Are conservatives living on islands inhabited by rugged individualists? Are liberals living in egalitarian solidarity gulags along
with the poor and bereft?

No thinking liberal lusts after true solidarity, though he or she might wish it inflicted on someone else.  No thinking
conservative wants the nasty, brutish and short life of the “free” savage. None of us can survive for long without the
blessings of civilization.

Liberty is a precious and intensely valuable condition that is enjoyed by the individual or not at all.  But it exists only under
modern conditions and only when a given civilization is committed to its protection.  When we speak of ordered liberty we
are describing the result when liberty is held as a reciprocal value, protected by law on condition that one may forfeit one’s
claim to liberty by trampling on the liberty of another.  In the most sophisticated, liberty-friendly civilizations, liberty is
protected vis-a-vis other citizens and from the depredations of the government itself – accomplished through a robust
protective legal mechanism like the US constitution.

Without a liberty-friendly civilization, capable of protecting freedom, no individual is free to be or not to be a liberal, to be or
not to be a conservative.

The modern dichotomy is an entirely different animal.  It is between authoritarian bureaucracies and the activities of non-
conforming creative individuals and communities.  

I suspect that the dichotomy between “Nanny Bureaucrats” vs. “Civilized Individualists” will prove more descriptive, more
relevant and more apt.


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I encountered this ladder truck in Mid-Manhattan on
September 12, 2001. By some providential
happenstance, I was moved to turn a corner - and
before this sight presented  itself, I already knew,
somehow, that we were approaching sanctified
ground. The truck belonged to the Ladder Company for
which Fr. Mychael Judge was the beloved chaplain.  
He died in the line of duty on 9-11 alongside his
firefighters. His helmet now resides in the Vatican.

...A reminder that some things transcend politics.

GUARDING THE