There Is No Paradox of Freedom

5 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2018

Date Written: August 13, 2018


There are only two ways to achieve the discipline required for a stable and efficient society, discipline imposed on citizens from without, a society of group compliance, or the willing self-discipline of citizens, referred to as a society of individual freedom. This essay is about the relationship between freedom of individual action and enforced compliance to group demands. It is a crucial issue in any society dedicated to social development via development of self-discipline in citizens as the means of achieving the discipline needed for a stable society. The paradox of freedom is used to give permission to people to be intolerant toward fellow citizens who they judge offer intolerant thinking. This paper shows the idea of the paradox of freedom is incorrect. That the overriding ethic required in a plural society dedicated to individual freedom is the rule of law which directs every citizen to give due respect to every other citizen and extend to them the right to be different. When the rule of law applied, then there is no such thing as ‘paradox of freedom’. With every citizen expected to act with respect toward every other, and if any offensive ever taken, it is settled by Judicial processes. The social management of inappropriate events must be via initial Police decision, and then must be followed by court decision on whether the actions in themselves deemed offensive. It is the court and only the courts who determine on what is and what is not offensive. The fact some person is offended by some event is not grounds for making such actions illegal. It is beholden on the person taking offense to moderate their emotional reactions and conduct themselves within the bounds of the rule of law and the right of people to be different and to express views contrary to those others may hold. It is the duty of care of Police and Justice system to act if any event to be judged offensive.

Keywords: social justice, social stability, free speech, taking offence, role of Police and Judicial system in a free society, constitution versus culture

JEL Classification: A10, A12, Z13

Suggested Citation

Little, Graham, There Is No Paradox of Freedom (August 13, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

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