Liberty Analysis

 

Introduction

Liberty refers to a state of freedom where individuals control their own actions without being subject to external influence. This occurs when one does not need to depend on another in the performance of their duties. One’s right is free from infringement by a third party. In this assignment, various aspects of liberty are highlighted. Since liberty can take different forms, it is necessary to concentrate on the analysis of each of these forms in order to enhance the understanding of the concept of liberty. In this analysis, a real scenario of a case decided by the Supreme Court is used to enhance the liberty of the individuals concerned. The case selected in connection with this is that of Brown et al vs. Board of Education of Topeka et al, 1954. The concepts of this case will be analyzed in order to bring out the meaning of different forms of liberty.

Self-Government

In terms of self-government, liberty refers to a situation where one can decide on the appropriate course of action without being answerable to any third party. This commonly occurs among countries upon gaining independence. In this case, a state conducts its operations normally without being accountable to any other state or body. The country is considered an autonomous body. It states that individuals have an express right to elect leaders of their own choice without external influence. Self-government, as a pillar of liberty, is not applicable in the case of Brown et al vs. Board of Education of Topeka et al. This is because this case involves violation of the rights of the petitioner who was denied admission to a public school due to racial discrimination. According to John Locke, such power should, however, be subject to checks and balances between various arms of the government. This gave birth to the concept of separation of powers.

Personal Liberties

This is a scenario where one exercises their rights without fear of victimization by any external body. It applies to the freedom of individuals. According to the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, “Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” (14th Amendment). Such a proposition is also upheld by the case of Brown et al vs. Board of Education of Topeka et al that is fully applicable to defining the concepts of personal liberty. In this case, the winning of Brown et al, the plaintiff, will promote personal liberty. This is because Brown’s right to obtain quality education is fully embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. Racial discrimination is a vice that should strongly be fought against to ensure that constitutional rights of individuals are not violated. It includes curbing discrimination in the distribution of job opportunities, as well as other areas of public service. In relation to Locke’s analogy, no individual should impede another person’s liberty, life, as well as possessions. The government function is, thus, to bring a balance in the upholding of such rights.

Independence

As the concept of liberty, independence refers to a state of autonomy of a particular body. For instance, each state is a separate legal entity that is independent of the federal government. Decisions made by one state towards its prosperity are, thus, considered independent. According to Herodotus, “The Persians always considered it a terrible thing to be ruled by the Medes” (Iachetta 127). It, therefore, holds that governments should not be under the obligation to report to others as the principle of non-interference holds. The selected controversy would be applicable to explaining independence of individuals from slavery and oppression. In this case, the winning of Brown et al would promote independence. This is because there are cases of racial discrimination where individuals are judged according to their skin color. They have, therefore, been denied the basic rights that they should get from the government as provided by the Constitution.

  • Living under a government that has limits through the constitution

In this case, individuals are allowed to exercise their rights but without the violation of other people’s rights. James Madison postulated that, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary” (Iachetta 51). This means that the sole purpose of the government is to ensure that as individuals enjoy their rights, they should refrain from infringing the rights of other people. A similar proposition was provided by Hamilton that the government exists “because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint” (Iachetta 15). The controversy case is applicable to explaining liberty in this context. If Brown wins the case, this will mean victory in obtaining liberty under this rule. Since the defendant has denied the plaintiff the right to obtain education, the government should, thus, intervene in ensuring that justice prevails as the Constitution is upheld. For instance, as the media enjoy freedom of expression, they should do so in a manner that no one’s rights are infringed.

  • Having a large area of personal responsibility without help from government

Liberty in this context refers to a scenario where there is unlimited power that is not controlled or restricted by the law. The government does not interfere in individuals’ rights and freedom. In the same manner, the government does not come to the rescue of anyone whose rights have been violated. According to Forrest Macdonald, “Common sense taught that man needed the protection that the sovereign provided against one’s fellow man; history taught that man needed protection from the sovereign as well” (Iachetta 37). The government is, thus, under no obligation to protect its citizens from the infringement of their rights. This can lead to the same government oppressing its citizens. This controversy is applicable to explaining liberty under this context. If the Board of Education of Topeka et al wins the case, this could be a scenario where the government fails to offer appropriate support to its citizens in the context of upholding constitutionalism.

Conclusion

The concept of liberty has, therefore, been analyzed with reference to the controversy in the Supreme Court case of Brown et al vs. Board of Education of Topeka et al, 1954. Each citizen is supposed to enjoy their constitutional rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. It is also important to mention that while enjoying their constitutional rights, one should avoid violating the rights of other people.

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