Subjugated to be Free, or Free to be Subjugated?

If your definition of liberty allows one group to restrict the freedom of another group, has your definition of ‘liberty’ become a synonym for ‘superior’?

Perhaps there are two definitions of liberty?

The first definition asks: if liberty does not protect me from the power of others over me, how can I be free?

The second definition asks: if liberty does not protect my right to amass power for myself, how can I be free?

In the first case, liberty is protection from external subjugation.
This is equity through legislating shared access to power.
This is liberty as the antithesis of being oppressed.
This is freedom in the sense of living among equals.
Here, freedom of speech protects the voice of the minority speaking truth to power.

In the second case, liberty is the right to consolidate power.
This is equality in the license to centralize influence.
This is liberty in the sense of rising above the crowd.
This is freedom in the sense of opportunity to become greater.
Here, freedom of speech turns into a monopoly on rhetoric, brandished by the power majority.

Critics of the first definition ask: does defining ‘liberty’ as ‘equitable rights afforded to everyone by an institution more powerful than anyone’ leave anybody free?

Critics of the second definition ask: does defining ‘liberty’ as ‘equal opportunity to take advantage of one another’ leave anybody free?

What does liberty mean to you?

If your definition of liberty culminates in restricting the freedom of others, how do you distinguish between your definition of ‘liberty’ and your concept of ‘oppressor’?

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