738. (3-23-2010) (Some thoughts on the difference between “freedom” and “liberty” as seen in English 17th century history.)ATJ It was [the] common-law concept of personal rights, of property rights and liberty that come into conflict, in the reigns of Elizabeth and the Stuart Kings, with the prerogative of the monarch. The way was prepared for a double meaning of the word liberty. It might mean the “libertates” of Magna Carta, which were the privileges of landlords granted by the monarch, or it might mean the liberty to buy and sell, to be free from violence, theft and trespass, derived from the approved customs which constituted common law. The two were inconsistent. One was a contradiction of the other. Freedom, or liberty, in the sense of a grant out of the royal prerogative, stood for a relation of superior to inferior; freedom or liberty in the sense of the common law stood for a relation of equality between members of the same class. The first is more properly to be distinguished as “freedom,” the second as “liberty.” Freedom was a grant of power to participate in the privileges of those who were specially favored by a superior. Liberty was a common-law right to equality of treatment among individuals who belonged to the same class whether privileged or unprivileged. Equal liberty was inconsistent with unequal freedom. It was this contradiction and double meaning of liberty that characterized the long struggle of the 17th century until it was finally closed by the Act of Settlement in the year 1700.
- John R. Commons - Legal Foundations of Capitalism, 1924
740. (3-24-2010) (When thinking about history, and that which is offered through so called schools and universities, remember to consider the following thought.)ATJ Unlike natural scientists who can demonstrate their findings in a conclusive manner by reproducing the experiments that had suggested them, historians operate in the world of impressions that may or may not convince their readers and can never be demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt. Hence, while the former broaden and deepen established truths, the latter keep on revising them. Each generation of historians establishes its claims to the originality on which modern reputations rest by casting doubt on the work of its predecessors, usually by stressing exceptions and nuances. Those who come at the end of the chain, unable to revise the revisionists, sometimes are desperate enough to commit the ultimate revision by declaring historical evidence to be immaterial and even denying that history exists. When this stage is reached – as it recently has been reached with the absurd movement known as “deconstructionism” [sic] – anything goes. It is for this reason that the last word on any given historical subject is often the first.
- Richard Pipes – Property and Freedom, 2000