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Public administration Social Sciences Essay Research (Essay Sample)


what sort of freedom should public seek if any


What sort of freedom should public policy seek to achieve?
Initially I shall reject Berlin’s argument that negative freedom is what public policy should aim for, and also disagree with his notion that political liberty ‘is simply the area within which a man can act unobstructed by others’, instead arguing for an open approach to freedom. I will then argue that effective freedoms are crucial for public policy to acknowledge and that redistribution of income to achieve these resources does not necessarily undermine freedoms in society. From there I will explore internal constraints, namely through the positives of acknowledging the lower and higher self, and the extent to which public policy should be involved. I will then finish by rejecting the extremes of positive freedoms with respect to import attributing desires, and thus show the extent to which positive freedom should be aimed for by policy makers.[Berlin, I. Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1969, p.125)]
Berlin argued strongly for negative liberty in his Four Essays on Liberty, yet I think a useful tool to understand my issue with negative liberty is John Rawls’s veil of ignorance. Let us take two societies, one based on Berlin’s negative liberty, Society B, and one formed from behind Rawls’s veil of ignorance, Society R. In society B, there are no positive freedoms, and in this instance, there is no free healthcare. Child X is born into society B, from a poor family, with epilepsy which is only treatable if the family of X can afford the medicine, which they cannot. X is thus limited in the opportunities she has access to later in life. In society R, X is born into a society with free healthcare, because from behind the veil one would likely support a society with free healthcare in case they be born into a family with mitigating circumstances. Hence, in this society R, X now has access to the medicine, is treated of her epilepsy and is thus free to have as many opportunities later in life as an equivalent without epilepsy. It is logical to see that in society R, X has greater freedom than if she were born into society B, because the access to healthcare has removed the inhibition cause by her epilepsy. Formalised, this argument takes the shape of MacCallum’s formula where:[Freeman, Samuel, "Original Position", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Retrieved 23/11/18 from]

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