social egalitarianism denotes the impulse to broaden bases of economy, power, status, and is a direction, a constant state-of-becoming. It relates to welfare orientation; to economic liberalism; to our typological Rednecks, among others. Political liberty, the exercise of democratic restraint, is relatively a state-of-being.
Social egalitarianism and political liberty are scarcely incompatible, but there is a constant tension between the two, and they are discrete values of what we now call democracy. But it is important to remind ourselves finally that it is political liberty--the exercise of democratic restraint, pluralism--which is the subject and the victim of political extremism, of monism. The growth of monistic ideology among youth--as an instrumental approach to the achievement of either egalitarian or preservatist goals, or a combination of both--may yet prove to be the most important and destructive aspect of the decline in political civility in the 1960's.
A low level of democratic restraint which prevails through default in ideology is one kind of hazard. The deliberative denial of democratic restraint through a commitment to extremist ideology is quite another. This is to apotheosize political moralism, that deadly élan of extremism which must wither any human society.
Prince Guiseppe di Lampedusa, contemplating Italy's metamorphosis from autocracy to liberal democracy, was depressed: "All this shouldn't last; but it will, always; the human 'always,' of course, a century, two centuries . . . and after that it will be different but worse. We were the Leopards, the Lions, those who'll take our place will be little jackals, hyenas; and the whole lot of us, Leopards, jackals and sheep, we'll all go on thinking ourselves the salt of the earth." 36