Concerning Liberty and the Justification of the State

Liberty is essentially the freedom to be unbound and uncontrolled. In a state of nature, this condition exists like it should, limitless. However, it is quickly realized that for everyone to have equal liberty, one right must be taken away: the right to invade another’s liberty. But doesn’t this destroy the fundamental purpose of liberty, to have infinite freedom? Of course not, because without equal moderations on everyone’s liberty, their freedom (and far more for that matter) is at stake.

    The justified social contract begins here, with equal liberty.  Protection of equal liberty is the sole reason for the state's existence.  Conversely, if the state of nature were a utopia in which moderated liberty need not be enforced, not even the minimal state would be justified.  That is why the social contract is created by people; they value their freedom, and in a state of nature, it is naked and vulnerable.  Anarchy, however, is only rational when no member of society would invade another's liberty.  When a member of society invades another's liberty, it is in the best interests of the other members to create and enforce a social contract.

However, when anarchy ends and the state begins, where are the boundaries of liberty placed?  The sole purpose for the state's existence is to ensure that no member has the right to invade another's liberty; but where should moderations exist, and where should they be left alone?  Is government intervention justified?

The fundamental conclusion of this work is that when the members of a state of nature mutually consent to a social contract, the government does have the right to interfere in the economy to protect equal liberty.  However, the state is not justified to interfere in the social affairs of the people unless their equal liberty is at state.

It is the libertarian school primarily that supports free market economy with no restrictions.  The rationalization for such a belief is simple: the state has no right to interfere in the economic affairs of the people, as that would invade their liberty.  However, if all members of society are to have equal liberty, a free market economy would only serve a self-destructive purpose.  Free market economies invade equal liberty by limiting socioeconomic mobility and encouraging class separation, and they promote selfish behavior.  

   The glory of The United States of America for the past centuries has relied heavily upon the dream of socioeconomic class mobility.  The classic story of a boy growing up in a poor family and becoming an American business tycoon or politician has never tired.  Sadly, in modern times it is no longer realistic.  The more power and money rich corporations possess, the more permanent our social status becomes.  This clearly limits equal liberty, as those who are not even born yet haven't the slightest chance of changing their socioeconomic future.

Free market economies encourage working because it is paid with personal gain.  From the earliest stages of childhood, citizens are promoted to work so that they can personally benefit as much as possible.  Conversely, in a pure communist society they are encouraged to work because the fruits of their labor are to be shared with everyone, and thus selflessness is supported by the fabric of society.  Free market economies create selfishness, which is a driving motive for not exhibiting strong reciprocity.  Without strong reciprocity, crime and cheating is encouraged, and invasions of equal liberty begin.

The solutions to such invasions of equal liberty rely on controlling the economy in such a way that all citizens are socioeconomically equal.  Communism is one of such solutions.  Economic control, rather than limiting equal liberty, protects it.

On the social spectrum, the protection of equal liberty depends, not upon control, but upon noninterference.  In social policy the government has no right to interfere in the affairs of the people, unless interference is necessary in order to protect equal liberty.  Even in a democracy in which there is a clear majority in support of social interference of such affairs, equal liberty prevails because the only justification for the state's existence is the protection of equal liberty.  Such social invasions of equal liberty include censorship of freedom of expression and the lack of separation between church and state.

Free speech is a fundamental right of the people that is not to be censored or revoked unless it is incitation to irrational violence (including through the setting in which words are spoken).  Of course, there is nothing wrong with allowing alternatives to media that parents deem inappropriate for their children, but to censor free expression is self-destructive.  If a view is, in fact, true, then suppressing it would illusion us into error.  If it is false, then a refutation of the unspoken view would not exist and we would miss the opportunity to strengthen the truth; to even begin to justify censorship of a "false view" one would have to be infallible.  To censor such views would be to invade equal liberty to speak and to reason.

Separation between church and state is designed to protect human worth and equal liberty.  A lack of this separation dooms the state to corruption.  When the state forces its religious views onto its citizens through the social contract (or when it forces anything for that matter), it robs from them the right to choose, which is what liberty revolves around.

The sole purpose of the social contract is to protect and moderate equal liberty; therefore, the only justification for the existence of the state is to do so.  The minimal economic state, the free market, does not protect equal liberty; instead, it destroys it.  The solution depends upon government intervention in order to ensure that all citizens are socioeconomically equal.  On the other hand, the government does not protect equal liberty by interfering in social affairs, but by maximizing the freedom of the people.  Failure to do so results in corruption and, most importantly, the invasion of equal liberty.  The state has an obligation to enforce the maxim, "The freedom to swing one's fist ends where another's face begins."  Anything more or less is not justified.