The concept of freedom underlies and motivates all ideologies, doctrines and dogmas of human progress and the objective of social organization and political institutions (Roy 1990). It dates back to man's struggle for existence and accounts for his triumph over nature and pursuits against natural phenomena and his physical and social environments. In the quest for freedom, man must not only attain economic sufficiency and personal security but also live or survive in a social and psychological milieu of external cultural regimentation. Since man remains the measure of the physical universe, any pattern of social organization or political institution should be suited to that condition, which provides him with the greatest measure of freedom or liberty. Freedom or liberty can only mean the elimination of all the physical, social and psychological obstructions to man's achievement of his rational, moral and creative potentials. The only relevant or logical function of social relationships is only to secure the maximum measure of freedom or liberty for individuals as individuals. This is, in turn, the only measure of the significance and justification of any social order. A political system or any economic activity can be suitable only it serves the purpose of the individual's attaining freedom or liberty, not at all a negation of that freedom or its path. The disregard of individual freedom under the pretext of taking full advantage of technology, efficiency and collective effort, whatever that planned economy proposes to achieve defeats the proposition. A planned economy should strive for and guarantee nothing short of the greatest good for the greatest number, the equal distribution of wealth and social justice. The function of any modern revolutionary and liberating social philosophy must reinstate the fundamental concept that man is the maker of his world and he can do so only as an individual with the liberty or freedom which enables him to (Roy).
The existence of a limited government, which will serve as a legal environment can provide the fertile ground, in which individual liberty or freedom can flourish (Lee 1987). This legal environment is based on the concepts of private property and voluntary exchange. But because of the basic economic problem of scarcity, individuals must interact with one another and their interaction must be guided by rules. These rules impose restrictions on human activities and delineate between liberty and license. They are necessary in enforcing order, without which those with superior and unrestrained brute strength could force their will on the weak or inferior. Freedom from rules cannot guarantee prosperity and genuine freedom. When rules are applied generally, they can expand the liberty of all individuals by limiting the actions of each individual. The only guarantee believed to carry this concept through was to concentrate authority in the hands of a select ruler who would require the implementation of these ideals. It was the consensus that such an authority would establish general rules of conduct, which would create an environment wherein desirable results could emerge from the exercise of individual liberty. These rules would also provide and protect individual rights to plan and perform activities and own property without which there would be little motivation for productive endeavor. The rule of private property allows people a large measure of liberty, which makes them accountable for the consequences of their decisions. Each individual owner of a resource becomes fully accountable for the cost of the resource. With this accountability, it was gleaned that it would be quite beneficial to provide people with substantial chances to own property as they chose. The authority to enforce these rules would be the legitimate government, which would serve as an impartial referee, who knew and would implement the agreed rules, observe the behavior of the participants and penalize violators of the rules. A good government would not strive to achieve particular results but would only facilitate the interaction of involved individuals, who would, in turn be free to pursue their respective purposes as long as their activities fell within the scope allowed by the agreed rules. But that government must also be controlled. Unchecked government power would create opportunities for abuse or for some in authority to benefit from it at the expense of other through involuntary transfers of property. That government could reduce private return and destroy its accountability. In such cases, the power it needed in order to maintain free social order could easily be used to undermine it. The only genuine way of controlling a government would be by placing constitutional limits on its activity through constitutionally-based procedures. It would be only by elevating these limits and procedures to constitutional levels that there could be any effective restraint on special interest pressures of politics. Even then, it would not be easy to rewrite a constitution. A truly successful constitution would be derived from customs, beliefs and ethical comprehension rooted in a pre-existing social order. It could guard itself against abuses widely recognized as such by constitutional provisions. At best, constitutional provisions could also check abuses of power only when moral pressure would be mobilized and not overused (Lee).
A constitutional democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people (Quigley 2006). The community has the right and opportunity to participate. The people are the sovereign and ultimate source of authority. Under this system of government, the authority of the majority is limited by legal and constitutional means whereby individual rights and the rights of minorities are respected. It is characterized by popular sovereignty, majority rules and minority rights, limited government and institutional and procedural limitations on powers. These limitations include separated and shared powers, checks and balances, due process of law and leadership succession through elections. The fundamental values of a constitutional democracy are the basic rights of every individual, freedom of conscience and expression, privacy and civil society, justice, equality and openness. A constitutional democracy promotes distributive justice, corrective justice and procedural justice. Equality means equality before the law and economic equality. Constitutional democracies can be organized through unitary systems, federal systems and confederations (Quigley).
A constitutional democracy guarantees and protects personal freedom of religion, opinion and expression, religion, association, privacy, movement, women's rights, and the rights of the child; freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and right to peaceful assembly; freedom from slavery and serfdom, the right to acquire and own property, to choose one's own work, and join or form labor unions. Individuals are also guaranteed equality before the law, the due process of law, comprehensive judicial procedure, public observation, effective presentation, impartiality, reliability, sufficient notice, predictability and flexibility, and detection and correction of errors (Quigley). It lists a series of rights and safeguards for an accused he or she can resort to before his individual freedom or life can be taken away..
Authoritarianism favors authority over individual freedom and subordinates individual rights to the interests of a group, state or institution (Mikuriya 2006). It is based on the belief that the individual does not possess the capacity to decide for himself on activities and matters as the group or state deems. An authoritarian government perceives and presumes that it has the moral imperative to do what it deems necessary to achieve its own agenda, whether to use coercion to enforce its social sanctions to protect the individual from himself or others. It justifies secrecy and disinformation based on mistrust of the individual's use of the information to protect the group or state. The group may be a family, a dictator, or a crown or majority ruler. The rationale derives from the low opinion it holds about the individual. Its power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It is viewed as slavery. Modern technology enables and empowers it to scrutinize the individual citizen, such as through computers. Through it, an authoritarian government is able to conduct systematic surveillance of property, telephone records, credit cards, tax returns, health records, and deeper details of suspects. Authoritarianism is pervasive, general, attitudinal and philosophical. It is efficient and performs best in crisis situations. It renders swift, effective and well-coordinated decisions and actions. Typical examples are military, business and medical teams. It is threatened by critical thinking as a menace, which the authoritarian government must deal with promptly and effectively. Instead, it feeds on ignorance as its important instrument of social control for manipulation of the group or state. It manages information and minimizes the opportunity for queries and dissent. It censors and uses denial as a major technique to avoid embarrassment and loss of credibility. It officially or informally censors. It substitutes faith and conformity for reason and censors, denies and manipulates rather than argues and dialogues. It thrives on the ignorant, the dependent and the fearful to tell them what to do (Mikuriya).
Totalitarianism is that system of government and ideology wherein all social, political, economic, intellectual, cultural and spiritual activities are subordinated to the interests and purposes of the rulers of a state (MSN Encarta 2006). It is a form of autocracy,…