Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Positive vs. Negative rights

There's a lot of confusion about positive vs. negative rights, and Reagan's death has caused several columnists to well, confuse them again. Stephen Bainbridge responds to William Saletan and notes some important differences between a negative concept of liberty and the positive rights doctrine.

"Jane Galt" also responds to Saletan and makes the salient point:

"But it is Saletan who appears confused, not Reagan. What he is describing is not liberty; it is security. Security is also valuable and good, but it is not the same thing as liberty."

My mother, of course, always understood the point. When I was a sophomore in college, het up on my brilliance and holding forth on freedom, I asked my indulgent audience of parents, "BUT WHAT IS FREEDOM?!" intending to continue on and explain that freedom means freedom from not freedom to.

But my mother responded to the rhetorical question, dryly noting that "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

[Via Instapundit.com]
[Listening to: Conjunction Junction - Better Than Ezra - School House Rock! Rocks (3:44)]


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