That liberalism may be a tendency towards something very different from itself, is a possibility in its nature. For it is something which tends to release energy rather than accumulate it, to relax, rather than to fortify. It is a movement not so much defined by its end, as by its starting point; away from, rather than towards, something definite. Our point of departure is more real to us than our destination; and the destination is likely to present a very different picture when arrived at, from the vaguer image formed in imagination. By destroying traditional social habits of the people, by dissolving their natural collective consciousness into individual constituents, by licensing the opinions of the most foolish, by substituting instruction for education, by encouraging cleverness rather than wisdom, the upstart rather than the qualified, by fostering a notion of getting on to which the alternative is a hopeless apathy, Liberalism can prepare the way for that which is its own negation: the artificial, mechanized or brutalized control which is a desperate remedy for its chaos.
Jake Meador is a writer and editor from Lincoln NE and a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He curates the Notes section of Mere Orthodoxy and serves on the editorial board of the journal Fare Forward.
His writing has appeared in Books & Culture, Christianity Today, First Things, and Front Porch Republic.
Jake lives in his hometown of Lincoln NE with his wife and two kids. He is also the creator of the Inside Channel, a soccer magazine and email newsletter.
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