Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains – explanation

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Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains – explanation

‘Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains” is the famous sentence in Rousseau’s ‘The Social Contract” in which he explains what can make the bondage of society ‘legitimate‘.

When a baby is born, he or she is free from all social bandages. A new born baby is free from all responsibility. However, as the baby grows up, he finds that he has to follow the various norms and laws of the society. He has to follow the laws of the land.

Liberty is sometimes misinterpreted as freedom from the restraint of law. People being given liberty do sometimes act in a manner subversive of law and argue that since they are free they can do whatever they like and nobody has any right to challenge it. There people apparently confuse liberty with license.

Liberty is based on the recognition of rights of other people and a proper respect of Law regulates relations between individuals and maintains social equilibrium. The unrestrained use of liberty may give rise to fights among themselves, revolts and other anti-social activities and the liberty of the community itself may be endangered. Hence any infringement or violation of law is prevented by the machinery of the State. Law thus brings some limitations on the liberty of every individual. However, one should remember that laws are made for the successful functioning of the society.

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