by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Antifa storms in and out of the news, despite that fact, the Left is unable to denounce this militant band of thugs. The Left cannot denounce Antifa because Antifa embodies the very ethos of war and violence that collectivism needs to thrive on. To assail Antifa would be to attack the heart of the cancerous poison that is destroying liberty oriented societies.
Michael Oakeshott was one of the preeminent English-speaking conservative philosophers and writers of the last century. His essay “The Political Economy of Freedom” is as relevant today as when it was published in 1949 in the aftermath of the Second World War, the rise of the bureaucratic welfare state, and the dawn of the Cold War. Oakeshott offers cold insights into the reality of our now venerated New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt, Clement Atlee, and the welfare architects who shackled free society.
The aim of collectivists in free societies is not to wage a bloody revolution like the Jacobins or the Bolsheviks. As Oakeshott says, modern advocates of collectivism disintegrate the integral and wholesome reality of liberty. “We are instructed [by the enemies of freedom masquerading as advocates of freedom] to distinguish between ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ freedom, between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ freedom, between ‘social,’ ‘political,’ ‘civil,’ ‘economic,’ and ‘personal’ freedom.” By focusing on only one or two freedoms, we are distracted as we lose our other freedoms.
According to Oakeshott, liberal collectivists pose as champions of one type of distinguished freedom, while perniciously eroding and destroying all the other types of freedom.