Liberalism is an ideology that emphasises personal freedoms, but within liberalism itself there are many people who disagree on the limits of said freedom. Some people believe that there should be unrestricted freedom, the freedom to do absolutely anything, whereas most liberals believe that this is bad. Over the course of this essay I am going to discuss why most liberals think this is bad, and whether they are correct in their opinion. The first reason why liberals do not want unrestricted freedom, is as Thomas Hobbs said, it would lead to a society where people feel insecure, and therefore not actually free.
People that support unrestricted freedom usually have a very positive outlook on human nature, and they believe that everyone would respect each other’s freedoms, if we lived with unrestricted freedom. This is quite clearly not the case, as can be seen from crimes in every society, proving that not everyone is inherently good. Because of this, if we did live with unrestricted freedoms, then “crime” levels would soar, as there would be nothing stopping people from stealing or killing, therefore people would feel very insecure and unsafe.
Another reason why liberals do not want unrestricted freedom is that unrestricted freedom tends to lend itself towards an unjust society, where some are freer than others, as said by John Rawls. This is because some people may have more money (If money were to exist in this system) and therefore be able to be more free than everyone else, as they could buy what they want, whereas less well-off people may not be able to. Also, unrestricted freedom would mean the abolition of private property, so that everyone is free to have anything they want.
This would not work, as people would take too much, until eventually producers, such as bakers, will get tired of people taking all their bread and getting nothing in return, and either close up shop, or start a trading system, using either money or other produce. Either way, this stops the freedom to have what you want, therefore unrestricted freedom cannot work, so liberals do not want it. Another reason why they do not want it is that we live in a society with other human beings, and because of this, we need to be subject to some laws of behaviour.
Without this, people would have no respect for each other, and chaos would ensue, as we would have no core values that make us show compassion, and generosity towards other people. John Locke believed that humanity sticks to some natural laws, thinking that humans are predisposed to help each other, but even with these natural laws, and his positive outlook on human nature, he still thought that unrestricted freedom would be a mistake, as a social contract would be needed for people to be free, which would be decided by the people.
This social contract would outline what you can and can’t do, which is not unrestricted freedom. Also, another reason why most liberals do not want unrestricted freedom, is that they have realised that we do not live in a world where people always guide their actions with moral guidelines. Those who are for unrestricted freedom believe that we live in a perfect world, where every choice we make is governed by our moral guidelines, so therefore everyone would work together for a better society.
This is simply not the case, thanks to things such as greed, many people only think of themselves, and in a situation where unrestricted freedom was the norm, they would just try to get themselves in the best position as possible, be it taking excessive amounts of food that they don’t need, or maybe taking a house that is too big for their needs. Taking all these things may mean that some other people may be missing out on it, and this could lead to people feeling jealous, and asking themselves “If this is freedom, how come I don’t live in that big house?
” This could eventually lead to people taking what they want by force, and chaos would ensue. This shows that because people don’t always follow moral guidelines, it would not work, and most liberals have realised this, and have adapted their views accordingly. Overall, there are many reasons why liberals do not believe in unrestricted freedom, but the matter of fact is, it just would lead to a society of chaos, and would not work, so in my opinion, liberals have the right idea by not condoning unrestricted freedom.