“Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
One of the most polarizing elements within modern politics is the transient, constantly changing definition of the term “Liberty”. Both Conservatives and Liberals frequently argue over its connotative meaning, and this serves as one of the most vehement conflicts between the two opposing sides of the political spectrum. But what, exactly, is the historically accurate, practical interpretation of Liberty?
Liberty is the voluntary decision to be held accountable for one’s actions, and responsible for the consequences that result from them. This definition necessitates that American citizens understand the responsibility of their actions, and their respective results. While we possess the Constitutional liberty to express our individual opinions freely, we are also bound, both personally, and publicly, to the consequences of those statements. We possess the intrinsic right to the freedom of speech, expression, and assembly, at the trade-off of being held accountable for the methods by which we exercise those inalienable rights. Conservatives understand this connotation of Liberty as being a cornerstone philosophy of the Right.
The left, however, has dangerously distorted the term “Liberty” into becoming synonymous with absolute anarchy. The notion that we are to be held responsible for our actions is entirely dismantled as being discriminatory, prejudiced and unfair. Justice is completely disregarded in favor of a post-modern society that is entirely devoid of accountability. Such a society cultivates generations of juvenile, obnoxious individuals that seek to undermine all forms of objective criticism, quality and meritocracy. Instead of advocating the principle of “Quality over quantity”, they attempt to dispense with all qualitative standards; the great are brought down to the level of monotonous mediocrity. To be held accountable for one’s actions is now racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic. Race, sex, religious ideology or sexuality is now considered an ample reason to be granted immunity to all forms of constructive criticism and accountability.
The most prominent demonstration of how “Liberty” has been grossly distorted within modern society may be found within the Libertarian party, a battleground for this precise debate. While Conservative Libertarians insist that Liberty is, indeed, a responsibility that must be preserved for American citizens, liberal libertarians instead argue that pure anarchy, and its consequential chaos, is a recipe for genuine freedom. Liberty that ensures Constitutionally guaranteed rights that preserve freedom of speech and expression is then distorted into the “Right” to smoke marijuana and participate in promiscuous homosexual sex. Such a distortion is not only a tremendously reprehensible abortion of what Liberty actually is, but it is also an instrument of deception that is used to prevent future generations from becoming responsible American citizens.
The Founding Fathers possessed an inherent understanding in the actual meaning of Liberty, that originated from their own responsibility that they bore upon their shoulders in the foundation of our Constitutional Republic. It was in this confidence that our Constitutionally guaranteed rights were established in the first place, and such an understanding must be preserved in continuity, if true Liberty is to ever survive in America.