or blind indifference. Still another is respect only inndemeanor; it is not too far from philistinism, which is thenappearance of seriousness without thought, without genuinenappreciation.nFrivolity has in the 20th century become a plague ofnWestern societies; and not least of contemporary Americannsociety. Of course, many of the greatest achievements of ournWestern societies and of the United States in particular havenfostered this frivolity. The technological and economicnprogress that have made life easier, have obscured our graspnof the fundamental difficulties of human existence. Thenadmirable progress of scientific knowledge and of medicalnscience have made us think that there are no insolublenproblems. Nothing is thought to be beyond the powers ofnthe ratiocinative mind, provided with sufficient powers tonrealize its aspirations. The progress of science, it is thought,nwill release us from moral obligation and moral dilemmas.nThe reverence for human life has become fainter. Frivolitynin the face of serious things: that is the charge that I makenagainst collectivist liberalism.nIt is perhaps frivolous to attempt to be serious on annoccasion like this. I might end up by being no better thannboring. But I am going to take the chance. I am going to trynto clarify the idea of liberalism.nI will begin by saying that a liberal is one who appreciatesnliberty — or freedom. (I use the two words “liberty” andn”freedom” interchangeably.) He is one who appreciatesnliberty not just for himself but for his fellow-countrymennand for human beings generally. He is a believer in the meritnof a free society, a social order of free institutions and of freenindividuals. A liberal is one who supports the traditionalnliberal values of the rule of law, freedom of the press,nfreedom of association, representation, and petition; thenfreedom of religious belief and the separation of church andnstate; freedom of intellectual expression; equality of opportunitynand “the career open to talents” or rewards commensuratenwith achievement; and freedom of political expression.n(The American Civil Liberties ^Union was once such anliberal organization which supported these public libertiesnbefore it went off the deep end by taking up the causes ofnantinomianism and collectivist liberalism.)nI think that by and large those who are called “liberals”nnowadays in the press and in political discourse are in factncollectivist liberals. These collectivist liberals have preemptednthe term “liberalism” and given it a bad name. But therenis another kind of liberalism: older, more distinguished in itsnintellectual ancestry, and more consistent. I would call itnindividualist constitutional or conservative liberalism.nThis is the kind of liberalism that prevailed in GreatnBritain and in France in the first part of the 19th century. Itnhad many great exponents, each somewhat different fromnthe others, but all of them incontestably liberals — fromnAdam Smith through Bentham, James Mill, George Grote,nand John Stuart Mill for a part of his career (later he veerednoff to become one of the fathers of collectivist liberalism).nTocqueville was its greatest figure in France, where its mostnrecent voices have been Raymond Aron and on a slightlynlower level Bertrand de Jouvenel. Of those now living itsngreatest representatives are Friedrich von Hayek and KarlnPopper.nIn the great tradition of liberalism from Locke (andnHobbes) through Adam Smith, and to Frank Knight and hisnfollowers Milton Friedman and George Stigler, liberalismnplaced as high a value on the private ownership of propertynand on private business enterprise as it did on any otherninstitutions of a free society.nThis individualistic or constitutional or conservative liberalismnhas a far more illustrious intellectual history than hasncollectivist liberalism. Apart from John Stuart Mill and JohnnMaynard Keynes, I think that collectivist liberalism has fewnnotable intellectual figures. Nevertheless, at present, in thenintellectual world and in the universities in the United Statesnand Europe, they far outnumber the genuine liberals. Butnthey are now on the defensive.nThey are on the defensive because of the failure ofncommunism in every country in which it has been established,nand of social democracy in most of the countries innwhich it has been gradually introduced, most notably innGreat Britain and France.nThese observations lead to a closer examination ofncollectivist liberalism. Collectivist liberalism partednfrom the great tradition of individualistic constitutional andnconservative liberalism when some liberals decided that thenprivate ownership of property, the freedom of privatenproperty, was dispensable. Collectivist liberals ceased to benliberals and became collectivists when they affirmed theirnbelief in the omnicompetence, omniscience, omniprovidencenof governmental and political authority. They haventended to believe that the state and its political leaders arencapable of unfailingly wise, efficient, and just action inneconomic life and in education — and to’ that extent theynhave ceased to be liberals. They tend to think that the publicnliberties that they espouse, such as the freedom of the press,nof assembly, and of association, etc., should be used to urgengovernment—politicians and bureaucrats and the judiciarynas well — to extend their activities rather than to hold themnThe spectrum of political ideas is not anle-dimensional one, with “left” at one ennand “right” at the other. It is a complexnconstellation of many dimensions.nin check. The critical function of public liberties is seen byncollectivist liberals to be, not the limitation in the powers ofngovernment, but rather its extension, so as to enable it ton”solve” all social problems, to realize and fulfill its obligationnto cure every deficiency of human life. Collectivist liberalsnbelieve that this omnicompetence lies within the capacitiesnof government. All that has to be done—by public pressuren— is to overcome private, “vested” interests, traditionalnbeliefs, and their reactionary resistance to progress. Then,nby the use of rational thought and social science, definitivensolutions will be found for all the problems of life andnsociety.nnnJULY 1989/13n