The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charges known to the law, and particularly to deny him judgment by his peers for an indefinite period, is in the highest degree odious, and is the foundation of all totalitarian governments … Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilisation.
These people don’t see that if you encourage totalitarian methods, the time may come when they will be used against you instead of for you.
From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.
The totalitarian mindset behind the liberal vision shows through in innumerable ways. There are no institutions in America where free speech is more severely restricted than in our politically correct colleges and universities, dominated by liberals.
There is a peculiar sadism at the very root of the leftist mindset, one made all the more foul because it’s buried underneath a fraudulent veneer of compassion and tolerance.
A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.
Contemporary liberals increasingly think and talk like a class of self-satisfied commissars enforcing a comprehensive, uniformly secular vision of the human good. The idea that someone, somewhere might devote her life to an alternative vision of the good — one that clashes in some respects with liberalism’s moral creed — is increasingly intolerable. That is a betrayal of what’s best in the liberal tradition.
Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.
No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism.