Freedom Anchored in Moral Order
“The liberal theory of politics is predicated on the assumption that, essentially, the role of government should be restricted to the management and prevention of conflict, and that a government so restricted guarantees the “minimal state.” What the liberal theory fails to contemplate is the possibility that the freedom encouraged by it may generate conflict on such a scale that any state forced to ‘manage’ it will be far from minimal. The early liberal philosophers simply took for granted the existence of a virtuous people, or of freedom as anchored in a closed moral order. They did not envisage, as more pessimistically inclined thinkers did, a government having to cope with the kind of unbridled liberty now exercised in the moral playground which is modern Western society.”
Ian Crouther, “Introduction,” Permanent Things, ed. Andrew A. Tadie and Michael H. Macdonald, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eeerdmans, 1995), xiv-xv.