Liberty at the most basic level refers to freedom from restraint and the ability to act in a way that one chooses to. However, it is very important to recognize that in the framework of the Declaration of Independence, the right to liberty is understood to come from our Creator.
Liberty is not quite the same as absolute freedom because it is not the only right that is given to us by our Creator. Consider the right to life. Liberty does not guarantee the freedom to murder because that is the active denial of another person’s right to life. Liberty does not guarantee the freedom to burn down my neighbor’s house because that would violate my neighbor’s right to his own property.
Therefore, when we think about liberty in the context of the American government and the intentions of the founders, liberty has some degree of restriction.
Nevertheless, it is a powerful right because this right allows the freedom that I have been arguing for this entire time. People need to be free to choose what to believe. It is important for people to be able to follow their consciences and make decisions based on the worldviews they embrace. They need to be able to act in accordance with those beliefs.
That is why the government has the responsibility to protect that unalienable right. Because people are able to use their freedom to cause harm to other people, there do need to be protections in place for those who might not be able to defend themselves.
This insight points directly to the reason that the right to liberty is a right that needs to come from our Creator. It presumes that all are created equal. It presumes that all people have an inherent dignity of being people and have the right to have that liberty in equal measures.
This can only be guaranteed if there is an external standard. It again returns to this idea of significance just like the right to life does. If there is nothing beyond human judgment, then liberty is really no better than captivity. Certain people might prefer it, but other people might prefer to keep their fellow humans in captivity.