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Liberalism and freedom

Freedom—the liberation of desire from restraint by other people’s understanding of the good—is central to liberalism. It follows that liberalism is incoherent. The problem is that freedom has to be freedom to do something in particular, and goals conflict. As a result some particular goals, and thus some freedoms, have to be chosen over others. So freedom cannot be an ultimate standard. A substantive understanding of the good always comes first. The writings in this section discuss the contradictions, and the tyrannies and obfuscations, that arise when the attempt is made to put freedom first.