Liz Anderson's series on the meaning of freedom continues here and here, talking about the importance of the rule of law and the need to assess parts of bundles of freedom against the freedoms that they would deny others, both in terms of the freedom as non-domination account she prefers. I can be quite skeptical about the usefulness of the freedom as non-domination account, because it's central claim is that the fact of living under the arbitrary will of another, regardless of whether that will is exercised at all, makes people unfree, and I find the idea that that bare fact makes people unfree a little implausible. To use one of Anderson's examples, a state which possessed but never used the power to confiscate property at will, and which had plausibly promised never to use it, would not be making it's citizens any more unfree than those of an otherwise identical state, which lacked this power. To put in more familiar terms, it doesn't strike me that the procedural powers of the British Monarchy, which, although extensive, have not been used for the better part of a century, make their subjects - as we all are, in law - any less free than the citizens of other polities with similar concentrations of political power. I have used the idea of non-domination to explain the normativity of democracy, but when taken to imply that the possession of powers or capacities, even when there are cast-iron guarantees of them not being used, it becomes at least dubious, because it seems to violate the strongly held intuition that something must interfere for freedom to be lost: either a power must be used, or the possibility of its use should cast a shadow over the plans of those who are subject to it. Anderson's usage of the account does not directly imply the 'there need be no interference for freedom to be lost' claim, but it comes close, I think.
This is not to say that I don't sympathise with either of the policies she claims freedom in this sense supports, or the manner in which she does it. The value of the rule of law in terms of freedom is very well explained by reference to the dominating effect of arbitrary power, of how it makes planning impossible because of unpredictability, how it distorts choices because of having passed the power of deciding the costs and benefits of any choice to however possesses the arbitrary power, and of course, how at times it deprives people of things they have rights to. Her championing of the idea that we must not forget the way that the exercise of one liberty often removes or minimises another when picking our prefered bundles of liberties is also pleasing, especially for getting a few not-even-particularly sly digs in at Nozick. I've made this point before, but Nozick just conveniently slides by the fact that poverty or dependence is an obvious form of unfreedom, and in light of that, there is little to be said in favour of the idea that a scheme of unrestricted property rights maximises freedom, because of the poverty and dependence-generating inequalities that would arise from such a scheme.