Freedom Means Restraint

“Complexity can sometimes be an excuse for ignoring the moral dimension; and if we do that, we are lost. Freedom means restraint. It means not doing everything we can do, nor doing something on the grounds that if we do not, someone else will. The free market is a wondrous device, but to suppose that it or any other value-neutral process – the balance of power in international politics, for example, or the development of genetic research – will yield of themselves optimal outcomes is to have the kind of naïve faith that belongs to an older, simpler world. Fundamentalisms, we should never forget, can be economic or scientific as well as religious. Without a moral vision, we will fail. And that vision, to be shared, can only emerge from conversation – from talking to one another and listening to one another across boundaries of class, income, race and faith.”

The Dignity of Difference, p. 150