**The Importance of Restricting Absolute Freedom**
In a world where absolute freedom is often glorified as the ultimate solution, it is important to recognize that this notion is flawed. Complete freedom, while seemingly desirable, would actually lead to chaos and anarchy. To illustrate this, let’s explore the animal kingdom. In the wild, animals are governed by a simple rule: everyone has the freedom to do whatever they please. For example, if a wolf wants to eat a rabbit, it can do so as long as it can catch it. On the other hand, if the rabbit wants to survive, it can run away as fast as it can. In this scenario, freedom becomes irrelevant and power becomes the determining factor. The rule then becomes: everyone can do as they please as long as they have the power to do so. Let’s refer to this as the Jungle Law.
**The Pitfalls of the Jungle Law in Society**
Now, imagine a society governed by the Jungle Law, where every citizen has 100% freedom. While this may initially sound appealing, throughout history, people have struggled to coexist peacefully. In moments of conflict, the one with more power, often a bully, dictates the outcome. If this bully decides to restrict the freedom of others, there is nowhere to turn and no one to appeal to. As a result, an even bigger bully may emerge, establishing their own rules and further limiting individual freedom. Under the Jungle Law, only a few individuals would truly experience freedom, while the majority would become victims of oppression.
**Transforming the Jungle Law: The Civil Law**
To avoid the pitfalls of the Jungle Law, a compromise is necessary. This compromise entails exchanging the “freedom to oppress others” for the “freedom from being oppressed.” Let’s refer to this as the Civil Law. Under the Civil Law, individuals can do as they please, as long as their actions do not harm others. This compromise ensures that while complete freedom is not attainable, everyone can still enjoy a significant degree of freedom.
**The Duality of Rights and Restrictions in the Civil Law**
The Civil Law incorporates two essential elements: rights and restrictions. The concept of rights grants individuals the freedom to do as they please, while the notion of restrictions delineates the actions that are prohibited if they cause harm to others. Modern governments are designed in a way that protects the rights of citizens and enforces these restrictions, resulting in a more humane society.
**The Mutual Exclusivity of Rights and Restrictions**
In the Civil Law, citizens’ rights and restrictions are mutually exclusive. This means that the freedom granted to one citizen must be respected by others. Conversely, any behaviors that are deemed harmful and are restricted to safeguard citizens are automatically prohibited. This creates a balance between freedom and safety, ensuring the well-being of all individuals within society.
**Promoting Economic Productivity through the Civil Law**
One of the remarkable aspects of the Civil Law is its impact on economic productivity. In contrast to the Jungle Law, where power and intimidation are the main drivers, the Civil Law promotes persuasion through the offering of incentives. If an individual wants something from another person, their only option is to convince them to provide it willingly. This requires appealing to the other person’s self-interest and offering incentives that outweigh what is being sought. By removing the use of force, the game shifts from a contest of power to a contest of value creation.
Under the Civil Law, individuals can compete for wealth by obtaining jobs or starting businesses, as long as they can persuade others to exchange money for their offerings. Similarly, they can compete for political power by persuading others to vote for them. This framework taps into the inherent selfishness of human beings, as described by Adam Smith in his theory of capitalism. According to Smith, individuals pursue their self-interest, and through that pursuit, valuable goods and services are provided to society as a whole.
**The Constant Struggle to Uphold Norms**
While the Civil Law offers an ideal framework for amicable coexistence, it is important to acknowledge that individuals carry within them remnants of the Jungle Law. Human selfishness, although restrained under the Civil Law, may resurface if left unchecked. Written rules alone are not enough to maintain a society’s stability; it is the citizens’ commitment to upholding norms that ultimately determines its fate. A society’s history is a testament to its constant struggle against itself.
In conclusion, absolute freedom is not desirable nor sustainable. The Jungle Law, where power is the sole determinant of actions, results in oppression and limited freedom for the majority. By adopting the Civil Law, where individual freedom is balanced with the well-being of others, societies can thrive. This compromise ensures that while complete freedom may not be attainable, individuals can enjoy a significant degree of freedom while living in a safe and productive environment. Upholding norms and restraining human selfishness remains essential to maintain the stability of a society guided by the Civil Law.