..merely the slave’s dream of escape from a master

In responding to the blizzard of regulation to which we are subjected, we are sometimes lulled into thinking that all human beings seek freedom by nature, and that our liberal ways are merely an expression of this natural human passion that has at last been liberated from oppressors. No glance at history, and especially at the history of the last century, would sustain such an idea. Even where the real oppressions of communisms have been overthrown, there remain many who yearn for the security that is lost when freedom comes. No doubt there is one kind of freedom that everybody does desire – the freedom to do what one wants without interference. But this is merely the slave’s dream of escape from a master; it is quite distinct from the freedom on which the greatness of European societies has been constructed.  Freedom as a moral condition is only possible when combined with responsibility. To be free in this sense is, of course, to live in terms of the rules of law, but more importantly it is to be guided by one’s own sense of virtues and commitments.

– Kenneth Minogue, The Servile Mind (2010)

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