Liberty’s Limitations -- By: Anonymous
BSac 63:249 (Jan 1906) p. 164
A young Egyptian who offered to show us the streets of Cairo, boasted that they had more liberty in Turkey than we have in the United States. The boast, astonishing as it may seem, contains more than a half truth.
In Turkey there is no limit to the obstructions which vendors of various wares may place in the street. The people are at liberty to allow filth to accumulate to any degree in front of their houses. Porters and self-constituted guides may crowd around you without limit and impose their services upon you. But, dear as this liberty is to the Oriental heart, it is anything but conducive to the freedom of the great mass, not only of travelers, but of the people themselves. A friend of ours pays a beggar a beshlik (“shilling”) a month to let him and his friends alone when they appear upon the street; and the beggar comes around as regularly as the moon to receive his dues.
It is evident, however, that this excess of freedom outdoes itself, and becomes a despotism of the most burdensome kind. True liberty is secured only in combination with law. The liberty afforded to the people of drinking at every well, lets loose upon them the hard masters of pestilence and death. Freedom to the vendors of narcotics and intoxicating drinks leads to the bondage of the multitudes whose appetites are strong and whose self-control is weak.
The ignorance of Russia is largely due to the lack of a compulsory system! of education. The freedom of the village communes to regulate their private affairs, and of the parents to keep their children out of school, continues the bondage
BSac 63:249 (Jan 1906) p. 165
which ignorance imposes upon the nation. Even the dogs of Constantinople illustrate the principle in a most striking degree. These miserable creatures enjoy, as no other creatures do, the entire “freedom of the city.” They block the sidewalks, lie in the middle of the street, and compel everybody to turn aside for them. Deprived of the discipline and restraint of civilization, they have become altogether the most forlorn and unhappy specimens that can be found anywhere in the animal kingdom. Their liberty has been their ruin.
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