What is the relation between freedom and responsibilities?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that much of this depends on specific thinkers and what their opinion is of where the line between pure expression of freedom and the notion of accountability exists.  Most Classical Liberal thinkers like Locke argue that one's freedom is limitless until it seeks to encroach on another's being.  In this light, the responsible use of freedom is to ensure that one's personal expression does not trade off with another.  Some have argued that one has to link their own sense of freedom with a collective entity.  One cannot be personally free if there is social bondage or conditions that limit others.  This conception of freedom makes a stronger link between freedom and responsibilities to others.  In American political thought, an interesting discussion of the notion of freedom and responsible speech and action accompanies a study of Supreme Court Justice Holmes' misquoting of "yelling fire in a crowded theatre."  It is interesting to examine how Justice Holmes links freedom and personal responsibility.