I suppose, before I get too far into this, I had better define what I understand liberty to mean. There are many types of liberty, some truer than others (mental, spiritual, political etc.), but for the purposes of this blog, I shall stick to the simple negative freedom of not being coerced by another person.
Following on from that, I adhere to the libertarian principle that this freedom from coercion is intimately linked to each person enjoying the positive right to a private domain (house, flat, accommodation etc.) within which he or she is protected from people who would not wish them well. This private domain is fundamental to modern life. It follows a fairly conservative line, I know, but it’s what I believe to be the bedrock of a free society.
Freedom from coercion is important for many reasons, not only fundamentally does it tie in with bigger concepts such as the extended order and how a free society operates, but it also resonates on a personal level. It means that a person is ‘stress free’ and so able to function properly on a day to day basis. Obviously, there are many other things in life that can cause stress, but in my experience, coercion of any kind, whether it be bullying by individuals or organised at a state level, can be one of the most stressful things a person can experience.
As we’ll see later, stress causes things to go wrong on all sorts of ways. Remove stress and we as humans can operate better, both individually and as part of a wider community.