There is clash between the Enlightenment paradigm that dominated in the eighteenth century and the newer Romantic paradigm that emerged with Rousseau’s reaction to it, especially in his exchanges with Voltaire. The Romantic outlook sees enemies everywhere whilst the Enlightenment sees a basic harmony in society with the biggest problem being the massive ignorance that even the most knowledgeable people are bound to retain.

For example, the Enlightenment sees common economic interests and basic harmony most of the time, and maybe even all of the time, but the Romantics tend to think trade is a sort of rip off; somewhere, even if they cannot quite see exactly where. So the Romantics hold some get rich but usually only at the expense of the poor whereas the Enlightenment outlook sees the mutual gains of trade, even though one side never gets to be in the richest class. Here the Enlightenment gets the basic economic facts right and Romance fosters the common zero sum delusion, that is sadly retained by current common sense.

And it is similar with debate too. That debate is competitive is a common Romantic idea but quite false, as eristic motivation is harmless enough and cannot alter the logic of the common aim in any debate itself being the truth, even though that might well be distinct from the motivation of the debaters. So debate is basically co-operation, rather than zero- sum competition. And it tends to aid Enlightenment. Polemical or eristic motivation will be a social boon if ever it motivates debate, as debate both fosters enquiry and also the testing of ideas too. In any debate, there are both sides and the case each side might have plus the quest for truth that they do both have in common. The morality of debate should include what Karl Popper held to be the duty of self criticism, or honesty, just to aid Enlightenment all round, otherwise the truth might be neglected.

Both the Enlightenment, and the reaction to it in Romance, tends to apply to all other paradigms. We can expect any Romantic to have enemies so, for example, a Green Romantic will think in terms of “us and them”, but an Enlightenment Green will most likely not, but just think non-Greens are mainly just ignorant. Both paradigms can err. As Pope says, “to err is human.” He adds, “to forgive is divine”. But if a Romantic converts to the older Enlightenment he will think only ignorance is the problem rather than it being as some people basically are, and maybe as they are almost bound to be.

We think many things are natural that are merely habitual. Aristotle said habit was second nature. But any insight might show us that we have a bad habit. I think the Enlightenment paradigm of “one and all” is more efficient than the Romantic one, of “us and them”, but they are both mere paradigms for liberal propagandists.

It is part of Romance to imagine the party differences in politics are tribal rather than of the mere information people might have and that the Enlightenment thinkers are naive to think many people, if any, can be converted over from one side to the other. Psychologists, like Jordan Peterson, takes all that for granted and talks of the political party positions as if they were stable individuals. The Romantic psychologists base a lot of what they see as their science on mere passing ephemera for the parties run on current affairs rather than on principle. The psychologists feel they are non-ideological but they embrace the Romantic outlook.

Most philosophers are confused about freedom and liberty.  We have individual liberty, where we do whatever we like; given the situation we are in. As Hobbes said, all we do is what  we want to do, either as a means or as an end. This is not particularly social and only death ever ends it. Even in prison, we can do this or that. Our liberty is restricted but not thereby ended in gaol. If we are attacked in prison we can fight back, if we are still conscious and have some fitness, but it might be unwise to do so. Duress does not remove individual liberty. We are free to at least attempt to rob or to murder others, if ever we are bad men and so we may want to do so. The good man, as even Aristotle agreed with Socrates and Plato, will not want to do so, but he did not agree with them that mere knowledge of the good ruled out  immoral options by making men good. Common sense never agreed with them on that and Aristotle defended common sense. However, I think they were both quite right.

So people were free in the Hobbesian individual sense even in the late USSR. But they clearly lacked social liberty there. We can all use our individual liberty to try to achieve social liberty.

Social liberty is the liberal, or libertarian, ideal. This is just the above individual liberty but with some respect to the liberty of all others; so we do not rob, do not murder, etc., but rather we treat all others with respect regarding to their liberty. 

The very opposite of social liberty is war. War always destroys social liberty and that rather than the truth is the first causality of war. War cannot similarly affect much truth [or belief i.e. what we see as true, as that will be as vital as ever and needed for all that anyone does], though truth, unlike the facts, can be destroyed. Books can be burnt, for example. We need to make fresh truth whatever we look to see what we are doing. Our other senses do fresh empirical “research” too, to reformulate our needed fresh belief so we can see to do whatever we want to do. Opportunity cost is the only cost and it applies to all we do.

Hobbes thought that liberty would be a war of all against all and that the state might end this anarchy by forcing peace onto people but there he was exactly preposterous or he got it the wrong way round as the state is a war machine aimed at wat and the affairs of state, politics, is to do with war, indeed it is cold war. So if we rolled back or even removed the state we would get not only more liberty but also more peace too.