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Freedom Without Violence$
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Dustin Ells Howes

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199336999

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199336999.001.0001

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Nonviolent Political Freedom

Nonviolent Political Freedom

(p.162) 8 Nonviolent Political Freedom
Freedom Without Violence

Dustin Ells Howes

Oxford University Press

Although individuals maintain the capacity for freedom, nonviolent political freedom involves the exercise of collective power. Articulating robust alternatives to defending and expressing freedom with violence, this chapter develops a concept of nonviolent self-rule. In the overlooked philosophy of Étienne De La Boétie, he describes how every government relies upon the consent of the governed. Civilian-based defense and restorative justice programs offer underutilized alternatives to military defense and carceral punishment. Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, Immanuel Kant, and Mahatma Gandhi each describe self-rule as marginalizing or eliminating the need for violence. The strengths and weaknesses of their approaches complement one another. A conception of nonviolent political freedom brings together the various movements examined in this project under the banner of human freedom. Nonviolent political freedom emphasizes moderation, self-sacrifice, and self-control. The creative free wills of individuals can both resist current forms of oppression and come together to practice nonviolent collective self-rule.

Keywords:   Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, Immanuel Kant, Mahatma Gandhi, Étienne De La Boétie, civilian-based defense, restorative justice, swaraj, self-control, nonviolent political freedom

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