A quick conlang note inspired by a conversation I was having elsewhere, in which my interlocutor was vexed by people talking as if lack of choice due to government (i.e., coercive constraint) was a reduction in freedom, whereas lack of choice due to poverty, illness, disability, etc. was not.
The relevant part here is my claim (which included mention of my conlang) that we can once again blame it on English, that lazy and imprecise language, for lumping two distinct concepts into one single word and hoping no-one is rude enough to point it out, resultant confusion be damned.
The Conclave of Linguistics and Ontology, you see, has higher standards of precision. The Eldraeic word usually glossed as liberty, or freedom, is jírileth, which literally means “a life of choices”, and insofar as it’s talking about freedom from constraint, it includes the latter natural constraints and much more, right up to making amendments to natural laws, punching out the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and installing a few doors in infinity. “A prison the size of the universe is yet a prison! I will not be bound!”
(Its excruciatingly technical definition, the one used in the ethical calculus, would be “optimization of the phase-space of individual volition”, or slightly less jargonically, “affording each the greatest scope of will”).
This is the one which they put on the Imperial motto, because if there’s one thing the Empire’s citizen-shareholders aren’t afraid of, it’s tackling really big ideas.
The former, on the other hand, is mere ulqóras, a shortened form of ulquor kóras, literally meaning “absence of coercive power”, and while much more fundamental to ethics, it’s also a much, much smaller concept. And the problems attached to it are far, far simpler to solve — if one can manage to refrain from choice-theft.