Here, you will find summaries, questions, answers, textbook solutions, pdf, extras etc. of (Nagaland Board) NBSE Class 11 Political Science Chapter 4: Liberty. These solutions, however, should be only treated as references and can be modified/changed.
Liberty, derived from the Latin word “liber” meaning “absence of restraints”, has been a source of inspiration to millions of people. The struggle for freedom is an unending one. The term implies freedom to act without being subject to any restraint. However, no civilised society could give unrestricted freedom to its members. As T.H. Green puts it, freedom means “doing something worth doing or enjoying”. We need both the freedom of “unhindered choice” in some private spheres, as well as “desirable restraints” on some of our actions.
Liberty has various dimensions, including civil liberty, which can be classified under protection of life and personal liberty, domestic liberty, and freedom of speech and assembly. Racial or ‘National liberty’ also occupies a significant place. According to Hobhouse, every nation has a right to self-determination. No nation has a right to enslave and colonize another nation.
To safeguard the rights and liberties of the people, we need to take a few measures. A democratic form of government bestows upon each citizen the right to participate in decision-making processes. Safeguards afforded by a written constitution, such as the American and Indian Constitutions, guarantee several rights to citizens. Decentralisation of powers is another method to preserve the liberty of people. Rule of law and an impartial judiciary are also essential if we want to protect rights and liberties of our people.
However, liberty does face limitations from legal and social sources. In a democracy, the laws are enacted by people’s representatives. In a civilised society, the institution of law promotes freedom by preventing individuals from taking the law into their own hands. But even in a democracy, all laws do not necessarily promote freedom. Therefore, citizens have a right to criticise and resist such laws as go against the common good. Social constraints, such as caste restrictions, inequality between sexes, and violence against women, also limit freedom.
Textual questions and answers
A. Long answer questions
1. What is meant by Liberty? Examine the Negative notion of liberty.
Answer: Liberty, derived from the Latin word “liber” meaning “absence of restraints”, implies freedom to act without being subject to any restraint. In the words of T.H. Green, freedom consists in “a positive power or capacity of doing or enjoying something worth doing or enjoying.”
Liberty has both a negative and a positive dimension. The negative notion of liberty refers to the absence of restraints or the freedom of “unhindered choice” in some private spheres. However, it is important to note that freedom does not mean the freedom to say just what one likes. For instance, an organisation named ‘Ku Klux Klan’ had started a nefarious propaganda against the Blacks in the United States. It incited the Whites to commit violence against the Black populace. Such a situation compelled the government to take legal action against Ku Klux Klan. Hence, there are “desirable restraints” on some of our actions.
As T.H. Green puts it, freedom means “doing something worth doing or enjoying”. Liberty is not only absence of restraints. It also implies, as stated by Laski “the eager maintenance of an atmosphere in which one can realise his highest self.”
2. Explain the Positive concept of liberty. What is the difference between the negative and positive concepts of liberty?
Answer: The positive concept of liberty, as held by thinkers like T.H. Green, Laski, and Aurobindo, signifies “an opportunity” for you to do something which is worth doing. It is not just about the absence of restraints, but also about the presence of conditions that allow for the realization of one’s highest self. In the words of Laski, liberty means “the eager maintenance of an atmosphere in which men have the opportunity to be their best selves.” This concept of liberty is closely tied to the idea of a social service state, which makes laws to prevent exploitation and promote social morality. Such laws, far from limiting our liberty, go to foster and promote freedom.
The negative concept of liberty refers to the “absence of restraints” or the freedom of “unhindered choice” in some private spheres. It is about the “zone of non-intervention” where individuals are free to act without interference. However, this does not mean the freedom to do just what one likes. There are “desirable restraints” on some of our actions, especially when they harm others or disrupt social order.
On the other hand, the positive concept of liberty is about having the opportunity to do something worth doing. It is about the presence of conditions that allow for the realization of one’s highest self. This concept of liberty is not just about being free from interference, but also about having the means and opportunities to fulfill one’s potential. It recognizes that certain social conditions and services provided by the state can enhance our freedom by enabling us to do things we could not do on our own.
3. Examine the Civil and Political dimensions of Equality.
Answer: Civil Equality can be classified under the following heads:
- Protection of Life and Personal Liberty: It means that no one should be deprived of “life or personal liberty” in an arbitrary manner. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. People are also free as to choosing their mode of life, their clothes’ style, their food and their life style.
- Domestic Liberty: The family including the husband, wife and children, has its own area of activity or interest. Citizens’ ‘Right to Privacy’ should be recognised by law.
- Freedom of Speech and Assembly: Freedom of speech is essential for moral and mental development of a person. Moreover, we cannot mobilise public opinion for or against a cause in the absence of this freedom. This covers the freedom of media as well, i.e., television, radio, newspapers and magazines. But freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to say just what one likes. Some restrictions can be imposed on freedom of speech and assembly in the interests of public order, decency or morality.
- Religious Liberty: The State should not interfere with religious beliefs or activities of people. But the State can make laws which tend to reform society, even if they invade our religious beliefs.
- Freedom of Movement: Right to freedom of movement is also essential for the development of one’s personality. This also includes the freedom to go abroad.
Political Equality, according to Laski, “political liberty means the power to be active in affairs of State”. In particular, it implies these rights:
- The right to vote,
- The right to get elected to the Legislature and other public bodies,
- The right to organise political parties, and
- The right to criticise the government. This right cannot be exercised in a military or an authoritarian regime. Freedom of speech or assembly can have a meaning only in a democracy.
4. What do you understand by Economic and Racial (National) Liberty?
Answer: Economic Liberty implies freedom to acquire, hold and dispose of property. It also includes the right to get a job suited to one’s capabilities. In addition, it encompasses the participation of workers in the management of industries. The real value of such freedom lies in a situation where the Government makes effective arrangements for securing jobs or provides assistance to those who are unemployed. Laws prescribing fair wages and reasonable hours of work should not be deemed as an interference in people’s economic life.
Racial or National Liberty, as enumerated by Hobhouse, occupies a significant place. According to him, every nation has a right to self-determination. No nation has a right to enslave and colonize another nation. Every country has a right to be independent and to choose its own form of government. By the end of the First World War, the concept of ‘Nation States’ had come to dominate political thinking in a big way. After the Second World War, most of the Asian and African countries attained Independence.
5. Discuss the various safeguards for liberty with reference to the following:
(a) Democratic form of Government
Answer: Dictatorship is characterised by ‘Command’ and ‘Coercion’. Democracy, on the other hand, bestows upon each citizen the right to participate in decision-making processes through their elected representatives. According to Quentin Skinner, “liberty and free state go together”. A free state is one that is self-governing.
(b) Decentralisation of Powers
Answer: One method to preserve the liberty of people is to divide the legislative, executive and judicial powers among separate bodies or organs of the government. This is known as ‘Separation of Powers’. The powers have further to be divided between the Central Government and the State Governments. Such an arrangement is found in a federal government. At the same time, local self-government institutions (Municipal bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions) need to be strengthened.
(c) Rule of Law and an Impartial Judiciary
Answer: Rule of Law denotes the absence of arbitrary powers. It means “the rule of law and not of men”. According to Ivor Jennings, “rule of law implies a Constitutional Government as distinct from Dictatorship” or a Police State. Free and impartial judiciary is essential if we want to protect rights and liberties of our people. Moreover, judicial procedures need to be speedy and inexpensive.
6. Why do we need constraints (limitation) on Freedom? What are the legal restrictions on liberty?
Answer: While liberty implies freedom to act without being subject to any restraint, such a notion of liberty is very confusing and vague. No civilised society could give unrestricted freedom to its members. For instance, can we regard such a man as ‘free’ who drinks himself to death? As T.H. Green puts it, freedom means “doing something worth doing or enjoying”. We need both the freedom of “unhindered choice” in some private spheres, as well as “desirable restraints” on some of our actions. A few restraints on factory-owners would make workers’ life just bearable. The modern State is a Social Service State. It makes laws to prevent exploitation and promote social morality. Such laws, far from limiting our liberty, go to foster and promote freedom. Liberty is not only absence of restraints. It also implies, as stated by Laski “the eager maintenance of an atmosphere in which one can realise his highest self.”
Law is clearly an important limitation on freedom. There are many examples of unjust laws, for example, the Land Act in South Africa had reserved nearly eighty-seven per cent of the land for the Whites. The Group Areas Act provided for separate living areas for the Whites, Blacks and the mixed races. Such evil laws were repealed by the South African Government in February 1991.
But all laws are not injurious to freedom. In a democracy, the laws are enacted by people’s representatives. In a civilised society, the institution of law promotes freedom by preventing individuals from taking the law into their own hands. But even in a democracy, all laws do not necessarily promote freedom. Therefore, citizens have a right to criticise and resist such laws as go against the common good.
B. Short answer questions
7. What is the importance of a Written Constitution to protect liberty from being harmed or lost? Mention any three Fundamental Rights given to Citizens by the Constitution of India.
Answer: The importance of a Written Constitution to protect liberty from being harmed or lost is that it provides safeguards. Several rights have been guaranteed to Citizens by the Constitution. Some Constitutions not only lay down the rights, but also provide the means to enforce them. Citizens of India have the right to move the Supreme Court or the High Courts for the enforcement of the rights conferred by the Constitution. Three Fundamental Rights given to Citizens by the Constitution of India are: Equality before law, right to life and personal liberty, and right against exploitation.
8. Comment on the statement “an enlightened public opinion is the best guarantee of freedom and growth.”
Answer: An enlightened public opinion is the best guarantee of freedom and growth. There are various agencies which formulate the public opinion, literary works, parties, associations, voluntary organisations and last, but not the least, Internet. Nowadays the social media and the computer network allow us to connect ourselves with people of world as a whole. People have to be vigilant to save the basic tenets of democracy: justice, liberty, equality and dignity of the Individual. Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.
C. Multiple Choice Questions: Tick (✓) the correct answer.
9. Dictatorship is characterised by:
Answer: (b) Command and Coercion, i.e. making people to do something by using force.
10. Who among the following thinkers held a Positive view of Liberty?
Answer: (b) T.H. Green
11. Which of the following would not be considered a reasonable restriction on freedom of speech?
Answer: (c) A restriction that barred people from criticising the government.
Additional/extra questions and answers
1. What does the term “Liberty” mean?
Answer: The term “Liberty” is derived from the Latin word “liber” which means “absence of restraints”. It implies freedom to act without being subject to any restraint.
2. Who is a moral person according to Ernest Barker’s definition of liberty?
Answer: According to Ernest Barker’s definition of liberty, a moral person behaves in a way that is believed by most people to be good and right.
3. What was the idea of ‘Liberty’ during the 17th and 18th centuries?
Answer: During the 17th and 18th centuries, the idea of ‘Liberty’ indicated “protection against the tyranny of the kings.” What was now wanted was that political decisions should be made by representatives of the people.
4. How did the perception of “liberty” change in the early 20th century?
Answer: Early in the 20th century, people got the feeling that “liberty” must have a deeper meaning than the right to vote in an election. Liberals talked of equal rights and opportunities, whereas Marxists believed that abolition of private property was necessary to ensure both equality and freedom.
50. Elaborate on the definition of liberty as given by T.H. Green.
Answer: According to T.H. Green, freedom or liberty consists in “a positive power or capacity of doing or enjoying some thing worth doing or enjoying.” This definition emphasises not just the absence of restraints, but also the presence of capabilities and opportunities for the individual to engage in valuable actions or experiences.
40. What is a recent example of social constraints on freedom, as revealed by a survey?
Answer: A recent survey of 565 villages in 11 States revealed a social constraint on freedom stemming from caste-based discrimination in India. The survey found that in 38 percent of government schools, Dalit children are made to sit separately while eating. This practice enforces social division and discrimination, significantly limiting the freedom and opportunities of Dalit children. Such constraints, while not legally enforced, can be deeply entrenched in societal norms and practices, making them difficult to overcome.
1. What is the Latin origin of the term “Liberty”?
A. Lex B. Libra C. Liber D. Lumen
Answer: C. Liber
2. According to the 17th and 18th century understanding, ‘Liberty’ indicated protection against whom?
A. Soldiers B. Priests C. Kings D. Merchants
Answer: C. Kings
3. During the early 20th century, what did the Marxists believe was necessary to ensure equality and freedom?
A. Free speech B. Religious freedom C. Abolition of private property D. Right to vote
Answer: C. Abolition of private property
4. According to T.H. Green, what does freedom consist in?
A. Absence of restraints B. Ability to vote C. Positive power or capacity D. Right to private property
Answer: C. Positive power or capacity
5. In Prof. M’ Kechnie’s definition, freedom is the substitution of which type of restraints?
A. Emotional for physical B. Physical for emotional C. Rational for irrational D. Irrational for rational
Answer: C. Rational for irrational
54. According to a survey mentioned in the passage, what was a social constraint observed in government schools in certain Indian states?
A. Dalit children were denied education B. Dalit children were made to sit separately while eating C. Dalit children were given special privileges D. Dalit children were encouraged to overthrow the government
Answer: B. Dalit children were made to sit separately while eating
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