Johann Hari in this morning's Independent has written another of his slightly confused and contradictory pieces, this time it's about the difference between negative and positive liberty, noting
The philosopher Isaiah Berlin said there was an irreconcilable divide between those who believe in "negative liberty" and those who believe in "positive liberty." He was right. The divide survives.....My guess is that Hari has only breifly skimmed his Berlin, because if he had read it properly he would be aware that Berlin himself made clear that the clash between negative and positive liberty was a clash between libertarianism (classsical liberalism) and authoritarianism. He also warned of the dangers about the evangelical pursuit of postive liberty.
It's become as fashionable as a Jean-Paul Gaultier handbag to say that the old left/right divide is dead, and from its grave has risen a new divide between libertarians and authoritarians. But this ignores the reality that the left and right have these clashing, conflicting visions of freedom.
You can't start a piece praising a philosopher for being right, and then proceed to argue the complete opposite of what the philosopher said, you just make yourself look silly. Having said this, according to Hari, believing in negative liberty is just pandering to the "whack-back-the-state paranoia of the right."