By Veritas Libertatis

It is a folly and a trivial trap to assume people ought to exercise extensive power over other people. While at the same time, it is a folly to assume freedom will survive if people are not restrained. There is a principle stronger than force, that of virtue. A proper and developed control over one’s self will always be stronger than any power an individual can gain over another. History proves that an individual or nation will not long remain in captivity to political power, the only safe assurance of restraint is for an individual to be a master over herself. Virtue is self-control, the journey of a lifetime which masters ones self, and liberty is the end result of a virtuous life. 

There is a significant difference between freedom and liberty: one is political and the other individual. Freedom means being unbound by the government or another person. Liberty according to the 1828 dictionary means “Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind.” It can now be inferred that a person can be free yet not be at liberty. Unless the aim is anarchy, something needs to exercise an active and strong power over people. Instead of resorting to a political resolution to restrain mankind, a free people must rely upon the virtue of the individual, their ability to restrain themselves, if freedom is to last. An individual can and must be her own oppressor. 

The absence of virtue results in an individual who is influenced by their instincts and impulses. Italian poet Dante Alighieri said, “Consider your origins: you were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.” Liberty is our aspiration and virtue the path we take to get there, they coexist and are designed to perpetuate the other. Virtue is vital to liberty, and liberty inevitable to virtue. With virtue men and women can obtain complete control over themselves, their bodies, thoughts, habits, and emotions; this freedom from restraint is liberty.