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The Liberty of ServantsBerlusconi's Italy$
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Maurizio Viroli

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151823

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151823.001.0001

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The Liberty of Servants and the Liberty of Citizens

The Liberty of Servants and the Liberty of Citizens

(p.1) 1 The Liberty of Servants and the Liberty of Citizens
The Liberty of Servants

Maurizio Viroli

, Antony Shugaar
Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter examines different conceptions of liberty. If being free means that neither other individuals nor the state can prevent citizens from doing as they choose, then Italy is a free country. The problem is that liberty, if understood as an absence of impediments, is not in and of itself the liberty of citizens. Instead, it can be the liberty of servants and subjects. If the masters or the sovereigns are good, or weak, or foolish, or they have no interest in oppressing them, the servants and the subjects can enjoy the freedom to do more or less as they please. The liberty of citizens, or republican liberty, is quite another matter. It does not consist of not being hindered, or in merely not being oppressed, but rather of not being dominated, which is to say, not being subjected to the arbitrary or enormous power of another man or other men.

Keywords:   liberty, Italy, citizens, servants, subjects, republican liberty

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