Q. “It is a minimum area that is sacred and in which whatever the individual does, is not to be interfered with. The existence of the ‘minimum area of non-interference’ is the recognition that human nature and human dignity need an area where the person can act unobstructed by others.”
Which of the following ideals is referred to in the above paragraph?

[A] Positive liberty

[B] Social justice

[C] Equality

[D] Negative liberty

Answer: D
Notes:

Exp) Option d is the correct answer.

Negative liberty (and not positive liberty) seeks to define and defend an area in which the individual would be inviolable, in which he or she could ‘do, be or become’ whatever he or she wished to ‘do, be or become’.

Negative liberty is the absence of obstacles, barriers or constraints. One has negative liberty to the extent that actions are available to one in this negative sense. Positive liberty is the possibility of acting — or the fact of acting — in such a way as to take control of one’s life and realize one’s fundamental purposes. While negative liberty is usually attributed to individual agents, positive liberty is sometimes attributed to collectivities, or to individuals considered primarily as members of given collectivities.

Negative liberty is an area in which no external authority can interfere. Thus, there is an absence of restraints on the activities of the individuals. It is a minimum area that is sacred and in which whatever the individual does, is not to be interfered with.

Important Tips

The arguments of positive liberty are concerned with explaining the idea of ‘freedom to’. It is concerned with looking at the conditions and nature of the relationship between the individual and society and of improving these conditions such that there are fewer constraints to the development of the individual personality. Positive liberty recognises that one can be free only in society (not outside it) and hence tries to make that society such that it enables the development of the individual.

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