The Authority of the State and the Traditional Realm of Freedom
In the context of the liberal tradition, the essay analyzes the content of the authority of the state through the conceptual mirror image of the moral value of individual freedom. This shift of the theoretical perspective implies immediately a new question: What is the meaning of freedom in the political theory of Michael Oakeshott? The analysis identifies two main trends in the philosophical composition of an idea of freedom: 1) the diffusion of authority between past, present, and future (the Burkean Clause); 2) the dispersion of power among all the multitude of interests which comprise a society (the Lockean Clause). The idea of freedom conveys then a conservative perspective and a liberal outlook. But the liberal tradition discloses the authority of a method peculiarly fitted to the preservation of freedom—the rule of law. And with the rule of law, is the authority of the state understood as a civil association.