Sunday, March 29, 2009

Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty III

Just to sum up: This is a classic of 20th C political philosophy, in particular for its carefully marshaled indictment of positive liberty as a threat to negative liberty. It is also incoherent. It is also a case study in the evolution of classical liberalism into big-government liberalism, liberal statism, or, in Jonah Goldberg's phrase, liberal fascism.

This essay, therefore, shows how it can be that "liberalism" is now a label used to refer to statist infringements of liberty. The modern liberal is on the left and devoted to big government and redistribution of wealth. He has traveled far from classical liberalism. Berlin's incoherent essay shows in a nutshell how he got lost.