Professor Irving Babbitt '89, speaking at a meeting of the Liberal Club last night on "True and Sham Liberals", emphasised the point that the struggle of today was not between conservatives and liberals, but between true and sham liberals. He defined the true liberal as a man who believes in fair play, moderation, and compromise; the sham liberal as a man who puts forward secondary virtues as primary ones. For instance he professes sincerity, open-mindedness, and a forward looking spirit; whereas the actual questions are those of right or wrong, selection, and real imaginary questions. Therefore now is the time to develop a Socratic spirit of critical analysis. Definition is necessary because abstractions govern imagination, and imagination governs the world.
In our country there have been two traditions of liberty, the Washingtonian and the Jeffersonian. The Washingtonian school believes in allowing a man to restrain himself, and the Jeffersonian in altering and finally removing the government. The only remedy for this pseudo-liberal appeal to the idyllic imagination is a strictly Socratic critical definition.