Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Short slide

I stumbled across an old book review by Eric Redman of William F Buckley's United Nations Journal: A Delegate's Odyssey, and I had to pause at:

It is true, as Isaiah Berlin insists, that such rulers often find themselves on the slippery slope between Rousseau and Robespierre and that the rationalizations for liberal restraints are frequently quite transparent.

I confess to being unfamiliar with the Berlin quote and its context, but surely the "slippery slope" between Rousseau and Robespierre is only the number of steps from the ground to the top of the gallows.