“In the most basic sense, what does liberty mean?”
Every person has limited liberty, by nature. What activities and options avail us, as being opportune during a particular small span of time ahead, while otherwise proceeding toward subsequent spans of time ahead, are naturally constrained very greatly, for us all, as has always been the case, since we each were born. This is the nature of good living, and thus these limits to our individually-generated and individually-maintained liberty, are merely intrinsic, as made so by the limits of our being human and of our presently living in this natural world.
“Let’s not take liberties with other persons, in an accident of effort to be the provider of greater liberty to any of those persons, for it would detract from at least some of those persons’ own liberties. An exception of course, would be in some case if those persons were not of the power to act on ownship liberty much at all, such as if incapacitated.”
There is no need to maximize or optimize liberty. No human can be two entirely different places simultaneously. No human can proceed through much more (ultimately optionally) necessary (or needed) intermediate stages or steps to gain what ends are desired or wanted. (What was wanted was the option, and having previously preferred otherwise changes upon reconsideration, or changing ones mind in reaction to ever changing circumstances.)
I don’t believe any human would want to be pushed overly hard to increase beyond such beautiful and natural limitations, merely because another person wants so very much for him or her to have more. Ultimately those who wish more upon us, are on a few sometimes doing a great deal for themselves, in their quest to go for the gold medal of giving, which is self-blind excessively selfish in some very rare cases I think, in a blindness to ones own motivators and satisfying self-drivers to the extent of very poor self-restraint and self-inhibition. This is called selfless behavior, and is worse for us to engage in than moderately and fairly selfish, surely. Everyday selfish between two or more selves does work out, as it is declared and not self-unaware. Whether it is a blind determination that caring and giving are always beneficial to others (which is very questionable, and may ostensibly benefit the recipient in some blatant criteria, while otherwise actually harming briefly the recipients quality of life) or being blind to the thrill of caring and giving (maybe with it hiding behind idealism as no self-service, when it really is of great self-service) or being sold on parenting other adults to produce what is best for them, in a philosophical framework focusing only on material status, and devoid of valuing the self-guidance and self-individual actualization, when self-determination vs others-determination ebbs and flows. Poor self-determination and too much actualization by others, instead of the self, may seem worth providing what’s “better” but for a recipient of giving, but loss of self-actualization to be overly actualized by others, who are not in parental care rights over a person, would be not what’s best for that person, but what’s nearly worst for me, regardless of other trappings.
To summarize, I once phrased it that the American Dream was maybe to self-determine to a large degree, though of course willing to be effected by the slef-determination of others, and how their lives impact ours. Getting to make your own bed (even if it is a poorly made bed doomed to have ill effects) as an adult, and then sleep in self-made beds, is an American Dream to me. I have never parented children or young adults, but I know I was parented well by my two parents and three older brothers who were active parts of the process, and were the touchstones by which the policies and workings for me had been improved year by year, before I even was born. However, I would imagine that some parents are very keen to not stealing away too much self-determination by parental oversight. Likewise, some healthcare professionals seem to have developed a way to perform their care and give function in such a way as to allow the cared for to find it a bit stiff, and so the professionals do not try to make it intimate and do not ask for it to be much liked, and they allow and create for some colorful attitude defiant a bit of the process.
I am not suggesting that those with purview (regular interaction with another to know of daily or weekly status, thus familiarity) and parental or healthcare roles should not find it rewarding to do their care and giving. It is a matter of degree in one way, and it is a matter of back and forth timing to have the care giver back off and be on the receiving end in ebb and flow interplay. I do not want to disparage the value and satisfaction we get out of giving and caring, or it would be impossible for me to enjoy giving to anybody. Imagine a post office game whenby the charitable giver would not know if the gift got to a suitable target, or if it got randomly tossed out in the trash, with no indication ever or receipt. Preparing such a charitable gift would be nearly impossible, without the self feeling personal reward and gain from the act of contributing to another, in a real self-feedback to real frontiers and potentials. The possibility of the gift or charity going to nowhere would demoralize or steal the spirit of the giver greatly, and that giver would have higher morale and spirits if the game were that the charitable gift were to fall into the wrong hands and enrich some bad influence, for then the giver would have a personification of an enemy to threaten their gift, to blame on or curse at with some morale and spiritedness, rather than the threat of post office toss in the trach when never getting to know as the greatest morale stealer or spirits stealer. Thus spirits are not just measured as up when glad, but also when frustrated or put off a bit angry, which is better than the hollowed out spirits with nothing to be glad of, and nothing to fight against or rant about.
A potential increase in liberty (typically after a minor decrease in individual liberty, such as in the case of decreased liberty to speak much) for a particular person aiming to do something, as measured versus that same person’s in going liberty, presents a realm of issues of no concern to social contract theory, unless such increase in personal liberties were to infringe or infract on the fair and reasonable liberties of other persons, by way of being obtained in a way unfairly costly to others.
In assessing conflicts between two or more persons’ liberties, it is never an issue to social contract theory that someone gained too much reward, pleasure, or advantage in attaining greater liberty than others. Rather it is only if and when an other person’s liberties are infringed or infracted upon in an unfair and unreasonable way, that informal casual amends or apologies might be made, or police or legal action taken, in more severe cases. (Verbal self defense is fair and reasonable, if one might wonder as to when infringements or infractions might happen fairly that are well below the bar of legal action. Arguments do happen.)
What sometimes precipitates these conflicts? It is never someone wanting too much gain that is the sign of trouble. After all, young children gain much in a visit to an amusement park for roller coaster rides. Instead, it is a matter of respecting what has been done unto the somewhat accosted, without rushing in to the rescue, and doing worse thereby. I care not if someone is enjoying him or her self greatly in life. That would be good news for him or her.
This all amounts to a sensitivity and mercy upon the degradation or sad loss of basic and fair liberties for the somewhat downtrodden, instead of an envious sensitivity to the successes or gains of the fortunate. The ugly grind of some overly judgmental policing of other persons’ everyday solo enjoyable-enough activities, manifests in a bitter and resentful manner, and misses the point of social contract. Social contract is entered into upon merely real-time concurrently inhabiting landscape with more than one other person within range of seeing us physically there, and thus within range of us having social effect on him, her, or them.
Social: him and me. Social: they and us.
As already mentioned, fair and reasonable liberty can still be fairly poor in nature, and impoverished of better conditions of living, and in want of better opportunity. A danger in sympathy for those whom we could assist or sponsor, is embodied in an all too common twenty-first century mindset, which believes that aggressive intervention into a person’s management of his or her own affairs, for the goal of doing what is best for him or her, is not only justified, but fulfills a noble and worthy ideal. This is not so. A person who stands in poor conditions for life’s liberty is better equipped to make good on his or her life’s restricted opportunities, only if free of meddling and intervention. An adult is best served by the freedom to chart his or her own course, without other persons coming to the enslaving rescue, or forcing what is supposedly better upon another less fortunate person.
Only if a fellow adult has purview with another, can my liberty theory condone very mild and tentative pushes upon others in the name of what is best for them. A man or woman is rather better off to be allowed to suffer the consequences of poor choices or inept choices, instead of being prevented from such actions by any aggressive altruist socially applying pressure to the extent of coercion against a person’s right of way to possess their own life’s decisions. Purview is only the case between close friends and relatives, and if those persons interact with one another regularly enough to have currency in familiarity with the other(s).
Social contract theory is not only about criminal and legal infringements and infractions. My liberty social contract theory addresses every interaction between persons, even at the most casual level. That is not some effort on my part to judge overly much so, but rather only to put forth that liberty social contract theory nonstop applies to every little breath of life, rather than just dramatic and intense activities between members or citizens of societies.