Front Page Titles (by Subject) Personal Freedom and Autonomy - Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
Personal Freedom and Autonomy - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Personal Freedom and Autonomy
“A Libertarian Psychology: Self-ownership—A Condition for Happiness.” The Humanist 39(May 1979):28–31.
The author provides an outline for a libertarian psychology: “An analysis of human conduct consistent with the principles of maximum personal freedom.” The concept of voluntary exchange is fundamental to such a psychological system. Successful personal relationships must be freely chosen, honest, and non-manipulative.
Two principles of libertarian psychology are personal sovereignty and personal freedom. Personal sovereignty involves subjective freedom, the right to think, feel, and choose as one pleases. It carries the obligation to respect the sovereignty of others. Personal freedom is the right to be free of restraints within the external world. There is a right to self-defense to protect both personal sovereignty and personal freedom.
If emotions such as guilt, shame, or anxiety contribute to determining how a person acts within a relationship, it cannot be said to be voluntary. Such emotions constitute a form of self-intimidation. Aside from responsibilities to children, an individual is free to leave any personal relationship for any subjective reason which is sufficiently compelling.
The author maintains that “a loving attitude toward people is essential to personal happiness” and that love can only be maintained in relationships that are voluntary. Love should not be equated with an unfree relationship. The greatest challenge in a close personal relationship is to grant the partner total freedom. “Friends and lovers are people. . . whose self interests are mutual, even at times identical.”