"In the world today individual stupidity and wickedness are forgiven more easily than failure to be identified with a recognised party or attitude, to achieve an approved political or economic or intellectual status. In earlier periods, when more than one authority rules human life, a man might escape the pressure of the State by taking refuge in the fortress of the opposition - of an organised Church or dissident feudal establishment. The mere fact of conflict between authorities allowed room for a narrow and shifting, but still never entirely non-existent, no man's land, where private lives might still precariously be lived, because neither side dared to go too far for fear of too greatly strengthening the other. Today the very virtues of even the best-intentioned paternalistic State, its genuine anxiety to reduce destruction and disease and inequality, to penetrate all the neglected nooks and crannies of life which may stand in need of its justice and its bounty - its very success in those beneficent activities - have narrowed the area within which the individual may commit blunders, and curtailed his liberties in the interest (the very real interest) of his welfare or of his sanity, his health, his security, his freedom from want and fear. His area of choice has grown smaller not in the name of some opposing principle - as in the ark Ages or during the rise of nationalities - but in order to create a situation in which the very possibility of opposed principles, with all their unlimited capacity to cause mental stress and danger and destructive collisions, is eliminated in favour of a simpler and better regulated life, a robust faith in an efficiently working order, untroubled by agonising moral conflict".
Isaiah Berlin, Political Ideas in the 20th Century (1950), in: Liberty, ed. Henry Hardy, Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 91