Isaiah Berlin, “Two Concepts of Liberty,” in Liberty: Incorporating ‘Four Essays on Liberty,’ ed. Henry Hardy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 166–217.
This summary covers only the first two sections of the essay. (There are eight in all!) This is because I am assuming that those interested are mainly interested in the distinction between negative and positive liberty. That distinction is laid out clearly in these sections. I have tried to give the reader a taste of Berlin’s writing by extracting bits and pieces from the other sections. Why? See below.
This is probably one of the most influential and commented upon essays in political philosophy to have emerged in the last century. It was originally delivered in 1958 by Isaiah Berlin as the inaugural lecture as Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory in Oxford. First published as a pamphlet by Oxford at the Clarendon Press in the same year, it was then published along with other essays in Four Essays on Liberty in 1969 and reissued in 2002 as Liberty with the inclusion of another essay by Berlin and other additions.
This essay is not simply an essay of conceptual analysis but it is engaging in what is called history of ideas. So there is much that is of historical interest. There are references to Saint-Simon, Engels, Marx, Heine, Kant, Rousseau, Fichte, Schelling, Robespierre, Hobbes, Locke, Mill, Constant, Tocqueville, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Belinsky, Adam Smith, the Jacobins, the Reformation, Burke, Paine, Occam, Condorcet, ancient Greece and Rome, and we are still is the first section! The point is that rather than summaries, such an essay would require commentaries to explain precisely why, for instance, Occam (of the Occam’s Razor fame) is mentioned. [Check out this essay to get a primer on why Berlin says negative liberty is “liberty as it has been conceived by liberals in the modem world from the days of Erasmus (some would say of Occam) to our own.”]
It would do great injustice to try to summarise, and this will be familiar to those who are familiar with Berlin, what are remarkable streams of thought, or more correctly, illustrations that are characterised by their breath-taking breadth. Consider the following passage from the same essay.
The ‘positive’ sense of the word ‘liberty’ derives from the wish on the part of the individual to be his own master. I wish my life and decisions to depend on myself, not on external forces of whatever kind. I wish to be the instrument of my own, not of other men’s, acts of will. I wish to be a subject, not an object; to be moved by reasons, by conscious purposes, which are my own, not by causes which affect me, as it were, from outside. I wish to be somebody, not nobody; a doer — deciding, not being decided for, self-directed and not acted upon by external nature or by other men as if I were a thing, or an animal, or a slave incapable of playing a human role, that is, of conceiving goals and policies of my own and realising them. This is at least part of what I mean when I say that I am rational, and that it is my reason that distinguishes me as a human being from the rest of the world. I wish, above all, to be conscious of myself as a thinking, willing, active being, bearing responsibility for my choices and able to explain them by reference to my own ideas and purposes.
“Two Concepts of Liberty”, p. 178.
A summary of that passage would be the first sentence. But it is easy to see how much damage it will do to Berlin’s presentation. The best I can do is put up some extracts to give the reader a feel of what Berlin’s writing is like. And this is what I have done for the rest of the essay. Even this however fails to work because these extracts, of necessity ignore most if not all of the finer (but also lengthier) points of exposition that Berlin engages in. As such, for those who are genuinely interested, you can’t do better than read the essay in full.
Freedom (or liberty; these two terms will be used interchangeably) is a term whose meaning is “so porous that there is little interpretation that it seems able to resist.” I will endeavour to examine only two central political senses in which it has been understood. The first is what might be called the ‘negative’ sense which answers the question ‘What is the area within which the subject — a person or group of persons — is or should be left to do or be what he is able to do or be without any interference by other persons?’ The second which I shall call the ‘positive’ sense answers the question ‘What, or who, is the source of control or interference that can determine someone to do, or be, this rather than that?’
The Notion of Negative Freedom
In this sense, liberty refers to the area within which I may act unobstructed by others, an area within which I am free to do or be as I wish to do or be. If I am prevented by others from doing what I would otherwise do, I am to that degree unfree; and if my area of freedom is curtailed beyond a certain minimum, I may be described as being coerced/enslaved. This does not mean that any curtailment of what I would otherwise do is coercion. Mere inability to, say, jump more than ten feet in the air or understand the writings of Hegel, is not coercion. Coercion implies the deliberate interference of other human beings in my sphere of freedom. Mere incapacity is not a lack of freedom.
But what about economic freedom? What if I am unable to afford a loaf of bread on which there is no legal prohibition? Surely, I must be unfree in this case. Yes. But only if I believe in certain economic and social theories which outline a certain understanding of poverty as caused by arrangements brought about by men which prevent some people, like me, but not others, like the well-off, from having enough money to afford basic necessities. But if I do not believe in (the truth of) such theories, and if I understand my poverty as similar to a disease, like blindness or lameness, I am cannot say I am being deprived of freedom.
This is the sense, i.e. the absence of interference by others, in which classical English philosophers understood freedom. There was disagreement about how wide the area of freedom or non-interference would be. First because it was agreed that the sphere of freedom could not be unlimited for if every person has unlimited freedom, no person would be free. Second because they also thought that other goals like justice, equality, happiness, security, etc. were necessary to fulfil human purposes and therefore they deemed it necessary to curtail freedom in the interest of these other goals, or indeed, in the interest of freedom itself. Freedom then has to be limited.
But a certain minimum area of freedom which must be kept sacrosanct so that the individual does not find himself in too narrow a space where he can’t exercise and develop his natural faculties, and without which there would be no meaning to human life and human purposes and goals, including that of freedom itself.
[The next two paragraphs in the text are an important digression. The idea that one person’s freedom is another person’s unfreedom is obvious. If I am free to kill you, you are unfree to live. In Berlin’s words, “the liberty of some must depend on the restraint of others.” This leads, unsurprisingly, many western liberal consciences to say or believe that perhaps the freedom that many of us enjoy is the outcome of the suffering of many groups of people who are exploited socially and economically. If I have the leisure, education, and means, to enjoy Pushkin, might not that be, however indirectly, the result of a system which denies boots to a peasant. And in this case, might not the peasant wish for boots (a basic need) rather than freedom (to enjoy the writings of Alexander Pushkin)? And shouldn’t governments/societies try to ensure these basic necessities before harking about freedom? And if that is not forthcoming, couldn’t or shouldn’t I say: “if others are to be deprived of it [freedom] — if my brothers are to remain in poverty, squalor and chains — then I do not want it for myself, I reject it with both hands and infinitely prefer to share their fate”.
This reflection, Berlin admits, “derives from something that is both true and important.” That is, it is true that a great percentage of wealth which is the basis for the freedoms enjoyed by, say, the west comes, or at least came, from exploitation elsewhere. But he maintains that it is nonetheless “a piece of political claptrap.” “Nothing is gained,” he insists “by a confusion of terms.” If I sacrifice my freedom for a great moral need — my fellow brothers are in “poverty, squalor and chains” — I am still sacrificing freedom. This is a loss of freedom and there is no gain of some other kind of freedom. “Everything is what it is: liberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or culture, or human happiness or a quiet conscience.”]
If freedom cannot be unlimited and has to be curtailed by law if only to secure the freedom of others, upon what principle shall this curtailment be put in place?
Those philosophers who are optimistic about human nature and believe that human interests may be harmonised, such as Locke, Smith, and Mill, prefer a large area of freedom. Those who are pessimistic, Hobbes and his followers, prefer a larger area of control. In any case, that a certain minimum portion of life must be left uninterfered with is agreed by all and to invade this portion would be despotism and it would degrade our very nature. However, what that minimum must be has remained, and will probably remain, a matter of eternal and irresolvable dispute.
What then must the minimum be? That which a man cannot give up without offending against the essence of his human nature. What is this essence? What are the standards which it entails? This has been, and perhaps always will be, a matter of infinite debate.
Be that as it may, liberty in this negative sense is always “freedom from; absence if interference beyond the shifting, but always recognisable frontier.”
For Mill, “the only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way.” This celebrated defence of liberty takes the presence of a “free market in ideas” which allows scope for, indeed encourages, “spontaneity, originality, genius,  mental energy,  moral courage” as a necessary condition for advancement in civilisation without which “society will be crushed by the weight of ‘collective mediocrity.’”
Whatever is rich and diversified will be crushed by the weight of custom, by men’s constant tendency to conformity, which breeds only ‘withered’ capacities, ‘pinched and hidebound’, ‘cramped and dwarfed’ human beings.
The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chapter I.
We may note three points about this defence. Firstly, the connection between the existence of a free market of ideas and the development of critical, original, imaginative, etc. thought — which Mill seems to assume is necessary — is at best empirical. And it has been shown that “integrity, love of truth and fiery individualism grow at least as often in severely disciplined communities”. [Berlin points to James Stephen’s Liberty, Equality, Fraternity]
Second, this doctrine that places so much importance to individual liberty is very modern and is absent from all discussions of liberty in, say, ancient Rome and Greece, indeed in all ancient civilisations. The dominance of this doctrine then is an exception rather than the rule.
Third, this idea of liberty is not incompatible with autocracy, or the absence of self-government (or democracy). Liberty in the negative sense is concerned about the area of control and not the source of control. A democracy which curtails the freedoms of its citizens in the name of say, welfare or social justice, may well be more oppressive in this sense than, say, an enlightened despotism in which the subjects are given sufficient latitude in their actions and behaviour. In other words, freedom is not connected in any logical sense with democracy. This is because the question of ‘who governs me?’ is logically different from the question ‘how far does government interfere with me?’ It is in this difference that the two concepts of liberty can be identified. The former points to positive freedom, and the latter, negative.
For the ‘positive’ sense of liberty comes to light if we try to answer the question, not ‘What am I free to do or be?’, but ‘By whom am I ruled?’ or ‘Who is to say what I am, and what I am not, to be or do?’
The Notion of Positive Freedom
The ‘positive’ sense of freedom derives from the wish on the part of the individual to be his own master and it consists precisely in being one’s own master.
But isn’t this not so different from the ‘negative’ sense of liberty? If you are free to choose as you wish, i.e. if you are master of yourself, isn’t that the same as not being prevented from choosing what you wish by others? The similarity, however, is only superficial.
It is obvious that one could be coerced/enslaved by political, social and economic arrangements. But might not we be enslaved by nature? Or perhaps our own unbridled passions? Passions which we ought to resist or which we do resist at some level in our minds, passions such as the imperatives for what a former Headmistress of yours truly used to call, “momentary pleasures.” Don’t we characterise our emergence from unbridled desire for sexual encounters, and lust for fame, wealth (especially if you subscribe to Christian ethics) as liberating?
In any case, the desire to be one’s own master is not merely the desire to be free from interference by others, but to be free from our very own desires and passions which we might consider as base or sinful or unbecoming of our nature, our nature as members of certain groups, religious or otherwise, or indeed of our nature as human beings. The desire here is to give full power to a higher self — which may be “identified with reason, with my ‘higher nature’, with the self which calculates and aims at what will satisfy it in the long run, with my ‘real’, or ‘ideal’, or ‘autonomous’ self, or with my self ‘at its best’” — so that it may become master over the lower self — identified with “irrational impulse, uncontrolled desires, my ‘lower’ nature, the pursuit of immediate pleasures, my ‘empirical’ or ‘heteronomous’ self.”
The higher self could even be conceived as something wider than the individual. It could be the social whole — “a tribe, a race, a Church, a State, the great society of the living and the dead and the yet unborn.” This entity is then identified as being the ‘true’ self which, by imposing its collective, or ‘organic’, single will upon its recalcitrant ‘members’, achieves its own, and therefore their, ‘higher’ freedom.”
There is some plausibility to this idea in so far as we recognise that it is possible and justifiable to coerce men in the name of some goal, say public health; to force them to wear seat-belts for example, or get mandatory vaccinations. But it is a small step from this to go to the view that takes your action, or that of the state, or church, or what have you, to be the rational choices of those very men (those unwilling to vaccinate their children or wear seatbelts) who are being coerced. This impersonation believes that although they may not be making their choices consciously or even willingly, their higher selves would certainly choose them, indeed they already have. “This monstrous impersonation, which consists in equating what X would choose if he were something he is not, or at least not yet, with what X actually seeks and chooses, is at the heart of all political theories of self-realisation.”
It is one thing to say that I may be coerced for my own good, which I am too blind to see: this may, on occasion, be for my benefit; indeed it may enlarge the scope of my liberty. It is another to say that if it is my good, then I am not being coerced, for I have willed it, whether I know this or not, and am free (or ‘truly’ free) even while my poor earthly body and foolish mind bitterly reject it, and struggle with the greatest desperation against those who seek, however benevolently, to impose it.
This “sleight of hand” can be performed with regards to the negative sense of freedom as well. There the self that should not be interfered with would become the higher self of which I have spoken about, and this self could indeed be inflated to a super-personal entity. However, this splitting of the self into two — “the transcendent, dominant controller, and the empirical bundle of desires and passions to be disciplined and brought to heel” — has been perpetrated “as a matter of history, of doctrine and of practice” by the ‘positive’ conception of freedom as self-mastery.
[The rest are extracts. For reasons outlined above.]
The Retreat to the Inner Citadel
The doctrine that maintains that what I cannot have I must teach myself not to desire, that a desire eliminated, or successfully resisted, is as good as a desire satisfied, is a sublime, but, it seems to me, unmistakable, form of the doctrine of sour grapes: what I cannot be sure of, I cannot truly want.
This makes it dear why the definition of negative liberty as the ability to do what one wishes — which is, in effect, the definition adopted by Mill —will not do. If I find that I am able to do little or nothing of what I wish, I need only contract or extinguish my wishes, and I am made free.
Ascetic self-denial may be a source of integrity or serenity and spiritual strength, but it is difficult to see how it can be called an enlargement of liberty. If I save myself from an adversary by retreating indoors and locking every entrance and exit, I may remain freer than if I had been captured by him, but am I freer than if I had defeated or captured him?
The only true method of attaining freedom, we are told, is by the use of critical reason, the understanding of what is necessary and what is contingent.
What you know, that of which you understand the necessity — the rational necessity — you cannot, while remaining rational, want to be otherwise. For to want something to be other than what it must be is, given the premisses — the necessities that govern the world — to be pro tanto either ignorant or irrational. Passions, prejudices, fears, neuroses spring from ignorance, and take the form of myths and illusions. ... The scientific determinists of the eighteenth century supposed that the study of the sciences of nature, and the creation of sciences of society on the same model, would make the operation of such causes transparently clear, and thus enable individuals to recognise their own part in the working of a rational world, frustrating only when misunderstood.
We are enslaved by despots — institutions or beliefs or neuroses — which can be removed only by being analysed and understood. We are imprisoned by evil spirits which we have ourselves — albeit not consciously — created, and can exorcise them only by becoming conscious and acting appropriately. ... To understand why things must be as they must be is to will them to be so. Knowledge liberates not by offering us more open possibilities amongst which we can make our choice, but by preserving us from the frustration of attempting the impossible. ...That is the metaphysical heart of rationalism. The notion of liberty contained in it is not the ‘negative’ conception of a field (ideally) without obstacles, a vacuum in which nothing obstructs me, but the notion of self-direction or self-control.
The Temple of Sarastro
Those who believed in freedom as rational self-direction were bound, sooner or later, to consider how this was to be applied not merely to a man’s inner life, but to his relations with other members of his society. Even the most individualistic among them — and Rousseau, Kant and Fichte certainly began as individualists — came at some point to ask themselves whether a rational life not
only for the individual, but also for society, was possible, and if so, how it was to be achieved.
Freedom is self-mastery, the elimination of obstacles to my will, whatever these obstacles maybe — the resistance of nature, of my ungoverned passions, of irrational institutions, of the opposing wills or behaviour of others. Nature I can, at least in principle, always mould by technical means, and shape to my will. But how am I to treat recalcitrant human beings?
I must, if I can, impose my will on them too,‘mould’ them to my pattern, cast parts for them in my play. But will this not mean that I alone am free, while they are slaves? They will be so if my plan has nothing to do with their wishes or values, only with my own. But if my plan is fully rational, it will allow for the full development of their ‘true’ natures, the realisation of their
capacities for rational decisions, for ‘making the best of themselves’ — as a part of the realisation of my own ‘true’ self. All true solutions to all genuine problems must be compatible: more than this, they must fit into a single whole; for this is what is meant by calling them all rational and the universe harmonious.
The common assumption ... is that the rational ends of our ‘true’ natures must coincide, or be made to coincide, however violently our poor, ig.i:iorant, desire ridden, passionate, empirical selves may cry out against this
process. Freedom is not freedom to do what is irrational, or stupid, or wrong. To force empirical selves into the right pattern is no tyranny, but liberation. ...Liberty, so far from being incompatible with authority, becomes virtually identical with it. This is the thought and language of all the declarations of the rights of man in the eighteenth century, and of all those who look upon society as a design constructed according to the rational laws of the wise
lawgiver, or of nature, or of history, or of the Supreme Being.
If the underlying assumptions had been correct — if the method of solving social problems resembled the way in which solutions to the problems of the natural sciences are found, and if reason were what rationalists said that it was — all this would perhaps follow.
[And] In due course, the thinkers who bent their energies to the solution of the problem on these lines came to be faced with the question of how in practice men were to be made rational in this way. Clearly they must be educated. For the uneducated are irrational, heteronomous, and need to be coerced, if only to make life tolerable for the rational if they are to live in the same society and not be compelled to withdraw to a desert or some Olympian height. ... The unwise must be dragged towards it by all the social means in the power of the wise; for why should demonstrable error be suffered to survive and breed? The immature and untutored must be made to say to themselves: ‘only the truth liberates, and the only way in which I can learn the truth is by doing blindly today what you, who know it, order me, or coerce me, to do, in the certain knowledge that only thus will I arrive at your dear vision, and be free like you.’
We have wandered indeed from our liberal beginnings. ... What can have led to so strange a reversal? ... [E]ven Kant (who insisted that a capacity for rational self-direction belonged to all men), when he came to deal with political issues, conceded that no law, provided that it was such that I should, if I were asked, approve it as a rational being, could possibly deprive me of any portion of my rational freedom. With this the door was opened wide to the rule of experts. ...[And] if I am a legislator or a ruler, I must assume that if the law I impose is rational (and I can consult only my own reason} it will automatically
be approved by all the members of my society so far as they are rational beings. For if they disapprove, they must, pro tanto, be irrational; then they will need to be repressed by reason: whether their own or mine cannot matter, for the pronouncements of reason must be the same in all minds. I issue my orders and, if you resist, take it upon myself to repress the irrational element in you
which opposes reason.
If this leads to despotism, albeit by the best or the wisest — to
Sarastro’s temple in The Magic Flute — but still despotism, which turns out to be identical with freedom, can it be that there is something amiss in the premisses of the argument? That the basic assumptions are themselves somewhere at fault?
Liberty and Sovereignty
The French Revolution, like all great revolutions, was, at least in its Jacobin form, just such an eruption of the desire for ‘positive’ freedom of collective self-direction on the part of a large body of Frenchmen who felt liberated as a nation, even though the result was, for a good many of them, a severe restriction of individual freedoms. ...The liberals of the first half of the nineteenth century correctly foresaw that liberty in this ‘positive’ sense could easily destroy too many of the ‘negative’ liberties that they held sacred. They pointed out that the sovereignty of the people could easily destroy that of individuals.
Throughout the nineteenth century liberal thinkers maintained that if liberty involved a limit upon the powers of any man to force me to do what I did not, or might not, wish to do, then, whatever the ideal in the name of which I was coerced, I was not free; that the doctrine of absolute sovereignty was a tyrannical doctrine in itself. If I wish to preserve my liberty, ...I must establish a society in which there must be some frontiers of freedom which nobody should be permitted to cross.
[But] what would make a society truly free? For Constant, Mill, Tocqueville, and the liberal tradition to which they belong, no society is free unless it is governed by at any rate two interrelated principles: first, that no power, but only rights, can be regarded as absolute, so that all men, whatever power governs them, have an absolute right to refuse to behave inhumanly; and, second, that there are frontiers, not artificially drawn, within which men should be inviolable, these frontiers being defined in terms of rules so long and widely
accepted that their observance has entered into the very conception of what it is to be a normal human being, and, therefore, also of what it is to act inhumanly or insanely; rules of which it would be absurd to say, for example, that they could be abrogated by some formal procedure on the part of some court or sovereign body.
This is almost at the opposite pole from the purposes of those who believe in liberty in the ‘positive’ — self-directive — sense. The former want to curb authority as such. The latter want it placed in their own hands. That is a cardinal issue. These are not two different interpretations of a single concept, but two profoundly divergent and irreconcilable attitudes to the ends of life. It is as well to recognise this, even if in practice it is often necessary to strike a compromise between them. For each of them makes absolute claims. These claims cannot both be fully satisfied. But it is a profound lack of social and moral understanding not to recognise that the satisfaction that each of them seeks is an ultimate value which, both historically and morally, has an equal right to be
classed among the deepest interests of mankind.
The One and the Many
One belief, more than any other, is responsible for the slaughter of individuals on the altars of the great historical ideals — justice or progress or the happiness of future generations, or the sacred mission or emancipation of a nation or race or class, or even liberty itself, which demands the sacrifice of individuals for the freedom of society. This is the belief that somewhere, in the past or in the future, in divine revelation or in the mind of an individual thinker, in the pronouncements of history or science, or in the simple heart of an uncorrupted good man, there is a final solution. This ancient faith rests on the conviction that all the positive values in which men have believed must, in the end, be compatible, and perhaps even entail one another.
But is this true? It is a commonplace that neither political equality nor efficient organisation nor social justice is compatible with more than a modicum of individual liberty, and certainly not with unrestricted laissez-faire; that justice and generosity, public and private loyalties, the demands of genius and the claims of society can conflict violently with each other. And it is no great way from that to the generalisation that not all good things are compatible, still less all the ideals of mankind.
But if we arc not armed with an a priori guarantee of the proposition that a total harmony of true values is somewhere to be found — perhaps in some ideal realm the characteristics of which we can, in our finite state, not so much as conceive — we must fall back on the ordinary resources of empirical observation and ordinary human knowledge. And these certainly give us no warrant for supposing (or even understanding what would be meant by saying) that all good things, or all bad things for that matter, are reconcilable with each other.
The world that we encounter in ordinary experience is one in which we are faced with choices between ends equally ultimate, and claims equally absolute, the realisation of some of which must inevitably involve the sacrifice of others. Indeed, it is because this is their situation that men place such immense value upon the freedom to choose; for if they had assurance that in some perfect state, realisable by men on earth, no ends pursued by them would ever be in conflict, the necessity and agony of choice would disappear, and with it the central importance of the freedom to choose.
I do not wish to say that individual freedom is, even in the most liberal societies, the sole, or even the dominant, criterion of social action. ...The extent of a man’s, or a people’s, liberty to choose to live as he or they desire must be weighed against the claims of many other values, of which equality, or justice, or happiness, or security, or public order are perhaps the most obvious examples. For this reason, it cannot be unlimited. ...That we cannot have everything is a necessary, not a contingent, truth. [But at the same time] there is little need to stress the fact that monism, and faith in a single criterion, has always proved a deep source of satisfaction both to the intellect and to the emotions. [However] to preserve our absolute categories or ideals at the expense of human lives offends equally against the principles of science and of history
Pluralism, with the measure of ‘negative’ liberty that it entails, seems to me a truer and more humane ideal than the goals of those who seek in the great disciplined, authoritarian structures the ideal of ‘positive’ self-mastery by classes, or peoples, or the whole of mankind. It is truer, because it does, at least, recognise the fact that human goals are many, not all of them
commensurable, and in perpetual rivalry with one another. ...It is more humane because it does not (as the system builders do) deprive men, in the name of some remote, or incoherent, ideal, of much that they have found to be
indispensable to their life as unpredictably self-transforming human beings.
It may be that the ideal of freedom to choose ends without claiming eternal validity for them, and the pluralism of values connected with this, is only the late fruit of our declining capitalist civilisation: an ideal which remote ages and primitive societies have not recognised, and one which posterity will regard with curiosity, even sympathy, but little comprehension. This may be so; but no sceptical conclusions seem to me to follow. Principles are not less
sacred because their duration cannot be guaranteed. ...‘To realise the relative validity of one’s convictions’, said an admirable writer of our time, ‘and yet stand for them unflinchingly is what distinguishes a civilised man from a barbarian.’ To demand more than this is perhaps a deep and incurable metaphysical need; but to allow such a need to determine one’s practice is a symptom of an equally deep, and more dangerous, moral and political immaturity.