Liberty under attack from enemies within

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It is easy to look around the world at the building tensions and think that the greatest enemy of freedom comes from a nefarious, despotic regime in Russia, Iran or China. We should, however, resist the temptation to blame the outside world for the crisis in liberalism. The greatest threat to our liberty isn’t truly to be found in some far-off, foreign capital. It is right here, in our own societies. Past generations in the free world created societies that cherished liberty, and developed states compatible with it. But the argument for liberty, whether in the market or in discourse, has to be won anew in every generation, and our institutions renewed or replaced as they decay. The trade-offs between liberty and safety, fairness or cultural cohesion must be constantly adjusted to take account of new technologies, power dynamics and economic imperatives.

In other words, the most serious threats to our liberty come from within. Broadly, they fall into three categories: economic, demographic and technological. I will lay out each in turn.