nationalized, there is already a lively discussion over thenexcessive social costs. A few years ago Daniel Callahanncreated a controversy by suggesting that our resources werennot infinite, that the more we subsidized organ transplantsnfor drug addicts, the less money we had available for prenatalncare. Callahan was attacked as an inhuman monster, butnunder any national health plan, the logic of his argumentsncannot be escaped. Some British defenders of their ownnsystem will tell you candidly that one of socialized medicine’sngreat advantages is that it lowers the overall cost ofnmedical care. By this they mean that very sick people oftenndie before they can receive treatment. The rich, it goesnwithout saying, make their own arrangements.nNational health care is only a synecdoche for the entirenapparatus of socialized welfare that has replaced the informalnstructures of family and community. In primitive andnpremodern societies, individuals and families are generallynresponsible for most of the portfolio once held by thenDepartment of Health, Education, and Welfare. Parentsnreared and educated their own children, took care of thenelderly members of the family, and saved what they couldnagainst the eventual rainy (more likely rainless) days. Whilenrulers — kings and emperors, churches and commonwealthsn— might be expected to provide certain forms of emergencynassistance, the general rule was that each man took care ofnhis own.nAll this has changed over the last hundred years, and thenreigning assumption today is that the state is responsible fornguaranteeing the physical health, mental and moral training,nand life success of all its subjects. In a traditional order — innan ancient polis or an Italian commune — the politicalncommunity could assume a certain responsibility for thengeneral welfare without posing a danger to individual libertynor family autonomy. Government in such an order, even innthe Roman empire, was comparatively weak, while theninformal institutions were flanked and backed by traditionsnand precedents that could not easily be overwhelmed.nBut these irrational safeguards against state power werendestroyed by the progress of European liberalism thatnwhittled away the authority of churches and destroyed thenlast remnants of feudalism, all in the name of individualnliberties. (The American version is only transatlantic knockoff.)nThere was a positive side to the old liberalism, especiallynin its British phase. British liberalism exalted the dignity ofnthe individual at the expense of the church, class distinctions,nand irrational traditions. It placed the tremendousnburden of civil obligation upon the middle classes, but it alsonhelped to create the Victorian character that was able toncarry the load. It was the creed of sober gentlemen andndisciplined men of business, and if it crushed much, if notnmost, of what was valuable in the old order, it also checkednthe growing power of the state. The French might have beennoppressed by kings and consuls, but the propertied classes ofnBritain — so long as they could restrict the franchise — werensecure in their rights of property and contract.nSuch a system could not endure. It was threatened by thenentire course of the 19th century, by what was callednprogress; the rapid pace of industrialization, the politicalnclaims of the poorer classes, and the growing fear of Rednrevolution. A purely negative conception of liberty offerednfew consolations to an unemployed millhand, and under thencircumstances the old paternalistic Toryism began to looknbetter and better. Some theory, inevitably, had to be foundnthat would justify a vigorous state intervention into mattersnof childrearing, public health, and relief of poverty. Perhapsnit did not really matter how coherent such a theory was, sonlong as it was couched in the reassuring accents of Whignliberalism. The man of destiny turned out to be thenmediocre professor of philosophy, T.H. Creen.nWhat Green did, in essence, was to take the oldnliberalism, with its insistence upon individual liberty, andnturn it into the new liberalism, with its acquiescence innsocialism. To do this was a simple trick of synthesis: henrewrote Kant and Hegel in the terms of Locke and Mill; thatnis, while repeating the old arguments in favor of negativenliberty, he introduced the notion of positive liberty, which is •nthe freedom to approach moral perfection. Since thenindividual’s moral perfection contributed to the commonngood, it was the right of the state to take such steps as wouldninsure everyone’s ability to aim at perfection. In practice,nthis meant compulsory school attendance, regulation ofnspirits, and rather sweeping restrictions on the rights ofnproperty and contract.nGreen was not alone in his attempt to socialize liberalism,nbut after his by no means premature death at the age of 46,nhe emerged as the symbolic figurehead. Closer to our ownnday, British social theorists have rung the changes onnGreen’s conception of positive liberty. Since the commonngood (or the national interest) depends on the welfare andnresponsible character of individuals, it is the state’s duty tonsee to it that every member of society has a more or lessnequal chance to “fulfill himself” or “reach his potential.”nR.H. Tawney in Equality conceded that men were bornnwith different talents, but they are, nonetheless, “equallynentitled as human beings to consideration and respect.” Thenstate will, therefore, increase “the well-being of society . . .nif it so plans its organization that, whether their powers arengreat or small, all its members may be equally enabled tonmake the best of such powers as they possess.”nIn Britain debates over welfare were concentrated on thendifferent methods by which relief was provided to thenindigent. Until the 20th century, England was in principle anChristian society that relied upon the parishes as thenproviders of food and shelter to the poor. So long asnEngland retained some of its feudal or medieval character,nthe king could undertake the Christian obligation to assistnthe poor. But this obligation,, although it was severed fromnthe Crown along with the head of Charles I, has hauntednthe English as much as King Charles’ head bedeviled thenconversation of Tristram Shandy’s Uncle Toby.nTo some extent, the English have seen themselves asnparticipants in a national community. Despite profoundnethnic differences between Scandinavian, Saxon, Norman,nand Celtic elements in the population, the people ofnEngland were unified in the Crown, the Parliament, and inna legal and administrative system that has been far morencentralized than anything in the Arrierican experience. As anresult, the main figures of British political philosophy—nHobbes, Locke, Hume, Mill, and Bentham — have tendednto reduce their discussion to the simple polarity of thensubject (or citizen) and the sovereign. In its various phases,nnnFEBRUARY 1992/11n