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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/461

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445
THE NEW TORYISM.

usage has become well established, it becomes law by receiving authoritative recognition and defined form. Manifestly, then, Liberalism in the past, by its practice of limitation, was preparing the way for the principle of limitation.

But, returning from these more general considerations to the special question, I emphasize the reply that the liberty which a citizen enjoys is to be measured, not by the nature of the governmental machinery he lives under, whether representative or other, but by the number and degree of the restraints it imposes on him; and that, whether this machinery is or is not one which he has shared in making, its actions are not of the kind proper to Liberalism if they increase such restraints beyond those which are needful for preventing him from directly or indirectly aggressing on his fellows—needful, that is, for maintaining the liberties of his fellows against his invasions of them; restraints which are, therefore, to be distinguished as negatively coercive, not positively coercive.

I doubt not, however, that the Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical, who more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able, will continue to protest. Knowing that his aim is popular benefit of some kind, to be achieved in some way, and believing that the Tory is, contrariwise, prompted by class-interest and the desire to maintain class-power, he will regard it as palpably absurd to group him as one of the same genus—will scorn, as mere chop-logic, the reasoning used to prove this.

Perhaps an analogy will help him to see its validity. If, away in the far East, where personal government is the only form of government known, he heard from the inhabitants the account of a struggle by which they had deposed a cruel and vicious despot, and put in his place one whose acts proved his desire for their welfare—if, after listening to their self-gratulations, he told them that they had not essentially changed the nature of their government, he would greatly astonish them; and probably he would have difficulty in making them understand that the substitution of a benevolent despot for a malevolent despot still left the government a despotism. Similarly with Toryism as rightly conceived. Standing as it does for coercion by the state versus the freedom of the individual, Toryism remains Toryism, whether it extends this coercion for selfish or unselfish reasons. As certainly as the despot remains a despot, whether his motives are good or bad, so certainly does the Tory remain a Tory, whether he has egoistic or altruistic motives for using state-power to restrict individual liberty, beyond the degree required for maintaining the liberties of other individuals. The altruistic Tory as well as the egoistic Tory belongs to the genus Tory, though he forms a new species of the genus. And both stand in distinct contrast with the Liberal as defined