The Corner

Like Freedom and Whisky, Order and Liberty Gang Thegither

I am bemused by the idea that freedom and order are somehow at odds with each other. The whole history of Anglo-American conservative thought is about what we call “ordered liberty.” The concept pervades Burke’s writings, for instance. Today, I am unaware of many libertarians who despise the Rule of Law, and the idea of them as longing for some lawless state of nature replacing all traditional government is a mere caricature. In some ways, the current calls from certain parties on the Right to reject the central importance of liberty is a reversion to pre-enlightenment days, when liberty was thought of as a Bad Thing because of its role in the fall of Athens and Republican Rome. Those who need a refresher course in what ordered liberty means could do no better than start with John O’Sullivan’s Hillsdale College lecture on the subject. If they remain unconvinced, perhaps they should call themselves what they really are — Tories.

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