A Free Society and Its Relation to the State
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The Reaction held that the source of real slavery lies in a degraded self, and that society should become the instrument for overcoming this enslavement. Conservatives called the freedom of the Enlightenment coercion, and identified liberty with the controls of society. This chapter explores the relation of the democratic state to the pursuit of the ideal of alternatives within society. It avoids the confusion of both the Reaction and the Enlightenment and not take flight from the difficulty of implementing ideals. The Enlightenment was basically correct in asserting the primacy of freedom; they looked on society as something the individual was getting away from, as opposed to trying to make him good. The impact of society is never wholly monolithic, which creates the problem of freedom. The notion that such a plural society is a good one must be based on some transcendent insight into the worth of the individual.