In the essay "On the Rule of the Road" by A G Gardiner, what should one submit to in order to make one's liberty a reality?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In this essay, Gardiner tells us that there will often be times when we have to "submit to a curtailment of private liberty" if we want to live in a social order where we truly have liberty.  What he is saying, then, may seem slightly paradoxical.  He is saying that we have to give up some of our liberty in order to make our liberty a reality.

What Gardiner is saying here is what philosophers such as John Locke have argued.  Locke is one thinker most closely connected to the idea of the "social contract."  This idea says that we give up some of our smaller liberties so that we can live together in a society.  In return for our doing this, the society protects our truly important rights.  This is one major point Gardiner is trying to make in this essay.

In the essay, Gardiner is saying that people in a society must give up some liberties such as the liberty to walk in the middle of the road or the liberty to play the trombone loudly in the middle of the night.  When we give up these kinds of liberty, we create a society in which our important liberties are protected.

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