How Laws Create Freedom

It may seem odd, the notion that laws create freedom, after all, aren’t they that which restrict our freedom, by placing limits on what we can and cannot do?

But this is precisely how they create freedom.

Perhaps its best to explain with a metaphor: the rules of a game.

Not just any game, baseball.

Now, just with some basic implements, a ball, a bat, some gloves, you can do a lot. You can throw, you can catch, you can hit, you can run with the ball, you can tag with the ball.

But watch what happens when you add a rule. Instead of everyone throwing all the time, one person stands in the center of a diamond, and throws towards the batter.

Now you’ve created something new. You’ve created a pitcher. From that one rule, you’ve made the freedom to pitch and be a pitcher. Whereas before, no one could.

And you could add another. instead of running whereever you want, you can only run around the diamond after a hit, stepping on bases along the way.

What looks like a restriction has actually created the freedom to do something new. This rule enables a batter to transform into a baserunner.

Now, if you go through this with all the rules of baseball, you end up taking some basic implements that just about anyone can pick up, and creating something out of thin air. The freedom to play baseball , with which without the rules, no one has the freedom to enjoy or play at all.

Now laws are not rules precisely, but they create the freedom of a nation in an analogous way.

Now I suppose you could go the other direction and create so many rules that you smother the game, and start to eliminate the freedom you initially created. But this is a matter of balance, and justice is about balance, and to notice that too many rules can smother freedom is to notice that the laws themselves must be as just as the justice they wish to give.

79 thoughts on “How Laws Create Freedom”

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