Monthly Archives: March 2014

Liberty + Freedom = Independence

Once upon a time I went to a church that made a big deal about homeschooling your kids, and one of the things they recommended was the use of Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the English Language. That works, to a point – right up until you say one thing and the person you’re talking to thinks you mean another. Languages change; ‘faggot’ used to mean a bundle of sticks, not a derogatory term for a homosexual.

Anyway, I digress. Consider how Noah defines Liberty and Freedom:

Liberty: Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind.
Freedom: A state of exemption from the power or control of another; liberty; exemption from slavery, servitude or confinement.

Now, I know things were different back then, but when I went to school I would have gotten points off for using only the inverse to define a word pair like that. I think a better definition could be summed up thusly: Liberty is the lack of restraint, freedom is the capacity to act. Put another way, if the law changes and I am at liberty to distill my own alcohol without having to beg permission from the government, I am still not free to do so until I have a still and the necessary ingredients – and the will to act.

“So what?” I can hear someone say. “They mean the same thing.” No, not really. They describe two different things. Liberty concerns what others do (or don’t do) to you, Freedom concerns only yourself and your possessions. You can be free but not at liberty; you can be at liberty but not free. You can be at liberty to do something and willing to do it, or you can be prohibited from something by your fellow man and not be willing to break that law.

So what do you call it when you are both at liberty to do something and free to do it? Independence:

A state of being not dependent; complete exemption from control, or the power of others; as the independence of the Supreme Being.

This has tremendous ability to explain large chunks of our current political system. Many people on the left are concerned with “social justice”, but that often just boils down to making sure everyone has the same tools so that they can be free (rewrite that)

We value independence in this country, and for good reasons. But there are times when a measure of less independence is appropriate. The first example I can think of is marriage – I don’t want to be independent of my wife, so I voluntarily accept a measure of less freedom. Likewise, she took the same oath to forsake all others until death. But as a corollary, if such an agreement isn’t entered into voluntarily, all you’re dealing with is the forceful loss of freedom – a state of slavery.

Presenting The Dragonslayers, Volume One

The Dragonslayers, Vol. 1

The Dragonslayers, Volume 1: The Righteous and the Lawless, by Matthew Maynard, is now available in paperback and Kindle formats from

From the back cover

A clerical error. A loss. An opportunity. A hope. A pursuit…

When Scott Philipson loses his parents to a no-knock drug raid on the wrong house, he turns in desperation to selling marijuana to make ends meet. He gets plenty of help from his girlfriend Carley, but can he evade the grasp of Officer William Cavanaugh? The stakes rise when a doctor approaches him with an offer he shouldn’t refuse…

About the author
Matthew Maynard was born and raised in Arizona. In 2000 he graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering and a loathing for his arch-nemesis, the Fourier Transform.

After marrying his high school girlfriend in 2004 they moved to Virginia, where he continued his career as a programmer and developed his skills as a writer in his spare time. His first novel, The Dragonslayers Vol. 1: The Righteous and the Lawless, was born in the mayhem-filled month of November 2010 during National Novel Writing Month. Four years, several revisions, and one child later, he finished the manuscript. It is available through Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

“I’m excited about this new venture,” the author said. “This is the first novel in a series of at least three. I want to use this series to illustrate the loss of liberty we’ve seen in this country and suggest ways to remedy that.”

Upcoming events
The author promotes his writing at his website, He will be available at the Annual Book Fair for the 2014 Virginia Festival of the Book on Saturday, April 22nd, 2014, signing copies of his new release. The event will be held at the Omni Hotel, 212 Ridge McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903.

Publishing Information
Series: The Dragonslayers
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (March 11, 2014)
ISBN-10: 149538523X
ISBN-13: 978-1495385230

What is Liberty Fiction?

Someone asking about my writing: “So what do you write about?”
Me: “Liberty fiction”
Someone: [blank stare]
Me: [considers a facepalm, decides to go with a slap upside the head using a dictionary. Figuratively, of course.]

Liberty Fiction is a genre of fiction that deals with issues of personal liberty and the consequences, rewards, and implications of freely exercising it. For an example or two one could consider Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. A more recently published example could be Matthew Bracken’s Enemies Trilogy or Michael Z. Williamson’s Freehold.

In stories of this genre, there is usually a protagonist who has some infringement made on his or her personal freedom when they are doing nothing to harm another. They are typically opposed by an antagonist (often a government official) who makes a habit of infringing the liberties of others, and there may or may not be a character that transitions from one state to the other. Often the protagonist experiences a mental difficulty when they try to wrap their heads around the issues and foundations of liberty and freedom, which produces a difficult transition out of restraint to a more free state. Usually they win in the end, but lose something in the process. Monologues and dialogues in the story frequently praise the lack of restraint on the individual and establish self-restraint as the preferred form of government (or condemn the opposite).