Written by Christophe Cieters.

Much like “love”, “freedom” may be one of the most misunderstood, over- and misused concepts in human history. One only needs to look at the endless variety of competing ideologies and political parties which universally claim to strive for “freedom” (be it from poverty, inequality, guns, immigrants, homosexuals, infidels, terrorists, drugs, lack of healthcare, lack of housing or education or any other supposed problem, threat or risk), despite their chaotic points of view on almost all issues.[1]

With very few exceptions, even the most brutal wars are fought in freedom’s name according to both sides. These heterogeneous cries – each as zealous as the others – therefore need to be approached with suitable caution as the general use of the term is highly ambiguous and can mean completely different things to different people.

Particularly, the idea that freedom consists of not being exposed to certain perceived risks, dangers or problems (positive liberty), is something altogether different from interpreting freedom as being able to do as one pleases without interference by others (negative liberty).

To be clear, the “positive” and “negative” label does not refer to any kind of value judgment about these two types of freedom. “Positive” merely refers to “the action from others being a prerequisite”, while “negative” refers to “a lack of interference”.

Positive liberty means that certain unwanted obstacles and inequalities (at least those which are perceived as such) are to be eradicated through the creation of provisions (positive) on the basis of what is considered to be important by the provider (which within the context of political philosophy is the external authority in the form of the State). Positive liberty – in presupposing that liberty stems from what is granted and provided by an external party – is the liberty meant by egalitarian and collectivistic ideologies which form the ethical foundation of movements ranging from communism and socialism to “Christian democracy”, Islamism, up to and including what some call “modern liberalism” (Cieters, 2009B). Those adhering to this view claim that “the objective of both justice and poverty reduction should be to expand the freedom that deprived people have, to [enable them to] enjoy ‘valuable’ beings and doings” (Alkire, 2006, emphasis added) through State intervention in various forms and degrees.

Negative liberty on the other hand is “the absence of interference” (Carter, 2003). It is “the area within which the subject – a person or group of persons – is left to do or be what he is able to do or be, without interference by [or interfering with] other persons” (Berlin, 1969). Negative liberty is in short the liberty meant by libertarianism and free market anarchy. It is de facto of lesser importance in other ideologies which universally emphasise positive liberty first and foremost.

An example to clarify this fundamental difference. Say that John considers himself to be an artistic painter. Whether John can paint or not is irrelevant, he is convinced of his own talent and that is all that matters to him. His personal preference would be to spend his days painting, as he believes that this would lead to his enjoyment of his “most valuable form of being” and personal happiness.

Suppose that his paintings have no commercial worth and John is consequently unable to find people who are freely willing to support his activities by buying his paintings or by paying to come and see them, or through whatever other form of funding he could voluntarily get. John in other words would end up poor and unsuccessful if left to his own devices, given his choice to be a painter.

Perhaps the most common cry for “freedom” translates more accurately into a cry for “freedom from material poverty”. If we are to interpret freedom “positively” in this manner, John essentially is to be provided with the option of being a painter, and this without him having to bear the negative consequences which in this case would come with it.

When poverty is not avoided in the first place by giving John subsidies or a replacement income from the very start, the resulting poverty from his choice to be a painter would in the end, like all poverty from a positive liberty point of view, be considered to be a deprivation (Wanderly, 2004). The negative outcome of his choice effectively puts him in a situation where – from a positive liberty point of view – he is to be helped in order to ensure that all (or “enough”, by whatever subjective measure) options and resources remain available to him.

If we are to practically follow positive liberty logic through, John’s poverty is to be ameliorated through governmental intervention. Some form of replacement income would have to enter the picture once poverty sets in. Alternatively, John could have been given subsidies to be a painter from the moment he made his choice in order to prevent that he would end up in poverty, even though it had not yet gotten to that point. It is important to note that, either way, the active external intervention in both cases differs only in timing; whether positive liberty is provided from the start or provided later once the negative effects of John’s choice take hold.

But this help does not magically pop into existence out of thin air. If John is to be provided for, it means that the resources for doing so will have to be provided by somebody else. In practice, these resources will have to be collected from people he might not even know, and who might not even know him either. According to the positive liberty point of view, it is the responsibility of the collective to provide John with the means to live a happy life. But providing him with the positive liberty to do so will come at the unavoidable cost of the negative liberty of a possibly unwilling other person who might not consider himself to be responsible for John’s aspirations and may simply want to be left out of John’s choices and their consequences, regardless of what they are or end up being.[2]

According to the negative freedom concept, John’s autonomous choice would come along with the risk of poverty, with everybody else having a free, voluntary choice to support his activities if they choose to (e.g. by buying some of his paintings or tickets to see them, by hiring John to make similar art for advertisements or decorative purposes, or simply by offering him support through voluntary donations, and so on). But from a negative freedom point of view, nobody would have an obligation to do so.[3]

Individuals arrange their affairs in search for the maximization and possible achievement of their own personal happiness.[4] This means that a crucial feature of humanity as a whole, the fact that interpersonal differences vary enormously and have incalculable consequences, is to be fully taken into account by any framework of human interaction from its very conception (Van Ootegem, 2008). Freedom of choice entails as a direct consequence also the responsibility for the choices that were made and individuals therefore “cannot simply waive their autonomy as they wish” (Fleurbaey, 2005) when faced with the difficulty of choice and the consequences of their actions.

Different people have different aims; even positive liberty proponents generally agree that this must not be lost in the evaluative process when rules and regulations are to be decided upon, as individuals should have the freedom to pursue their respective personally preferred ends (Sen, 2003). However, many people implicitly – yet crucially – add to this that the freedom to pursue whatever end is wished for should be provided when it is absent.[5] Or at least any end which they subjectively consider to be agreeable.

It is at this point that we are directed to the central question of whether the rest of society has any intrinsic duty of guaranteeing and safeguarding the attainment of other people’s desired ends, regardless of their connection and the choices at hand.

Based on a positive freedom interpretation, that responsibility – willingly or not – does exist in various forms, while from a negative freedom approach it does not.

For example, some (e.g. Hartley, 2004) hold that in the “European centralized welfare model”, not to give any benefits to John – the unsuccessful painter mentioned earlier – would “entail a significant element of coercion” towards John, since “article 15 of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights of 2000 confers on EU citizens the freedom to choose an occupation and the right to engage in work”. Not to give John benefits to freely choose his occupation would essentially be a denial of one of his basic human rights (Hartley, 2004). Such an interpretation is certainly in line with the positive conception of freedom and bound to draw the supportive cheers of many.

When we look at it this way, it is no longer “the liberty of the individual [but] the protected standards of this or that group” (Hayek, 1944), and ultimately their supposed right to demand from others what they need, which becomes the paramount consideration of public policy. This type of egalitarianism is collectivistic by default, as it looks to the collective to provide for the individual that which he lacks, be it because of his own fault or as caused by external circumstances.

An often proposed way of dealing with the problem of “wrong choices leading to problematic outcomes” (like John ending up in poverty because he is a bad painter but still chose to be a professional painter anyway) is to have policy makers select the options which are to be provided (Sen, 2003) by taking note of the alternatives available or of the features of the choice process itself (Canoy, 2009). In fact, if options are to be provided for there is simply no way around this.

One basic economic reality is that we live in a world of scarce resources. As a result, not every single option can be provided, and choices on which options to provide will naturally be restricted and weighed against each other in terms of desirability according to the policy maker. Those options that are chosen will in other words probably not be selected completely at random but with a certain aim for their outcome in mind.

Perhaps some examples are in order. When not taking possible outcomes into account, the selection is essentially “blind” and without any reason to provide one kind of choice over another. Using the available limited resources at random without taking the different alternative outcomes of provided choices into consideration means that the choices themselves would effectively also be selected at random. Such a situation could potentially result in something as nonsensical as providing every citizen with a cargo ship full of turnips. However, based on an aimed at outcome (for example access to a certain level of education), a non-random choice could be made to use that same money to fund schools instead, supposing that the provider finds the possible alternatives resulting from providing the choice and outcomes to have a higher education more gratifying than the outcomes that could result from providing the choice of having access to a boatload of turnips to use as one pleases.

Likewise, when outcomes are to be taken into consideration in order to determine which choices are to be provided by policy makers, and while avoiding the possibility of wrong choices leading to problematic outcomes as much as possible, individuals could potentially be tested on various skills and characteristics. In doing so, policy makers could decide who is to be granted the option of taking on a particular profession (painter, accountant, scientist,…) and who is not in order to avoid costly and problematic outcomes for both the individual and his supporting community. In doing so they might deny John the provision of the choice to follow his dream of becoming a painter. A common example are the exit and entrance exams in certain government schools, particularly prevalent in Europe and more so as funds grow more and more restricted (even though taxes keep increasing – more on that later) and policy makers increasingly feel the need to make these choices for the supposed greater good.

It is not too much of a stretch to imagine that policy makers for some reason may see the opportunity cost of wasted potential as a problematic outcome as well. A particularly gifted individual who might not be interested in a particular career can in that case perhaps be limited to options which result in an outcome where his unique skills would be put to their supposed best use. Instead of a skilled painter, the State might conclude that John would be more successful as a production manager or an accountant and provide him with the choice – the provided positive liberty – of getting an education to ultimately choose for either of those two approved non-problematic outcomes. But not a painter like he wanted to.

The options one has available are thereby limited or at least directed towards what is considered to be most beneficial by the policy maker, as it is the policy maker who decides which positive liberties to provide and – more importantly – which not. In a democracy this leaves a disagreeing minority with some fearful prospects.

That this type of planned outcome selection ignores the fact that all outcomes cannot simply be foreseen in advance is one thing. More importantly however, the reason for a certain list of options to be selected is hereby transmuted from “the freedom to act” – which is then no longer essential – to “the possible outcomes” of any action which those options open up and which the policy maker somehow deems to be (un)desirable. It is in other words not the freedom of the individual to choose as he pleases but the preferred outcome according to the policy maker which thus becomes the main concern (Cieters, 2009B).

Suddenly we are faced with a situation where the individual freedom to make choices becomes in effect to varying degrees taken over by the State.[6]

While some egalitarians “recommend equalizing outcomes for people insofar as those outcomes flow from causes for which the person cannot be held responsible, [some – in theory – approve of] differences in outcome insofar as they flow from causes for which the person should be deemed responsible” (Roemer, 1994). However, this gives no answer as to why a person should be responsible for equalizing the outcomes of others when and if those others cannot themselves be held responsible for them, or why that should make any difference. The initial problem of supposedly inborn responsibility towards others remains the same. The varying degrees of assumed responsibility merely reflect the subjective preferences encompassed within an endless variety of positive liberty views and indeed are and have been the source of countless bloody disputes in both past and present times.

While not everybody agrees that we are “our brother’s keeper” (Genesis 4:9-16), most egalitarians unilaterally proclaim that “responsibility is not a value that can justify large inequalities, and especially poverty” (Fleurbaey, 2006). In other words: if there are inequalities, that in itself is a justification to take from those that are better off – through whatever means necessary as the inequality is not to be tolerated – to give to those that are in a relatively worse off position. To them, then, “leaving individuals in a very bad situation just because they are responsible for it seems to emanate from an archaic morality” (Fleurbaey, 2006). Few egalitarians and positive liberty advocates would for example argue that drug abusers should not be helped, or that gamblers and people who took on bad mortgages have absolutely no claims on society whatsoever because in the end they brought their problems on themselves.

If positive liberties are to be provided, there is automatically also a necessity for the resources to do so. If these resources are provided voluntarily then there is no need to start from a positive liberty approach in the first place as they would also be provided under negative freedom conditions. But if those funds are confiscated involuntarily from individuals who do not want to pay for John’s failed career, then the negative liberty of those individuals is violated in function of John’s “positive liberty” to burden others with his problems, even against their will.

While our train of thought started with freedom of choice, a positive liberty approach actually results in exactly the opposite for everybody except the policy makers. Whether this is what its proponents intend or not is completely irrelevant as to how it plays out. In practice it means that it is no longer the individual who is allowed to freely make up his own mind; he remains with only the option to take his pick from the externally allowed alternatives, where disapproved choices may be consciously discouraged or even punished. The freedom of choice is here essentially reduced to its religious sense, where one chooses between either complying with dogma for the promise of heaven, or disagreeing and going to hell (with some help to get you there if need be).

Here we have touched upon the fact that the potential notion of a positive freedom “to be left alone” (i.e. a sort of pseudo negative freedom) cannot coexist with somebody else’s positive freedom “to be subsidized with other people’s resources”. It is clear then that the violation of negative freedom is not a matter of degrees: even when tied to a very long chain, the chain still remains.

If we look at public policy in general with positive liberty as the most pressing concern, at some point policy makers will de facto need to sacrifice negative liberty if positive liberty is to be provided – both are mutually exclusive. This leads us to questioning whether actual freedom of choice is even logically possible from a positive liberty outset, as it effectively tries to attain equality through inequality, paternalism and forced responsibilities where individual negative freedom is merely a second rate concern, if even that.

In its quest for “equality”, positive liberty it ends up corroding the negative freedom of one individual or group to sustain the positive freedom of another, thereby contradicting itself in its supposed quest for equality as it values one group (whose positive liberty is primordial) above others (whose negative liberty is of no concern).

If we shift our focus to negative liberty for a moment, we see that restrictions of negative liberty are actively created; not by natural causes, but through deliberate actions by persons other than the individual himself.

It follows that not all restrictions of possible choices are by default infringements on negative freedom: it is only the restrictions imposed by other people which affect one’s freedom from the negative liberty point of view. Only these inequalities are relevant from a negative liberty point of view: a mere incapacity to attain a goal is in this sense not a shortage of freedom by default. To put it a bit more lyrically: “the free man is the man who is not in irons […], nor terrorized like a slave by the fear of punishment. It is not a lack of freedom not to [be able to] fly like an eagle or swim like a whale” (Berlin, 1969, emphasis added).

The crucial difference with positive liberty is in short that one’s negative freedom does not lie in the existence of provisions (positive) but in the absence of coercion (negative).

In this regard individuals are responsible only for themselves and have no intrinsic obligations or claims towards others (Cieters, 2009). Obligations outside the self do however exist in a negative liberty environment, not as a starting ground like positive liberty would have it, but only as a logical consequence: out of the individual negative freedom not to be constrained by other people automatically follows that one cannot invade the personal spheres of other individuals either.

While “morality is not concerned only with equality” (Sen, 1979), the interpretation of equality, justice and ultimately responsibility makes up any ethical framework’s vital building blocks. I would therefore like to introduce two new concepts to open up the discussion of equality from a negative liberty point of view: natural inequality and artificial inequality.[7]

As “equal inputs do not necessarily give rise to equal outputs” (Hartley, 2004), negative liberty does not set standard-egalitarian equality as a goal. It in fact logically dismisses it. “Men are unequal; individuals differ from one another. They differ because their prenatal as well as their postnatal history is never identical” (von Mises, 1962).

An example will clarify the crux of the matter. Positive rights can, among other things, exist in “the provisions of anti-discrimination laws, which may aim at enabling ethnic minority workers to engage effectively in the labour market” (Browne, 2002), or conversely perhaps even exclude them as “discrimination against discrimination” can go both ways depending on who feels slighted. But in providing these positive freedoms for the ethnic minority workers, the natural inequality as set by the market[8] – where no negative freedoms are being impacted – is attempted to be resolved by restricting the negative freedom of potential employers who from a negative liberty point of view should be allowed to hire who they want on their own terms, with both parties being free to enter into mutual contract or not.

The inequality is in other words not resolved, but replaced from a natural problem concerning person A to an artificial inequality concerning person B, whose negative freedom has now been violated. The only ethical basis for doing so is the particular legislator’s subjective value judgment (Fukuda, 2003) that A’s positive freedom to be employed is more important than B’s negative freedom to hire who he wants. Even if the legislator in our example acts on a democratic principle and in accordance with the supposed will of the majority, this does not help B in any way at all when he disagrees with the value judgments that are being made and which supposedly justify the external interference with his personal negative freedom. In many cases he may even feel that he is being robbed or punished for his own success in order to pay for the failure or possibly merely the whim and unearned greed of another.

It should be clear that a majority vote does not automatically lead to justice; more often than not one can in fact expect quite the contrary. Winston Churchill famously joked that the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.

Especially when dealing with large groups, slave morality[9] and its consequences are never far away: say that person A is in the same position as person B. Keep in mind that we have said nothing about whether or not either A or B are perhaps lazy or unfortunate, rich or poor, smart or not, and whether a third person C is either lucky or hardworking or better or worse off than A or B. This is for the application of an example on the basic principles behind democracy completely irrelevant, which in itself should urge us to proceed with caution. Justice in a moral sense does not matter when a democratic vote is held to be absolute and a majority is thereby allowed to “legally” justify anything it wishes.

We continue our example and say that A and B vote (and thereby effectively unilaterally decide) that C has to share his wealth with them, and that above a certain level of income, “C has enough” and is forced give the rest to them. To enforce this democratic decision – at gunpoint if need be and as it in practice always is, overtly or covertly – would then supposedly be a justified course of action, simply because it was democratically decided as such and the majority legally created the law ex nihilo to which C now supposedly has to comply. If C refuses to pay, even actual use of force and imprisonment or confiscation of his goods is then considered to be authorized in order to take from him what the democratic majority has voted as belonging to the collective (i.e. themselves). C’s negative liberty was voted out of existence in order to provide A and B with the positive freedom to spend his money, and justice in a moral sense never even entered the picture.

To extrapolate this hypothetical situation to reality as we know it is only a difference in scale, the principles fundamentally remain the same. As pointed out earlier, a democracy can therefore be just as oppressive as any totalitarian regime whenever it is left free to impose on individual negative freedom (which it by its very nature always will). The individual living in a democracy is de facto completely subjugated to the whims of the collective, a slave to the perceived “greater good” du jour. Whether or not the violation of negative liberty comes under the guise of democracy is of no concern to its victims, and history has shown countless times and without a single exception that majority rule carries no guarantees for moral justice whatsoever.

Indeed, “the State – or, to make the matter more concrete, the government – consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods” (Mencken, 1919, emphasis added).

Natural inequality comes into existence without intervention, naturally and for all intents and purposes effectively “beyond good and evil” (Nietzsche, 1886). Just like nature itself, the market is in its truest sense naturally amoral.[10]

If we are then to transform natural inequalities into artificial ones, we are in essence required to have morally justified reasons for doing so, otherwise there is no ethical reason to intervene and no moral justification in artificially displacing the burden from one individual to another. This problem manifests itself most clearly when C does not agree to the action being taken: in case he happens to be a minority he simply has nothing to say on the issue when his negative liberty is not upheld as the first and foremost principle of importance within the realm human interaction as a whole.

In light of this, we can now also better evaluate the “transformation of old-fashioned egalitarianism – which wanted to make every individual equal – into group-egalitarianism on behalf of groups that are officially designated as ‘oppressed’. In employment and status generally, oppressed groups are supposed to be guaranteed their quota share of the well-paid or prestigious positions (yet no one seems to be agitating for quota representation in the ranks of ditch-diggers as Hayek used to joke). Spokesmen for group quotas on behalf of the ‘oppressed’ (labelled for public relations purposes with the positive-sounding ‘positive discrimination’) generally claim that a quota system is the furthest thing from their minds: all they want is positive action to increase representation of the favoured groups. They are either being flagrantly disingenuous or else fail to understand elementary arithmetic. If Oppressed Group X is to have its ‘representation’ increased from, say, 8 to 20 percent, then some other group or combination of groups is going to have their total representation reduced by 12 percentage points. The hidden (or sometimes not-so-hidden) agenda, of course, is that the quota declines are supposed to occur in the ranks of designated Oppressor Groups, who presumably deserve their fate” (Rothbard, 1970). But as with any meddling in natural equilibriums, all that such enforced “positive” discrimination amounts to is a new and worse problem in different places.[11]

There are in short grave and inherent dangers if we decide to walk the path towards positive “freedom”. Even in our most basic example, it becomes clear how rapidly the positive freedom of one person comes into conflict with the negative freedom of another who is to directly or indirectly provide that positive freedom for his colleague, willingly at best and at gunpoint if need be. We might do well by keeping in mind the words of Eastman when he wrote in 1940 that “the generation to which we belong is now learning from experience what happens when men retreat from freedom to a coercive organization of their affairs. Though they promise themselves a more abundant life, they must in practice renounce it; as the organized direction increases, the variety of ends must give way to uniformity” (Eastman, 1940).

In opting for positive liberty in the hopes of chasing down Utopia through the fulfilment of their individually provided wishes, positive liberty advocates at the same time also necessarily choose for a violation of their own and their fellow human being’s negative freedom, forcing themselves and – even worse – their fellow men into mutual and collective slavery. We should have no illusions of hoping for “the possibility of a democratic solution of problems which require more agreement among people than can be reasonably expected” (Hayek, 1944), which a positive freedom oriented public policy necessarily requires in order to avoid the real threat and actual use of force against any disagreeing individuals or groups. To provide positive liberties in bulk, one person will at some point be coerced to pay for another whatever is required, willingly or not.

Examples of abuses and atrocities resulting from these aims are rampant. They are the core of almost every violent “revolution” and reign of oppression, exactly because, due to human diversity, the required agreement simply cannot be obtained through voting and any disagreement with positive liberties simply cannot be allowed by those who wish to see them enacted as this would make the whole system collapse from the start. In those circumstances, the non-compliant are branded as traitors to the cause, reactionaries or worse, and when this escalates, as it always does, the pretext of positive “freedoms” is invariably used for even the most horrendous massacres and atrocities.

As our earlier example showed, democratic selection (Deneulin, 2002) brings us no solace for this problem. Perhaps Hayek put it most eloquently when he stated that “it is not the source but the limitation of power which keeps it from being arbitrary. […] Democratic control may prevent governmental power from becoming so, but it does not do so by its mere existence” (Hayek, 1944). Whether this happens consciously or not is open to debate, but the road to hell has more often than not been paved with good intentions. This does not need to surprise, as abuse of power is never far away when those in power believe that they hold the philosophical key to a better future: this sublime end is often used to justify the most drastic and brutal means in the collective minds of politicians and citizens alike (Hoffer, 1951). Through unimaginable terrors and bloodshed, human history itself has shown us that extreme caution is warranted when one hears talk of this “greater good” and all that comes with it.

The central question then becomes the matter of how we can protect ourselves and our fellow men from external coercion which would force our lives into a mould which we may not agree with. Coincidentally, it is exactly this which lies at the basis of freedom of choice: the freedom to construct one’s life as one sees fit (Gasper, 2007). “This can be secured by […] abstract rules that preclude arbitrary or discriminatory coercion by or of other people, that prevent any from invading the free sphere of any other. In short, common concrete ends are replaced by common abstract rules”, a system in which a government, if needed at all (more on that later), “is needed only to enforce these abstract rules, and thereby to protect the individual against coercion or invasion of his free sphere by others” (Hayek, 1988).

Indeed, “making one’s own choices is an essential procedure in learning how to create one’s life. Human life is not simply a series of disconnected acts, because we possess memory, foresight, reason, and many other qualities. One may engage in several series of decisions that build up skills, training, knowledge, wealth, personal relationships, health, family, character, reputation, spirituality, etc. One may engage in acts that provide entertainment, joy, pleasure, satisfaction. One may develop creativity, imagination, kindness, or many other traits. All of this is involved in saying that a person can only flourish by making his own choices” (Rozeff, 2005).

For these reasons and others which will be elaborated upon throughout this book, I hold negative freedom as the central concern, and “positive freedoms” – if one insists on thinking in such terms – to be validated only when and if individual negative freedoms are not involuntarily obstructed; i.e. only if the positive freedoms are unanimously provided voluntarily by all the individuals involved and thereby merely reflect an agreement formed out of individual negative liberty choices.

Having drawn the demarcation lines between positive and negative liberty; where does the justification for negative liberty in itself come from? This is the subject matter of the following Chapter.


[1] E.g. the freedom of immigrants is quite different from the freedom from immigrants.

[2] Many people would perhaps consider art and similar things as “public goods” that the collective is to pay for, whether the individual feels like it or not. More on this in Chapter 5.

[3] In case he is successful, his clients fund his endeavors. In case he is not, his friends and relatives, a mecenas or voluntary organizations that support artists specifically or poor people in general may voluntarily choose to provide for him.

[4] Whether an individual’s intentions when making certain choices match up with the ultimate results of those choices is a different matter altogether. More on this in Chapter 7.

[5] See for example (Fleurbaey, 2006), (Bonvin, 2002) and (Duclos, 2006).

[6] See also Chapter 2. It is for now also good to note that something fundamental like the right not to be murdered is inherent to a negative freedom approach, but it potentially is not to a positive freedom interpretation if that murder is outweighed by some other positive right.

[7] Not be confused with the natural and moral inequality as mentioned by (Rousseau,1754).

[8] Ignoring for a moment that racism to a large degree can generally be traced back to governmental policies which create animosity and mistrust between otherwise peacefully coexisting individuals.

[9] Which will be explained in detail throughout this book, Chaper 4 in particular.

[10] Amoral as in “without morality”, which in no way implies immorality as in “contrary to morality”. For example: is a black hole evil? Is it good? Clearly, it is neither.

[11] Take for example the positive discrimination of women when hiring new police officers by applying lower physical standards to them as compared to their male counterparts in order to pass the necessary tests. To compensate for physical weakness, “women may resort to other means of controlling criminals, in particular by using guns. Guns are a ‘great equalizer’, but they do not completely offset strength differences. Being less able to rely on physical strength to defend themselves from an attack, female officers have less time to decide whether to shoot a threatening suspect. This explains the sharp increase in accidental police shootings that typically follow the lowering of strength standards and the hiring of more female officers” (Lott, 2000).


Christophe is a guns and gold loving anarchist from the geographical area known as Belgium. He spends his days slaying dragons and rescuing damsels in distress, invigorated by bathing in statist tears on a daily basis. He was put on this world to kick socialist ass and chew bubblegum – and he is all out of bubblegum.

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