Can everyone do absolutely anything they want?
Perhaps you’re wondering, “If everyone is free, does that mean they’re free to do bad things?” Here’s how to think about that…
- You have the liberty to do virtually everything you enjoy
- Reciprocity is required; your neighbor has the same liberty
- But there is a limit to this power, for both you and your neighbors — namely that you cannot injure your neighbor, her person or his property, in the process of enjoying your liberty
If number two wasn’t true — if you didn’t extend the same freedom to your neighbors — soon your liberty would be gone. If number three wasn’t true, your neighbors would quickly band together to stop you!
The concept of Equal Liberty binds together the three concepts above.
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “Your rights stop at the end of my nose.” That’s Equal Liberty!
Equal Liberty is the LIMIT to your freedom.
You have maximum liberty to do as you please, so long as it harms no one else.
- injure others
- damage or steal other’s property
- defraud others
You also have zero “right” to make anyone else pay for the pursuit of your happiness. This too is theft, even if done by majority vote. Your neighbor owes you nothing, except to leave you alone.
Your neighbor has the right do as he or she pleases, no matter how distasteful or offensive you find it, so long as he or she does not injure you or anyone else.
Therefore, you also owe your neighbor nothing, except to leave him or her alone.
Of course, while there is no law for it, kindness and consideration for your neighbor go a very long way and should be socially encouraged.