The idealist

The Literary Review of Canada excerpts Jack Layton’s foreword to a new book about Charles Taylor, George Grant and CB Macpherson.

Tommy Douglas understood that our human journey had to be a collective project, something we would, could and should do together for and with each other, as a community of free individuals. Freedom, in this view—an idealist view—has enormous positive potential, not just for individuals but for all people as part of a fabric of diverse communities. Obvious questions flow. How can the pursuit of what would be right and good for the whole community be sought, at the same time, by each free and independent individual? How can a group effort not limit liberty but rather enhance it?

The idealist current holds that human society has the potential to achieve liberty when people work together to form a society in which equality means more than negative liberty, the absolute and protected right to run races against each other to determine winners. Idealists imagine a positive liberty that enables us to build together toward common objectives that fulfill and even surpass our individual goals.