Eventually, we are getting a snowy winter over here in Europe. So, get the sleighs out and enjoy winter wonderland.
The last weeks have been busy and exhausting, yet successful and satisfying; in the new year, I hope to further complete my ideas on a culture of freedom, placing special emphasis on law and legislation, not least in honour of the blog's host, Laura Ebke, who is about to take up her senatorial duties in the Nebraska legislature, at the start of the new year 2015.
More and more, I tend to think of freedom as a complex and dynamic experimental pattern in which economic, political, and legal structures and traditions interact and vie with one another, enabling us to pursue our own projects and compete with one another to form civil society, an order in which no one social force is allowed to attain supremacy over the other free players.
As Michael Oakeshott writes:
What, then, are the characteristics of our society in respect of which we consider ourselves to enjoy freedom and in default of which we would not be free in our sense of the word?
But first, it must be observed that the freedom we enjoy is not composed of a number of independent characteristics of our society which in aggregate make up our liberty.
Liberties, it is true, may be distinguished, and some may be more general or more settled and mature than others, but the freedom which the English libertarian knows and values lies in a coherence of mutually supporting liberties, each of which amplifies the whole and none of which stands alone.
It springs neither from the separation of church and state, nor from the rule of law, nor from private property, nor from parliamentary government, nor from the writ of habeas corpus, nor from the independence of the judiciary, nor from any one of the many thousand other devices and arrangements characteristic of our society, but from what each signifies and repreents, namely, the absence from our society of overwhelming concentrations of power.
From The Political Economy of Freedom, in Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays, p.388
Political engagement and facing responsibly the tough job of the politician are of the essence if the fragile balance of liberty is to be maintained.
Continued in A Culture of Freedom - Oakeshott on Liberty (2/3)