Who you afraid of?

It is interesting how much trouble people have trying to come up with definitions sometimes. Here is one that defines a difference that doesn’t exist the way it is represented.

Today we have groups which are called “liberal” and “conservative”. Both are (at least in America) in fundamental agreement with Mr. Locke and his ilk– Human liberty must be protected. Where we disagree with each other is in our belief of where the threat to that liberty comes from. Modern American Conservatives believe that government is the threat to my liberty. Modern American Liberals believe that other individuals (or, more often, corporate entities) are the biggest threat to my liberty. [Andrew Cory; Classical Liberalism, Modern Liberalism, Modernity; Dean’s World. 11ja05 ]

The thing is that government is a corporation and one with more pwer than any other corporation or individual. This is related to the issue of transparency. An individual is not to be feared if you know who he or she is and can grab them by a sensitive part in the battle for ideas. A corporation tends to diffuse the identity of the people within it and so is more difficult to envision – a corporation is an abstract entity. A government, especially a large and representative one, is also an abstraction without a real physical human identity.

But note the manner of attack. There are differences there that are more clear cut. Fear what you can envision and grab or fear an abstraction? How is the fear of the abstraction expressed? How is the fear of the individual expressed?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.