Friday, January 12, 2018
It is modern liberalism, not classical liberalism, that blurs the distinction between the state and society. For instance, modern liberalism is concerned about using the state to enforce equality, because it worries that substantial levels of inequality will make people too subservient to the rich, a social norm it dislikes. It is hostile to religious influence in the social world because that influence too can make it harder to for people to find their true selves. Even the family can be too confining. But classical liberalism essentially leaves people alone and subject to social influences so long as those with influence do not act with force or fraud. Indeed, one of the great insights of classical liberalism — one that has been formalized by public choice — is that the attempt to cabin the social influences in order to enforce a social order more to one’s liking aggrandizes the state.
John O. McGinnis