7 SEPTEMBER 1951, Page 16

Conservatism and Liberty

SIR,—May I be allowed the courtesy of your columns to reply to certain criticisms of my letter on the subject of Conservatism and Liberty con- tained in correspondence published in your issue of August 24th? Sir Edward Pease appears to think that the social changes he refers to have rendered my 'remark—that individual freedom has proved to be incompatible with social justice—about a hundred-years " out of date." But surely this is immaterial. The fact is that these, and other, "social changes are the result, largely, of restricting individual freedom for the promotion of social justice. His definition of the term " social justice" would seem to indicate that he is confusing " equal shares," which the term does not imply, with " fair shares," which, amongst other things, it includes.

Sir John lnskip's criticism of the same remark might be justified were either " individual freedom" or " individual slavery " terms capable of exact definition, which they are not ; for nobody can say " where freedom ends and slavery begins." But it is easy to take as examples certain forms of individual freedom, and in my letter I confined myself to a man's " liberty to do as he liked with his own property" or with his person, and showed that both these forms of individual freedom, generally considered to be of great value, have had to be forfeited in the interest of social justice. Sir John's assumption That I hope indivi- dual freedom to be a lost cause is unjustified. But, in the sense in which I have used the term in my letter, I believe it to be so. And, for reasons given in that letter, I also believe that any political party which relies upon a " nostalgic" yearning amongst the majority of the electors for its resuscitation is doomed to disappointment.—I am, Sir,