<i>Some Questions of Freedom</i>

Neil MacCormick

in Questioning Sovereignty

Published in print October 1999 | ISBN: 9780198268765
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191713118 | DOI:

Series: Law, State, and Practical Reason

Some Questions of Freedom

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The incompatibility of arbitrary rule with the freedom of humans as individual persons is one crucial ground for valuing that respect for the rule of law which clothes the state with the virtue of being a law-state. Given that these two senses of ‘freedom’ are indeed distinct, two questions merit attention. First, can a country be free from external dominion and yet fail to be a free country from the point of view of its citizens' enjoyment of civil liberty? Second, can individuals have civil liberty even if their country is not a self-governing sovereign state? The answer in both cases appears to be ‘yes’, suggesting that civil liberty is not necessary for national sovereignty and national sovereignty is not necessary for civil liberty. This chapter also discusses the end of colonialism in Europe and the emergence of nationalism and popular self-determination in the context of decolonization, as well as the concept of negative liberty.

Keywords: freedom; civil liberty; sovereignty; negative liberty; Europe; colonialism; nationalism; decolonization; self-determination

Chapter.  4874 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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