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

Isaiah Berlin Quote

“But to manipulate men, to propel them toward goals which you – the social reformers – see, but they may not, is to deny their human essence, to treat them as objects without wills of their own, and therefore to degrade them.”

Isaiah BerlinIsaiah Berlin
~ Isaiah Berlin

Two Concepts of Liberty, 1958

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

Ahh yes, degradation is good, says the democracy proponents, fascists, socialists, liberals, neocons, democrats, republicans, etc.

helorat, Milton

The quote is superb, it is antithetical to the principles of Democrats (and most democracy proponents) and their party, along with their socialist and fascist cohorts. But it only applies selectively to certain "true' liberals (almost non-existent today) and most republicans, who have completely lost touch with their parties principle. Neocons, are maybe 50/50.

E Archer, NYC

It seems to me that belonging to ANY party is to believe that it is OK to impose majority power over a minority, to propel them to a place of subservience. Anyone who has been in the minority understands this -- but often those in the minority would do the same to the others if they had the power. Mostly we are dumb, spoiled brats who often derive pleasure from degrading others -- the primary reason for a very limited government.

Robert, Sarasota

The reason for the thumbs down is the statement is to black and white and that's easy - there is no true feeling or understanding of the reality of human existence in this quote. The hypocrisy is unbelievable -- it's OK to have policy when there is law (not necessarily Order) but before when law had not been the direction of the state, when there was no social order, you would take without remorse. Quote of the century: "The American Indians found out what happens when you don't control immigration." We came here and killed our way across America and now when social reform requires you to give back a little you stamp your foot and say no. The great oxymoron must be associating socialism and fascism in the same sentence -- socialism has its roots in anti government. Before we can truly move forward there needs to be harmony amongst the four human groupings -- the masses, the warriors, intellectuals, and the merchants. Therefore, we must rethink our arguments when faced with one understanding -- which one Group (varn■as) dominates.

E Archer, NYC
  • Reply
E Archer, NYC Robert, Sarasota 8/1/19

My goodness, what nonsense. "Socialism has its roots in anti-government"?  There is no socialism without government!  Socialism is the takeover of the government and the people.  Any time you use the phrase "there needs to be..." you speak as an authoritarian  this is NOT LIBERAL in any sense of the word.  Where is your respect for MY way of life?  When will I be acceptable to you, the authoritarian?  What must I do FOR YOU?  Hey, socialism is not liberalism, not at all.

helorat, Milton

Robert, of course you don't like it. It is black and white! Like right and wrong, good and evil. To you an individual is someone to be manipulated. Quit with attempts at socialist apologetics, existential idiocy and proxy guilt trips. You, and all socialists have no interest in individual liberty. You can only think in groups and groupism; whether it is culture or economics, you are a Marxist who does not believe in the individual. The only difference between socialism and fascism is that fascism gives the masquerade of private ownership of the means of production while retaining complete control with the government. History is filled with conquerors and the conquered, do I need to list them for you? Get over it. If you had some hand in genocide, do your penance, I did not, and feel no guilt. Perhaps you would like to extract some reparations from the Turks who raped and pillaged my Greek ancestors for over 500 years. Get over it! It is history, don't repeat it if you don't approve of it, but regardless, quit wallowing in it, it IS over. You are a zombie of governmnet control, and an American only by accident of birth. You have no interest in the individual liberty and limited government that WAS the basis of this country. Oh and BTW, it looks like one star, not a thumbs down to me. Did your socialist voodoo master tell you that is what a thumbs down looks like?

Mike, Norwalk

helorat, you know I'm giggling and smiling

helorat, Milton

Happy to provide some humor Mike! It is hard to do for some one like me who tries to deal in facts not feelings, but some posts beg for humor, even if it is exceptionally cynical, if they were taken seriously one would have to cry, or wonder if the board had been invaded by a pre-Sarkozy islamic frenchman!

Editor, Liberty Quotes

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Matt, kettering

Robert Sarasota: I fail to see the difference between Communism (socialist's big brother) and Fascism. Both have massive police forces that don't give a damn about the people, both have large bureaucracies, both develop large militaries (Nazi Germany and China) both lie to the people, both take control of the economy ETC ETC the only possible difference is that the roads used to Communism and fascism are slightly different. those who still are delusionally loyal to Karl Marx need to look with an analytical and critical eye he calls for "the taking into public ownership the economy" Mussolini the Italian dictator says "the first stage of Fascism should really be called corporatism because it is the merging of state and business" so no Oxymoron.

Walter Clark, Fullerton CA

You summarized it quite well, but the irony would be lost on those you listed; for they would think manipulating people is what they live for. And their logic would be as follows. Children are indeed "objects without wills of their own". Some people never grow up. Those are the special ones; those whose welfare is the measure of how well we took care of them. Among them are the veterans with PTSD, the destitute elderly, the homeless, the blacks and others who are not quite fully human.

jim k, Austin

Well said Matt.

Mary MI
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  • Reply
Mary MI    12/5/14

Thank you Liberty Quotes for providing us with all the great quotes you provide that we can share with others either in e-mails or on Facebook.
I love this wonderful quote from by Isaiah Berlin about the consequences of stifling and denying the unalienable rights of the individual through the manipulations of the so-called 'Do Gooders" and Social Reformers.
I am truly appreciative of receiving the e-mailed Liberty Quotes.
Many of these excellent quotes I would have never known of if it weren't for the excellent service you provide. Kudos!


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