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I have trouble differentiating between civil liberties and civil rights. Could youexplain the difference? And if possible could you give a freedom that belongs to one but not the other just to help me see the difference more clearly?
Thanks.
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Hi,
I have trouble differentiating between civil liberties and civil rights. Could you explain the difference?
Sometimes there is no significant difference.

However, let me try to illustrate by offering a simple example.
I have the liberty (freedom) to try to become Canada's Prime Minister. But I don't have the right to be Prime Minister.

Very broadly speaking, 'liberties' means people can't stop me doing things. 'Rights' means I can do things if I want to.

And if possible could you give a freedom that belongs to one but not the other just to help me see the difference more clearly?

You might be interested in having a look at Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/Charter/index.html#libertest

Best wishes, Clive
Clive. I don't quite understand your example. I believe you could have equally said
CliveI have the RIGHT (freedom) to try to become Canada's Prime Minister. But I don't have the LIBERTY to be Prime Minister.
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In my view liberty is a right which every citizen enjoys regardless of whether the state give it to him/her or not. That means you don't have to depend on any authority to enjoy it.

On the other hand, civil rights are those which you enjoy because a certain authority (state or constitution) gives them to you.

Example: You are at liberty to live anywhere in the US (if your are a US citizen).
But you vote for the Repulicans or the Democrats, because you have got that right granted by your constitution.

Most often civil liberty and civil rights are synonymous.
I think of "civil liberties" as theoretical, and "civil rights" as secured by legislation. To contradict myself, I also agree with Clive's distinction between liberty as freedom, and rights as guarantees, as the right to trial by jury, habeas corpus, the right to assemble, etc. - if I understand correctly.

Of course young Tom Jefferson spoke of God-given rights (as opposed to civil) - [men] are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. People who participate in protest rallies often speak of civil rights they believe they should have, but actually do not have.

Abil's example of the liberty to live where one chooses, is a good one, because there's probably no law guaranteeing it. The liberty to do so exists because there's no law against it.

The US Constitution has statements like, "Congress shall make no laws prohibiting etc."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is dedicated to fighting those who seek to limit such liberties as free speech, and has a bad rap for defending scumbags.
Thank you. Abil and Avangi.
AvangiAbil's example of the liberty to live where one chooses, is a good one, because there's probably no law guaranteeing it. The liberty to do so exists because there's no law against it.
One more quick question, probably a stupid one. My knowledge of the legal system is almost next to nothing.
Are laws structured in negative sentences like one shall not ...? Therefore, anything that's not mentioned is permitted by the law, am I right?
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Hi,
Therefore, anything that's not mentioned is permitted by the law, am I right?

Yes. There is a fundamental legal principle as follows.

In Latin, Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali.
In English, very, very roughly speaking, "You can't be punished for doing something that is not prohibited by law".

Of course, you have to be in a country that accepts this principle.

Best wishes, Clive
Thanks, Clive. That helps me better understand the meaning of loophole. Not the latin though Emotion: smile
New2grammarAre laws structured in negative sentences ...?
Anyone can write a law and any legislative body can pass it. Hopefully someone will come along with lots of bucks and get accused of breaking the stupid ones and the poorly written ones. Then they eventually get appealed to the high courts, where all the brains are.

There's nothing wrong with negative laws. Look at the Ten Commandments. (Thou shalt not . . . .).

You reminded me to check my bank account: "almost next to nothing."
CliveIn English, very, very roughly speaking, "You can't be punished for doing something that is not prohibited by law".
Thanks, Clive, I was hoping for confirmation on that. (I love it when you speak very, very roughly!)

Best wishes, - A.
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