Quotation by Robert S. McElvaine

Most liberals never lost sight of the potential for evil in big government. They have consistently opposed government power in matters of personal and political belief. Liberals are not unconcerned with economic liberty, but they have come to believe that the common good requires that social justice be given a higher priority than absolute economic freedom. Conservatives are—and always have been—on the other side of both questions. They are much more prone than liberals to limiting personal and political liberties, but they place the freedom of an individual to do as he pleases in the economic realm at the top of their concerns. Social justice has held a lower priority for conservatives, from the days of Alexander Hamilton when they favored strong government as a means of protecting their economic privileges to the days of Ronald Reagan when they see government as an instrument of social justice and therefore a threat to their economic position.
Robert S. McElvaine (b. 1947), U.S. historian, educator. The End of the Conservative Era: Liberalism After Reagan, ch. 2, Arbor House (1987).
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