Another Kind of Liberalism
[Preface to The Place of Religion in the Liberal Philosophy of Constant, Tocqueville, and Lord Acton by Ralph Raico.]
Religion and liberty—few issues are more controversial among current-day libertarians. At least four positions can be distinguished. One well-known position holds that religion and liberty are separate spheres that are almost hermetically sealed from one another, while any historical point of contact is purely accidental or contingent. According to another widespread position, religion and liberty are outright antagonistic. These advocates see in religion the most deadly foe of individual liberty, an even greater enemy of mankind than the state.
A third position contends that religion and liberty are complementary—on the one hand, pious men facilitate the workings of a society with minimal or no government, and, on the other hand, political liberty facilitates religious life as each one sees fit.
Finally, some thinkers defend a fourth position, namely, that religion—and in particular the Christian faith—is fundamental for individual liberty, both as far as the historical record is concerned and on the conceptual level.
In our thoroughly secularized culture, th
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