(There are lots of good, eternal quotes floating around right now)
“Men are qualified for liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites,—in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety and understanding is above their vanity and presumption — in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
This may sound like an endorsement of the State, but I would propose that is in fact not. Rather, it is a conclusion of the fact that people who are short-sighted will happily sell their freedom to people who promise to “control” society – simply because when reflecting upon themselves and their sad condition, they decide that everyone else is likely just as short-sighted, and this fills them with horror and a desperate need for the State to come in and save everyone. Who HASNT seen people act this way? Yet it is rarely as aptly put as when Burke describes it. The State will appear the second we start denying our own moral responsibilities.
This is the core argument when I claim that only a socially conservative society can ever keep liberty for long. I know many of you disagree, and I dont mind arguing over it at all. It is just my conclusions – and I admit they may be wrong. For the sake of it, Ill plug a favourite book of mine again : “The Servile Mind – How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life”. I would suggest that it clearly showes where the modern welfare-state came from – namely our abandoning of personal moral which was the result of large-scale democracy. Many will blame the welfare-state on people “voting themselves benefits”, but it is interesting to note WHY people think they have the right to vote themselves benefits. It may not always have been that way.