Posted on the gates enclosing the prison at Guantánamo Bay is the institution’s motto “Honor Bound to Defend Freedom.” Another sign, posted by a regime on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum is displayed above the gates at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex. It reads “Arbeit Macht Frei” or “Work Makes Freedom.” This book asks how freedom has come to be intertwined with violence in the Western political tradition. At the same time, it recovers events and ideas that are often overlooked in traditional histories of the West and finds a submerged counter-tradition of nonviolent resistance to the mainstream of political thought. It proceeds thematically instead of chronologically, exploring in turn liberation (Part I), the defense of freedom (Part II), and the freedom to rule over others (Part III). The final section of the book develops a concept of nonviolent political freedom (Part IV).
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