Isaiah BerlinIsaiah Berlin, (1909-1997) Russian-British social and political theorist, philosopher, historian

Isaiah Berlin Quote

“All forms of tampering with human beings, getting at them, shaping them against their will to your own pattern, all thought control and conditioning is, therefore, a denial of that in men which makes them men and their values ultimate.”

Isaiah BerlinIsaiah Berlin
~ Isaiah Berlin

Two Concepts of Liberty, 1958

Ratings and Comments

David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

I can guess what our drug-abusing faction might say, but despite his fame and talent, Berlin is suffering from a mental disorder due to which he is incapable of seeing that some behaviors really should not be tolerated.

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

Huh? Well, let's just call out the behavior police then, shall we? It's a bit like the old (and tired) joke asking why certain religious sects prohibit sex while standing upright; It could lead to dancing.

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

Oh my! "fame and talent"? I have an uneasy feeling there's been (just perhaps) some confusion between Isaiah Berlin and Irving Berlin. Geez I hope I'm wrong. ROFL

  • Reply
RobertSRQ    5/2/08

Terry, very good! It has continued since the day we stepped out of the caves - we are manipulated by religion, governement, despots, and anyone that wants control over another (I love the line 'All forms of tampering with human beings...') The vast majority allow the tampering - it's easy; I have food on the table and a good job; go ahead and tamper as much as you like...

J Carlton, Calgary

Government has no business in social engineering. None.

jim k, austin,tx

The War on Drugs comes to mind. To see the horrors of this manipulation, check out this web site, LEAP.CC

Mike, Norwalk

Ahh yes, it is the thought police, social engineers, and man molders that are antagonists to Berlin's two concepts of liberty.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Mom and Dad started tampering and controlling me the day I was born, teaching me their languague and stuff and then came school and Lordy, Lordy a wife. I've been tampered with all my life, what is human being suppose to do?

J Carlton, Calgary

Waffler, I think your folks are ethically and naturally bound to "socially engineer" their boy. Its called parenthood. But not so the government. Still, point taken.

E Archer, NYC

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

J Carlton, Calgary

Waffler's point seems to be that we should consider government as "our Mom and Dad". How completely repulsive an idea is that?

E Archer, NYC

Most collectivists defend perpetual subservience. They often suggest that government or church should be perpetual parents. No wonder their ideas seem so childish. In a collectivist society, you only 'grow up' when you are given a seat of authority. They worship POWER above everything else and are as arrogant and egomaniacal as any dictator and willfully ignorant of the nobility of the common man.

Ronw13, Yachats Or

Sentiment of extreme clarity ! Though you can argue the origins of virtue, they are still of the same coin. What man counts to himself as value is liberty to do. Seek their happiness, make their way. On the other hand, cackling chickens in the back row have been shaping policy of church by way of vote for a long time. Which sways their council, then the Ship of State. Governments are always seeking that knee jerk reaction from society, through manipulation.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, I understand how you have rejected your biological parents for your patriarchal government. Your new god/parents allow you to be immoral, abuse your siblings (working for the IRS; authorize theft to give you a life style) and in all, be a slave with privileges - equal to other societal slaves. I personally prefer being free in a land of liberty where forms of tampering with human beings, shaping individuals to your pattern against their will, using thought control, conditioning and all other forms of man's inhumanity to man do not exist.

Patrick Henry, Red Hill

Human beings exist, for good or for ill, to profoundly influence one another. Objectively, everything has its genesis within the framework of the family, the first order of government in society. As the Puritan Thomas Manton expressed it:

" The home is the seminary of the Church and of the State."

In the absence of the tempering, the ennobling, presence of Virtue, personal sovereignty, in its most sublime exemplification, cannot be experienced.

Since much of that such as is commonly characterized as being education assumes the form, in actuality, of emulation,it is incumbent upon those who exercise authority, foremost among whom, originally, parents, to model Virtue, which is a concomitant of Love.

When fear supplants Love, and devices of coercion patient instruction, the progressive deformation of human character becomes an inevitability.


Get a Quote-a-Day!

Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.