If any one is curious where my story’s title, Ense Petit Placidam (By the Sword Seek Peace) came from, it is the first part of the motto of Massachusetts. The second part is Sub Libertate Quietem (under liberty well-ordered, or more literally "liberty quiet"). Now if we were to say "freedom well-ordered" it would sound awkward, just as it would if Janis Joplin had sung "Liberty’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…"

An old mountain man trapping for fur had a high degree of freedom; unless a she-grizzly got a hold of him before he could level his Hawken, or until a Crow or Blackfoot lifted his hair. And if an image of cute and cuddly Robert Redford just popped into your head, let me help you. The real Jeremiah Johnson ritually cut out the liver of Crow warriors, took a bite, then spit it out, while loudly proclaiming Crow liver unfit to eat. He was eventually given a wide berth by the Crow, as was intended. Such are the methods whereby "freedom" is preserved in a state of nature.

Liberty, on the other hand, is the proper intersection of one’s individual freedom with that of another, and with the community at large. Our founders talked more of liberty than of freedom. They weren’t called "The Sons of Freedom," nor was it a "Freedom Tree" in old Boston (some other cities had liberty poles, by the way). And borrowing from Locke, the Declaration of Independence spoke of liberty as an unalienable right, not "freedom." The word "freedom" seems to have crowded out the word "liberty" of late. Perhaps we should bring it back into fashion.

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