Jeremy Waldron’s “Homelessness and the Issue of Freedom” unravels his understanding of the relationship between freedom and property. Waldron explicates that property is defined in different ways based on the rules that governs it. i.e., property administered by private property laws, property under common property laws, and property under state property laws.
Waldron then uses homelessness to explain freedom clearly stating that a homeless person is one who has no property that is governed by private property rules and such a person is constantly at other people’s mercies (Waldron 311). As such, property rights both facilitate freedom for some people and restrict freedom for others and as Waldron explains is due to the rules that formalize the distinction between public and private in such a manner that, private activities are restricted in public areas. That is, unlike a homeless person who has no property, an individual who owns property has certain rights to do as they please to the property (Waldron 314). For instance, a homeless person is affected by these rules that pertains to their sleeping in subway tunnels and washing in public lavatories.
It is imperative that a state be concerned with maintaining the freedom of its citizens according to the principles of liberalism because of the fact that these principles advocate the need to protect the civil rights of the citizens, individual liberty, and private property. If a state does not ensure the protection of the aforementioned rights and freedoms, then it is not concerned about the freedom of its citizens.
I agree with Waldron’s argument because of the fact that property and freedom involves rules that control property rights in relation to private, common, and public property. The homeless have no property to call their own and therefore lack certain freedom to engage in certain activities unlike those who actually own private property such as a home.
Waldron, Jeremy. “Liberal Rights: Homelessness and the issue of freedom.” Collected Papers (1991): 309-338.