Do laws increase or diminish our freedom.

Enforcement of laws includes imposing a series of penalties upon those that disobey the law. The penalties usually deprive the citizen of his wealth, his liberty or his life. The severity of the punishment depends on the crime committed. According to accepted norms of humanity and justice only people who commit acts of evil should be punished and so anyone who awards similar punishment to those who are innocent or with some other vested interest in mind finds himself in conflict with law.

(Andersen, 1995)

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The diversity and conflicts of interests among men makes it very difficult to pass a set of laws that will be accepted by everybody. There is also a possibility that a man can change his interests over a period of time. However the only need that remains constant is a man’s need for freedom. Even though individual goals may be different, the desire to have the freedom to achieve a goal can be seen in every human being. There are four elements to a person’s freedom-life, liberty, property and knowledge. ‘As long as a government restricts itself to the function of protecting the elements of freedom and as long as it apportions the taxes and other essential duties equitably, no one can justly complain about its duties’ (Andersen, 1995) history has taught mankind that the violation of another person’s rights should not go unpunished as it can deprive him of his freedom. The relationship between freedom and law is perceived in two different ways. ‘The free market liberal regards freedom as a natural fact- perhaps definitive of the human nature- that the law protects and, where possible, enables those positioned to take advantage of their freedom. In contrast, the social-welfare liberal treats freedom as itself one among many legal constructions that enable humanity to flourish, but just as long as freedom extends to everyone equally’. (Stone, 2007)

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