrist regards Political Liberty as “practically synonymous with democracy”. Political Liberty includes minimum rights. These rights are: the right to vote; the right to contest elections; the right hold public office; the right to express political views and criticize the government; and the right to petition etc.

(4) Personal Liberty:

Fourthly, we have the concept of personal liberty which means the availability of those conditions in which the individual can act as the pleases without being under any type of arbitrary and illegitimate restraint. In the opinion of F.A. Hayek, liberty is a “condition of men in which coercion of some by others is reduced as much as possible in society….The state in which a man is not subject to coercion by the arbitrary will of another or other is often also distinguished an individual or personal freedom”.

Every individual has the right not to permit any other individual to interfere in the affairs of his personal life. Every individual should have the liberty to dress, food, standard of living, marriages, education of children, etc. The state should not interfere in the personal matters of the individual. Such liberty is essential for the free development of human society.

(5) Economic Liberty:

Fourthly, we have the concept of Economic Liberty which means the liberty to earn one’s daily bread. In his book “Grammar of Politics”, while defining economic liberty, Professor Laski says, “By economic liberty, I mean security and the opportunity to find reasonable significance in the earning of one’s daily bread. I must be free from the constant fear of unemployment and insufficiency which, perhaps more than other inadequacies, sap the whole strength of personality. I must be safeguarded against the wants of tomorrow”. In simple words, we can say that every individual, regardless of the distinction of caste, colour and creed, should have liberty to earn his daily bread by fair means.

(6) National Liberty:

By national liberty we mean the liberty of the nation or the country. The following words are engraved on the building of our Central Secretariat, Delhi: “Liberty does not descend upon a person. People must raise themselves to liberty. Liberty is a blessing that must be earned in order to be enjoyed”.

Like individuals, nations also think in terms of liberty. National liberty exists where the nation or the community is independent and sovereign. As a matter of fact national liberty is another name for national sovereignty. Every state or nation wishes to remain free. And without independence the progress of the nation or the state is not possible. In a slave country people cannot enjoy the comforts of life. And whenever a country is enslaved by imperialistic forces, the slave country goes on making efforts and continues to make sacrifices till it succeeds in liberating itself from the clutches of the foreign yoke.

In order to restore and regain its independence, India made unimaginable sacrifices and continually struggled against the Turks, Mughals and British. These sacrifices are well recorded in the golden pages of Indian history Likewise, in the nineteenth century Italy struggled against Austrian yoke and ultimately succeeded in restoring its independence.

The sacrifices made by Italy and the heroic deeds done by the brave leaders of Italy are well-recorded in the golden pages of Italian history. In the nineteenth and twentieth century’s Greece and Bulgaria struggled against the yoke of Turkish Empire and ultimately succeeded in regaining their freedom. In twentieth century, African countries struggled against the yoke of foreign empires and their struggle resulted in the restoration of freedom to most of African countries.

After the attainment of freedom if any attempt to enslave that free country is made, the affected country makes all possible efforts and makes every sacrifice to safeguard its independence. For example, England made every possible sacrifice in order to safeguard the country against the aggressions committed on it by Napoleon and Hitler.

After Independence when India was attacked by China in 1962, again by Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, the Government of India made all possible efforts to defend the country and the soldiers of Indian army sacrificed their lives for the noble cause of safeguarding national freedom and glory. Indian public and all the political parties of India co-operated with the government in that hour of emergency.

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations in addition to a Master's degree in International Security Studies. Alongside this, I have a passion for web development. During my studies, I acquired a strong understanding of fundamental political concepts and theories in international relations, security studies, and strategic studies.

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