Liberal Authority and Round Squares

This comment helped crystallize liberal authority for me.

Since Liberty cannot in principle be the object of an authoritative act, if Liberty were taken as the principle of politics the State would not act. It would have no reason to function, because its object would provide no impetus for an action to be taken.

However, liberal States do act. These authoritative acts do in fact do what authority does, that is command some ordering of goods in society. Liberty spoken of as the end of these acts can only be mistaken, because such is impossible. The real ends pursued involve some amount of sentiment, because Liberty cannot be a principle of practical rational discourse. 

Hence, all the liberties that are spoken of in the real concrete actions of the State are in fact not liberties as such. The real actions of the State produce some real concrete ordering of goods in society that restrict and discriminate against other orders and each ordering is itself a restriction and discrimination of goods.

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