Liberty is the highest political end

| May 24, 2016

If the pinnacle of government is liberty, then surely this includes the freedom to speak and ask questions. Cheryl McDonnell urges us to stand up for people like Duncan Storrar, because the next liberty to be taken might well be our own.

“Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.” Lord Acton

Starting my thoughts with such a statement I must scrutinise the meaning of liberty. Often considered a synonym with freedom it is that, but it is more. Freedom speaks of being at liberty in a physical, speech, or religious, manner being free to move or speak and practice your religion. Liberty plumbs deeper into the human experience.

Liberty includes the freedom to be wrong, the out and out ‘purple is orange’ kind of wrong, and the freedom to be different in your manner of dress, lifestyle, appearance, movement, habits, and in any other way a person can be perceived as being different from other persons in general, the freedom to behave in unique ways, and the freedom to remain in the same house for their entire life and the freedom to move as many times as they are willing and able.

Liberty has but one limit and that is that to enact your liberty you must not bring harm to others.

Liberty is the highest political end.

Let me consider the meaning of ‘political’. Political means: of or relating to the government or public affairs of a country.

The highest political end is then the pinnacle of all that is involved in the public affairs and governance of a country.

If the pinnacle of government is liberty, a freedom to be oneself in whatever manner that is and a freedom to speak and ask questions, then I would submit that Mr Duncan Storrar is nearer the pinnacle of liberty than either our Prime Minister or the Opposition Leader.

Duncan Storrar spoke openly in a public arena on a matter of public affairs. He exercised his liberty, he exercised his highest political end.

Our political leaders have continued to act and respond in a manner that has caused many hundreds of people, legal asylum seekers, to be imprisoned and their free movement limited, their lives and freedoms limited and scrutinised under a tyranny of corporate and political game playing that has no place in a 21st century world, let alone a country whose leaders have had every opportunity of education and enlightenment as to the true meaning of liberty and the very value of liberty. And yet they fail to apply such knowledge and understandings in the undertakings they make on behalf of the country they are meant to lead.

For his part Mr Storrar has been castigated, humiliated and hounded by the media. His life and his family including two children have come to harm because those who would silence him, who would remove his highest political end, who would hack his liberty from him in a single fell swoop have been free to invade his privacy, invade the privacy of his family.

We must all stand up for the liberty of Mr Duncan Storrar because the next liberty to be hacked from its possessor may well be our own.

Cheryl McDonnell
Cheryl McDonnell is a cross-sectional social justice activist and member of Women With Disabilities Australia; People With Disabilities Australia, and NSW Council of Social Services. She is a person with disabilities and the parent of people with disabilities. Cheryl enjoys gardening and the arts.

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