two liberties
May 21, 2014, 12:33 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: ,

Displaying 20140517_164633.jpgFreedom to be involved, and freedom to be left alone in a history that’s millennia old. While the second is how we describe ourselves, the first is the freedom that truly defines and animates us.

The standard source of the distinction between two senses of “liberty” is a speech in 1819 by the great political theorist Benjamin Constant. The first, “the liberty of the ancients,” consists in having a voice into the policies and representatives that govern us. The second, “the liberty of the moderns,” is the right to pursue our private interests free from state oversight or control. Though the liberty of moderns is more familiar to Americans, it is in fact the liberty of the ancients that provides the fundamental justification for the central political ideals of the American Democratic tradition. For example, we have the freedom of speech so that we can express our interests and political views in deliberations about policies and choice of representatives.

Is the United States a ‘Racial Democracy’? By JASON STANLEY and VESLA WEAVER

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I returned to Seattle from 6 months in India last year, and one of the first things that struck me was the silence. The silence and the emptiness of space. A busy road intersection near the house filled mainly with the white noise of tires on concrete. Infact as field recording is my hobby, (I am aware that most of the civic sounds we hear in modern American cities is vehicle generated).
The space between us is vast, people on a bus, will not tolerate a body pressed up against them, a bag or an alternative excuse is generally accepted as the basic perimeter for personal space, which is then extended on the sidewalk.
‘Personal space’ though, now considered an inalienable right has its function but in the bigger picture, is divisive and serves to alienate and estrange you from those around you.

Comment by devtank

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